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Multipower is well-known in gyms and weight-rooms for range of body-building powders and potions, but several endurance products are also available - including the Multicarbo Hi-Energy Bar.
As the name implies, this bar consists mainly of carbohydrate (34g of the stuff in each 50g bar) delivered in a mix of glucose and fructose. Some nutritional studies show this is a more effective source of energy than glucose alone because (in layman's terms) the fructose and glucose enter your bloodstream by different methods, meaning your body can take on more carbs, which can then be converted to energy to make you go faster or more easily - depending on what you aim for in a ride.
There's also around 7g of protein per bar. According to some nutritional studies, this is another benefit as (once again, layman's terms) a little bit of protein helps the carbohydrate work better. In turn, this results in allowing you to ride farther - although not necessarily faster.
There's also a very small amount of fat (less than 2g) in each bar, and a dash of fibre and sodium. All together each bar provides 184 kcal of energy. So this is a bar to be eaten during a ride. It's not a recovery bar - which would normally have a higher protein content.
So what's the bar actually made of? According to the packaging, the bar's main ingredients include maltodextrin (a source of glucose, usually derived from wheat or maize, the packet doesn't say which), fructose syrup, milk protein, oats, rice flour, honey and salt.
There are also some flavourings. Depending which bar you choose, the Multicarbo Hi-Energy Bar comes in three varieties: lemon with rhodiola rosea extract and caffeine; chocolate with guarana and cocoa bean extract; citrus with green tea extract.
I've been testing the chocolate one. Despite the name, it's not at all like traditional candy-store chocolate. For a start, it's unsweetened, and the texture is slightly rough, but in a good way, like a seed-enhanced cereal bar. It's also a bit chewy. Overall, it's like a cross between a cereal bar, a chocolate bar and a toffee bar. Only with less sugar. The end result is a very pleasant taste - not at all sticky or sickly as some other energy foods.
Another advantage: the lack of stickiness means you can get a bar out of its packet easily when riding your bike.
I've used these bars on a few long training rides over the winter, and they've definitely helped power me along. I also like the non-sticky taste and chewy texture. From personal experience, I've found that energy bars with a bit of protein seem to help me go better - especially in the last 20 miles or so of a 100-mile ride - so I'll be taking a few of these babies in my back pocket when the sportive season starts in earnest.
Based on my experience, I would recommend trying these bars to see if they work for you. As with all energy products, you should test them out on a training ride first, to make sure you like the taste and check they cause no ill-effects on the stomach, before munching your way through a handful for the first time during a race or important sportive.
The recommended retail price of a box of 50g Multicarbo Hi-Energy Bars (25 bars per box) is just under £31, but they're currently going for £15.00 on the Multipower website. You can also buy the bars individually on-line or at your local bike shop for between one and two quid.
A tasty, convenient and effective source of energy, combining carbohydrates and proteins, ideal for outings such as long challenge rides and sportives.
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Make and model: Multipower Multicarbo Hi-Energy bars
Size tested: Chocolate
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?
According to the Multipower website, this energy bar's benefits include:
* Optimal carbohydrate matrix
* Glucose to fructose ratio 2:1
* Carbohydrate to fat ratio 17:1
* Sodium accelerates energy uptake of carbohydrates
* Cell protecting properties from rhodiola rosea, cocoa bean or green tea extract (depending on flavour)
There have been studies that show sodium is useful for keeping your body hydrated during excersise (basically, it helps you keep fluid the fluid in, rather than want to pee it out), but I'm not clear on the claim about sodium accelerating energy uptake. (Sodium *is* one of the essential minerals you need to take on during periods of exertion, to replace those lost via sweat, but these generally come from electyrolyte energy drinks or gels, rather than bars.)
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
It's also worth adding that, as well as the glucose:fructose and carb:fat ratios mentioned above, the bar also has a carb:protein ratio of about 5:1
The packaging on the bar says it's suitable for use before and during exercise. The website advice is slightly different: 'Eat one bar before exercise or when energy levels are low'.
The website also says: "Not suitable for people with nut allergies. Lemon and Citrus flavour not recommended for children, pregnant women or those sensitive to caffeine."
On a blunt carbs-per-quid scale, the bars at the usual price represent fair value compared to similar products from other brands. At the current discount rate, they're a bargain.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's designed to provide energy, and it certainly does just that.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
First, the performance. But the taste, texture and non-stickiness are other plus points.
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,