Ultrasun Sports Gel Sun Protection is a non-greasy and easy-to-apply clear gel liquid with UVA and UVB SPF50 protection. This ultra-protective sunscreen formula is designed specifically with sportspeople in mind and is water resistant, long lasting and sweatproof. The liquid gel comes in a 200ml bottle, but there is a 150ml SPF50 spray option too, and other sizes in other SPFs are available too.
Summer riding can be punishing enough without adding sunburn into the mix. Up the ante by adding in high altitude or sunnier climes and it can be a very real and painful risk. Finding a sunscreen that delivers on protection and is also sweatproof, ethical, non-greasy and easy to apply can be challenging. Swiss company Ultrasun has been a specialist in sun protection products since 1992 and produces a dazzling array of different formulas designed for every type of end user. The Sports range is particularly useful for cyclists, with its easy application and high protection options.
The Sports range comes in variants from SPF20 to SPF50. The SPF50 Gel is only available as a 200ml bottle, whereas the SPF30 and SPF20 both come in a larger – and therefore better value and more environmentally friendly – 400ml bottle as well, and also a more compact 100ml option. The 200ml bottle is fine for home use, but not ideal for carrying on a ride for re-application, which is a shame.
Application is super easy, and the clear liquid gel is light and non-greasy and rubs in very easily. The waterproof and sweat-resistant properties are clear in how difficult it is to wash off the hands after application. Once it's on, this stuff isn't going anywhere!
The smell takes some getting used to (it's quite chemically) but it's not offensive. Out on the road, it doesn't attract dust and bugs, as some greasier sun creams do, and it certainly delivers on protection. While re-application is advised (there is a detailed table with suggested application times for various skin types/tones on the company's website), it gave good protection for a sunny ride of a few hours for my pale and pasty sun-averse skin without re-applying. For longer rides, or at altitude, I'd consider taking a small bottle of the lower SPF – and hope that Ultrasun brings out a smaller bottle of the SPF50.
It's more expensive than the Pelotan product we tested, but in terms of the pedigree and reputation of the company, I'd say it makes for a reliable and trustworthy purchase.
The formula is vegetarian and vegan friendly, and does not contain any of the controversial ingredients that are harmful to coral reefs, which is good to know, and makes it a great option for sun, sea and cycling holidays.
Easy-to-apply, effective and non-greasy sun protection gel that is spot-on for cycling
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ultrasun Sports Gel Sun Protection SPF 50
Size tested: 200ml
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?
High SPF sun protection for sportspeople.
Ultrasun says: "Fast-absorbing, non-greasy, non sticky, transparent UVA and UVB (SPF50) sun protection gel with GSP for Infrared protection – ideal for active sports people, quick and easy to apply."
Does just what is described.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
SPF50 (Gel also available as SPF20 and SPF30)
Spot on for sports use. Easy to apply and delivered good levels of protection without greasiness.
Protection lasts well, but re-application is advisable on long-duration rides. Bottle is not ideal size for portability.
Bottle is too large/heavy to pack along on a ride, but SPF50 option only available as 200ml.
Easy to apply and not noticeable when on. No greasiness or discomfort.
It's not the cheapest product out there but this is a high-performance fine-tuned sports-focused product from a company with a long pedigree in sun protection.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Texture, ease of application, levels of protection, non-reef-damaging.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Size of bottle was neither large enough for economy/whole summer use, nor small enough to pack along on a ride. SPF20 and SPF30 options are also available as 100ml or 400ml bottles.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Marginally more expensive than the Pelotan tested on road.cc, but this is a sports-focused product from a long established company specialising in sun protection. More expensive than non-sports-specific sun protection options.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
An easy-to-use and high-quality sun protection product that lasts well and offers good levels of protection without greasiness. Ethical ingredients too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.