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Along with Torq gels, Push Clean Energy Gels are among a small number I'd consider using. They don't give me stomach cramps, possibly because they're dairy free. They're not freighted with preservatives, which may or may not make any difference but makes me feel better about eating them. They don't taste like a sweetened sachet of shampoo. And they tick the right nutritional boxes, providing a balance of maltodextrin and fructose for a mix of fast and slow release energy.
These gels were the first I'd used for ages. I've pretty much given up on energy products because, like most cyclists, I don't really need them. When you're racing for less than about 90 minutes, your body's glycogen stores are good for that. And when you're not racing, eating actual food - such as a banana - is more cost effective and more pleasant. (A banana gives you about 25g of carbohydrate, the same as a gel.)
This isn't to say that gels aren't useful. If you race for longer than an hour and a half, gels are easy to carry and are a very efficient way to get sugar into your body. They're also handy for long non-competitive rides where you get your feeding strategy wrong and hit the wall, because an emergency gel won't bulk out a pocket or seatpack like a banana or a bag of Haribo.
Any gel has to be palatable and not give you stomach ache, as well as dumping sugar into your body. These cherry-flavoured Push Clean Energy gels are sweeter than I'd like but the tartness of the fruit juice offsets that, so I could eat them without gagging. As I said, they didn't make my stomach cramp up either. The 25g of carbohydrate that each 50g gel delivered - a mix of the aforementioned maltodextrin and fructose, plus maize starch - was therefore useful.
There isn't any caffeine in the Cherry gel. For that, you need the Blackcurrant Plus, which is £2.50 dearer for a box of 20. Each Blackcurrant Plus has 75mg of caffeine, about the same as a cup of coffee. Given the additional mental and physical kick that caffeine provides, I'd choose Blackcurrant Plus over Cherry if I were planning to carry a gel or two for an what I'd consider an unusually long race. (I'm a short-distance time triallist and cross-country mountain bike racer.)
The main way that these Push gels could be improved would be by having easier-to-bite-off corners. Otherwise, as gels go, they're very good.
Effective natural ingredients - and vegan too; no caffeine, though
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Make and model: Push Express Clean Energy Gel (20 pack)
Size tested: Passion Fruit, Cherry
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?
Push describes the gels like this:
Optimal carbohydrate blend (Maltodextrin, Fructose, Waxy Maize Starch)
Flavoured and coloured with tart cherry juice (great for muscle recovery)
Great light texture
No artificial sweeteners, colours, flavours
Suitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs (gluten intolerance)
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The ingredients are:
Maltodextrin (partially hydrolysed waxy maize)
Cherry Juice Concentrate
Waxy Maize Starch
Some energy products can give you stomach cramps. These didn't.
Par for the course with gels, all of which are expensive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does the job.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Dairy free (I don't like dairy and am somewhat intolerant to it).
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not easy to bite the corner off to use.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not really. I don't like gels. At best, they're a necessary evil.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 45 Height: 1.78m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track. Or Whyte M109
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,