If you have a long Gran Fondo ride or race coming up, or you’re just spending more and more hours out on the road training you will want to keep food and energy levels up and your body fueled to get the most out of it.
Cycling energy bars are great source of on ride food as they contain a high level of carbohydrate for their size, they are typically complex carbohydrate but with some carbohydrates from sugars and some of the energy bars have added ingredients like magnesium and other supplements to help with muscle function.
Here’s a quick review of the best cycling energy bars I have used while riding.
The Clif Bar needs no introduction, it’s probably the most popular of all the bars reviewed here and there are at least twenty eight different flavours to choose from.
The Clif Bars are the biggest sized bars of this bunch at 68 grams for each of the five flavours pictured. The Crunchy Peanut Butter flavour has 41 grams of carbohydrate with 20 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein. The Clif Bars are big enough that you could open one and eat half, then eat the rest 20-30 minutes later.
Many of the Clif Bar products are vegan friendly but you will need to check the label to see if individual flavours contain non-vegan products. There’s an FAQ section for reference on the Clif Bar website. The energy bars were Clif Bar’s first product in 1992 and the range has now expanded to include energy gels, protein bars and other trail mix bars.
Energy value 251 calories.
IsoWhey Sports energy bars and gels
IsoWhey Sports manufacture a range of energy bars, gels, electrolyte formula, protein powders and supplements in Australia and New Zealand and are also title sponsors of the leading Australian National Road Series team, Avanti IsoWhey Sports.
The IsoWhey Sports energy bars come in either chocolate or berry flavour and are gluten free and fructose free and contain no artificial flavours or sweeteners. The chocolate bar is 50 grams and contains 20.6 grams carbohydrate with 9.5 grams sugar, and 10 grams protein.
Energy value 202 calories.
The IsoWhey Sports energy gels pictured come in tropical and mocha flavour and like the energy bars are fructose free for better digestibility. The mocha flavour contains 11mg caffeine.
In Australia you can buy these products online at IsoWheySports
Winners Energy Bar
Winners bars are manufactured here in Australia and endorsed by World Champion and Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans, there are six tasty flavours made from a mix of local and imported ingredients.
My favourite is the Cadel’s Mountain Mix energy bar and it contains 34.1 grams of carbohydrate with 10.4 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein in a total serve size of 55 grams.
Energy value 214 calories.
Winners also manufacture a range of gels, chews and protein bars.
Bonk Breaker Energy Bar
Bonk Breaker’s mission has been to create the “World’s Greatest Nutrition Bars” and once you’ve tasted them it’s hard to argue with that, they are certainly one of my favourites, especially the Espresso Chip, Blueberry Oat and Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip bars.
Made with organic non-GMO ingredients the Bonk Breaker cycling energy bars are gluten and dairy free and each bar varies in nutritional value but the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip bars as an example have 41 grams of carbohydrate with 16 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein in a total serve size of 62 grams.
Energy value is a massive 270 calories.
In total there are ten different flavoured energy bars plus four additional high protein options, and Bonk Breaker also do a range of energy chews and hydration products. All the Bonk Breaker ingredients are vegan other than honey.
etixx Energy Bar
etixx sports nutrition are the title sponsors of the etixx – Quick-Step pro-cycling team and they have a complete range of health, endurance, strength and performance supplements.
The etixx cycling energy bars come in either a chocolate or lemon flavour and have added magnesium to support muscle function.
The chocolate bar is 40 grams and contains 29 grams carbohydrate with 12 grams sugar, and 2.1 grams protein.
Energy value 146 calories.
Chocolate is the pick of the two flavours.
Hammer Nutrition – Hammer Bar
Hammer Nutrition has been around forever as far as sports nutrition companies go, founded in 1987 Hammer have a complete range of sports fuels, recovery products and supplements.
The very tasty Hammer Bar comes in a range of five different flavours and each bar is 50 grams and contains 26 grams carbohydrate with 17 grams sugar, and 9 grams protein.
Energy value 220 calories.
I can recommend both the chocolate and cranberry flavours.
Carman’s Gourmet Protein Bars
While not strictly a sports or cycling product these gluten free Carman’s gourmet protein bars make it on to the best list because they taste so damn good, they are healthy and they are Australian made.
They are ideal for shorter rides of under two hours where you don’t need high performance energy bars or gels but you still want to snack, on a short ride I always take one of these Carman’s bars.
There’s a Dark Choc & Cranberry flavour and a Greek Style Yoghurt & Berry, the chocolate flavour is a serving size of 40 grams, has 15.3 grams of carbohydrate with 9.8 grams of sugar, and 10.1 grams of protein.
Energy value 192 calories.
Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie
Lenny & Larry’s complete cookies come in the biggest packaging of this bunch of energy bars but it actually contains two cookies, each one is 56 grams and is vegan and made from non-GMO ingredients.
Each double chocolate cookie contains 27 grams carbohydrate with 15 grams sugar, and 8 grams protein.
Energy value 190 calories.
Summary – Cycling Energy Bars
There’s a pretty good selection above and all of these are easy to eat and tasty, that’s important out on the bike as you want to be eating something that tastes good rather than just eat for the nutritional value alone.
Most of these are easily carried and you can fit several into a jersey pocket.
There are vegan options and vegan friendly options, the ones I have mentioned you can check the FAQ section on the manufacturers site.
Buying tip, once you find a few flavours you like buy them buy the box rather than individually. You will save up to 50-60% in some cases.
Feel free to add your own favourite bar, or gel in the comments below.