Best Energy Gels for Long Rides

Energy gels are a crucial part of the cyclist’s toolkit, helping to fuel those long rides that push the limits of endurance. But not all rides—or riders—are the same, which is why it’s so important to find the gel that’s the best fit for you and your riding style. Best Energy Gels for Long Rides title slide with riders and title

Whether you’re gearing up for a tough training session, preparing for an intense race, setting off on a leisurely exploration, or seeking real-food options for your journey, we have carefully selected the best energy gels to ensure you’re fueled up and ready to go. 


Our recommendations for best energy gels for a variety of long rides

Follow the links for full reviews and our analysis of the best recommended energy gels, below are our condensed recommendations along with rationale:

Best energy gels for long races

Neversecond or SIS – if you’re taking on an ironman length triathlon or anything over 100 kms of cycling, these two energy gels are solid choices. Neversecond has a unique 2:1 Maltodextrin to Fructose ratio that is designed to deliver energy quickly to your muscles. SIS, on the other hand, is well known for Isotonic properties, which means you can consume them easily without much water. 

Best energy gels for training rides

UCAN Edge Energy Gels – we recommend these energy gels due to the fact that they don’t contain any fast sugars. You don’t want your body to become completely dependent on a fast sugar rush to perform. You still want it to engage other sources for energy – like your fat resources. UCAN Energy Gels also offers a good variety of tasty flavors to mix it up during your training cycle.  

Best energy gels for cruising or casual long rides

Real Food or Honey Stinger or GU energy gels – if you didn’t plan a stop at a nice coffee shop along they way, or if your cruises take you to the middle of nowhere, then you may consider to keep a few GU energy gels or Honey Stinger gels in your rear pocket. They taste great, are affordable, and provide a fast source of energy to get you back up on your pedals. 

Best energy gels for long rides for riders with sensitive stomachs

Maurten Hydrogels – the makers of Maurten products keeps ingredients to a minimum and utilize a proprietary hydrogel technology to bypass the stomach and deliver energy directly to the intestine for a faster absorption. The bypassing of the stomach helps reduce gastrointestinal issues that some riders may experience when overloading or incorrectly using energy gels

Best “real food” energy gels for long rides 

Spring Energy Gels or Huma Energy Gels – both of these options provide a balance of sugar and fat based energy. They use primarily real food ingredients like fruit extracts and nut butters in the case of Spring Energy. Huma gels are fruit purees fortified with cane sugar and chia seeds, while Spring Energy gels use a basmati rice base mixed with cashew or other nut butters.

Other considerations for selecting energy gels for long rides

When planning for your next cycling adventure, it’s also critical to consider the length of the ride and the timing of your energy gel intake. As a rule of thumb, energy gels are typically most beneficial for rides longer than 90 minutes, when your body begins to exhaust its glycogen stores. 

Also, if you’re transitioning from swimming to cycling during a triathlon or starting your ride on an empty stomach, an energy gel can provide a quick, digestible source of carbohydrates to jump-start your performance and sustain your energy levels.

As for the quantity of energy gels needed, that is largely influenced by the duration of your ride and your personal metabolism. On average, aim for about 60 to 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour of riding. Keep in mind, this can vary depending on your size, fitness level, and the intensity of the ride. 

Make sure to test out different amounts during your training rides to see what works best for you. It’s always a good idea to have a few extra gels on hand in case the ride becomes more challenging than expected or if unforeseen circumstances prolong your journey.

Lastly, let’s not overlook the practicality of carrying energy gels during your ride. Think about how you will store them; options range from jersey pockets to specialized gel flasks attached to your bike. Ensure they are easily accessible so you don’t have to stop or struggle to get to them when you need that energy boost. 

Hydration is also key when using energy gels. Most need water to be properly digested and to prevent any gastrointestinal discomfort, so ensure you’re drinking fluids along with consuming gels. Remember, energy gels are a tool to aid your performance, so finding what works best for you might take some experimenting. Ride on, fuel, and get ready to conquer those long miles!

Best places to buy energy gels for your long rides

In our quest to find the top online retailers for energy gels, we evaluated various stores based on prices, product selection, delivery options, and return policies. Although big-box retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target ranked highly in search engine results, our experiences led us to conclude that specialty stores can provide an enhanced buying experience for dedicated athletes. impresses with an extensive selection of energy gels, competitive prices, and beneficial membership options for additional savings. also distinguishes itself with a diverse range of gels, providing various size options at reasonable prices. Both stores showcase a keen understanding of athletes’ needs and preferences, offering tailored selections to suit different riders.

Despite their focus on general merchandise, Amazon, Target, and Walmart hold their own when it comes to affordability and convenience. If you’re already frequenting these platforms for your shopping needs, they can be practical choices for securing energy gels. However, when considering specialized product knowledge and a curated selection, and stand out as our top recommendations for purchasing energy gels online.

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