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What is the best energy gel for cycling?

The best energy gel for you is one that answers a number of criteria for what you need. From ingredients, to taste to cost, and whether your stomach can handle it.

What provides the energy: carbohydrates, fats or stimulants?

Most energy gel provides fast-acting carbohydrates quickly. A ratio of glucose to fructose is often mentioned. However, other ingredients like MCT oil or caffeine or theobromine could also provide energy. The Energy Bomb provides honey, MCT oil, caffeine in guarana and theobromine in one.

How easy is it to use?

You're most often going to be ingesting energy gels halfway through a cycle, probably when you have a heart rate of over 150bpm and you're trying to focus on not smashing the back of the guy in front of you or maintaining a set pace. Therefore, your gel needs to be easy to get open and even easier to get into your face as quickly as possible without spilling down your arm and all over your jersey.

You also should be aware of litter. That little tear of top may not seem like much, but imagine 20 000 riders doing it 3 times an hour. The Energy Bomb uses a patented EasySnap package that can be opened with one hand, no tear off, and it can be folded and put back in your pocket without messing.

Do you want added ingredients?

Most energy gels are a fast way to get energy - ie sugar - into your system quickly, but carbohydrates aren't the only thing that can help with performance. Some gels also include other ingredients such as bicarbonate of soda, nitrates, and most commonly, caffeine. Each of which can improve performance when ingested in the correct amounts and timeframes. 

You can, of course, dose these separately in various ways, but some gels offer a two-birds-one-stone solution. The Energy Bomb gives you honey, theobromine, guarana with caffeine, MCT oil and electrolytes in one.

Do all energy gels taste terrible?

Thankfully not, but unfortunately, most are sickly sweet or taste of chemicals. The Energy Bomb uses natural ingredients, but tastes of dark chocolate, not too sweet.

Why should you train with energy gels first?

Whatever you do, please don't just take to the start line of your chosen target race with a pocket full of gels having never used them before. When you exercise, your body's fight-or-flight mechanism diverts blood flow away from the stomach and prioritises blood flow to the muscles. 

This affects your digestion, which might mean an inability to process the gel you've read about online, and will quickly result in indigestion, stomach cramps, excess gas and a need to stop on the side of the road. Introduce gels into your workouts well in advance of your race. Fortunately, The Energy Bomb does not have high amount of maltodextrin, so most people can use it without any side effects and without a need to build up tolerance.

Should I consume energy gels with water?

For many of the best energy gels, the brand recommends that you chase it down with water to help speed up the digestion process. Meanwhile, other gels are made specifically with low viscosity or isotonic osmolality so this isn't needed. The Energy Bomb contains electrolyte's, so when you do have a drink, it will be absorbed.

What are the negatives of energy gels?

Even some of the best energy gels have their downfalls. The most commonly cited of these is the potential for an upset stomach that they can cause. Ultimately, this will be personal to each user. Some will suffer this a lot, others never. To overcome it, opt for gels that are easier on the stomach, such as The Energy Bomb, and test with a small amount per hour and build it up in training. 

The other negative is the cost. As a sole fuel source, with most energy gels that need you to take 3 an hour, the bill can quickly rack up. With The Energy Bomb, theobromine last for up to 5 hours, so 1 can take you much further.

How does Energy Bomb compare to Gu, SiS or 32Gi?

Gu 32Gi SiS
Easy packaging Yes No Yes No
Next-gen Theobromine Yes No No No
Tummy friendly sugars Yes No Yes No
MCT Oil - No sugar spike energy Yes No No No
Broad spectrum electrolytes Yes No No No
No sugar crash Yes No No No
Great taste Yes No No No


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