We got our eager mitts on a few samples of the new Gel and Bar flavours from Natural treat pedlars, Mule Bar. With winter training now on most riders agenda, we let Mike Moore from Paleo Racing give these new flavours the winter training test... Would these tasty treats ease the pain of those long, hard winter training rides??
MuleBar Fast Natural Energy Gel - Salted Caramel flavour (37g)
"On picking up this gel, my first thoughts were to look at the ingredient list which in this case allows me to start with some great news to kick off the review. It's refreshing to see an energy product that doesn't list maltodextrin and other nasty sugars as one of its main ingredients - basically the junk food of the supplement world. In fact the main source of energy is from brown rice syrup and agave syrup (both organic if you're bothered about that sort of thing!). It also includes pink Himalayan salt, which is supposed to be a Good Thing(TM), but I'll let you make your own minds up about that.
Moving on to the actual gel itself - the Easy Tear tab on the top allows for the gel to be opened very easily on the bike, as you would hope. Unfortunately it doesn't feature a litter tag like some other brands do, but you can't have everything your own way. When I came to actually eat the thing on a training ride, my taste buds rejoiced. The flavour is wonderful! It has a wonderfully caramel taste to it, without any of the salt coming through. It is almost identical to the inside of a Rolo, although unfortunately - it has the same texture. The one downside is that this gel is thick... Really really thick. I struggled to eat this one-handed and ensure I actually got my money's worth from it. It is best eaten two-handed in order to really squeeze it out, which sucks as the taste is so good.
I didn't find it too sweet, like many other gels on the market, neither did it leave a film on the inside of my mouth - however this may be due to the copious amounts of water needed to digest it. The actual energy boost from it is not as sudden as other gels on the market, which also means there is no sudden energy crash either. Definitely recommended on flavour alone, I just wish it was just a bit more runny."
MuleBar Natural energy Bar - Eastern Express flavour (56g)
"I think that too often athletes pick up gels and bars and simply expect them to give them some form of energy without giving too much thought to their contents. Which is why I'm pleased to say that MuleBar actually seem to have done some homework and provided me with a bar that is not full of the nasty cheap sugar and ingredients typically found in energy supplements. The ingredients listed on this bar includes rice syrup as the main ingredient, followed by various nuts, seeds and dried fruit as well as a load of flavours typically found in a home cooked curry (namely coriander, cumin, ginger, cayenne pepper and others).
Such a list of flavours naturally made me a tad apprehensive - do I really want to be eating that when I'm riding? I can vouchsafe that actually this bar tastes of... very little. Quite surprisingly really. There is a taste of the oats and pistachios, with a touch of heat as an after-taste, but there is no real curry flavour. Despite this oddity, I think the bar works better for it. I'm not a fan of sticky and sickly sweet foods on the bike, and this bar is quite a simple, plain and savoury food. Saying that, I'm still not a fan of the cayenne pepper!
Much like other bars, this compostable wrapper isn't the easiest to open one-handed without gratuitous use of teeth, spitting and a bit of determination. Once inside the texture is firm, chewy without being sticky with just a bit of crunch provided by the nuts. It's exceedingly easy to eat, reasonably dense and gives a nice slow burn energy boost.
It's nice to have an energy bar that isn't full of sugar and trying to be a replacement for a Mars Bar or so dry you choke on it mid-ride. I wasn't the biggest fan of the flavour, but would be very interested to try the Hunza Nut or Pina Colada flavours if they have the same sort of texture and attention to the ingredients."
Words - Mike Moore
For more details on the MuleBar Salted Caramel Kicks Energy Gel or the Eastern Express Savoury Energy Bar check out - www.MuleBar.com