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Hey all,

I always have an SIS energy gel on me in case I bonk and if I’m planning 100k or more I’ll usually have a couple and a bar. I was recently about to place an order for another couple of boxes, but paused to think for a second that I’ve never really considered other brands of energy gels and bars. 

I dont use use them often, just for extra long rides and what not, but in a bid to explore new flavours and textures I thought I’d perhaps see what else you all use. 

I don’t use whey or protein, but would be curious to know if you do as part of your regim and what your preferred brand is?

33 comments

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don simon [1769 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I managed a pre breakfast 100km last month without any signs of bonking, otherwise I just go out with bananas and water. Can't be arsed paying for the marketing bits that gels need.

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Grahamd [865 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I’ve used many but always come back to SIS. 

 

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kevvjj [329 posts] 3 weeks ago
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High 5 and Clif

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Woldsman [233 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Flapjacks from Home Bargains.

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madcarew [515 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Huge fan of Gu gels for racing, but stick to plain brand meusli bars for other rides. Generally 2 bottles, one with water, one with some sports drink for the flavour

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Beecho [261 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Wiggle gels (smaller but enough of a hit) and Meridian bars. Always take but often don’t use.

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LastBoyScout [390 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I find SIS are the best gels, in terms of taste and being gentle on my stomach. Unless it's a very long ride or a race, I carry a couple more as an emergency than intended use. SIS often have silly deals on them as samples, or something - keep them in the freezer and ignore the use-by date.

I find SIS bars are terrible - go solid when it's cold and pretty much melt when it's hot. So I use High5 bars, which don't do that and taste pretty good.

I use a mix of SIS and High5 drinks, mainly the Go electrolyte and High5 Zero, but also the Go Energy (used to be PSP22) for long rides.

Those are my preferences, anyway - I've used others and I like the Clif bars, bananas and flapjacks for alternatives.

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Simon E [3206 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Flapjack, banana, snickers & water is fine. You don't really need a gel on a normal bike ride (and if you eat something at intervals you shouldn't ever bonk) but you could try Stealth - pleasant natural flavours, not as sticky or sickly as some.

Whey protein is for gym rats IMHO. I usually get a protein powder fanboy shouting at me for saying it but real food is perfectly adequate for recreational cyclists.

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Bobbinogs [263 posts] 3 weeks ago
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^ What he said (apart from the Snickers due to the associated sugar rush and insulin high/low).  Gels have their place (on long hard rides where you can't face any more food but know you need some energy, emergencies when you have got it wrong and been out for 3 hours and started to get dizzy...or at the pointy end of a race) but for most of us a gel should be something you keep in the back pocket for about 3 months.

I have been sat in lovely cafes serving a myriad of delicious cakes whilst on a break in a 45 mile club ride...only to see some guys sucking in a gel or two instead of enjoying the fare on offer.  Disappointing but a great testament to the marketing BS.  

 

That said, the Torq ones are quite good and have some interesting flavours which can pep you up a bit.

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TheLonelyOne [364 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I haven't found a "race bar" that I get on with. They're simply too chewy / sticky / sweet / powdery.

I've settled on jam sandwiches (with no crusts) for steady top-up fuel, and High5 EnergyGel for a boost in advance of a big effort or emergencies when bonked out.

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nniff [222 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Can't stand SIS gels!  If I have one I spend the next 15 minutes wondering if I'm going to be sick.  If I do have a gel, it's runny High 5 or tasty Torq (Rhubard and Custard).

In practice though, I prefer Lucho Delitos boccadillo, Coffee & Guava.   The leaf wrapping can crumble, so I wrap them in grease proof paper.  Tasty and easy to eat quickly, or nibble. 

Drink is full sugar Vimto squash.  More palatable that most other drinks (SIS blackcurrant is the acceptable alternative).

 

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rkemb [57 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Aldi do pressed fruit bars without added sugar, which are generally marketed as kids' snacks, but are also excellent cycling snacks and cost less than 20p each.

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asdfqwerty [38 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Whatever is cheapest on Wiggle, either own brand or High5. Tried others but High5 taste the best to me. I only eat if the ride is longer than 2 hours.

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Pilot Pete [25 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Bulk Powders for energy drink. You can buy 2.5kg or 5kg bags which work out very cheap per 500ml bottle of drink. They send discount codes every day, 25% off seems to be the normal price but I wait for the 33% or even on occasions 40% off and order then. Stupid cheap then and it tastes great.

PP

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Simon E [3206 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Bobbinogs wrote:

^ What he said (apart from the Snickers due to the associated sugar rush and insulin high/low).

I never get that with a Snickers but would avoid a Mars bar for that very reason. Although the theory is that, while exercising, you shouldn't get the same high/low as when idle.

I have never suffered with that light-headed / bonk feeling either, but that's probably I am always keen to eat my rations during a ride. I have to be firm and tell myself that I should only eat 1 item per hour otherwise I am tempted to polish them all off as soon as I've had the first one. yes

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BehindTheBikesheds [1328 posts] 3 weeks ago
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less than 30 miles, nothing, I'll take some squash of varying flavours, no electrolytes nothing in it except watered down squash concentrate. If I plan a longer ride I'll take some jellied sweets/midget gems and a flapjack type thing or a marathon, up to about 70 miles I'd probably take a home made jumbo sausage roll or big homemade pasty or a couple of rounds of sandwiches along with the sweet stuff and make an electrolyte drink which takes about a minute to do from natural ingredients.

In lieu of taking ones own food locate a place before the ride so you know where you can stop to get victuals.

