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Six of the best energy bars for cycling

A jersey-pocketful of the finest fuel for on and off the bike

Energy bars

Energy bars sit between everyday food and energy gels on the buffet of on-bike nutrition.

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Their taste and ingredients will closely resemble something you’d eat as a snack day-to-day, such as a cereal bar.

But the best energy bars’ nutritional value will be tailored more to the demands of cycling and other endurance sports, such as triathlon.

They should also be easier to unwrap, eat and digest while pedalling than most solid ‘real’ food, including sandwiches.

To avoid bonking on a long bike ride, you’ll need to stay fuelled with energy bars, among other snacks, so it’s crucial they taste good.

We’ve chewed through a selection of energy bars to find which ones hit the gastronomic and nutritional sweet spot.

Best energy bars for cycling 2022, as rated by our expert testers

Tribe Nut Butter Triple Decker

4.5 out of 5 star rating
It’s good for vegans and coeliacs.
Our Media
  • Kcals: 184
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturates: 3.8g
  • Carbs: 9.6g
  • Sugars: 5.8g
  • Fibre: 3.2g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Salt: 0.21g
  • Price: £22 for 12 (£1.83)

Tribe claims its Nut Butter Triple Decker is the UK’s best-selling plant-protein bar. While we can’t vouch for that, the vegan and gluten-free bar tastes a treat.

Crunchy honeycomb is generously coated in peanut butter and topped with vegan chocolate.

With half as much sugar as some competitors, the 40g Triple Decker isn’t that carb-rich. It provides 184kcals and 9.6g of carbohydrate.

It has 8g of protein from peas, so probably suits snacking and recovery better than on-bike fuelling.

Clif Nut Butter Bar

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Marks are dropped due to the inclusion of palm oil.
Our Media
  • Kcals: 227
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturates: 2.4g
  • Carbs: 23g
  • Sugars: 9.2g
  • Fibre: 3.1g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Salt: 0.38g
  • Price: £2.29

The Clif Nut Butter Bar packs 227kcals into its 50g, comprising 23g of carbs, 11g of fat and 7g of pea protein.

Such nutritional characteristics favour off-bike over on-bike consumption. But whenever you eat it, you’re in for a tasty snack that’s easy to eat and digest.

Disappointingly, the Clif Nut Butter Bar incorporates palm oil and is marked down as a result.

Skratch Labs Anytime Energy Bar

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The salt content makes it ideal for big rides in the heat.
Our Media
  • Kcals: 220
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturates: 2g
  • Carbs: 33g
  • Sugars: 10g
  • Fibre: 2g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Salt: 0.31g
  • Price: £29.95 for 12 (£2.50)

The Skratch Labs Anytime Energy Bar is chocolate chip and almond flavoured, moistened by cranberries and a mixture of nut and seed butter.

Energy provision from the 50g bar is 220kcals, made of 33g carbs, 8g fat and 4g protein.

The bar lives up to its ‘Anytime’ tag and is no trouble to eat and digest while pedalling.

Taste is adequate. The salt from the 125mg of sodium makes itself known and could be handy during epic, hot rides.

Torq Explore Flapjack

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Its sweetness is derived from organic golden syrup, raisins and brown sugar.
Our Media
  • Kcals: 263
  • Fat: 8.1g
  • Saturates: 1g
  • Carbs: 43g
  • Sugars: 23g
  • Fibre: 3g
  • Protein: 3.2g
  • Salt: 0.19g
  • Price: £37 for 20 (£1.85)

The Torq Explore Flapjack is a Black-Forest flavoured energy bar that’s tasty and calorific.

Organic golden syrup, raisins and brown sugar bring sweetness and 43g of carbs in the bar’s 65g weight. All the sugary stuff removes the need for sweeteners, as well as artificial colours and preservatives.

The Explore Flapjack contains 8.1g of fat mostly from sunflower oil, which gives a buttery texture.

This high-fat content might be tricky to stomach while working hard, so having the Explore Flapjack before or during a steady-pace ride is advisable. The mere 3.2g of protein means it’s not the best recovery bar.

Veloforte Mocha

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Taste is good and it’s easily chowed down.
Our Media
  • Kcals: 310
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturates: 1.2g
  • Carbs: 37g
  • Sugars: 25g
  • Fibre: 4.8g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Salt: 0.2g
  • Price: £2.99

The Veloforte Mocha is a palate-pleasing energy bar containing hazelnuts pulsed with dates, brown rice syrup, cocoa and pea protein.

Its nutritional value is 310kcals with 14g fat, 37g carbs and 10g protein. The near 4:1 carbon:protein ratio optimises muscle recuperation post-exercise.

The gluten-free and vegan Veloforte Mocha is chewable and tastes decent. But don’t hope for a caffeine buzz, because the coffee’s decaffeinated.

High5 Energy Bar With Protein

3.5 out of 5 star rating
This could be seen as more of a recovery than energy bar.
Our Media
  • Kcals: 213
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturates: 1.3g
  • Carbs: 19g
  • Sugars: 14g
  • Fibre: Not listed
  • Protein: 10g
  • Salt: 0.16g
  • Price: £19.99 for 12 (£1.67)

The High5 Energy Bar With Protein may sound like a contradiction in terms, since protein is most associated with post-training recovery.

But some cycling nutritionists advocate taking on an amount of protein on the bike, particularly on long rides, to speed up recovery once you’re back. The downside is protein impedes carbohydrate consumption.

Containing just 19g of carbs versus 10g of protein and 10g fat in its 50g, the vegan High5 Energy Bar With Protein could be better after a ride than during one.

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The energy bar is palatable but won’t set your taste buds alight.