What they say: “…we’re a company that loves food. Good food provides health, joy and energy, and is a delight to the senses……we use wholesome ingredients in all our products. All our food is free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup”. As for their bars, they say: “It’s the first bar we made, and it’s still everything we are about. Wholesome ingredients. Performance nutrition. And great taste. Whether you’re on a 150-mile bike ride or exploring a new trail, this energy bar is built to sustain your adventure. It’s a pretty simple equation: put good food in – get good performance out. With a mix of whole grains, protein and fibre, CLIF Bar gives you energy to be in it to your limit”. As for their Shot Bloks, they say: “CLIF SHOT takes a streamlined approach to performance nutrition – delivering only what your body needs most while training and racing. CLIF SHOT BLOKS Energy Chews are semi-solid, easy-to-chew sources of carbohydrates — your body’s preferred source of fuel during activity. CLIF SHOT BLOKS are the latest nutrition option for endurance athletes. SHOT Bloks come in chewable, 33 calorie cubes, making it easy to customise and track caloric and electrolyte intake during long outings and races”. So here’s what we think at roadbikeuk: Its not hard to write a review on Clif Bar & Co – they are now roadbikeuk’s best tasting energy bars and chews (they call them Shot Bloks). This may not be surprising for a company whose original mission was to create a better tasting energy bar. www.clifbar.co.uk It really is that simple, and we have put them to test on some of the Alps’ epic climbs/descents – whether it be the Iseran (not a bad 50km climb from Bourg St Maurice up to Val d’Isere (for all you skiers) and then up to the Col (the Alps’ highest paved mountain pass)), or the Petit St Bernard, or the Madelaine and so on…. We really don’t think you can test an energy product in a lab – you have to be out there on the road, legs burning, lungs screaming, heart thumping in the red zone…..and not just hanging on , but driving the pace, riding others off your wheel. That’s where Clif help, no question in our view – whether it was the bars or the Bloks, they made a difference. It always hurts, but it hurt those behind us more when we were Cliff powered! Its amazing how much better you feel when you’ve been riding hard for hours, and then see someone disappear off the back, or rather you just go off the front and stick it to them. We’ll come back to the Shot Bloks, but the bars set themselves apart from the competition – the flavours are great, the texture is great and the results speak for themselves! It’s too easy to forget to eat on the bike, especially when you don’t enjoy eating the products you do have in the jersey – no worries on this front with Clif. There are half a dozen flavours but our personal preference would be Blueberry Crisp or White Chocolate Macadamia. The Shot Bloks are where Clif really have it spot on – these cubes of dense fuel are roadbikeuk’s best find of 2012 (albeit we don’t like how hard they are to get in to). We’ve not seen anything on the market that comes close; whether you are fed up of bars, don’t like gels or prefer sweets, you have to give Shot Bloks a try. We recently did an unofficial test of these against shop bought jelly style sweets – lets just say the Shot Blok wrappers were the first over the line! The Bloks are not the cheapest product on the market, but it seems that you pay for what you get – a great product that helped deliver results. We really liked the fact that you get a few in a packet, neatly in a line so easy to pick out and that they are not sticky. We’ve tried the full flavour range, and to be frank, cannot pick between them – we’d probably avoid orange, but that’s only because orange is a typical drink mix flavour. So looking at these Clif products in summary, here’s our views on the energy bar and chew products:
- Opening/wrappers – a minor point, but this is the only thing we don’t like in respect of the Bloks – the wrapper is not particularly easy to get in to – we wouldn’t want to try whilst descending, and it doesn’t rip open easily with your teeth. Clif have a great design on their gels, and would like something similar on the Bloks.
- Flavour – as the saying goes, the bars and Bloks are “good enough to eat”/chew. Great range to choose from too.
- Texture – spot on. The Bloks in particular are dense enough so as to not sap all the moisture from your mouth like a gel, but not so chewy as to pull your fillings out!
- Performance – a natural boost to performance that doesn’t make you feel ill!
- Price – not dissimilar to the competition, and hence definitely worth giving them a go next time you pick your fuels! The Bloks do seem expensive, but as we say, they are our find of 2012, so are definitely worth a try.