The Multipower brand is perhaps better known in the world of body-building than among speed and endurance sports, but alongside the jars of muscle-enhancing powder, various carb-based energy products are on offer, including this Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly.
As the name implies, it's a jelly, not a gel, and if you dislike the liquidy nature of most energy gels, you might prefer chewing on this stuff. It has a firm consistency - like the gelatine blocks you make kids' party jelly from.
It's not squeezable like SIS or ZipVit gels, or virtually pourable like High5 gels. It much more like Cliff Bar ShotBlox in consistency - although ShotBlox break off in chewy cubes, whereas the Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly comes in one big lump in a sachet.
And therein lies a problem. With the firm consistency, it's quite hard to open the sachet and squeeze out the jelly when you're riding - especially with one hand. It's easier if you use both hands, but many riders have to stop to do this.
Once the stuff is in your mouth, the taste is sweet and slightly acidic, and the texture is chewy - again, just like the stuff you make kids' party jelly from. The only available flavour is orange.
A 50g sachet delivers 120kcal of energy, coming from 29g of carb. There's no protein component (and only tiny amounts of fibre and fat) so this product is not suitable for events over about 2 or 3 hours, when you need a bit of protein as well.
The carb comes from two main ingredients: sucrose and isomaltulose. The former is effectively straightforward sugar - it gives you a burst of energy but doesn't last long. The latter was a new one on me, but it turns out to be source of glucose and fructose with a low GI - ie your body absorbs it gradually, which is what you need for long bike rides.
Also in the mix is some flavouring and colouring, plus a dash of sodium benzoate and potassium which helps replace body minerals lost through sweat.
So it's unusual stuff, but does it work? Yes. I've used sachets of Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly on a couple of training rides, and they definitely provide a boost and a sustained supply of energy for between 30 and 60 minutes. Mixed with drink and energy bars, they've kept me going for 80 miles or more.
But do they work any better than 'normal' gels? I don't think so. No better, and no worse. At the end of the day, it's a similar type of energy, but delivered in a different format.
However, if you struggle with gels, but want an easily digestible source of energy for long bike rides, this product could be the answer to your needs. On the other hand, you might think it's a cynical marketing ploy to fill a gap that wasn't really there in the first place.
In my view, Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly is well worth a try. If you like the mix of boost and slow-release energy it provides, combined with the firm consistency, then a few sachets might be a good addition to your nutritional armoury. As with all energy products, test them in advance on a training ride, before necking several for the first time during an important race or sportive.
A single sachet of Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly costs £1.29. A box of 24 is around £30. On a blunt carbs-per-penny scale, this does not compare well with some gels from other manufacturers, and so it's not great value. But if you find gels too runny and bars too hard, then this price might be worth paying, and Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly might be just the thing you're looking for.
Good mix of fast-acting and slow-release energy, served up in an unusual format. Worth a try if you don't get on with some other energy products.
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Make and model: Multipower Hi-energy Jelly Bar
Size tested: 50g
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?
The information on the Multipower website is minimal. Just some bullet points:
28g of carbs per serving
of which 5g Isomaltulose
<0.1g of fat and Sodium
120kcal per serving
There are no elaborate claims or promises, which is good, but some more information would be useful.
On a blunt carbs-per-penny scale, this product is not especially good value, so it's marked down a tad here. But if you find gels too runny and bars too hard, then you might find this this product very useful and so cost might not be a prime consideration.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly definitely works, and many riders will appreciate the mix of boost and slow-release energy. It's a carb-only product though so not suitable on its own for events longer than 2 or 3 hours.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The jelly's unusual consistency.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Getting it out of the sachet when riding the bike.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
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,