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The best energy gels for cycling in 2023

A selection of our favourite mid-ride fuels

Close-up of SIS energy gel in professional cyclist's jersey pocket.

The best energy gels are a 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.

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They are particularly useful in a race or time trial where eating solid foods can be tricky and you’re pushing your body to the limits.

If gels and chews aren’t your preferred way of fuelling out on the bike, 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 of 6 delicious vegan energy snack recipes you can make at home.

We’ve quoted the price per serving, but this varies significantly depending on the pack size. In general, our price is based on the SRP for the largest pack available, but you may be able to make significant savings by buying from other retail outlets.

This test was limited to assessing taste, digestibility and published nutritional values to find out which one gives the most palatable energy hit. 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.

Best energy gels for cycling in 2023

Aptonia Energy Gel

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Aptonia Energy Gel
The Aptonia Energy Gel is loaded with vitamins B1, B6, B12 and E, and zinc.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Price: £1.12 per serving
  • Flavours: Salted caramel
  • Weight: 32g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Energy: 92kcal

Decathlon’s Aptonia energy gel packs 23g of carbohydrates into its 32g dose. Although that means you’re not carrying much water around, it’s not too viscous and is easy to consume. Aptonia has toned down the sweetness of its predecessor.

Carb content comes from a mix of glucose, fructose and maltodextrin and there’s a range of added B vitamins, zinc and vitamin E, all at 30 per cent of your RDA. As you’d expect from Decathlon, this gel gets top marks for affordability.

Precision Fuel 30 Gel

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Precision Fuel 30 energy gel
Each 51g sachet contains 30g carbs.
Our Media
  • Price: £1.15 per serving
  • Flavours: ‘Original’
  • Weight: 51g
  • Carbohydrate: 30g
  • Sugar: Not specified
  • Energy: 120kcal

Precision Fuel and Hydration has recently expanded from selling only electrolyte products to include energy gels, as well as powders and chews. Its gel is a bit thicker than others, but more jelly-like than toothpaste in consistency, so it’s easier to consume. The neutral, undefined flavour helps too.

There are 30g of carbs with 2:1 glucose:fructose in a 51g package. The dosage is marked clearly on the front of the packet, so you know how much you’re consuming. The compact packaging means you can stash enough away for a longer ride.

SIS Beta Fuel gel

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Science in Sport Beta Fuel gels
Beta Fuel is also available in gel form…
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
  • Price: £2 per serving
  • Flavours: Orange, strawberry & lime
  • Volume: 60ml
  • Carbohydrate: 40g
  • Sugar: 19g
  • Energy: 158kcal

SIS formerly sold Beta Fuel only in powder form for energy drinks, but the Beta Fuel gel adds a new format. There’s also a new formulation with a 1:08 ratio of maltodextrin to fructose, which SIS reckons is the optimum for metabolic carbohydrate availability. A gel delivers 40g of carbs, a decent load.

Taste is good and the texture is easy to slurp. It sits well on the stomach and is easy to digest too.

Science In Sport Go Isotonic Energy

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Science In Sport Go Isotonic energy gel
SIS recommends you consume three of its gels per hour of cycling.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Price: £1.33 per serving
  • Flavours: 7
  • Volume: 60ml
  • Carbohydrate: 22g
  • Sugar: 0.6g
  • Energy: 86kcal

We’re not sure if this gel is isotonic or iconic, because the Go gel has been in the SIS range forever. A 60ml serving pushes out 22g of carbs, which are comprised of maltodextrin alone, so no fancy fructose boost.

The high volume means the gel flows easily from sachet to lips, as is usual in modern formulations. We found the blackcurrant flavour more to our taste than fruit salad.

Although the Go gel is well-priced, you need to slurp three an hour to keep your carbs topped up to the 60g per hour recommendation.

Styrkr Gel30

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Styrkr Gel30 dual-carb energy gel
Styrkr also sells versions of the Gel30 with added caffeine and nitrates.
Dave Caudery / Our Media
  • Price: £2.09 per serving
  • Flavours: One
  • Weight: 72g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Sugar: 13.3g
  • Caffeine: None (caffeinated version contains 150mg)
  • Energy: 147kcals

Styrkr’s Gel30 provides an impressive 30g of carbohydrate and 147kcals in a 1:08 ratio of maltodextrin and fructose.

