We review five great energy bars for triathlon to keep you going during your race.

1. Maxifuel Viper Boost Bar
£23.99 for 12 x 45g
These dense little bars have a relatively modest 32g carbs each but added stimulants (including caffeine) mean you feel the effects instantly. Energy comes from a fruit and cereal mix but the texture and taste don’t really suggest either. We found it really easy to get down during our hard brick test session, neither too sticky nor too dry, but the taste is quite strong and hard to take once your temperature and heart rate go up. They’re pretty expensive.

2. SiS Go Fruit & Cereal Bar
£1/40g bar
The most natural tasting bar on test thanks to the flavour of dates and raisins coming through strongly. It’s a bit lower on carbs than some on test here but the fruit and maltodextrin gives you an energy hit that lasts and we didn’t feel run out of fuel. The 40g size is handy. One thing worth noting is, of all the bars here, this was the hardest pack to get into – we had to really gnaw the wrapper with our teeth – which is a shame considering the special handy size (a 65g version is also available).

3. Honey Stinger Pure Natural Energy 
Honey is a great natural energy source, and if you don’t like the taste don’t worry, it’s not too prevalent here. This is a relatively high protein, high fat bar with just 28g carbs per 50g. We’d keep it for longer rides – it’s quite dry and tough to get down when your heart-rate is up, and in our brick test we found it took a while for the energy hit to kick in. On the plus side: keeps its shape well, and has lots of natural and slow-release ingredients make it a good long-distance and recovery bar.

4. High5 Sports Bar
£29.75 for 25 bars
We were suspicious of this very sweet bar – too nice when eating sitting still to be palatable in the heat of training, we thought. We were wrong. It’s very chewy, so a bit hard to get down when you’ve been riding hard, and suffers in the heat of your back pocket, but we loved the hit of sweetness, which was a mood boost as much as anything. Quick carbs from glucose, caramel, sugar and honey got us going instantly but with oats, maltodextrin and rice you should also be kept going for a couple of hours after eating this.

5. Zipvit ZV8
£24.69 for 20
Packing in a monumental 46.9g carbs in its 55g bar, from oats, glucose, fructose, sugar and rice, you won’t go short of energy with this and it comes in coated or uncoated versions to suit your preference. We’re not sure the nine-vitamin mix had any effect during our sessions but if you used them regularly they’d supplement your diet. There’s a strange salty tang about the bar, and it’s hard to eat with a dry mouth, but we’d happily eat this on long, fairly intense sessions.

6. Powerbar Energize
£33.75 for 25 bars
Very different to the other bars, this is almost a thick gel rather than a food . The C2Max formula is a glucose/fructose mix that has been shown to be more digestible and readily available to the muscles – net effect, you can eat more of them during a race. It sticks to the wrapper a bit but can stand being in a hot pocket. We liked the tangy fruit taste. It’s quite chewy so you’ll need water, but easily palatable and quite refreshing, and it didn’t mess with our stomach at all. A good price for such a useful bar too.

This review was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.

You’ll find loads more triathlon gear and kit reviews in triradar.com’s Gear section