There’s nothing like an energy gel to fire those empty legs, but which of these six energising pick-me-ups is most palatable and will give the biggest boost in your hour of need?
1) Secret Training Stealth £1.75 (only available individually) secret-training.cc
Caffeine per 60g gel: 75mg
This offers a whopping 36g of carbohydrates as well as a substantial 75mg hit of caffeine. The thinness of the gel made it easy to swallow but the overpowering cherry bomb taste meant we couldn’t face more than one.
Energy levels were boosted noticeably 15 minutes after consuming the whole 60g gel. It’s pricey and a shame the flavour isn’t much better.
2) Toro Guarana £37 for 20 zyro.co.uk
Caffeine per 45g gel: 89mg
Torq’s gel packs 28g of carbohydrates, plus a very high 89mg of caffeine (from guarana), put it firmly in the occasional use camp. It’s also the most expensive on test. That said, it gives a noticeable boost of energy around 20 minutes after use, which thankfully isn’t followed by the crushing low a caffeine hit can often lead to.
The flavour is realistic but there is a slightly bitter aftertaste that won’t be to everyone’s liking.
3) Cnp Hydro Gel Max £52.80 for 24 paligap.cc
Caffeine per 60g gel: 50mg
Another gel that contains guarana, CNP’s offering also provides 22g of carbs per sachet. It’s wonderfully watery (it’s made with coconut water) and the blackcurrant flavour we tested was fresh if a little cloying. The caffeine content is not as high as others on test and we took two or three over a two hour ride without getting the shakes. It’s a big sachet so secreting lots in an aero top-tube bag will be tricky.
4) Wiggle Caffeine Gel £10.99 for 20 wiggle.co.uk
Caffeine per 38g gel: 30mg
There’s no doubt Wiggle’s own brand caffeine gels provide the best value for money. A serving of 22.6g of carbohydrates is roughly enough to last half an hour of riding, plus the caffeine content is respectable so you can consume more of them without fear of overdosing on caffeine. Its consistency is watery and the taste of our citrus flavour was refreshing.
Energy levels were kept high over a two hour ride.
5) Clife Shot Energy Gel £38.16 for 24 extrauk.co.uk
Caffeine per 34g gel: 73.5mg
Clif’s offering has what it calls a ‘litter leash’ built into the sachet which means the tab stays attached to the sachet after opening. Taste wise, the citrus flavoured gel we tested was refreshing. It’s a very thick consistency, and the instructions state it should be taken with water, but it’s not grainy or hard to consume.
Despite the small serving, it packs a sizeable hit of caffeine plus 24g of carbs and we felt the effect within 15 minutes.
6) Science in sport go energy + caffeine £47.99 for 30 scienceinsport.com
Caffeine per 60g gel: 150mg
The flavour we tested wasn’t called ‘double espresso’ for nothing as it has a massive 150mg of caffeine, almost a third of the safe daily adult intake of 400mg. It kicks like a mule about 20 minutes after we swallowed it, but there’s a real tang that stays on the tongue. A serving also provides 22g of carbs, so it’s useful for endurance as well as giving a quick boost.