Over the years, I’ve taken a huge variety of energy bars and food on rides. These are a quick review some of the bars I buy most often.
What to look for in an energy bar?
- High level of carbohydrate / low fat.
- Mostly complex carbohydrate, with some carbohydrate which sugars. Medium GI index.
- High concentration of energy for size.
- I tend to take a variety of energy bars. I’m not particularly fussy which brand. But, a bit of variety helps in various aspects – even if just making eating of the bike more palatable.
Specific Cycling energy bars vs non-Specific energy bars
For a specific energy bars developed for the cycling market, you will pay around £1 – £1.50. You can get a similar level of carbohydrate through much cheaper non-specific energy bars. For example Kellogg’s Nurti Grain contains around 35g of Carb, but only costs 40p. If you don’t want to pay £1.20 for 30 grams of carbohydrate, you don’t have to.
However, I still like to pay ‘through the nose’ for branded energy bars because:
- Psychological habit. You just assume if it’s more expensive, it must be better. ( a common attribute of cycling shoppers)
- The energy bars tend to be more concentrated, and relatively lower fat.
- I would get bored of eating Kellogg’s Nutri Grain and the like all the time.
- I always like to believe manufacturer’s claims that eating their energy products will make me go ‘15% faster’ – even if it is rather a dubious claim!
- Proprietary energy bars often contain trace elements and electrolytes which may help in different aspects of nutrition and energy consumption. (even if I’m not entirely sure how)
- It’s handy to buy a big box of 24 energy bars. You always have something in stock to take on long rides.
Some of the best Energy bars I buy
Powerbar 55 gram- Energize
- Contains slow release carbs, = brown rice, oats and maltodextrin for slow release energy.
- Contains 2:1 Glucose / Fructose, which is claimed can increase total energy uptake
- Some electrolyte (sodium) + vits and minerals, such as magnesium.
- 1.9g fat per bar
- 38 gram of carbohydrate (sugars 23g) , per 55 gram bar. Quite a high % of carbs which is sugar (from fructose)
- Review: Quite concentrated energy source. Needs a bit of chewing and you need to take some water with it. I do like the taste of the chocolate variety. Not too sweat. Good for long rides, and very thin for slipping in back pocket. One of most expensive though. I wouldn’t use in a race, because it does slow you down a little chewing through the bar.
- 25 *55g Powerbar at Wiggle £29.99
Torq 45g Energy bar
- Mixture of GI foods. usual maltodextrin, oats, plus fructose based energy
- 30 gram of carbohydrate per 45 gram bar 22g sugars)
- Review: These are pretty enjoyable to eat. They are moist and tasty. This is important for long rides, where you often need something attractive to get you to eat. 30 gram of carb makes it easy to calculate – 2-3 an hour. I wouldn’t just rely on eating these on a very long ride, it becomes a bit too much fruit.
- 25*45 gTorq bars at Wiggle