The Clif Bar company produces a wide range of energy food and various healthy snacks, but best-known is the original product that gives its name to the whole organisation - the Clif Bar itself – and here we're testing a new flavour: chocolate chip.
First off, let's study the taste and texture. It comes as a bit of a surprise. Nothing like those well-known chocolate chip biscuits you get in purple packets. The chocolate chip Clif Bar is chewy, not crunchy, and the 'chips' of chocolate are small and chewy too. But that's not to say this bar doesn't taste delicious. It's juicy and rich - and chocolate-flavoured, naturally - more like a slab of firm chocolate cake.
Now let's study what it's made of. The main ingredients include brown rice syrup, oats, cane juice, dried apricots, various soya derivatives, cocoa butter, dates paste and sunflower oil. The packaging informs us that the ingredients are all natural and 70% organic.
And next, the energy. The 50g bars we're testing contain 195 calories. This consist of 7.5g of protein, 33g of carb (of which sugars are 15g), 3.5g of fat (of which saturates are 1.5g) and 2g of fibre.
This gives approximately 15% protein, 66% carb (of which sugars are 30%), 7% fat (of which saturates are 3%) and 4% fibre as well.
(Cliff Bars are also available in 68g sizes - the protein:carb:fat percentages will be very similar.)
Some energy products are pure carb, designed for races or training rides of between one and two hours. Once you get over about two hours, and especially over three, most sports nutritionists agree that a bit of protein is desirable. In layman's terms 'it helps the carb work better' and an ideal protein:carb ratio is reckoned to be about 1:4 - making the Clif Bar just about spot on.
Having said that, some cyclists might find it too stodgy to be the only source of energy on a long sportive or other hard ride. These bars are more suitable for steadier training rides or touring. I tested a few chocolate chip bars on a recent Audax ride through Wales, and they powered me along nicely. If you prefer more conventional tastes and textures, rather than the more artificial flavour of gels, they're a good choice.
Even if you don't use Clif Bars as an energy product on the bike, they're a great snack to have with a cup of tea at work or home, instead of a mainstream brand of chocolate bar. And as Cliff Bars have lower percentages of saturated fats and refined sugars than, say, a Mars or Double Decker, they are better for your health.
On cost, the 50g Clif Bars cost £1.30 each. Not cheap compared to the aforementioned Mars or Double Decker, but on a par with other energy food products. You can save a bit by buying in bulk - a box of 15 bars goes for around £18 at various on-line stores.
Great tasting energy food from a well-known brand, perfect for touring and steady rides.
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Make and model: Clif Bar Chocolate chip energy bar
Size tested: n/a
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?
The Clif Bar website says 'It's a pretty simple equation: put good food in - get good performance out. The bonus is that all-natural and organic foods aren't just good for your body, they're also good for the planet. With a mix of whole grains, protein and fiber, Clif Bar gives you sustained energy to be in it to your limit.' On another page of the website there's a bit more detail: 'During prolonged, lower intensity exercise such as hiking or bike touring, Clif Bars can be eaten during activity to help satiate hunger and meet carbohydrate demands. Clif Bars can also be eaten as a snack between meals or during a long, busy day to help sustain energy.' In our experience that seems a fair claim.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,