Clif Bars £1.29 per bar
(Flavours tested: Black Cherry Almond Bars, Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars, Cool Mint Chocolate Bars and Chocolate Chip Bars. 16 flavours available. )
Energy bars have come on in leaps and bounds since the earliest incarnations some 25 years ago, which at first bite had more in common with packing board than food. Thankfully for on-the-bike eating needs there’s more choice than ever now and today’s offerings are a damn sight more palatable and digestible than those original bars.
Which brings us neatly onto Clif Bars. They’ve actually been around since 1992 when a bike and climbing enthusiast, Gary Erickson, thought that there must be a better alternative to the lacklustre choice at his disposal, and set about making his own. The rest, as they say, is history. Clif Bars have not had the most solid distribution track record in the UK, until recently making getting hold of them tricky, but now that 2Pure are handling matters, they’ve rapidly become a common sight in most bicycle shops.
What’s unique about Clif Bars is just how tasty they are. They’re also made from 70% organic ingredients, including such things as rolled oats, organic roasted soybeans, organic milled flaxseed, organic soy flour and other wholemeal ingredients depending on the flavour, with a boost of some 23 vitamins and minerals to ensure your body is getting the nutrition it craves.
There’s a huge choice of flavours to suit all tastes too. For this review Black Cherry Almond Bars, Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars, Cool Mint Chocolate Bars and Chocolate Chip Bars were all nibbled upon (though not at the same time).[Where were mine? – ed.] The latter was this tester’s favourite, but all the flavours passed the taste test with flying colours. Some of the flavours, Chocolate Chip included, provide 3-5mg of caffeine while the Cool Mint Chocolate tested gives a speed-boosting 50mg of the compound,in this case from green tea extract.
Organic ingredients and enjoyable flavours aside, perhaps Clif Bar’s best quality is just how easy they are to eat. They feature a soft chewy texture that is easy on the mouth and equally so for the digestive system, and are extremely nourishing. They don’t firm up in the cold like some too. Take the other day for example, while out on a ride on a particularly cold day I stopped to take on some food and first tried to tackle another brand of bar. But that was frozen solid and so, digging out a Clif Bar I was able to easily sink my teeth into its chewy goodness and take on some much needed nutrition. I actually look forward to the point in my rides when I can break out the Clif Bars, they’re just that tasty.
Nutritionally, the bars offer a sustained energy release that kept me going for a long time, and kept my sugar levels nice and level. Each 68g bar contains around 250 calories with 45g carbohydrate and around 10g of protein. Each bar is also packed with plenty of vitamins for an added bonus. The wrapper is also easy to break into, even with winter gloves on, and they’re quite a compact size so take up less space than other energy bars. I’ve found them to be very gentle on the stomach, though some testers have found them to sit a ‘little heavy’ in the stomach at first, but to provide a slow release of energy over a long period.