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The latest addition to the Bikefood range of nutrition products is Pure Energy Gel. The 'pure' tag is there to indicate that this gel is made from all natural ingredients, with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. It's also got a good taste and provides a quick and sustained supply of energy.
The taste comes from the main ingredient, honey, which the Bikefood boffins have mixed with agave syrup and carob to create a carbohydrate mix they call 'Triganic Energy'. The only other ingredient is lemon oil, making this gel gluten and dairy free.
This is a carb-only product. There's virtually no protein, and just a dash of sodium which goes towards replacing minerals you lose through sweat.
Each gel weighs 40g, of which almost 30g is carb, providing 117kcal or around 500kj of energy. This compares against similar products from other brands such as High5 (20g of carb per 38g gel) and ZipVit (51g of carb per 60g gel).
Not surprisingly, given Pure Energy Gel's main ingredients, the overall flavour is a mix of honey and lemon. It's very tasty - sweet, but not sickly - although a bit reminiscent of sore throat medicine.
I've used these gels on a couple of long rides, and find them very good. Tasty flavour, neat size, plus what seems to be a quick and then sustained supply of energy. There was no waiting for the gel to 'kick in'; my legs felt the benefit straight away, and then stayed feeling good for 30 to 45 minutes before I needed another top-up.
Based on my experience, I'd recommend giving Pure Energy a try, especially if you don't get on with larger gels or those with different ingredients.
The gels retail at £1.45 each, which isn't a bargain, but gram-for-gram they're about on a par with similar products. You can save a bit of money by buying in bulk: a box of £25 gels costs £33.75 on the Bikefood website, and further discounts are often available at the usual on-line stores.
Finally, a word about litter and Bikefood's answer to this problem. Many riders in races and sportives seem happy to simply drop wrappers at the side of the road once they've eaten the bar or gel it contains. In an effort to discourage this irresponsible (and frankly unnecessary) behaviour, Bike Food invite customers to keep empty wrappers and then post them back. Each wrapper wins a point, and points win prizes. The scheme applies to any wrapper from any brand. See www.gelwrappers.com.
Excellent all-natural gel delivering a quick and sustained supply of energy. Great taste and fair value too.
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Make and model: Bike Food Pure Energy Gel (25 pack)
Size tested: Lemon flavour
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?
This is a carbohydrate-based energy gel, designed to be consumed during long bike rides.
The Bikefood website emphasises these key aspects:
"High Carbohydrate Blend,
All Natural Ingredients,
Dairy / Wheat / Gluten Free,
No Artificial Sweeteners,
The Bikefood site goes on to say: "From day one we knew we wanted to make a honey based gel. We've developed our own unique blend, called Triganic Energy™, resolving both the issues of viscosity and crystallization along the way, which are of vital importance for an energy gel. Why honey? Honey is a delicious, natural source of energy, which in our opinion makes it the perfect foundation for a performance gel."
This claim seems fair. Testing the gels on long rides I found they provided a quick and sustained supply of energy.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Elsewhere on the Bikefood website it says: "We left out the things you don't want in a gel – preservatives like Sodium Benzoate, artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame and thickening gums are not to be found here! The Bikefood gel harnesses the natural antibacterial properties of honey and delivers more energy per gram than many gels on the market. If that wasn't enough the super refreshing natural lemon tastes really great too."
Performance is very good. These gels supply a quick and sustained supply of energy.
Each gel weighs 40g. This is lighter than similar gels from some competitor brands, and slightly heavier than others. Each gel delivers 30g of carbohydrate.
At £1.45 each, the price isn't a bargain, but this is on a par with similar products. On the Bikefood website a box of £25 gels costs £33.75
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Bikefood Pure Energy Gels performed very well. They taste good and supply a quick and sustained supply of energy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Taste. No ill-effects on stomach.
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,