Yes, I agree, the Bento box is a great opportunity that's been botched.
Felt must know this is a commonly held view so I'm very surprised they didn't take the opportunity to give it a proper overhaul on the IAx frame.
I think it's too small but that's a minor complaint compared to the other two problems. The access hatch is fiddly and poorly positioned. But by far the biggest problem is the method of attaching the cover. It slides down over locating stubs which do not provide a positive or precise engagement. You're left with a cover that looks poor because it's distorted and often out of position and a component that needs to be handled but that you're afraid to handle in case it comes lose.
Until I saw it in person, the bento box was a selling point for me. Once I'd seen it I was put off the whole bike to a large extent. It's a massive and needless weakness in an otherwise great bike. If it was a modular component you could simply not use it, but it's there whether you want it or not.
I don't think I can live with it and I'm looking at ways to replace it with something that'll do the job properly. As it is I have a bike I otherwise love but which makes me angry every time I look at it because of that bloody bento box. Nice idea, horrendous implementation.
IMO, Felt would do themselves a massive favour if they looked at two actions:
1. Sort out the design problems with the existing Calpac & cover and sell the new solution as a replacement part.
2. Sell an alternative blanking component that could be substituted for the Calpac to close up the top tube and fair it to the stem. This would provide a solution for anyone who either doesn't need a bento box or doesn't like the provided solution. A single component moulded from plastic would do the job.
I agree with everything you have said. The bento box is so important for nutrition that as much as I love the way the Felt IAx looks, I'm not sure I would buy one right now because I'd be pissed at the bento box. The base plate idea is perfect. You can attach a bolt on bento box and then everything will be fine. The IA aerobars are flush with the bento box so it may screw up the airflow, but it will work.
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