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The best energy gels and chews for cycling

A selection of our favourite mid-ride fuels

The best energy gels and chews for cycling

When you’re pushing your body to the limits, you need to keep your fuel levels up. While a sandwich and piece of cake can do the job,  sometimes that’s just not efficient enough.

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An energy gel or chew is a very quick and simple way to get a load of easy to digest energy straight into your system, helping you stay fuelled and avoid the dreaded bonk.

If gels and chews aren’t you’re preferred way of fuelling out on the bike, why not check out the best energy bars for cycling, how to make your own energy drink and 10 cycling superfoods to fuel your ride. We also have a list 6 delicious vegan energy snack recipes you can make at home.

This test was limited to assessing taste, digestibility and published nutritional values to find out which one gives the most palatable of energy hits. We are not in a position to comment on the performance merits of each product tested. Athletes looking for nutrition advice or those with specific dietary requirements should consult with a nutritionist for the best possible results.

The best energy gels for cycling, as rated by our expert testers

  • Aptonia Energy Gel: £1
  • SiS Go Isotonic Energy Gel: £1.50
  • High5 Energy Gel Aqua: £1.25
  • High5 Energy Gel with Slow Release Carbs: £1.57
  • OTE Apple Energy Gel: £1.40
  • Skratch Energy Chews: £2.20
  • Aptonia Long Distance Energy Gel: £1.24
  • Torq Caramel Latte Gel: £1.85

Aptonia Energy Gel

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Aptonia Energy Gel is loaded with vitamins B1, B6, B12, E and zinc.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

This delicious energy gel available from Decathlon provides an impressive 23g of carbs (derived from a mix of glucose, fructose and maltodextrin) per 32g gel.

Despite leaving little volume for water, it’s effortlessly consumed, but complement it with other gels the longer you train to avoid flavour fatigue; and, as always, test before any big events you’re entering.

It’s also loaded with vitamins B1, B6, B12, E and zinc, stated as 30 per cent RDA for each, and it comes in at a fine price of just £1 per gel. Top stuff.

  • Flavour: Salted caramel (available in various flavours)
  • Weight: 32g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Price: £4 for 4

Science In Sport Go Isotonic Energy

4.5 out of 5 star rating
SIS recommends that you consume three of its gels per hour of cycling.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Longer-toothed cyclists will remember energy gels of the past resembling something akin to toothpaste. If you had no water chaser, your gums would cling together.

Science in Sport’s Go Isotonic energy gels changed all that. This blackcurrant version (£1.50 each) delivers 22g of carbs per 60ml serving from maltodextrin with water filling out the remainder, creating an easy-flowing composition.

The value is good, but SIS recommends that you consume three gels per hour, which bumps up the cost.

  • Flavour: Blackcurrant (comes in various flavours)
  • Weight: 60g
  • Carbohydrate: 22g
  • Sugar: 0.6g
  • Price: £45 for 30

High5 Energy Gel Aqua

4.0 out of 5 star rating
With a watery texture, this gel is easy to swallow while cycling.
Immediate Media

Glucose, maltodextrin and fruit juice combine to give a surprisingly natural berry flavour while the gel’s thin texture – the ‘aqua’ refers to its near-liquid consistency – makes it very easy to swallow.

It’s suitable for vegans and High5 has a policy of never using World Anti Doping Agency (WADA)-banned substances, so it can provide batch-tested products and it contains no likely allergens.

  • Weight: 66g
  • Calories: 95kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugars: 3.3g
  • Price: £1.25

High5 Energy Gel with Slow Release Carbs

4.0 out of 5 star rating
With an ingredient that is digested more slowly, this gel is good for helping to sustain longer efforts.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

These work out at £1.57 each, which is 40p more expensive than a standard High5 gel. The reason for this is the addition of isomaltulose, which has a lower GI than glucose and is digested more slowly.

This stream of sugar avoids blood spikes so you can sustain a higher effort for longer. We didn’t experience any stomach problems (23g carbs per 62g sachet leaves plenty of room for water) or bonking.

  • Flavour: Orange (comes in various flavours)
  • Weight: 62g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Price: £22 for 14

OTE Apple Energy Gel

4.0 out of 5 star rating
OTE’s energy gel is suitable for vegan diets and has a really natural-tasting flavour.
Immediate Media

Do you like apple sauce? This resembles the condiment with a slight sweetness to it and a thinnish texture that’s easy to swallow and digest, though make sure you don’t spill it.

This vegan product is one of the most natural-tasting gels we’ve sampled and you’ll get enough energy for a claimed 20 minutes of exercise from the maltodextrin and concentrated fruit juice ingredients.

  • Weight: 56g
  • Calories: 84kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 20.5g
  • Sugars: 6.1g
  • Price: £1.40

Skratch Labs Energy Chews

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Natural tasting gluten-free chews that are also suitable for vegans.
Immediate Media

Gels aren’t the only way to go for an on-the-move hit of energy, Skratch’s natural-tasting, USA-made chews are another option.

Similar to fruit pastilles, these take longer to consume but they’re mess free and allow you to spread out your energy intake. They may look expensive, but each bag contains 10 vegan, gluten-free chews, which equals two servings.

  • Weight: 50g
  • Calories: 160kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 40g
  • Sugars: 28g
  • Price: £2.20

Also consider…

These gels scored fewer than four out of five stars in our testing, but are still worth considering.

Aptonia Long Distance Energy Gel

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Available in different versions and various flavours.
Immediate Media

Decathlon’s Aptonia French-made gel is batch tested, which makes it suitable for competitive athletes. Available in different versions and various flavours, the long-distance lemon sachet is claimed to be enough for 45 minutes and comes in at under £1 for a pack of 12.

It’s not that sweet, is easily digested and contains vitamins B6 and B12 and 20g of caffeine; though it may also contain traces of fish or milk.

  • Weight: 32g
  • Calories: 88kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 22g
  • Sugars: 12g
  • Price: £1.24

Torq Caramel Latte Gel

3.0 out of 5 star rating
This coffee-flavoured gel contains caffeine as well as guarana.
Immediate Media

Warning: ‘contains high levels of caffeine’ it says on the wrapper, and it also packs a hefty calorie hit and guarana for even more stimulation.

It has a real coffee taste, but the maltodextrin and glucose syrup stops it from becoming too bitter. It’s also one of the thicker gels here, with a texture that feels like a gloopy milkshake – though, thankfully, it’s not too much to swallow.

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  • Weight: 45g
  • Calories: 114kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 28.6g
  • Sugars: 10.5g
  • Price: £1.85