Review: TorHans Aero Bento X
Oct 30, 2017
article & images by Nick Salazar
TorHans has been making innovative and exciting products in both the hydration and storage areas for the better part of a decade now. I particularly love their Aero Bento products, which offer a simple and clean bolt-on storage solution for bikes that have top tube storage bosses. (Or, if your bike doesn't have them, you can read this tutorial on how to make them yourself.)
Recently, TorHans officially launched their Bento X, a storage solution that is both larger, more aero, and cleaner than their original AeroBento. Interestingly, this product incorporates some of the modifications I've hacked together when using the original AeroBento on builds for Paul Matthews and Pat Evoe in years past. Speciaically, the new Bento X offers some open cable routing at the front, allowing you to snug the Bento X right up to the stem for the ultimate in a clean look and low-drag performance.
The original AeroBento was designed around the P5 and its Aduro aerobar, which didn't have cables coming out the back. So, for any riders using the P5 + Aduro aerobar, the AeroBento tends to be the right solution. But for all other bikes, the Bento X is uniformly better in every way. It stores more, presents less area to the wind, snugs better to the stem, and hides cables better. It's exactly what I would want it to be if I were designing it myself.
However, I'll qualify the previous statement with a couple caveats. There are just one or two things I wish were a little different about the Bento X. First and foremost, the mounting options. TorHans does provide two sets of mounting holes, which offer up to 5cm of fore-aft position adjustment. However, the Bento X is so long that they could easily have put a third set of holes, dramatically increasing the range of mounting positions, and making the Bento X work on a wider variety of bikes. As is, some bikes won't have the top tube bosses in the right position to actually allow the Bento X to snug up against the stem. This could be remedied by the user, if the user is willing to drill the additional holes. However, many people won't be willing to go that route. I really think TorHans should just drill the additional holes in house There's absolutely no drawback here, and only potential benefit. I reached out to TorHans, and they said they may add a third set of holes at some point.
My second gripe, and this one is minimal, is that the front seam of the rubber should be split. This is the frist thing that any purchaser of the Bento X should do - take a pair of scissors, and cut that front slit of rubber. This allows you to snug the Bento X against the stem without re-routing your cables. It's an easy and necessary step to make the product fully-functional. Really, this should be done at the factory, but it's not hard at all to do yourself. The images below show what cut I'm talking about. As with the above gripe, this one has absolutely no drawbacks in implementation. TorHans says they prefer it fused to start with, and they left the perforation there to make it easy to cut for the folks who want it cut. But honestly, basically 100% of its customers should want it cut. And even if you don't *need* it cut, cutting doesn't compromise it in any way. No disadvantage at all.
While I did devote a fair number of words to criticizing the two aforementioned flaws, the Bento X is easily a best-in-class product, and one I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who has top tube bosses (and a stem that rises above the top surface of that top tube; customers of the Orbea Ordu, for example, would be better off with a different solution). It's a great product, and I'm happy to see that TorHans is still innovating.