5 Best Energy Gels For Cycling in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

If you push your body to its absolute limit, chances are you’ll burn yourself out.

To be precise, any ride over 90 minutes will require you to top up your carb stores. So, what’s the quick fix then?

Well, to replenish your body, you’d need to fuel it up by consuming food sources. However, is eating a pie or a sandwich efficient enough fuel to prevent your cycling performance levels from dipping low?

For a serious rider, such food sources won’t do as they can take several hours to digest and be converted into energy. 

Luckily, we have easy-to-digest energy gels that can provide a carb-heavy calorie kick in an instant.

Energy gels, unlike regular foods, are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, offering a quick surge of energy perfect to suddenly increase your speed. So, they’re ideal for consumption on long rides, road races, and time trials.

For best results, they should be consumed in doses only.

It should also pique your interest to know that gels offer around 100 calories in one go, keeping your empty stomach happy all the time. In short, these gels facilitate a simple way of getting energy straight away.

Now, identifying the correct energy gel for your cycling journey can be challenging as gels come in numerous options. Plus, the fact that the gels have come a long way and are now available in different versions such as isotonic, bio-synergy, caffeine-free, and caffeine-added can be overwhelming to newbies.

Fortunately, I’m here to assist you and guide you towards some of the top gels out there. This list was completed after countless hours of research and experiments—all for your convenience.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Energy Gels for Cycling

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the cycling energy gels that most people buy).

  • SIS Go Isotonic Energy Gel Top Pick
  • Gu Energy Gel Runner-up
  • Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel Runner-up

Top 5 Best Energy Gels for Cycling – Our Reviews:

1. SIS Go Isotonic Energy Gel

The makers of Science In Sport Energy Gel deserve a pat on their backs for ensuring their product has more water consistency than other gels on the market.

The SIS Go Energy Gel, boosted by this special mixture (maltodextrin), allows the rider to consume, absorb, and deploy sugar (energy) to the muscles without needing to drink water. Thus, when it comes to easy ingestion, digestion, and absorption, none comes close to the Science In Sport Energy Gel.

Though the SIS Go Energy Gels weigh rather bulky at 60 ml, the fact that they go into the system easily plays well to the consumers. In the 60 ml pack, you’re provided with 22 g of carbohydrates in an 87 calorie dose.

After consumption of the Go Energy Gels, you won’t need to worry about bloating and facing gastric issues. Also, bear in mind that the gel is isotonic and lactose- and gluten-free.

Moreover, the fact that the gel doesn’t taste too sweet also adds to its charm.

Available almost everywhere at a good price point, the SIS Go Energy Gels have everything working in its favor.

Pros

  • This gel contains  light texture
  • The Go gels taste good and can be consumed mid-ride
  • No need to drink water with the gel
  • Perfect alternative to an exercise sports drink

Cons

  • You can lose the top easily when you tear it off
  • Can be a lit lumpy for some

2. Gu Energy Gel

Unlike the SIS Go Energy Gel, the Gu Energy Gels have a rather thick consistency, making them a better choice for long-distance cycling sessions rather than high-intensity rides.

That’s not to say that the energy gel doesn’t offer an instant burst of energy. While the maltodextrin provides a slower release kick for the long run, the gel also comprises fructose (sugar) to offer a quick surge.

Each Gu Energy Gel sachet has 22 g of carbohydrates in a 100 calorie dose. The packaging itself is very user-friendly and portable.

I also like the fact that the energy gels have branched amino acids and citrates—ingredients that are known to provide fuel to the body and help in recovery. These ingredients, particularly potassium citrate, also improve one’s mental performance.

Available for purchase in a wide range of flavors including sea salt chocolate, salted caramel, French toast, expresso love, assorted fruit flavors, caramel macchiato, blackberry, and many more, the Gu energy gels can not only help maintain your energy levels during cycling sessions but also improve your cycling performances tenfold.

If you’re a fan of Honey Stinger, Gu is something you’ll truly love.

Pros

  • A single sachet comprises 100 calories that include 22 g of carbohydrates and essential electrolytes
  • Provides long-lasting energy through maltodextrin and quick-energy bursts through fructose
  • The Gu gels help reduce mental fatigue and aid in recovery of muscles
  • Available in a wide range of flavors
  • Glucose syrup stops the Gu gels from becoming too bitter
  • Fantastic alternative to sports drinks
  • Contains branched amino acids and citric acid

Cons

  • Can be a bit too viscous for some

3. Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel

Only available in a box of 21, the Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel does a remarkable job of releasing clean energy in an instant, allowing the rider to excel under any extreme cycling condition. It also helps that this gel is available in a wide variety of flavors including mango, blackberry, vanilla, apple pear, lemon ginger, and strawberry.  

Boasting 22 g of carbohydrates in an 80 calorie dose, the gels are pretty cheap too. You’d have to pay a little over a dollar for a packet, but that’s certainly a small price to pay for such a wonderful performance-enhancing fuel source.

Of course, the Gatorade Endurance Gels do contain maltodextrin, which means that you can not only expect a sudden burst of energy with the gel but also a sustained, slower release kick for grueling, extended sessions.  

Other positives, you ask? Well, the gel has an innocuous taste and doesn’t cause stomach upset.

However, on the downside, you’d have to drink water to aid digestion. So, be sure to have your bike water bottle always filled.

Pros

  • Wide range of flavors
  • Affordable pricing
  • Great alternative to sports drinks
  • One of the best energy gels for replenishing your body
  • Can be consumed before, during mid-ride, and after an endurance-based activity
  • Performs similarly to the Gatorade sports nutrition fruit juice

Cons

  • You’d need to drink water to aid digestion

4. Clif Shot Energy Gel

If you were to purchase Clif Shot, you’d get to taste the 8 different flavors offered by the energy gel. These flavors that range from chocolate cherry to espresso, citrus chocolate to strawberry, are tasty, to say the least.

Of course, the energy gel also does what it’s supposed to do—provide energy.

Boosted by the presence of fast-acting carbohydrates, caffeine, tapioca syrup, essential electrolytes, you can be assured of a quick energy boost with the Clif Shot Gel. Plus, the fact that the majority of ingredients used on the Clif Gel are organic only adds to the charm.

I also like the fact that the Clif Gel boasts a rather impressive packaging design. Not only is it easy to open because of its streamlined “Litter Leash,” but it’s also convenient to carry because of its light weight.

In essence, the Clif Shot Energy Gel is a great tasting, easy-to-digest caffeine boost best-suited for long cycling sessions or race days. So, make sure you try it!

The gel version is similar to the Clif energy bars in terms of taste and performance.

Pros

  • Available in 4 different caffeine levels to customize your energy requirements
  • Benefits from an awesome packaging
  • One of the best energy gels in terms of flavor options
  • Similar to the Clif energy bars
  • The Clif gels are great alternatives to an exercise energy bar

Cons

  • The Clif gel products must be consumed with water
  • It can get quite sticky on your hands

5. Huma Chia Energy Gel

Available for purchase in a variety pack of 8, with each packet boasting a unique flavor, the Huma Chia Energy Gel is a fantastic “quick-consumption” choice for serious riders on race days as it provides quick bursts of energy and helps your depleted muscles heal in record time.

Plus, the fact that the Huma Chia Energy Gel is an all-natural gel only adds to its charm.

Also, let’s not forget that the energy gel, in addition to being vegan-friendly, is also completely dairy-free and gluten-free.

I must also speak glowingly about the packaging of the Huma Chia Energy Gel. Not only is the packaging attractive and colorful, but the makers have also knocked the ball out of the park with the design of the packet, making it squeezable and easy to use.

This user-friendly product is available in various flavors including lemonade, mangoes, café mocha, blueberries, apple and cinnamon, chocolate, raspberries, and strawberries.

All in all, this product is truly worth its weight in gold.

Pros

  • The Huma organic energy gels have no weird after taste
  • Provides even distribution of energy
  • Doesn’t contain a high level of caffeine
  • The Huma organic energy gels come dairy-free and gluten-free
  • One of the best energy gels for young kids
  • Can be consumed mid-ride

Cons

  • Some may find the flavors too concentrated for their liking

Conclusion

More often than not, many energy gels contain a blend of maltodextrin, fructose, and sugar. This blend not only provides energy to the muscles but also works well at lengthening the shelf life of the gels.

Some gels may even have concentrated levels of caffeine to offer the extra kick. There are also bikers who prefer home-made energy gels, with brown rice syrup being the predominant ingredient.

Also, while some perform and taste similar to a sports nutrition fruit juice, other gel products can’t be consumed without water.

To be on the safe side, only consume energy gels of recognized brands as knock-off products can do more harm than good.

Now that you’re aware of the importance of energy gels and how they help refuel your body for maximum performance, it is time for you to make your pick. My go-to energy gel is the Huma Chia Energy Gel for its all-natural ingredients.