Etixx – sponsor of the eponymous Etixx-Quickstep pro cycling team – impresses with this natural tasting Energy Bar. It's easy to digest and palatable for use on a regular basis.
Energy bars, for me, are my main source of energy on rides. Granted, they take longer to boost energy levels than drinks or gels, thanks to their solid nature, but I like having something substantial in my stomach to power my rides. It gives me the feeling that I have more glycogen reserves than what's left simply in my muscles, which I find a comfort.
I've tried many brands that have all had their positives and negatives, but with these new Etixx bars I'm very impressed. And for an energy bar 'connoisseur' like myself (it's an arguable point that I need to get out more), that's saying something.
First off, I was immediately happy with how easily these go down. Not sickly sweet, the chocolate flavour I had on test tastes like a cross between a malty cocoa with a hint of chocolate Cheerios. The hint of sweetness is plenty enough when you're particularly craving a bite to eat, and energises you without any detectable spike at all. In fact, I was so pleased with them that I was even happy to forgo my usual slice of cake at coffee stops in favour of these. (A fruity lemon flavour is also available if chocolate isn't your thing.)
Texture in both flavours is pleasantly light, with elements of crispiness alongside the normal energy bar-style consistency. It's this that in no small part helps digestion – they sit so lightly that you never feel weighed down by them – only genuinely satiated.
The energy comes via 29g of carbohydrate per bar, of which 12g are simple sugars. This lower level of simple sugars is what keeps energy spikes at bay, making the bars an easy and sustainable source of convenient energy on the bike. On top of this, you'll find 56.3mg of magnesium and 52mg of sodium for added electrolytic content and a small amount (2.1g each) of protein and fat too.
Overall then, each 40g bar contains 146 calories; on its own this isn't a massive amount, but it's enough, especially considering it's all easily usable by your body over a sustained period (and I'd argue that bigger bars can lead to eating too much too quickly, which means simply not digesting them or your body not making full use of them; small and regular is better – for me anyway). Comparing it with larger products, at an rrp of £1.99 per bar, value certainly isn't a strong point (SiS's GO Energy bars – a product I've never had much issue with – currently work out at £1.31 for 65g). But if you want smart and considered nutrition, these are certainly worth considering, especially if you take the time to find discounts through online retailers, when they become more compelling.
As ever, recommended intakes to maintain energy levels are fairly high at one to two bars per hour depending on your bodyweight and the intensity of your ride. Follow this for a three-hour ride at a significantly high tempo, and the worst case scenario is you're going to consume £12 worth of bars. That's a lot – so I recommend tailoring your use to suit your needs and your operating budget.
The bars carry the 'Informed-Sport' logo, so competing athletes needn't worry about the contents (just as well, seeing as these bars fuel a pro cycling team), and packaging is easy to open even when wearing gloves. They also respond well to being carried on numerous rides before consumption, and I can report that they go down well, with only a little extra chewing required in cold weather.
For a bar that provides what seems to be very good quality and relatively sustainable nutrition – with, in my opinion, such a palatable taste – it's only the premium cost that really niggles. If that's not enough to put you off giving them a go, I heartily recommend them.
A really excellent energy bar, bar the cost – premium performance at a premium price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Etixx Sports Energy Bar
Size tested: Chocolate, Lemon
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?
Designed to maintain energy levels on rides, with added magnesium to support muscle function and energy production.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Nutritional Information (per bar):
- Energy: 611 kJ/ 146 kcal
- Fat: 2.1 g
- Of which saturated: 0.3 g
- Carbohydrate: 29 g
- Of which sugars: 12 g
- Fibre: 1.6 g
- Protein: 2.1 g
- Salt: 0.13 g
- Magnesium: 56 mg (15% RI*)
* RI: Daily Reference Intake
The packaging is solid and secure, and easy to open – no complaints.
They provide energy without spikes, and the magnesium to me seems effective as a support for energy production and maintenance.
The bar holds together well to temperature changes and repeated storage in pockets, without degrading in taste.
It's quite a lightweight bar – you honestly don't notice two of them in your pocket as you ride.
£1.99 for a 40g bar is expensive – very expensive, in fact. It's the one downside of what is otherwise an excellent energy bar. Look for bulk deals from online retailers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Taste and ease of digestion, as well as a sustained energy feed.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Cost. Are you really getting value for money out of a bar that, on weight, is near twice the price of competitor bars? You'll need to try them and find out for yourself. Personally, I really like them – but I'd be looking for multi-bar discount deals (at present Etixx only sells them on a 'per bar' basis) to ease the cost. I spotted a 12-bar pack online through a retailer which, at £15.99, improved the value somewhat.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? At £1.99 per bar – unfortunately not. Multi-buy discounts would be welcome.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Performance-wise, yes.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding