Best energy bars 2022: Six tasty energy bars tested and approved
Energy bars sit between everyday foods and energy gels on the bike nutrition buffet.
Their taste and ingredients will closely resemble something you would eat as an everyday snack, like a granola bar.
But the nutritional value of the best energy bars will be more suited to the demands of cycling and other endurance sports, such as triathlon.
They should also be easier to unwrap, eat, and digest while pedaling than most “real” solid foods, including sandwiches.
To avoid getting high on a long bike ride, you’ll need to fuel yourself with energy bars, among other snacks, so it’s crucial that they taste good.
We’ve scoured a selection of energy bars to find the ones that fit best with food and nutrition.
Best energy bars for cycling 2022, as rated by our expert testers
Tribe Nut Butter Triple Decker
- Kcal: 184
- Big: 12g
- Saturates: 3.8g
- Crabs: 9.6g
- Sugars: 5.8g
- Fiber: 3.2g
- Protein: 8g
- Salt: 0.21g
- Price: £22 for 12 (£1.83)
This nut butter bargain from Tribe has a top-notch texture and taste.
The 40 g bar contains only 184 kcal with 8 g of pea protein. Because it’s only 9.6g carbs and 12g fat, it’s definitely more of a snack/recovery bar than a true energy bar.
But it’s also good for vegans and celiacs, and it has at least 50% less sugar than competitors here.
Clif Nut Butter Bar
- Kcal: 227
- Big: 11g
- Saturates: 2.4g
- Crabs: 23g
- Sugars: 9.2g
- Fiber: 3.1g
- Protein: 7g
- Salt: 0.38g
- Price: £2.29
Clif makes bars that are appetizing, moist and easy to digest, and that continues with this 50g organic offering, although its 7g protein content suggests it’s more at home after exercise than during.
This muscle repair dusting is pea protein. The total number of calories is 227, including 23 g of carbohydrates and 11 g of fat.
Again, this smacks of snacking compared to refueling on the bike. And a snack you could because it’s a terrifically tasty package.
Unfortunately, for a brand that prides itself on its eco-friendly credentials, the ratings are dropped due to the inclusion of palm oil.
Skratch Labs Anytime Energy Bar
- Kcal: 220
- Big: 8g
- Saturates: 2g
- Crabs: 33g
- Sugars: 10g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 4g
- Salt: 0.31g
- Price: £29.95 for 12 (£2.50)
Homemade snacks often have a higher moisture content than commercial offerings, but that’s not a problem with this 50g chocolate chip almond flavored bar, thanks to the addition of cranberries and the blend of nut and seed butter.
The calorie content is 220 kcal, consisting of 33 g of carbohydrates, 8 g of fat and 4 g of protein.
Hence its nickname “anytime”, although it is easily digested during exercise.
It’s quite tasty. Although you can taste the salt from the 125mg sodium, this salt makes it ideal for long rides in the heat.
Torq Explore Flapjack
- Kcal: 263
- Big: 8.1g
- Saturates: 1g
- Crabs: 43g
- Sugars: 23g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 3.2g
- Salt: 0.19g
- Price: £37 for 20 (£1.85)
This Black Forest Flapjack is free from artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives.
It’s flavorful too, its sweetness coming from the organic golden syrup, raisins and brown sugar.
That sugar hit (43g carbs) bumps this 65g bar up to 263kcal with 8.1g of fat, mostly sunflower oil – high in inflammatory omega-6s, but not great when you drive hard.
Again, they are designed for lower intensity rides or as pre-ride snacks. You can also consume it after the trip, but the protein content is only 3.2g. It’s buttery, borderline oily.
- Kcal: 310
- Big: 14g
- Saturates: 1.2g
- Crabs: 37g
- Sugars: 25g
- Fiber: 4.8g
- Protein: 10g
- Salt: 0.2g
- Price: £2.99
Veloforte pushes the “natural food” message, and the key ingredient in this dense 70g bar is hazelnut.
They are mixed with dates, brown rice syrup, cocoa and pea protein for a total of 310 kcal, with 37 g of carbohydrates, 14 g of fat and 10 g of protein.
This 4:1 carb:protein ratio has been shown to maximize the muscle recovery process and that is why it is billed as a protein bar.
The taste is good and easy to eat. Don’t expect a caffeine rush from this gluten-free and vegan bar, as the coffee is decaffeinated.
High5 energy bar with protein
- Kcal: 213
- Big: 10g
- Saturates: 1.3g
- Crabs: 19g
- Sugars: 14g
- Fiber: Not listed
- Protein: 10g
- Salt: 0.16g
- Price: £19.99 for 12 (£1.67)
This is sold as a protein energy bar. How does this work given protein’s primary role in post-exercise recovery?
Well, studies show that a little protein consumed during exercise can speed up recovery once it’s over. The payback is that protein can (slightly) alter carbohydrate metabolism.
Because this 50g bar contains only 19g of carbs and a fairly heavy 10g of protein (plus 10g of fat), this could be considered more of a recovery than an energy bar.
What is clearer is that it is suitable for vegans and the taste is passable.