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CygnusX1 [737 posts] 3 weeks ago
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High5 Energy Gel - I particularly like the Mohito flavour (think this is/was a Wiggle exclusive). I've tried SIS before and wasn't keen. Aldi's own brand tastes OK but slightly too thick for my liking (and limited availability - look for specialbuys).

For solids I use home-made flapjacks, bananas, or raid the kids' snack box of Fruit Bowl School Bars.

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Tjuice [245 posts] 3 weeks ago
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High5 Energy Gel plus for me (raspberry flavour).  Especially when racing.

Most of the time when training I carry a couple of gels on me 'just in case' but without using them.

But I find the above the only ones (that I've tried so far) that I can stomach comfortably (and physically handle - I like that they are quite small and not too much liquid to squeeze all over me) when racing.  I once ran out just before a race, foolishly (and incorrectly) assumed that I could buy more in Evans or Decathlon, and ended up having to use some other brand.  Not a great result - ended up mid-race with stomach cramp.

The above are not isotonic, but that's not what I'm looking for from them - I just want the energy in fast in a convenient format.

Clearly very personal - if you get on well with SiS, you may find that nothing else will work as well for you.

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Zermattjohn [252 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Have you tried making your own stuff? Obviously gels are a tad tricky, but a homemade flapjack or ricecake costs literally pennies per bar once you've made a batch, and you are able to tweak the recipe to your own needs/tastes. There's lots of recipes/advice out there, lots on youtube which helps too. I am a total dunce in the kitchen and if I can do it, you certainly can!

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Grahamd [865 posts] 3 weeks ago
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BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

In lieu of taking ones own food locate a place before the ride so you know where you can stop to get victuals.

Great until said cafe is closed unexpectedly and there is nothing else open for another 15 miles! Happened to me once, have always carried gels as a back up ever since.

p.s. I always carry an extra gel in case I meet a stranded cyclist, have done so ever since I received some help, but in two years have never seen anyone in need.

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part_robot [304 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Flapjacks from Sainsbury's or, if I forget to buy them the day before, some  of those heavy skanky ones from a filling station. So little energy in them damn gels I can't justify filling up my jersey pockets with them... not to mention stowing the used ones away somewhere without leaking when you're far from a bin. Waste of money, imo.

Noteworthy that if I have a high fat, high protein meal before I don't need anything up to about 100km.

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Lazereyes [8 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I am not a big fan of SiS their gels a bit too thick and flavoursome, could use slight dillution and their bars are much too hard to eat on the bike and PowerBars and Cliff bars are a bit too dry to enjoy on the go

I do enjoy high5 as they are more liquid and slightly less gross when stored in your jersey on a hot day,

I wholeheartedly reccomend Chia Charge bars, not only on the bike but as a snack!

Additionaly Feed Zone Portables book have great recipes

 

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Pilot Pete [25 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I’ve always got on with CNP cycling specific energy food/ gels...

PP

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Morat [287 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Bacon

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zzk [53 posts] 3 weeks ago
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There's nothing wrong with ordinary food if you are just going steady, but the benefit of gels probably comes when you are pushing hard and the guts not getting its usual plentiful blood supply or to have tucked away as a "get you home" when ambition has exceeded ability. I for one would strgggle to neck a Snickers in a race and guarantee I'd get abdominal discomfort bad enough to pull me up.With gels there's the choice between isotonic or not and caffeine loaded or not. Isotonic are best if you struggle with fluids and are usually a runnier consistency, caution spillage. The hyper-tonic gels really should be taken with fluids. To me High 5 isogels are easy on the guts and taste ok, SIS a favourite too. I like OTE products, but hardly ever discounted. I go for what's on offer and flavours are much of muchness and personal preference. Never have I thought how pleasant a gel tasted when I've been chewing my stem in a race. 

 

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steve_s1 [5 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I was sceptical of these energy drinks etc. but in the last couple of years I've been testing some products and now use High 5 energy drink all the time. May be partly in my mind, but it seems to keep me going and tastes good - not too sweet. I don't get on with gels ...they just make a sticky mess of everything!

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Grub [5 posts] 3 weeks ago
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+1 for High5 gels, but try to only use them later on in longer rides. SIS/ High5/Clif bars but also ‘proper’ food (eg malt-loaf) for early on during rides. 

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Boatsie [106 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Zermattjohn wrote:

Have you tried making your own stuff? Obviously gels are a tad tricky, but a homemade flapjack or ricecake costs literally pennies per bar once you've made a batch, and you are able to tweak the recipe to your own needs/tastes. There's lots of recipes/advice out there, lots on youtube which helps too. I am a total dunce in the kitchen and if I can do it, you certainly can!

I steam veggies as my best dinner effort. I like dried fruit and nuts as boost energy snacks. Easy to contain, easy to carry. Nut fat pretty good not being a nutritional expert or similar. Cooler days normal fruit if I can find any.
A small container of protein powder might suit some riders. Add, shake, drink.
Mates mother in law makes rum balls. They're tasty and alcoholic. Depends whether you will blow in some blokes bag though and when that's not enough he'll make you lick his stick and if rum balls were your fancy you'll have to pay him for his privileged job.
Just go nuts bro, high energy.

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Gavlee [9 posts] 2 weeks ago
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Aldi has a good variety of fruit, muesli and other proten/carbohydrate type bars that are great for longer rides. I'm lucky in that most gels agree with me in a pinch so not restricted. Zipvits are by far the best I use especially their caffeine versions, double the carbs of most and the caffeine content is obvious within 10mins.

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ktache [696 posts] 2 weeks ago
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Make your own flapjacks, I use a version of the grren and black recipe with lots of dried fruit and some seeds to replace some of the oats.

And jelly babies for later in the ride.

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