The 8 Best Energy Gels for Cycling in 2021

Jan Poshenko
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Energy gels are a great way to increase the benefits of your long or short cycling workout. No matter if you are a competitor in triathlon, cycling a fast or slow pace or competing for charity, having the right nutritional supplements and hydration can turn a good workout into a superb workout.

It’s no secret that energy gels are one of the top bicycle accessories for cyclists on the market today. In fact, they are used by many of the world’s top riders and teams to guarantee high energy levels, perfect muscle carbohydrate replenishment and fuel for the brain.

Whether you’re a nutritional expert or don’t know the difference between a carbohydrate and protein, the best energy gels to buy are here for you.

Here are the 8 best energy gels for cycling in 2021.

NameCategoryProduct
Science in Sport Energy Gel Variety PackBest OverallScience in Sport Energy Gel Variety Pack
Glukos, Glucose Liquid Energy GelBudget PickGlukos, Glucose Liquid Energy Gel
GU Energy Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy GelUpgrade PickGU Energy Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel

1. Science in Sport Energy Gel Variety Pack

Our rating: 9 / 10

Science in Sport Energy Gel Variety Pack

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2. GU Energy Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel

Our rating: 9 / 10

GU Energy Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel

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Pros:

  • Made with a blend of fast-acting carbohydrates and D-Ribose, which give instant energy.
  • Offers a balanced source of carbohydrates and electrolytes.
  • Comes in the most palatable flavors like Banana, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, and Berry.
  • Made with a good mix of vitamins, electrolytes, nutrients, and sodium to keep you hydrated.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons:

  • Contains artificial flavors and aspartame.
  • Some flavors aren’t the best tasting (but who would expect to be tasting much when climbing Alpe d’Huez?).
  • Comes with 24 gels. One slight issue is that it’s not one of the larger packs, which could lead to your endurance running out after a short while.

With its low price and ability to provide ample amounts of energy, GU Energy Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel is my go-to energy gel for races lasting longer than a couple of hours.

There are many other choices out there for runners and cyclists; however, most of the others taste absolutely disgusting.

3. GU Energy Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gel

Our rating: 8 / 10

GU Energy Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gel

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Pros:

  • The 24-count selection box is pretty generous in size, allowing cyclists to reload during long rides.
  • GU Energy’s fast-acting formula provided energy and fuel that had me feeling fresh and ready to go without a crash after the race was over.

Cons:

  • This product may be too concentrated if taken during a training ride.
  • Shaker Cups are not included in the package, so be sure to use your own shaker cup when mixing this product.

GU Energy is one of the best energy gels on the market in my opinion because of its fast-acting ingredients. It’s a solid mix of different forms of carbohydrate and sugar in order to supply your body with the energy it needs to finish your ride strong.

Each gel pack has 60 calories, providing a portable source of carbohydrate to elevate your metabolism to its maximum performance level to maintain your effort. Mixed into a favorite beverage like water, GU Energy can provide you with up to 50% of the total daily calories consumed on a bike ride or a race.

The 24 pack collection allows you to stock up on reloading energy in a variety of flavors. Available in Strawberry, Kiwi Strawberry, Grape, Banana, Orange Tangerine, and Berry, you can be energized and refreshed all day long.

4. CLIF SHOT

Our rating: 8 / 10

CLIF SHOT

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Pros:

  • 220 Calories
  • 24 Packets
  • Tasty
  • Smooth Consistency

5. PowerBar PowerGel Hydro

Our rating: 8 / 10

PowerBar PowerGel Hydro

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Pros:

  • Unique orange Strawberry and Blueberry flavor
  • 5.9 gram of carbohydrates and electrolytes in one gel

6. Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel

Our rating: 7 / 10

Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • It provides energy without bloating
  • It’s hassle-free

Cons:

  • Loss can occur during strenuous exercise
  • The flavor is a bit difficult to hide

Berry, 20 Pack.

The Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel is a great choice for long rides or running workouts. This gel also comes in multiple flavors and is affordable compared to most other gels on the market.

It is an ideal choice for endurance athletes who need to replace lost energy in order to keep going.

7. Honey Stinger Classic Energy Gel

Our rating: 7 / 10

Honey Stinger Classic Energy Gel

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Pros:

  • Very Portable
  • Low Fat & Sugar Content

Cons:

  • Some Customers Complain of The Taste
  • Some Customers Say That The Packaging Leaks

Honey Stinger’s Classic Energy Gel is my pick for the best gel for a variety of reasons.

