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Science in Sport (SiS) is a big proponent of the science of the energy gel. You've got isotonic ones, caffeine-enriched ones, nitrate-boosted ones, and so on. But with the SiS Go Energy + Electrolyte Gel, the company has focused on adding the electrolytes your body needs to stay well hydrated, as well as an energy boost. If they suit your body, they're very effective.
By adding specific concentrations of sodium, potassium and magnesium into the mix, your body is better equipped to absorb the water you take on board from your bidon alongside the 22g maltodextrin carbohydrate delivery per gel.
This is always a difficult claim to actually measure when out on the road and in the absence of a laboratory. But, with just water in my bidon and two gels as my only on-the-bike energy source, I found them potent enough to maintain my energy levels without giving me large spikes of energy, while muscle function (which can be impaired by a lack of electrolytes in your system) remained impressively consistent in tandem with water consumption.
SiS recommends you drink water alongside the gel to maintain your hydration levels – which you're likely to want to do anyway because of the consistency of the gel. They're not that thick, and after a few rides with a gel here and there they become no effort to swallow down, but they do leave a slight residue in the mouth and a squirt of water is just what's needed to clear it away. Strangely, SiS doesn't offer a recommended level of water to take on board per gel; even though this would largely depend on the intensity and conditions of your ride, a ball park figure would be helpful to guide you.
Because the gels are absorbed so quickly and don't hang about in your system, you're not left feeling bloated on the ride. As a sparing user of gels, often preferring solid food and drinks, I did initially encounter a small amount of digestive discomfort – particularly post-ride – when I relied on more than one during a ride. But once I'd used them on a couple of consecutive outings this stopped being an issue as my system got accustomed to processing them, alongside ample water intake.
It's always a good idea to trial your nutritional intake before relying upon it in a race/high intensity situation – my experience is testament to that – as well as building up your intake gradually to what your body can handle. For me, this means I'll avoid using two SiS isotonic gels plus one of these + Electrolyte ones per hour (as is recommended), and instead will stick to one of these, plus energy bars, water and energy drink bidons as and when I need them for the length and intensity of ride I'm on.
Back to the gels: on the flavour front this lemon and mint variety does sound a slightly odd combination, but it's pleasant enough, with the mint acting as a background note to the sweetness of the lemon, rather than a full-on blast of mouthwash. I like it, but if it's not for you, SiS does a raspberry flavour you might prefer.
Practically, it's a gel in usual gel packaging. It opens easily with a tug using your teeth, creating a large enough hole for you to gain easy access to the energy inside. Another positive is how the gel empties – there's very little left over in the packet, so when you store the waste in your pocket there's no leakage at all. The only thing I would say is take some care when tearing it open and gripping it at the same time, as the pressure of your grip can force some gel out and over your hands. You can also get left with slightly sharp edges around the open end, but as long as you actually put it in your mouth you're not going to have a problem.
For the athletes out there concerned with anti-doping testing, SiS products carry the Informed Sport logo, and are triple-tested for banned substances, adding a layer of assuredness to the product lines as a whole.
Six gels will cost you £8.99, working out at almost £1.50 per gel. This means they're not the cheapest source of energy you can get, but their performance overall does balance this out to some extent.
With all this in mind, I can wholeheartedly recommend the GO Energy + Electrolyte gels as part of your on-the-bike nutritional structure – the only caveat being that you build up your use gradually to find a balance that works for you.
These gels can really hit the spot out on the road – but take time to get used to them
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Science In Sport GO Energy + Electrolyte Gel
Size tested: 60ml 6 Pack Lemon & Mint
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?
SiS says: "The SiS GO Energy + Electrolyte gel provides athletes with a new and versatile option to enhance their training and racing. Electrolytes including sodium, potassium and magnesium are lost through sweat and need to be replaced in order to help the body maintain fluid balance, alongside an appropriate fluid intake.
"The SiS GO Energy + Electrolyte gel builds on the established science of the SiS GO Isotonic Energy gel, the world's first and only truly isotonic energy gel. The gel not only delivers a rapid supply of easily digestible carbohydrates (22 grams) for energy, but also provides 118mg sodium, 9.5mg potassium and 1.5mg magnesium per gel.
"To maintain fluid balance the body likes to regulate sodium concentration at 30 mmol/l. The electrolyte levels in SiS GO Energy + Electrolyte gel have been specially selected to help achieve this."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
per 60ml serving:
of which sugars: 0.7g
Fantastic at delivering energy, whether as planned intake or as a get-me-home resort.
At £1.50 per gel, taking on board the advice on the packet, the bottom line is these will cost you £4.50 per hour of riding.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Extremely well – no complaints for its single-use performance whatsoever.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Energy delivery with no spikes or related comedowns; a decent flavour too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They caused me a small amount of digestive discomfort post-ride, and took a few rides to get used to. I can't imagine ever using the three-gel-per-hour recommended use, even if two of those are the isotonic variety.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes – to use as I require them, rather than following the directions blindly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – with the caveat of using them sparingly and experimenting beforehand.
Use this box to explain your score
Overall, these gels are an excellent supplement for your energy needs, with great performance delivery. To get the most out of them, I recommend introducing them gradually into your nutritional plan.
About the tester
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