PowerBar's Energize bars have had an ingredient overhaul, now boasting more natural sources of energy in a great tasting bar – complete with alternative flavours too.
If you'd asked me why I wouldn't buy PowerBar's original Energize bars in the past, despite the admittedly great taste (I first enjoyed them at the Paris-Nice Challenge this early spring), it would have been because of the ingredients list, which looked a bit like a science experiment. Syrups, miscellaneous fruit 'preparations' and many types of acids just didn't sit well with me as part of a regular source of energy, as effective as they were in actually fuelling me.
It seems there are other consumers like me out there, too, because the new Energize bars have gone a long way to address this. Now, the vast majority of the bars are sourced from nature – okay, with a lot of concentrating going on – but, nevertheless, from nature, with the addition of nuts too.
As a result, you can feel a little more at ease with the makeup of the bars, and the energy punch they provide is just as effective. It's hard to compare them exactly as each bar has slightly different ingredients depending on the flavour, but they seem really very good at keeping you energised.
If anything, I'd say the energy is slightly longer lasting than before, probably thanks to the inclusion of more natural sugars and nuts that will digest and release energy at different rates, as well as the base dual-source C2Max carbohydrate source that PowerBar favours. As a side effect, that means the potential spike is slightly less too, making them more appetising over prolonged use.
The new flavours are also appetising – Bella Italia, Tropical Mango, Gingerbread, Almond Vanilla and Salty Peanut. All are delicious, with the more savoury flavours of Salty Peanut and Bella Italia (a tomato basil flavour) mixing things up alongside the sweeter marshmallow-like Almond Vanilla, and Gingerbread and Mango.
The texture is PowerBar Energize bar-esque: slightly sticky and chewy, encouraging you to chew to fully release the energy. Some of you won't like that – preferring to keep chewing to a minimum – but I had no issues, and found it helped me to savour the excellent flavours. You can genuinely consume three or four on a long day in the saddle without any issues – with your taste buds or your gut – and actually look forward to having them too.
A mixed box is ideal to keep your taste buds guessing, coming in at £37.50 for a box of 25. That's £1.50 per bar, which can't be described as cheap but isn't the most expensive on the market either. Thanks to the fact you get approximately 36g of carbohydrate per bar, around 20g of which are sugars, you're getting a good chunk of what you can easily digest in one go.
Additionally, PowerBar has also gone to the trouble of adding salt to the Energize bars – 200mg per bar – which helps with muscle function too. As a result, if you're relying upon water only in your bidons, the bars are going to help keep your delicate salt balance in check, maximising your performance on the bike. While not necessarily an 'innovation' these days, it's certainly a key box to tick.
Where they are a little weaker than the original bars – probably the only area – is in the lack of protein per bar. Compared with the old bars, amino acid content has more than halved, but actually for their main purpose this has only served to focus the bars even more towards energy supply. Protein takes longer to digest, but luckily the reliance on natural sugars in these new bars also achieves a similar effect – keeping you satiated for a little longer with each bar.
The bottom line is, these bars are tasty, focused and represent a more (if not completely) natural energy source that you can't help but enjoy tucking into while on the bike.
Tasty, focused and naturally sourced energy bars with an eclectic mix of flavours
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road.cc test report
Make and model: PowerBar New Energize energy bars
Size tested: 25 x 55g
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?
PowerBar says: "For successful intense training or competition you should top up your energy levels before you start and refuel during exercise with up to 90g carbohydrates per hour depending on the intensity and duration.
"That's why PowerBar invented the first sports carbohydrate bar in the world back in 1986. Now we reinvented it from scratch, we kept the trusted performance of the original Energize and made it better than ever before! It's made with natural ingredients, is tastier and easier to chew – and still gives the energy kick it always has done!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- C2MAX Dual Source Carb Mix with natural ingredients such as fruit juices, oats and potato flakes
- New texture is easy to chew during sport and also makes the bar easy to unwrap
- Easy to digest
- Contains sodium, the main electrolyte lost through sweat
- Free from artificial flavours or colours
- 5 new flavours – sweet, fruity and savoury!
Can stand up to being transported for multiple rides.
A great energy source, and with the range of flavours shakes things up.
Bars can get a little softer when they heat up against your warm back, but this doesn't affect the flavour.
For energy bars as tasty as these, the value is ok.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – just what the doctor orders on a long ride.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
New flavours and taste, sustained energy release.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing. Some may find the texture not to their liking, but you'll need to try them to find out.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
They're moreish and don't tire the tastebuds, while packing the necessary energy.
About the tester
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