For cyclists needing to eat during long races or other endurance events, energy food usually means a gel or a bar. These Sponser Red Power Gums fall into a different bracket that can only be described as chewy sweets. They're tasty, easy to eat and deliver a good supply of carbohydrate for energy - plus a dash of caffeine for an extra little boost.
Red Power Gums are one of many energy products from Swiss manufacturer Sponser Sport Food. Each packet contains 10 gums, with a total weight of 75g. The total carbohydrate content is 58g, which is a high ratio and ideal if all you want is carbs.
The main ingredients include glucose syrup, sucrose and gelatine. Also in the mix is caffeine – a total of 150mg in the packet of 10 - plus some B-group vitamins, which according to the Sponser website 'are involved in the metabolic processes of the energy production'. There's also taurine and glucuronolactone, which 'serve as antioxidants and intercept free radicals'.
I have tested these gums on some long training rides and a couple of 100-mile sportives and found them very useful for that last hour or so when legs start to get tired and hills seem to get steeper. I've generally stuffed in about five gums at once, and felt the benefit almost immediately - which could be psychological, but if it does the job, that's good enough for me.
The Sponser website also suggests the gums are good for eating before a race, as well as for topping-up at any point during an event between eating other food.
Red Power Gums are available in only one flavour, called 'red fruit'. The taste and texture is pretty much like a normal wine gum. It's tasty, but a bit on the sticky side, so you definitely need to drink afterwards to take the stickiness away.
There's only one downside with these gums: they're tricky to eat on the move. Getting the packet out of your jersey back pocket and then getting a couple of individual gums into your mouth requires the use of both hands. This means riding no-handed (not always possible or advisable in crosswinds or a group situation) or simply stopping. If you can cope with that, then I'd recommend these gums as a very handy addition to your normal selection of energy foods.
When it comes to price, a single packet of Sponser Red Power Gums is £2. This is not cheap, although on a crude carbs-per-quid and carbs-per-packet basis, it's on a par with similar products such as ZipVit Energy Chews (46g of carb in a 60g pack) and Clif Bar Shot Bloks (48g of carb in a 60g tube) which both also go for about two quid. You can reduce the costs slightly by buying in bulk: on the Sponser Uk website a box of 20 packets of Red Power Gums is £38.
Tasty and effective - a welcome change to the usual choices - although not cheap and hard to eat on the move.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sponser Red Power Gums
Size tested: One
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This product is a source of energy, aimed at cyclists taking part in long races or other endurance events. The Sponser UK website highlights these key advantages: 'Quick and handy energy source; Caffeine for a better performance; Vitamins to support the energy metabolism; Antioxidants.'
To be honest, it's hard to tell if the vitamins and antioxidants make any difference, but the carb and caffeine combination definitely provides a boost.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The website goes on to say: 'Red Power Gums contain the same amount of caffeine as 2 shots of espresso or 3 cups of tea. The beneficial effects of caffeine are well known: improved performance, better concentration, accelerated fat metabolism and improved muscle contraction.
.... added taurine and glucuronolactone serve as antioxidants and intercept free radicals, which are formed more rapidly during exercise.
... also enriched with B vitamins including vitamin B2 (43% of your RDA per sachet) and pantothenic acid (50% of your RDA), which are involved in the metabolic processes of energy production. They also contain Niacin (63% of your RDA), and Vitamin B6 (64% of the RDA) for protein metabolism and vitamin B12 for new blood formation.'
As a quick supply of energy, with the additional caffeine-boost, these gums perform very well indeed.
A packet of gums weighs 75g, or which 58g is carbohydrate. On a crude carbs-per-gram basis, that is a good ratio.
Red Power Gums are not cheap, although they are roughly on a par with the price of similar energy products.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Taste. Nice change to gels and bars. Good performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Fiddly to eat on the move - but that's the case for any similar product so not a criticism on Red Power Gums alone.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
As a highly effective source of energy these gums are excellent and would score a 9, but the nothing-special price knocks a point off, so the overall rating is a very good 8.
About the tester
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,