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Precision Hydration PF 90 Gels pack a whopping 90g of carbs into each little baby-food-like pouch. The gels, also titled 'the jumbo gel' by the manufacturer, are made with long-duration (over 60 minutes) exercise in mind, with a simple ingredients list, and I found them easy to consume because of their neutral taste.
This is a jumbo version of the PF 30 energy gels Jamie reviewed last year, each of which contains 30g of carbohydrates. As the name suggests, each of these big pouches contains 90g of carbohydrates, making them a specific product for long rides – in essence, each pouch will fuel you for up to three hours if you aim for a ratio of about a 30g/carbs per hour.
Of course, you can use them for shorter efforts – but then you're left with the product in the pouch, and the manufacturer hasn't specified how long it lasts once opened.
When I first opened the pouch, I wasn't sure what to expect. Was this going to be a Caprisun kind of burst of liquid or a more baby-food-like consistency? The latter (I will park that baby food reference now) is true.
The gel is thick, and doesn't escape the pouch without a gentle squeeze, which is something I really love about it. Maybe it's a personal preference but I hate runny liquid gels that you have to consume at once, and often you are left with sticky hands, bars, and back pockets in the process.
Because of the thicker consistency, the PF 90 gel comes out of the pouch when you want it to, making it easy to have it in small portions. However, this does leave you with the problem of figuring out how much of the gel you've actually consumed.
I would seldom consume 90g of carbs per hour unless it's a race situation, and mainly tested the gels on endurance rides of up to 200km, where 90g in one hour would be a bit overkill – so I tried my best to split the gel into two or, on some rides, three portions. How successful I was, I have no idea – but does it really matter if you take 30g or 45g if you are not in a race? Not much, I'd say, as long as you get enough fuel in.
Getting the fuel in is – or rather, was – the one negative thought I had about this gel. I say was, because there is a solution. Precision makes a PF 90 Gel Bite Valve, which unfortunately didn't make its way to me for testing. It costs £2.99 and will essentially eliminate the struggles I experienced.
Without the Bite Valve, opening and closing the pouch requires a little consideration. The first opening is a little harder because the cap has a safety feature ensuring it hasn't been opened before, so I learned it's best to 'crack open' the pouch at home before the ride. Then, once I found a way to open the screw top on my bike, I was left with the dilemma of what to do with the cap. I mostly tried to stuff the lid lightly into my back pocket while I consumed the gel, then had a little search for it and needed two hands to close the package again.
As I said, though, spend £3 on the bite valve and that's those problems sorted.
The gels offer a rather traditional mixed ratio of carbs (2:1 maltodextrin to fructose), and the neutral taste – which reminds me of Maurten, but maybe slightly less sweet – is easy to palate even on multi-hour rides. They are also vegan.
This box of three costs £14.99, so £5 per gel. That's not exactly cheap, but you need to bear in mind the number of carbs you're getting – a typical SiS gel contains 22g of carbs and costs about £1.75 as part of a multipack. So if you wanted the same amount as in the jumbo gel, you'd be paying about £7.
Comparing it with more advanced gels, again looking at the number of carbs each delivers, it works out slightly cheaper than Maurten Gel100, which has 40g of carbs per gel and costs about £2.70.
SiS Beta Fuel also has 40g of carbs per serving and is a little cheaper than the Maurten at £2.20 a go, so still very slightly more than the PF 90.
If you're happy with the larger serving, the PF 90 also works out a fair bit cheaper than buying the smaller PF 30 gels Jamie reviewed.
I don't see these gels working well in hectic race situations, unless you want to chuck down 90g of carbs in one go, but for the purpose of fuelling long efforts, I think they are pretty near perfect. They taste pleasantly neutral and have a good consistency and an easily stomached carb mix ratio. The innovative way of packing lots of carbs into one pouch also saves the environment as you only need one pouch for that long ride – and the packaging is recyclable. I'd advise that you factor in the Bite Valve to your purchase though.
Great gel for long rides, environmentally-friendly packaging, not so ideal for hectic races
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Precision Hydration PF 90 Energy Gels - 3 Gels
Size tested: 153g
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 Fuel & Hydration says PF 90 Gel is:
Designed to help you start and stay fueled during efforts lasting more than about 60 minutes
Ideal for fueling long runs and rides
Affectionately known as the 'Jumbo Gel', we put 3 servings of our popular PF 30 Gel in a pouch with a resealable cap to create a more efficient way for you to hit your numbers. It's the same neutral-tasting gel, but delivered in a format that's easier to carry and use.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The gel comes in a resealable pouch, each containing 90g of carbohydrate.
PFH lists these key features:
Contains 90g of carbohydrate per pouch
Easy to use, resealable cap
Does not contain electrolytes, as they're designed to be used alongside our Precision Hydration range
Ideal for fueling long runs and rides
Makes fueling before/during/after short but intense efforts more convenient
Typically used on its own during shorter efforts, or combined with other Precision Fuel products, or real foods, when going longer
2:1 glucose to fructose ratio to aid carbohydrate uptake
Informed Sport certified
Mild, neutral 'Original' flavour to reduce flavour fatigue
No artificial ingredients
Does not contain caffeine
The nutritional values PF gives are:
Energy: 360 Cal / 1,506 Kj per 153g gel (236 Cal / 987 Kj per 100g)
Protein: <0.1g per 153g gel <0.1g per 100g)
Fats: <0.1g per 153g gel (<0.1g per 100g)
Carbohydrates: 90g per 153g gel (59g per 100g)
The product does not contain electrolytes.
The ingredients are: Maltodextrin, Water, Fructose, Pectin, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Lactate)
It's a little cheaper than rival gels – and better value than the PF 30 option.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The product performed well and provided fuel for long rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the texture of the gel – it is thick enough to not squirt everywhere. The taste is very neutral which makes it easy to stomach even on very long rides.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Without the separate bite valve, the loose cap. Where do you put it when having some of the gel? Especially when riding gravel, I had to really think about how and when to have the gel. But this is solved with the £2.99 bite valve.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Comparing it on price per carbs, it's a little cheaper than both SiS Beta Fuel and Maurten100 gels.
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
I think these gels are excellent – they have a neutral taste, they're very easy to get down and the thick consistency allows a mess-free consumption of the product. The innovative way of packing lots of carbs into one pouch also saves the environment as you only need one pouch for that long ride. There's only really one downside if you buy the Bite Valve (another £3) – that you cannot accurately measure how many carbs you've consumed when you're only part-way through. Well, that and the cost. Jamie thought the PF 30s were excellent for racing, where they might justify the spend, whereas these are a little pricey for their purpose compared with standard gels – so I'm going 8 rather than 9.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Tarmac Sl6 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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, general fitness riding, Ultra-distances