Energy & recovery bars
The range of Zipvit products includes energy drinks and gels, but recently I've been testing the ZV9 protein recovery bars. They're designed to be eaten after a long ride - the protein content helps your muscles repair and recover. Thus they're especially useful if you're doing stage races, multi-day sportives or simply an intensive week of back-to-back training sessions - although they're also fine to eat after a long ride if all you're doing the following day is sitting on the couch watching the Tour de France on TV.
Down here at the road.cc Cotswold testing grounds, we've tried various ZipVit products over the years - and we like them. The ZV8 energy bar is no exception; a couple of these in the back pocket have kept us going nicely on several long rides in the hills hereabouts over the past month or two.
The Clif Bar company produces a wide range of energy food and various healthy snacks, but best-known is the original product that gives its name to the whole organisation - the Clif Bar itself – and here we're testing a new flavour: chocolate chip.
Honey Stinger products include various energy bars and gels, but today at road.cc we're testing Honey Stinger protein bars.
Honey Stinger is a popular brand of energy food in the good ole US of A, and the bars are available in a lot of shops in Scotland, but they're relatively unknown in other parts of Blighty. That means you might be missing out, as these are some of the most delicious bars we've ever tasted, and all it's all thanks to a key ingredient: each bar is 30% pure organic honey. Yes, the clue's in the name.
The first time I tried a Mule Bar was back in September, during the South West Tour Ride 100-mile sportive on the same route used by the Tour of Britain. Special edition Tour of Britain mini-sized bars in ‘summer pudding’ flavour were being handed out at the amazingly well-stocked feed stations. So I bunged a couple in my back pocket, and tucked into them somewhere between the 25% killer of Peak Hill and the series of nasty bumps between Exeter and the finish. The bars seemed to get me up the climbs, and jolly tasty they were too. (The bars, not the climbs.)
Sometimes, energy gels and bars can be a bit too much on the stomach. You need something a little less sweet and sticky, but still packing the necessary calories to get you home. It might be time to consider a 9Bar.
Manufactured by Wholebake Ltd in Wales, and billed as ‘the great tasting nutritious energy bar’, at first glance you might think a 9Bar is just another cereal bar. But the main ingredients of 9Bars are seeds - sunflower, sesame, poppy, pumpkin and hemp - rather than the usual grain products found in cereal bars.
Staving off hunger and energy dips on a long ride essentially comes down to packing as much carbohydrate into as small and light a package as possible, but with enough protein content to allow the body to maximize use of the carbs.
Each 48g bar contains 190 calories, of which 27g is carbohydrate and 9g protein, with 6g of fat. Fibre content is 3g per bar. The bars are mainly based around oats, soy flour and soya protein, with added nuts, vitamins and flavour ingredients.
Unlike most other types of energy food which are solely carbohydrate-based, the 4:1 Advance Training Bar is, as the name implies, 4 parts carbo to 1 part protein.
To keep going on a long bike ride you need carbohydrate. When you’re start going over three or four hours, you need a bit of protein too. This is because - to put it in the simplest terms - it helps the carbo work better. Protein is also important after a race or long ride to help muscle repair. And that’s where the Builders Bar, from all-natural energy food manufacturer Clif, comes in.
SIS (Science in Sport) are probably best-known among cyclists for their consume-on-the-move carbohydrate-based energy gels, bars and drinks. The new Build Bar is a mix of carbohydrate and protein. Throwing protein into the mix is a first for SIS on a bar product, although several other manufacturers have offered carbo-and-protein bars and drinks for some time.