The brand claims this dual-carb formula increases carbohydrate absorption rate and minimises the risk of stomach trouble.

The neutral flavour is palatable but won’t get your taste buds tingling. Due to its viscous consistency, the Gel30 isn’t that easy to slurp down on the move.

The anti-litter tab stops the top of the wrapper flying away when you open the gel.

Torq Performance Energy Gel

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Torq Performance energy gel
Carbs make up 28g (112kcals) per 45g serving.
Our Media
  • Price: £2 per serving
  • Flavours: 12
  • Weight: 45g
  • Carbohydrate: 28g
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Caffeine: 89mg
  • Energy: 114kcal

A new Torq gel, the Performance Energy Gel gives you 28g of carbohydrates in a 45g serving. There’s a mix of maltodextrin and fructose, which have different absorption pathways in the gut, providing greater carb uptake than glucose-based gels alone, as well as reducing the chance of stomach upsets.

It’s a Goldilocks gel; not too liquid but not too thick either, so it’s easy to take in. The caramel taste works well with the consistency too, although it might pall on longer rides. The formulation also contains guarana, which provides an 89mg caffeine boost.

We also liked the compact shape that’s ideal for a jersey or cargo bib short pocket.

Vala Energy Gel

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Vala Energy Gel - energy gel
A 35g sachet that delivers 102kcals from 23.8g of carbs.
Our Media
  • Price: £2.25 per serving
  • Flavours: Maple/date
  • Weight: 35g
  • Carbohydrate: 23.8g
  • Sugar: 17.4g
  • Energy: 102kcal

Welsh nutrition brand Vala uses a range of natural ingredients in its gel, including maple syrup, date paste and sea salt. There’s matcha tea for a caffeine boost and no preservatives.

That doses you up with 23.8g of carbs per 35g sachet. We really rated the date-heavy taste and, although the texture is quite viscous, the gel is easy to consume with or without water.

Healthspan Elite Energy Gel + Caffeine

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Healthspan Elite Energy Gel + Caffeine.
The Healthspan energy gel packs 75mg of caffeine in its espresso flavour.
  • Price: £1.67 per serving
  • Flavours: Espresso
  • Weight: 60g
  • Carbohydrate: 24g
  • Sugar: 7.4g
  • Caffeine: 75mg
  • Energy: 97kcal

As with the High5 Electrolyte Energy Gel, this Healthspan product is quite heavily diluted, with 24g of carbs per 60g sachet, which comes from a 2:1 maltodextrin:fructose mix for easy consumption. The low carb concentration makes the gel easy to consume without additional water, but does result in a low flavour quotient.

Take a gel between 20 and 30 minutes before a hard effort, as per the pros, and the 75mg of caffeine per gel should help you over the next hill. You may want to supplement it to get to the 200mg threshold at which studies show the effect of caffeine loading kicks in though.

High5 Electrolyte Energy Gel

4.0 out of 5 star rating
High5 Electrolyte energy gel
There are only 23g of carbs per 60g sachet.
Our Media
  • Price: £1.45 per serving
  • Flavours: 2
  • Weight: 60g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugar: 7.2g
  • Energy: 91kcal

The High5 Electrolyte Energy gel packs just 23g of carbs into its 60 grams, so it feels a bit dilute. That does make it eminently slurpable, but there’s not the feeling of getting an energy hit. We reckon it would work better with the same carb content in a 50g package.

Gel wrappers are a curse on trails and roads, but High5 includes a pre-paid envelope when you buy a box, so you can return your empties for recycling – a great eco plus.

High5 Energy Gel

4.0 out of 5 star rating
High5 energy gel.
High5 energy gels are fruit-flavoured and deliver 23g of carbohydrates in one serving
  • Price: £1.20 per serving
  • Flavours: 7
  • Weight: 40g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Energy: 91kcal

High5 has reformulated its gel, adding isomaltulose for slower carb release and a lower glycaemic index, so your blood glucose is less likely to spike and you get a longer energy boost and less risk of bonking.

The 23g of carbohydrates are contained in a sachet weighing 62g, so you get plenty of fluids with each dose, which means fewer stomach issues. Alongside the carb content, High5 has included 70 ocean minerals. Even if many are in tiny quantities, this does help keep electrolyte levels topped up.

The more exotic formulation than High5’s former standard-issue gels has upped the price though.

High5 Energy Gel Aqua

4.0 out of 5 star rating
natural berry flavoured energy gel
With a watery texture, this gel is easy to swallow while cycling.
Immediate Media
  • Price: £1.50 per serving
  • Flavours: 1
  • Weight: 66g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugar: 3.3g
  • Energy: 95kcal

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.

High5 Energy Gel with Slow Release Carbs

4.0 out of 5 star rating
High5 Slow Release Carbs energy gel
With an ingredient that is digested more slowly, this gel is good for helping to sustain longer efforts.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Price: £1.80 per serving
  • Flavours: 2
  • Weight: 62g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Energy: 100kcal

These work out at £1.80 each, which is around 60p 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.

Mountain Fuel Sports Jelly

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Mountain Fuel Sports Jelly - energy gel
The Sports Jelly contains just 20g (80kcals) of carbs.
Our Media
  • Price: £1.50 per serving
  • Flavours: 3
  • Weight: 60g
  • Carbohydrate: 20g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Energy: 82kcal

Mountain Fuel uses hydrogel tech in its gel, where pectin is used to encapsulate the 20g mixed maltodextrin:glucose carbohydrate dose to reduce the rate of availability and the risk of stomach problems. The gel tastes strongly of orange flavour and it’s dilute enough to consume without water.

Although the standard gel’s 20g of carbs is on the low side, you can up that to 30g by selecting the Sport Jelly+.

Nutrition X Energel + Caffeine

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Nutrition X Energel + Caffeine energy gel
Each 50g gel serving contains 24g (96kcals) of carbs.
Our Media
  • Price: £1.50 per serving
  • Flavours: Cola
  • Weight: 50g
  • Carbohydrate: 24g
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Caffeine: 80mg
  • Energy: 96kcal

The Nutrition X gel includes 24g of carbohydrates in a 50g package. A mix of maltodextrin and glucose provides 96kcal of energy, although because both use the glucose transport pathway from the gut, overall absorption rate is lower than a glucose:fructose combination.

With 80mg of caffeine in there too, you need to consume in moderation.

The cola flavour is moderate and the texture middle-of-the-road, so it’s a gel you can consume without water.

OTE Lemon and Lime Gel

4.0 out of 5 star rating
Ote lemon and lime gel.
The flavouring in this gel comes from fruit juice concentrate.
  • Price: £2 per serving
  • Flavours: 4
  • Weight: 56g
  • Carbohydrate: 20.5g
  • Sugar: 4.8g
  • Energy: 82kCal

As with the High5 gels, you get plenty of fluids in OTE’s gel, and its viscosity is similar. Each 56g sachet is stacked up with 20.5g of carbs. That’s low by gel standards, so you’ll need to use more to dose at 60g per hour and keep up your blood sugar levels.

The gel’s lime flavouring comes from fruit juice concentrate, although your taste buds are tricked by apple and lemon rather than the real green thing. As with all OTE’s gels, you can tear the package open at two points, enabling you to choose either to sip or gulp the contents.

Also consider…

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

Applied Nutrition Velocity-Fuel Sprint Isotonic Energy Gel

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Applied Nutrition Velocity-Fuel Sprint Isotonic Energy Gel
This gel from Applied Nutrition has 75mg of caffeine.
Applied Nutrition
  • Price: £1.50 per serving
  • Flavours: 5
  • Weight: 60g
  • Carbohydrate: 23g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Caffeine: 75mg
  • Energy: 95.5kcal

This gel is isotonic, contains electrolytes and includes 75mg of caffeine in its 60g dose. It’s moderately flavoured and also affordable.

We weren’t convinced by the confusing blurb, which states there’s zero sugar, despite the gel containing maltodextrin, which is made up of short glucose chains and which other brands and the USDA count as a sugar. As with glucose, it still gives you a spike in blood glucose, as any good gel should.

Torq Caramel Latte Gel

3.0 out of 5 star rating
high level of caffeine energy gel from Torq
This coffee-flavoured gel contains caffeine as well as guarana.
Immediate Media
  • Price: £1.85 per serving
  • Flavours: 4
  • Weight: 45g
  • Carbohydrate: 29g
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Caffeine: 89mg
  • Energy: 116kcal

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.

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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.