First of all, this gel is really easy to travel with. The bottles are small, so you can put them in a jersey pocket or in the little baggy that comes with a pack of gels and store them in your jersey so you don’t have to worry about carrying a larger baggy with you.

This isn’t something that bothers me personally, but it’s worth mentioning because some people don’t like the idea of carrying a backpack of food while riding.

8. Glukos, Glucose Liquid Energy Gel

Our rating: 7 / 10

Glukos, Glucose Liquid Energy Gel

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Pros:

  • Low-calorie energy gel without any artificial flavors
  • The 42 grams of carbohydrates per single gel is more than enough to fuel up an intense cycling activity
  • The company uses a vegan-friendly formula in all their gels
  • No colors were added to the formula
  • Glukos includes a customized box to make sure that your gels arrive unharmed

Glukos was born out of the scientific and medical research and it is one of the leading companies in this domain. Their cycling gels contain ingredients that offer the necessary nutrients and vitamins that intensify the performance. The gels are packed with easily digestible carbohydrates that boost the energy levels. The gels also contain BCAAs which are essential in the recovery from a heavy workout. All these gels come with no artificial flavors or colors. All the vitamins and nutrients are 100% natural and designed in collaboration with top medical experts. The gels are gluten free. The company includes all the necessary nutrition in the gels while keeping the calories increment to minimum levels.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do energy gels work for cycling?

The answer is yes, but not for every rider. Cycling is different than running, and the way that glucose is used to create energy is different in runners than it is in cyclists.

Gels are used to effectively deliver fast-burning glucose that is already in liquid form, which is perfect for quickly getting energy to your muscles in the form of glycogen.

Without getting too in-depth on the matter, the glucose in your bloodstream can get the job done; it just takes longer for your body to process it into the form that your muscles need.

Simply put, there will be a moment during a ride when your muscles will need more fuel than you can carry on your body. That is when you should be looking to add in gels to your nutrition.

When should you start using energy gels?

The most important decision when purchasing a cycling energy gel is deciding when you should consume one. The right time might be early in your ride, but it could also be 10 or 15 miles in.

It depends on the time of year and how hot or cold it is outside. It may also depend on whether you’re taking part in a time trial or climbing a mountain. For the average road cyclist, however, an energy gel around the 60- to 90-minute mark is a good starting point.

How often should I take energy gels when cycling?

As no two cyclists are alike, there is no reason why their approach to hydration and nutrition should also be identical. What may be a perfect dose of energy gel for one cyclist could prove overly excessive for another.

What if I were to tell you that some elite cyclists don’t take energy gels while racing? Would you be surprised? Well, that’s the case.

An elite racer, such as Lizzie Deignan, is monitored so closely by her team and coach that they know exactly how much she needs in terms of nutrition on the bike.

One thing to remember:

As a beginner cyclist, it is harder for your body to process nutrition on the bike. As your muscles become accustomed to regular exercise, you can take on (and handle) more. The more often you ride, the more you become adapted to it, in terms of athletic ability, and nutritional needs.

What are the best energy gels for cycling?

Energy gels are a popular and practical tool for cyclists who need a quick boost in energy. In fact, most cyclists carry the dense goo in their jersey pockets before and during rides.

Typically, cyclists prefer the energy gels that come in squeezable gel packets because it’s faster to rub the goo on your tongue rather than spilling in your hands and then into your mouth.

They are sold in all varieties, and you can even find gels that contain different types of sugars to satisfy the contradictory tastes of most cyclists.

Your body will digest energy gels quickly, which means you don’t have to wait that long for the digestible energy to kick in. Energy gels are a favorite for cyclists because they are convenient and easy to carry.

Conclusion

There’s a lot of things that go into picking the best energy gel for your cycling needs. These days there are so many options, and choosing can be downright mind-boggling if you don’t know what you’re doing. We hope this list can help you find the best cycling gel to suit your requirements and put you on the winning path.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Science in Sport Energy Gel Variety PackBest OverallScience in Sport Energy Gel Variety Pack
Glukos, Glucose Liquid Energy GelBudget PickGlukos, Glucose Liquid Energy Gel
GU Energy Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy GelUpgrade PickGU Energy Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel