Down here at the road.cc Cotswold testing grounds, we've tried various ZipVit products over the years - and we like them. The ZV8 energy bar is no exception; a couple of these in the back pocket have kept us going nicely on several long rides in the hills hereabouts over the past month or two.
At 55-65g (depending on flavour), the ZV8 is larger than most other energy bars on the market, providing around 200 calories overall, of which around 40g is carb. Most sports nutritionists agree that athletes can absorb a maximum of around 60g carb per hour (depending on body mass and some other aspects) so eating an ZV8 every hour or so on long race, sportive or training ride goes a considerable way towards providing the energy most riders need - topped up with energy drinks, gels, flapjack or Hobnobs as preferred.
With the main ingredients including oat flakes, rice crisps, raisins and dried fruit, it's maybe not surprising that the ZV8s taste vaguely like a muesli bar. But they're more moist, and a slightly stickier, than a 'normal' muesli bar and so much easier to chew and swallow when cycling. They're also very tasty, and seem to digest easily without causing a glimmer of stomach cramp. If you don't like the taste or texture of some other energy bars, the ZV8s are well worth trying. They're delicious *and* they help you ride faster. How good is that?
The flavour we're testing is Uncoated Orange. Other options include Uncoated Chocolate and Uncoated Banana. The 'uncoated' prefix is to distinguish these bars from two 'coated' varieties of ZV8: Chocolate-coated Strawberry and Yoghurt-coated Apricot Peach - where the coating is actually more like white chocolate in taste and texture. Either way, if the taste of the uncoated bars doesn't tempt you, the coated versions surely will (the chocolate coated strawberry ZV8 bar is delicious - ed).
The only down-side to the coated versions is that they get sticky in when carried in the back pocket of a cycling jersey, and are then hard to get out of the wrapper - especially when riding. This is no problem if you stop to re-fuel, but racers and hard-riders with no time to lose will prefer the uncoated versions; they're definitely easier to eat on the go.
When it comes to cost, the ZV8 bars retail at £1.30 each in your local bike shop, while a box of 20 goes for around £23 to £25 from the ZipVit website and other on-line stores.
Very tasty, easy to eat, good value and highly effective energy bar.
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Make and model: Zipvit ZV8 energy bar
Size tested: Chocolate
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 Zipvit website says the ZV8 Bar '..contains a unique, easily digestible blend of ingredients engineered specifically for the nutritional demands of endurance athletes.
Scientifically proven carbohydrate formula for easy digestion and rapid energy delivery.' This claim is backed up by references from a scientific journal. And from practical experience - eating one of these bars four hours into a tough sportive and definitely feeling the benefits on the next climb - we'd say it's a fair claim too.
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,