Best energy gels and on-the-bike food.

The best gels, bars and fuel for on the bike and in the heat of the race.

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Best of Nutrition: Best Energy Gels and bars for on the bike eating.

Eating when you’re on the bike can be hard enough – obstacles on the trail, juggling food and keeping your head up. For all that hard work the fuel better be worth it, that’s why we came up with a list or our favorite on-the-bike food – worthy of the effort. Now, we’re not talking a bowl of cereal or anything like that – we’re talking portables – mostly gels and bars. For riders and racers on the go, the best food to eat is the kind that is easy to open,  easy on your stomach and tastes good to keep you stoked to the last miles. We are certain the following list of energy gels and bars will have you fueled and topped off for many miles.

Energy Gels: Energy gels provide easy to absorb and digest calories from carbohydrates and deliver immediate energy. Energy gels are usually easy on the stomach and hit the system quickly. Gels vary in consistency, flavor and nutritional content from manufacturers. Many energy gels contain sodium, the primary electrolyte lost in sweat, to aid in hydration by maintaining water balance. Others contain branched-chain amino acids that may reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage. All contain carbohydrates and calories ranging from 100 – 150 per packet. So read up and find the gel that fits your sweat type and your sweet tooth. 

Clif Shot Strawberry: 

Clif, the makers of the popular Clif bars also make energy gels and other fueling items. The Clif Shot gels come in eight flavors, with ingredients that are 90% organic. The consistency is smooth and goes down easy to make getting energized between breaths quick and efficient. Our favorite flavor is classic Strawberry, which tastes like a small strawberry float in the middle of a ride. All Clif gels come with the Litter Leash Packaging making it easy them throw away late and keep the trails clean. 

Price: $14.00 a 6-pack

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For more info Clifbar.com

GU- Salted Watermelon:

The 100-calorie GU gel packet contains carbohydrates that use non-competing pathways to help maximize carbohydrate absorption and utilization while diminishing stomach distress. We found GU gels to be easy on the stomach and super tasty – GU boasts many different flavors including; Hoppy Trails Bee, Birthday Cake, Fudge Ripple and our favorite – Salted Watermelon. The Salted Watermelon flavor tastes like summer, sweet and salty, refreshing while on the bike. The flavor transports you to a happy place no matter if you’re ending your ride or in the middle of a century. All GU gels are made with all vegan ingredients, for those that steer clear of dairy. 

Price: $18.00 a 6-pack

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For more info GUenergy.com

TORQ- Rhubarb & Custard:

For those that like their gels and fueling a bit different you need to check the flavors from TORQ. They have flavors ranging from Banana, Raspberry Ripple, Strawberry Yoghurt and our favorite – Rhubarb & Custard. The gel itself is designed for easy ingestion, digestion, and optimal fuel delivery (carbohydrates + electrolytes) for endurance athletes. The taste of the gel is something else – more like a dessert than endurance fuel. If you have a sweet tooth add this flavor to your shortlist – also goes great on toast or oats as a pre-race/ride fuel.

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Price: $33.00 a 15-pack

For more info TORQusa.com

Hammer Nutrition- Montana Huckleberry:

Hammer Gel for some was the first gel they’ve tried, and I’m guessing they enjoyed it. Hammer uses great all natural ingredients, complex carbohydrates, and a pH-balancing formula that are easily digestible and provide quick-acting long-lasting energy. For those looking for the mental and muscle boost, Hammer Gel also include branched-chain amino acids to prevent muscle tissue breakdown while reducing fatigue.

Price: $20.00 a 26 serving bottle

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For more info hammernutrition.com

Energy Bars to eat while on the ride: Gels and drinks may be good for some – but for those that require something more substantial the energy bar is paramount. Packed with carbs, fruit, nuts and what have you, energy bars will keep you fueled and full for the ride ahead. These are a few of our favorite bars that will keep your taste buds and your stomach happy on the trails.  

Bonk Breaker Blueberry Muffin:

There is no lack of blueberries in this muffin! Seriously though, this is just like eating a condensed muffin –  Delightful and light, this Blueberry Muffin is made with the finest ingredients and is great fuel anything, but we love them as long ride fuel. Bonk Breaker, Blueberry Muffin is made with non-GMO, REAL ingredients that are Gluten Free & Dairy Free.

Price: $3.00/bar 

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For more info bonkbreaker.com

Clif Z-Bar Chocolate Chip: 

The Clif Chocolate chip Z-Bar may be made for kids but they are seriously good and are lighter in calories than the regular Clif Bar. The Z-Bar is great to have in the pantry and is created without high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. The bar itself is thick, chewy, and has all the goodness of a chocolate chip cookie in an easy to pack bar form – Classic and wholesome food for the ride. 

Price: $10.00 a 6-pack box.

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For more info Clifbar.com

ERG Bars- Apple Ginger Energy Bar:

The ERG Apple Ginger Bar is tasty and will give you a zing of ginger as soon as you bite in. The Apple Ginger energy bar contains numerous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. ERG Bars create all their products out of healthy ingredients and fruit – lots of real fruit – the Apple Ginger bar is made up of 25% real fruit! Clear wrapping lets you see what you’re getting. It contains organic apples, rolled oats, raw cashews and raw almonds ground into nut butter, honey and crystallized ginger. Perfect for a palate cleanse mid-ride after many overly sweet gels and chews. 

Price: $2.75/bar 

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For more info erg-bar.com

TORQ – Sun-dried Banana:

TORQ’s Sun-Dried Banana bar is chewy, packed with banana flavor and small pops of grain. The bananas used in the bar are fairtrade and naturally low in fat, they also make the bar easy to stomach. The TORQ Bars contain multiple-transportable carbohydrates with Maltodextrin: Fructose and TORQ ribose for ATP rapid charging. Great for vegans and no colors, artificial flavors or preservatives for riders that steer clear.

Price: $33.00 a 15-pack

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For more info torqusa.com

High Octane Gels: For performance and fueling – these are the gels that you take on the last lap or after a hard effort when you need the extra push. Some give a boost with caffeine and some offer extra sodium. Some offer beta-alanine and BCAA to support your brain along with your body’s performance until you hit the line. Either way, the following gels will help you best your personal records and keep your body rolling for the work at hand. 

GU Roctane – Blueberry Pomegranate:

For those looking for race day gels and fueling the GU Rocktane should be on your short list. Created for demanding training and competition, GU Roctane Energy Gel stands out from original GU Energy Gel with more sodium, an electrolyte that aids in hydration, and even more branched-chain amino acids (leucine, valine, and isoleucine) that reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage. The amino acid taurine helps maintain heart contractility and improve cardiac output during long exercise sessions, while the amino acid beta-alanine helps promote the formation of the intramuscular buffer carnosine. 

Price: $3.00/gel

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For more info GUenergy.com

TORQ Espresso – Caramel Latte:

The new Caramel Latte TORQ Gel is like drinking a cup of high-end coffee and finishing it off with caramel. To achieve this taste TORQ roasts its coffee beans just a few days before production and then brew an exceptionally large french-press of real coffee, the contents of which are combined with natural (real) caramel and the highly functional 2:1 Maltodextrin: Fructose energy matrix. And Voila, there you have a truly authentic and effective ‘Caramel Latte’ energy gel. This caffeinated energy gel (incorporating natural Guarana to deliver 89mg of caffeine per tube) is just the right dose for a serious pick me up during a race – a favorite for sure.

Price: $33.00 a 15-pack

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For more info torqusa.com

The SiS GO Energy + Caffeine Gel 75mg:

TheCaffeine Gel builds on the established science of the SiS GO Isotonic Energy gel – what SiS calls “the world’s first and only truly isotonic energy gel.”

This product provides 22g of carbohydrates and 75mg of caffeine per gel (Berry flavor) and is ideal for high-intensity races and long, tough days on the road.  SiS GO Energy + Caffeine is clean in the mouth and easy to digest thanks to thin easy to take nature of the formulation. Perfect for a ride when you want an energy boost, but want the benefits of caffeine too.

Price: $14.00 a 6-pack

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For more info scienceinsport.com

Clif Shot Double Expresso Energy Gel:

Clif is back in the list and with its classic Double Espresso Flavor high-energy gel. The Double Expresso gel contains all the goodness of the original Clif Shot gel with a double shot of caffeine to-go. The taste is not all coffee, there is a small bit of chocolate and sweetness mixed in with the espresso flavor but truly….. It’s an espresso shot on the go – 100mg caffeine that will get you to the line and some, perfect for race situations or as a secret bonk weapon in your saddle bag. As before all Clif gels come with the Litter Leash Packaging making it easy them throw away late and keep the trails clean. 

Price: $10.00 a 6-pack

buy now

For more info Clifbar.com


About the author: Jordan Villella

Jordan comes from the steep streets of Pittsburgh PA, where he learned to dodge cars and rip single track. He has been involved in nearly every aspect of the cycling industry: from turning wrenches, store design, clothing production and bike park creation. Jordan spends his free time racing cross country and cyclocross around North America, though he has been know to enduro every now and then. His love of cycling is only second to his love of his family and punk rock.


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