Stealth Energy Gels deliver an impressive energy boost and are some of the nicest tasting nutrition I've used over the years. They use mostly natural flavourings and sweeteners and aren't overly sweet and sickly like a lot of other gels on the market. In fact some of them, the Citrus and Lemon & Lime, are a touch on the bitter side – which for me makes a refreshing change.
The range is produced by nutrition company Secret Training. At the helm is ex-pro Tim Lawson who, as you may know, was one of the founders of SIS (Science in Sport), one of the most well known sports nutrition companies in the UK. This pack gives you the chance to try out part of the range without having to order each individually. With a selection of isotonic, real fruit and caffeine-enhanced gels, there is something for each length ride or race, during or in preparation.
Apart from the caffeine version, the Stealth gels use natural flavourings and sweeteners and, as I've said, aren't overly sweet and sickly. For example, 20 per cent of the ingredients in the Banana version comes from natural bananas and they are even peeled in the factory.
The consistency is like a fruit puree, I suppose, being thick enough to have substance but watery enough that you can take it without water if need be. The taste is, as you'd expect, of bananas – real bananas, though, not a manufactured version.
The Mango & Passionfruit gel follows the same makeup as the Banana version, using a mango, passionfruit, banana and orange juice mix for the flavouring. Again it isn't overly sickly, but actually quite palatable.
The Lemon & Lime, Tropical, Citrus and Forest Fruits are what Stealth calls Isotonic gels, with a very similar ingredients list as the two above above but using natural flavourings rather than real fruit. They also have a higher water content, which gives them a more liquid consistency, and they are designed to be taken without a drink.
For added sweetness, all the Stealth gels above uses stevia, a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant (Coca Cola uses it in its Life drink).
The other gel in the pack is the Berry Flavour, with added caffeine and betaine, which uses elderberry extract for its flavour and man-made sweeteners. Caffeine is often used to give you a boost so this gel is ideal to take before a ride or towards the end when you are beginning to flag a bit. Again, the flavouring here doesn't taste manufactured, though it is probably the sweetest of the lot.
All of the gels use sticky rice starch as one of the ingredients for carbohydrate release, alongside the usual maltodextrin and fructose. The rice starch seems to keep the sugar levels down, as the Stealth Real Fruits have around 5g/100g and Isotonic 1.7g/100g; other brands I've compared that to have 9-10g/100g and above.
Do they deliver?
To test for energy delivery I rode fasted until I blew, before taking a gel, and then rode until I blew again – it wasn't pretty believe me.
Each of the gels kicked in within about 10 to 15 minutes and then lasted for around 45 minutes, at a pretty decent pace, which I think is pretty impressive for a 60ml gel. I did notice a slight kick from the caffeine enhanced gel, with a slight feeling of enhanced awareness when I was really struggling.
The main thing for me, though, is how light they are on the stomach, with no discomfort at all. I got on really well with all of them, thanks to their very natural flavours and lack of sickly sweetness.
Stealth recommends no more than three an hour, and I reckon you could take that many without issue.
They aren't overly expensive, ranging from £1.25 to £1.75 each, especially when considering the performance. Note: by buying them in a bulk pack like this you don't get a discount over buying them separately.
Palatable flavours and impressive energy delivery make these gels, for me, a jersey pocket must
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Stealth Energy Gel Selection Box 14
Size tested: 14 x 60ml
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?
Stealth Energy Gels are designed to provide quick fuel to your muscles and, having a higher water content than most, the Isotonic versions don't need to be taken with a drink.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Caffeine x 2
Banana x 2
Mango & Passionfruit x 1
Forest Fruit x 2
Citrus x 2
Lemon & Lime x 3
Tropical x 2
Multiple energy substrates including sticky rice starch and fructose
Naturally flavoured and sweetened for a great taste
Provides a quicker supply of energy to the working muscles than a non isotonic gel
Designed to be consumed without water
Easily digestible and light on the stomach
Suitable for Vegans
Very impressive, quick delivery of energy from the full range that seems to last longer than a lot of other gels.
Heavier than more concentrated gels in your back pocket but not really that noticeable.
Light on the stomach.
Averaging out at £1.42 per gel they aren't bad value against the competition, and for a 45-50 minute energy boost I'd say it was a fair outlay. You don't get a saving by buying them in a bulk pack compared to individually.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They provide energy quickly and for an impressive amount of time.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The less than sweet taste compared with some sickly gels on the market.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The consistency can take a bit of getting used to.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The natural taste and quick delivery of energy is very impressive, and the amount of time that energy is available for makes the isotonic gels ideal for longer rides as you only have to carry a few of them. The non-isotonic Banana & Berry Caffeine flavours aren't overly thick or sickly either.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.