Torq Energy Gel – review

Posted: September 5, 2011 in 2011, Product Reviews
Tags: ,

A long term fan of Torq products I have just about finished my first box of gels. Gels have always been a binary thing for me and the first time I had any (can’t remember which brand) I almost threw up. Horrible texture, disgusting taste I vowed never to have any again….ever. Well, as you know, time goes by, tastes change and while I was not totally ready for a reintroduction to carbohydrate rich wallpaper paste, Matt persuaded me to taste the range at the 2010 D2D. I can only really comment on the two I bought, Fruits of the Forest and Rhubarb and custard. The former is a caffeine enhanced gel and the latter a ‘vanilla’ energy gel.

I selected these two because I love rhubarb and custard crumble so anything that comes close is going to be a winner for me. Well, whoever juggles the various chemicals to approximate the target flavour did a damned good job. So good, I could happily squeeze tube ofter tube down my throat. Is it any good as a gel though? This is a really tough one to answer. When I eat, it is to stave off the bonk or to energise myself when I am falling off the pace – usually well into a ride. This stuff doesn’t make you go faster, it doesn’t ‘give you wings’ to pinch a strap line from a well known drink manufacturer, is simply fuels your body so you can keep going… a similar to the range of Torq bars. To be honest, I can’t tell the difference except the gel is a lot easier to eat. I tend to eat the bars on prolonged stops, usually while we are enjoying a natural break in the trail, the gels are consumed on the go. If I were to criticise the rhubarb and custard gel, it would be that it is ever so slightly too sweet for my taste.

The caffeine enhanced version has a more ‘generic’ fruit flavour, redolent of berries in general but nothing in particular. Once again, I guess this is the taste target. It is spot on in terms of sweetness, being rather less sickly than the previous offering. This means when you are working hard, are slightly dehydrated and you have had too much energy drink etc, it is far easier to get down. This gel produces a noticeable kick in performance, eat it, and maybe 15 minutes later you begin to feel strong, your legs come to life and you can reinvigorate your legs for maybe another 30 minutes. This will get you through a period of heavy legs or maybe even allow you to notch your flagging speed back up to somewhere nearer your max; it isn’t going to give you the sprinting ability of Mark Cavendish, nor is it going to let you ride as fast as Chris Hoy but it could make the difference between a place or two on a race or even a decent finish on an endurance ride. I was sceptical of Torq’s (low key) claims about the benefits of a caffeine enhanced gel but I am a keen fan now. An order is going in for some more very soon.

If you haven’t used gels before, I’d suggest maybe buying a sample pack and see which ones you get on with. You need to see what you can bear to consume while riding, and it isn’t always the one you like the sound of most!

Three hints… make sure you are well hydrated when you eat these, that way you will get maximum benefit and secondly, make sure you tuck the old wrapper in your back pocket and don’t drop it on the trail. When racing or riding hard, I have found it best to tuck a gel up the leg of my shorts, it is far easier to get hold of in a hurry than fishing about in your camelbak or back pocket while on the go.

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