Only you can decide what balance of carbs, protein and fat you need from your energy snacks and nutrition products, but here's a quick round-up of the latest options to hit our desks.
Formed back in 1995 in Australia by food technologist Gerard Hall, Shotz originally focussed their efforts on endurance events but now cater for all types of sports. Their Energy Gels, available in Berry Banana, Cola, Lemon Lime and Wild Berry flavours, come in 45g sachets and deliver 177kcal per serving.
They deliver a real shot in the arm too, particularly the caffeinated Cola Vanilla and Wild Bean varieties, which contain 80mg of the stimulant. Designed for use before, during and after riding, they cost £1.50 per sachet. Shotz also sell a Gel Flask, which has room for several gels and means you don't need to stash used sachets in your pockets.
Another mid-ride product is the Energy Bar (£1.50). If you can get past the names (Sticky Date Explosion, Choc Mint Missile, Apple Berry Explosion and Choc Almond Ammo), these 50g bars are pretty good. Each contains all-natural ingredients including whole grains and real fruit, with our favourite, Choc Mint, packing 180kcal, 3.1g fat and 3g protein. They're quite dry and we found a good gulp of water was needed to help swill them down.
Shotz don't believe energy drinks are the right way to go. Their preferred option is bars and gels, plus a low-calorie electrolyte drink. This comes in the shape of their Electrolyte Tablets (£12 for 20) which are available in Orange-Vanilla and Lemon flavours. Each tablet, dissolved in 500ml of water, contains 6kcal and helps replenish the salts lost during a hard ride.
We have to admit we're coming round to their thinking. Tablets are easily portable, allowing you to top up mid-ride, and they go down easier than sugary energy drinks. The only drawback is that you have to get your calories from hard-to-unwrap gels and bars instead – not such an issue in training, but a different story when racing.
Although the label on Multipower's Multicarbo Hi-Energy Jelly says it should be used before and during a ride, it didn't stop us quaffing one down in the BikeRadar office as we tried to power through the pre-lunch wall. With an orange flavour, it's a tasty, high-energy take on the kids' party staple. We're big fans of Multipower products and this new arrival does nothing to change that.
Each 50g pouch contains 120kcal and 28g of carbohydrate, including glucose and isomaltulose, the latter a low glycemic carb that's digested and absorbed slowly for sustained energy. Sachets cost £1.29 each and are also available directly through Multipower for £30.96 per 24.