The MuleBar Kicks Natural Energy Gel is a great gel that's hard to beat in terms of taste, contents, and 'natural' credentials.
As natural as gels come
Long and short term energy boost
Could be cheaper
In terms of ‘natural’ credentials The MuleBar Kicks Natural Energy Gel is hard to beat. Only six ingredients are listed on the packaging, five of which you could probably pick up from your local health foods shops (the only exception is ‘natural flavourings’, so we’ll let MuleBar off on that one).
The non-caffeine gel is available in three flavours: Salted Caramel, Apple Strudel, and Cherry Bomb. Two caffeine versions are also available: Lemon Zinger, with 50mg of caffeine, and Café Cortado with 100mg, or roughly half the hit you’d expect to get in an espresso.
We tested the Salty Caramel variety, an unusual flavour that was a welcome departure from the overly sweetened fruity gels we’re used to. The gel is still quite thick and sticky, certainly different from the lighter flavours offered by the CNP Hydro Gel, but this seems a good match for a flavour that will to mind the sort of indulgent dessert that we all try so hard to avoid.
In terms of nutrition, the 37g MuleBar gel delivers a big energy boost, with 25g of carbohydrate per serving, of which 19g is sugar. With such a high sugar content, you might expect that all the energy would be delivered in one, big, short-lasting sugary burst, such is the case with the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel.
However the sugar is delivered from two sources: brown rice syrup, with a high glycaemic index (GI) which means the sugar is delivered into the blood stream quickly, and agave syrup, with a very low GI, meaning the sugar is absorbed over a longer period. Effectively what this means is that you benefit both from the initial energy hit that you get from a traditional gel, and from the longer term boost of an energy bar or cereal bar.
Aside from the brown rice and agave syrups, the MuleBar gel also include pink Himalayan crystal salt. Not only does this contribute to the yummy Salty Caramel flavour, but also provides electrolytes to prevent dehydration, and we never had any problems with cramps due to lack of salt while testing the MuleBar gel.
At £37 for a box of 24, the MuleBar Kicks Natural Energy gel sits around about the midpoint in the very competitive cycling nutrition market, and seems like a reasonable cost for a very good gel. And if you like a few of MuleBar’s other products, they also offer custom boxes containing whatever mix of products you want, and at exactly the same price.
For more details visit the MuleBar website (opens in new tab).
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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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