Gels for days… but which ones are for you?

We’re spoilt for choice at the checkout counter of every local bike shop by the multitude of energy supplement options. But it can be a bit awkward to stand around reading the backs of gel packs, like some food snob, while the sales person waits impatiently behind the till. So here are a few options we looked into for you.

98235Enervit Enervitene Sport

Unlike most gels the Enervitene Sport gels come in what Enervit call a ‘Cheerpack’ – which is a larger sachet with a screw top lid. What makes that so great is you have two servings in one convenient packet, or more if you prefer smaller servings, because with a screw top you can control your serving size. In addition to the usual quick burst of energy offered by all gels the Enervitene Sports gels also contain group B vitamins and caffeine.
Texture: Slightly less viscous than most gels – almost a sports drink like mouth feel which then becomes more viscous with a gel like finish.
Sachet Size: 60g
Flavours: Citrus and Orange
Main Ingredients: Fructose and Glucose syrups

Nutritional Information (per 100g):
Energy value: 789KJ
Carbohydrates: 46,4g
Protein: 0g
RRP: R50

32Gi_Vanilla_Sports_Gel image32Gi Sports Gel

We did an extensive review of the 32Gi gels in the August issue of Full Sus but for their packaging alone they deserve another mention here. The super clever snap packet is environmentally friendly as there’s no bit, or lid, that gets torn off and dropped on the trails. 32Gi uses GMO free brown rice syrup as the main ingredient and being locally made they’re exceptionally competitively priced.
Texture: Sticky and fairly viscous but without the globular mouth feel of some gels.
Sachet Size: 30g
Flavours: Vanilla and Coffee
Main Ingredients: Brown Rice Syrup

Nutritional Information (per 100ml):
Energy value: 1 278Kj
Carbohydrates: 74g
Protein: 1.2g
RRP: R19

GU Energy GelPrint

GU is virtually to energy gels what PVM’s Energy Bar is to energy bars. Saying, “pass me a goo” isn’t necessarily brand specific anymore – it’s just a call for an energy gel. And with their range of flavours and handy 100 calories (418Kj) per sachet serving GU’s are easy to use and readily available from most bike shops and sports stores so you’re unlikely to get caught without one for a ride or race.
Texture: Very viscous and for want of a better word gooey.
Sachet Size: 32g
Flavours: 15 different flavours including Espresso Love, Salted Caramel and Just Plain.
Main Ingredients: Maltodextrin

Nutritional Information (per 100g):
Energy value: 1 308Kj
Carbohydrates: 68.8g
Protein: 0g
RRP: R21

USN vooma-ultraUSN Vooma Ultra

USN’s Vooma Ultra gel comes in two handy containers, firstly in a regular sized sachet with the normal tear/bit off top, and secondly in a toothpaste style tube containing two servings, with a resealable lid. The USN gels are formulated to help reduce muscle cramping too – which given that you’re most likely to be reaching for a gel in the final kilometres of your ride or race is particularly useful. USN is also actually a local company – a fact that’s often overlooked perhaps because of their slick marketing and packaging – so they can produce their products at a very competitive price.
Texture: Like warm treacle, less viscous than the rest (except for the Enervit gel) but more sticky.
Sachet Size: 36g sachet or 80g tube (Remember to remove the tamperproof seal between the cap and the tube before you start your ride on the 80g Vooma tube.)
Flavours: Peach, Chocolate, Vanilla, Espresso
Main Ingredients: Carb mix of Maltodextrin, Fructose, Palatinose and Isomaltulose.

Nutritional Information (per 100g):
Energy value: 1 193Kj
Carbohydrates: 69.5g
Protein: 0.5g
RRP: R14 (36g) & R25 (80g)


The most protein rich of the gels on show here, the PVM Octane Gels are formulated from 84% carbohydrates, 4% protein, and 12% fat. They, like their USN counterparts, contain L-Carnitine which improves fat metabolism and Glutamine which helps prevents fatigue and could play an essential role in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. The caffeine containing chocolate flavour is clearly marked as containing 100mg of caffeine for those of you who are either looking for, or looking to avoid that particular stimulant.
Texture: Viscous but not as gooey as the GU, does tend to make globules in your mouth.
Sachet Size: 35g
Flavours: Chocolate, Vanilla, Citrus and Cherry
Main Ingredients: Polysaccharides and Maltose

Nutritional Information (per 100g):
Energy value: 1 275kJ
Carbohydrates: 64g
Protein: 3.1g
RRP: R20

Sus the Advice

We’re all different and while some gels will agree with your riding buddy they might give you digestive issues. So it’s always best to test gels on training rides and consume them with a hearty sip of fluid.

Relying purely on gels for energy on a long ride is a sure way to induce an upset stomach for most riders – so unless you’re a serious race snake looking for 100% power 100% of the time – use gels in the last hour/15 – 20km of your ride to help you finish strong.

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