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Sponser Sport Food is a Swiss brand of nutrition products, now available in the UK. Liquid Energy is a carbohydrate gel served up in a tube with a cap, just like toothpaste, handy for refuelling on the go.
As with gels from some other brands, Sponser Liquid Energy consists of both glucose and fructose. This, claims Sponser, gives a mix of quick-release and slow-release energy, giving immediate an immediate boost followed by a more sustained supply of fuel.
After using these gels on a couple of test rides, I would say the claim is fair. With my legs tiring after about 35 miles of hard riding, squirting one of these babies down my neck helped me pick up the pace immediately, and then kept me feeling fine for another hour.
The gel's main ingredient is corn syrup, which provides 53g of carb and 210 kcal in a 70g tube. There's zero protein and zero fat, but there is a dash of sodium and potassium which Sponser says helps you absorb and metabolise the carb.
The taste is very pleasant; sweet by not sickly. It reminds me of a cross between honey and condensed milk - neither of which are actually included in the ingredients. (This gel is suitable for vegetarians, and is gluten and lactose free.) The texture is smooth, and the gel slips down very nicely indeed.
The toothpaste-style cap means this gel is perfect for refuelling on the bike without stopping. The cap is easy to open with your teeth, with no need to bite through plastic or ride no-handed to tear open a sachet, as with some other energy products. The cap also means you can have a squirt (as it were) then close the cap and have a bit more later on. Ideal if you find gels in conventional sachets too much to take in one go.
Liquid Energy is also available in a 'Plus' variety: the same base ingredients, plus caffeine, taurine and inositol, which together help give an extra boost. Caffeine and taurine were familiar names, but inositol was new on me. Apparently this substance occurs naturally in the human body, and in some fibre-rich foodstuffs, and can help treat a range of problems from anxiety to baldness. I'm honestly not clear if it made me go any better on my bike, but at the end of a long ride I definitely felt the benefits of a shot of caffeine.
Whether Liquid Energy or Liquid Energy Plus will have the same effect on everyone is impossible to say, but based on my experiences I'd recommend this gel as well worth a try. As with any new product, trial it first on a training ride before using them in a race or sportive.
Retailing at £1.99 each from Sponser's on-line shop, these gels are not cheap. A box of 20 tubes for £38.99 makes them more affordable.
Quick, easy and effective for a quick boost and a more sustained supply of energy.
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Make and model: Sponser Sport Food Liquid Energy and Liquid Energy Plus
Size tested: n/a
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?
Sponser's UK website says: "Liquid Energy is a highly concentrated, light honey flavoured energy gel in a unique easy to open and close tube. One 70g tube contains 210 calories of easy to digest pure carbohydrates, with a balanced combination of quick and slow release sugars to ensure a gradual and continuous supply of energy. Added sodium accelerates glucose absorption, while potassium is needed for carbohydrate metabolism."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Sponser website lists Liquid Energy's advantages, including: "Unique two serving tube is easy to open and close one-handed, no mess, no fuss; Gives a quick energy boost; Extended energy release through a balanced combination of carbohydrates; Easy to digest and gentle on the stomach; Temperature stable so appropriate for use in all weather conditions."
The "two-serving" tube seems to refer to the ability to take "half a tube before exercise then 1 tube (approximately 50g of carbohydrates) per hour during exercise".
The 'toothpaste' tube is excellent for eating on the go.
The ingredients do the job very well indeed.
At 70g, these gels are on the big side compared to some other brands, but the rplaceable toothpaste cap means you don't have to swallow the lot in one go.
These gels are not cheap, but about the same price as similarly sized gels from other brands.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Taste. Texture. Easy to eat with one hand when on 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: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
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,