Sports nutrition brand OTE provides a decent value, natural-tasting energy drink option for people fed up with sweet and sickly alternatives – as long as you like lemon and lime.
The lemon and lime flavour tested here is one of the lightest tasting energy drinks I've ever tried, when made up to instructions, which means you're not left grabbing for your other bottle filled with plain water to wash it down with. For me, at least, that's great news.
Made up to those instructions, a 43g serving in a 500ml solution will, says OTE – partner to Team Lotto NL Jumbo – provide you with 45-60 minutes of energy (160kcals from 40g of carbohydrates, of which 8.8g are sugars) depending on your metabolic rate and workload on the bike. This, of course, assumes you aren't taking on board other calories via gels, bars and the like too. You're most likely to be using it as part of a wider nutrition plan, especially for sportives, audax events, or a long club ride, although on paper it would work well as a standalone option if you enjoy a spot of crit racing, say, and don't want to fiddle with wrappers in a busy peloton.
In reality, it seems to meet the energy claims – I could easily see myself surviving on just this drink for that amount of time if needed, and it's here where that light taste and pH neutral formula comes into its own. With (often) strong tasting gels and energy bars and sweets lining cyclists' pockets, it offers an easily palatable alternative for when your taste buds and stomach are crying 'enough!'. In the mouth, it's not until you've swallowed the fluid that the lemon and lime flavour comes through.
The energy blend comes from a mix of maltodextrin, fructose and added electrolytes designed to replace the salt lost through sweating. Certainly, after a hot sunny Sunday club ride I noticed more salt being deposited on my jersey than if I'd only been using water, indicating that I was making good use of those electrolytes, and my muscles felt far less fatigued than I would have expected had I been using only water come the end of the ride.
Mixability is also extremely good – I noticed no leftover undissolved powder at the bottom of my bottle, and none of the accompanying salty/sugary spike you sometimes get with other drinks when you polish off a serving. Additionally, the flavour of the drink doesn't linger once you wash your bottle (properly, I might add) and use it with water again, which earns another thumbs up from me.
For the environmentally conscious, OTE provides this 1.2kg bulk pack in a fully recyclable, resealable pouch, which holds up very well against repeated opening and closing. After a full month of use the powder has remained perfectly usable, with no seepage of damp causing any unwanted solidification. From this pack you'll get 28 servings, and at an RRP of £24 it represents reasonable value for money, especially when up against OTE's own £1.35-a-pop sachets.
Overall, this is one of the best energy-delivering drinks out there, and if you're keen on natural energy sources for your rides, OTE's philosophy should keep you happy. The lemon and lime flavour is going to appeal to some and not others, as with all energy drink flavours, but with orange, blackcurrant and vanilla also available there's likely to be a winner in there for most tastes.
OTE's energy drink is up there with the best of them – very drinkable, and available in a range of flavours
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Make and model: OTE Lemon and Lime Energy Drink Bulk Pack
Size tested: 1.2kg, Lemon and Lime
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
OTE says: "OTE Powdered Energy Drink has been designed and developed to help you maximise your workout. The balanced electrolytes promote fluid uptake and help you remain hydrated, while the carbohydrate fuels your working muscles during exercise.
"It is important to remain hydrated throughout your workout; even just a little dehydration can have a negative effect on your performance. Studies show carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged exercise.
"The lemon and lime flavour provides a delicious fruity taste that is easy to consume anytime during your workout. So, whether you're exercising for just one hour or taking part in a triathlon, you can look forward to using OTE Energy Drink to help you remain hydrated, and to continue delivering energy to your working muscles.
"Also suitable for vegans and vegetarians."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Per serving 500ml solution:
Energy: 680kJ / 160Kcal
of which saturates: 0g
of which sugars: 8.8g
Resealable tab works well and consistently, with the pack made of solid material.
Kept me going all day when used in conjunction with other solid food sources.
Good, solid packaging used.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – kept me hydrated and energised when I needed it, performing well in warm conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Packaging and mixability and the fact that it's not sickly sweet.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lemon and lime flavour polarised opinion – you either like it or you don't, which is much the same with every energy drink out there. There are other flavours available if you know lemon and lime won't do it for you.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 25 Height: 188cm Weight: 83kg
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding