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The Precision Hydration PF 30 Energy Gels are quite expensive but pack in a lot of energy per gel, have a simple yet effective ingredients list, and are easy to get down – and keep there – thanks to good consistency and being less sweet than competitors.
More carbs means more energy to keep you fuelled on those long or intense efforts, and the higher energy density means less pocket space is needed for the same level of bonk prevention. You can make your own jokes about saggy Y-Fronts providing the same thing cheaper here.
It's even more impressive when you consider that it's only a 51g gel, while many are 60g. The size means you can fit plenty into even small jersey pockets without shirking on energy.
As we've seen with many energy drinks recently, the PF 30 gels have a 2:1 ratio of maltodextrin to fructose. The idea is the fructose allows you to digest and use more carbohydrates. Out on the road I found them easy on the stomach, and also easy to get down, thanks to a mild taste and thinnish consistency (unlike some other high-carb gels, such as Maurten Gel100).
The PF 30s are not overly sweet, so I wasn't reaching for a water bottle after each one. I could happily consume a few of these per hour, although they are only available in this one 'original' flavour.
Once opened, the tear off stays attached to the packet, which is neat – it's less likely to end up littering a hedge.
Vegans can also partake, which isn't the case with all gels, and these gels are made with natural (and refreshingly few) ingredients: maltodextrin, water, fructose, pectin, citric acid and a couple of preservatives (potassium sorbate and calcium lactate). These things are also certified by Informed Sport.
Handily, Precision Hydration has a nice simple carb calculator that's genuinely useful for choosing fuelling strategies according to duration and intensity.
This box of four costs £8.99, which works out at £2.25 per gel, though they are also available in packs of 15 or 30 – though even the biggest box, at £67.43, only reduces the unit cost to £2.23. Then again, if the offers of 10 and 20 percent off the two bigger boxes are permanent, prices fall to £2 and £1.80 each respectively.
That makes 30 of these the same price as 30 Beta Fuel gels, but as those are also available at £2 a pop for six, they're cheaper if you don't want loads.
Beta Fuel also contains more carbs (40g), but they're stronger tasting and not vegan friendly.
For me, gels of this cost are best saved for racing; when the tempo is lower and there's more time for fuelling, I'll stick with something cheaper. But in the heat of a race or when pocket space is low – and where the carb concentration is key – these are great. There is no funny consistency, they're easy to eat and the flavour is subtle – they're not so sickly they require washing down.
High carb, subtle tasting energy gels that are very easy to get down
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Precision Hydration PF 30 Energy Gel (4 gels)
Size tested: 51g
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?
Precision Hydration says, "The most efficient way to get 30g of carbohydrate into your system fast. Our gels have a very mild, neutral taste reducing flavour fatigue during longer efforts. The texture is designed to reduce stickiness in the mouth and minimise the need to wash them down with fluid immediately."
I agree with all that; the energy per gel is good, and they're easy to get down.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Informed Sport certified
All natural ingredients
2:1 glucose to fructose ratio
Energy: 120 Kcal / 512 Kj per 51g gel (236 Kcal / 1003 Kj per 100g)
Protein: < 0.1g per 51g gel (< 0.1g per 100g)
Fats: < 0.1g per 51g gel (< 0.1g per 100g)
Carbohydrates: 30g per 51g gel (59g per 100g)
Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Water, Fructose, Pectin, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Lactate).
Nicely thought out packaging; gel tear-offs can be hard to keep track of, and I often see them littering the roadside after races. This design stays attached.
No stomach issues.
Expensive per gel (especially as a four-pack), but against the typical 20g-of-carbs options the PF30s work out alright. For me the price pins these as good for races, but not training.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: good energy per gel, and small enough to fit plenty in to my relatively small skinsuit pockets.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The taste and consistency.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're expensive – a similar price to the bigger and carbier SIS Beta Fuel gels, and more than most others (if packing more energy).
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 overall score
Great taste and consistency, impressive energy content and cleverly functional packaging. It's nice to see a simple ingredients list that works. They're expensive, but if you're racing they're worth it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,