OTE Energy Drink £1.3

Naturally flavoured energy drink with clever packaging

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

This energy drink from British brand OTE is designed to be functional, tasty and without artificial nasties. Available in orange, vanilla and blackcurrant varieties, the drink comes in either a 1.2kg pack with 28 servings or a box of 14 servings and is free from artificial sweeteners, colours and preservatives.

The individual sachets have OTE’s DualDelivery openings – two pre-cut options for getting to the powdery goodness within. The top is thinner for slimmer bottles, while there’s a full width opening below this. It’s a much more elegant solution for a quick mid-ride refill than a regular saw-toothed design, which can leave you sticky fingered for the rest of the day.

Each sachet or serving makes up 500ml, which gives 160 calories and 40g of carbs. Thanks to a maltodextrin/fructose mix only 8.2g of these carbs are from sugar, which contributes to a feeling of level energy while riding rather than spiky sugar-induced bursts and crashes that can sometimes appear with higher concentrations.

The drink also boasts potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium – 360mg of the later (0.9g in salt). OTE says these electrolytes help keep you hydrated through the 45 to 60 minutes of energy each made-up bottle is designed to provide.

The lower-sugar approach and the lack of sweeteners means that all the OTE Energy Drink variations have a very light flavour that borders on bland, a bit like over-diluted squash. There’s also a faint creaminess to the taste, which we'd expect with the vanilla, but not with the blackcurrant or orange options.

Don’t let your first at-home taste put you off though; like most energy products, OTE tastes better when on the bike. While spinning away, it’s refreshing and doesn’t overpower the tastebuds. The vanilla sounds a bit adventurous for an energy drink, but goes down really easily while the blackcurrant and orange flavours were completely innocuous too, with no nasty aftertaste. 

While this lack of tang could put some off, it means that it’s easier to stomach for longer, even if it’s not immediately as satisfying as stronger-tasting concoctions. Indeed, whether or not it’s down to the pH neutral formula or not, chugging OTE led to no GI issues at all and made taking gels on less of a gruelling more-of-the-same experience than with more sugary drinks.

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