New to Sigma Sports for 2014 is the US sports nutrition brand, Honey Stinger. The entire Honey Stinger range is honey based, honey is rich in carbohydrates and provides natural sweetness without the need for any additives.
Our man, Dan, stuffed his jersey pockets with product and took to the roads to test the range over a couple of long weekends in the saddle.
Racing, training, sportives...whatever riding takes your fancy you want to make sure you are fuelled, energised and able to complete the activity to the best of your ability. Remembering to eat on the bike, at a set time needn't be a chore and companies are making more and more tasty, energising products to make your on the bike fuelling as simple and appealing as possible.
Honey Stinger is just one of those companies, offering a wide range of moorish delights to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters. I was to try the Energy Chews, Waffles and Protein bar this weekend and was keen to see how they would perform on two long spring rides.
In Essex this weekend, home of the wind, flat open roads and quiet lanes. Saturday, and first to be put through its paces was the Organic Energy Chews. I find the best way to test energy products is in the last hour of the ride, when the body is craving carbohydrates and you need that boost to get you home.
So 100km into my ride and having another 30km ahead into a block, Belgian-like, headwind I headed into my jersey pocket for the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews. On a long ride when you want maybe 3 or 4 energy items, a phone, waterproof and pump in your jersey it is easy to feel weighed down and run out of space. I was impressed then with the Energy chews as their minimal packaging meant they fitted discretely into my jersey pocket.
The wind was blowing a gale I didn't want to take my hands off the bars for too long, a quick rip of the packaging with my teeth and I was in. A nice feature is the rip is precise, meaning you won't end up with all your valuable chews falling out onto the road.
First impressions and it was a jelly like texture, not too sticky. A couple of chews and they were easily digested. Not too hard just a nice manageable consistency, ideal when breathing, riding hard when you are trying to fuel at the same time.
The Pomegranate Passion flavour tasted great, subtle, not too sweet or overpowering. I could really taste the pomegranate and it left a fresh after taste in my mouth, contain 100% of your required daily vitamin C quota, it results in a really natural and healthy fuelling option.
So did the chews work? Well within 10 minutes my somewhat tired legs had come round, the wind felt like it had eased and I felt on top of my game. Clicking down a few gears, the underlying honey ingredients and substantial 39 grams of carbohydrates had really kicked in, I was flying!
Arriving home and I felt great, after over 4 hours in the saddle these chews had really worked their magic, a perfect mid ride, race energy boost. They are quick and easy to eat, easy to store in a rear jersey pocket or bento box and feature natural and organic ingredients. My only regret was I didn't have another few packets for keep me going on the first 100kms of my ride!
Peanut butter and honey, a match made in heaven? Well Honey Stinger think so and have created the Peanut Butter and Honey Energy Bar, packed with high quality carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients. The late March, 140 kilometre, Surrey Cyclone Sportive, through the brutal Surrey hills, was going to be the true test of this bar’s worth. I was keen to get going, as this was one of the most appealing flavours of energy bar around.
With temperatures nudging 20 degrees, probably a lot warmer in the depths of my jersey pocket, it is always interesting to see how energy products cope in the heat.
I decided to eat the bar with 60 kilometres to go. I still had a number of tough climbs ahead and knew I would need some sustenance to keep me going.
First impressions of the bar were good, even after nearly three hours of riding the bar had kept it’s shape and was easy to rip the packaging open with my teeth to reveal the great looking, oat and chocolate combination. The bar was chewy but not overly so. The perfect consistency as it didn’t get stuck in the throat, nor did I spend the next 3 kilometres trying to chew it!
Peanut butter and honey is it's name and it delivered on both these flavours. Treating your taste buds to a rich peanut taste, not a cheap, sugary one, it had a real natural, homemade vibe.
The thin layer of chocolate was a nice touch and with the addition of the honey, kept it all together.
With some lung busting efforts shortly after eating the it, I was pleased to say the bar digested well, I didn’t get that sickly after taste or feel like I needed to gulp down loads of water to wash it down. This is the perfect bar for those fed up with the generic energy bar taste and want something a bit more homely and un energy bar like. I will definitely be having a few of these in my jersey pocket next time I go out for a ride.
Protein does not need to just be for bodybuilders and those looking to bulk up. It is also ideal for those looking for an afternoon boost or a helpful recovery supplement. Honey Stinger have entered the protein market with a range of distinct, natural protein bars.
I had the Milk Chocolate Peanut Butta Pro bar to taste, after 250 kilometres of riding over the weekend I was looking forward to getting home from my Sunday ride and tucking into this rather appealing bar.
Packed with 10 grams of muscle repairing protein, I used the recommended thirty minute window after exercise, to try it out. Right from the outside I knew I had found a great tasting treat.
The solid texture and chocolate exterior was easy to bite into and soon a nice, natural peanut butter flavour was enriching my taste buds.
Easy to chew it tasted sweet and I could definitely pick out the subtle, honey undertones. Satisfying my appetite, no need to raid the fridge I had got the recovery process off to a good start with the Honey Stinger Milk Chocolate Peanut Butta Bar.
Ideal for storing in your kit bag for an after race or sportive recovery aid yet just as suitable to be used as an afternoon snack.
Craving for something a bit different to an energy bar or gel? Why not try a waffle? Traditionally a breakfast treat, the guys at Honey Stinger have reinvented the humble waffle and made it into a nutritious, tasty, high performance energy aid.
Strawberry waffle sounds like something you have as an after ride treat, well Honey Stinger have made it the perfect on the bike treat!
To test the Honey Stinger Strawberry waffle I set off for a nice 120km ride round the Essex lanes. Storage space is always an issue on a long ride and the last thing you want is bulging pockets stuffed to the rafters, it makes it hard to get what you need out and makes for an uncomfortable ride.
So being thin and light made the waffle perfect to slide into a pocket or bento box. Carrying a few of these on a long ride would not take up much room at all, leaving plenty of space for tools, a mobile phone or rain cape.
Three hours into my ride and I took the waffle out of the pocket, quickly and smoothly opened the packaging and slid the waffle out.
A nice subtle strawberry zing hit my palate, a couple of chews and it easily went down, not too crumbly or overly sweet. The thin layer of honey in between two layers of waffle hinted of the Honey Stinger’s sweet, natural roots and held the waffle together.
The last hour of my ride and I was happy to say the waffle had done the trick, I got home feeling fresh and not craving biscuit tin... the waffle had more than done its job!
Unlike many energy products that are only suitable to eat whilst exercising, Honey Stinger claims the waffle is a perfect mid afternoon, pick me up, a snack when you need a bit of a boost. I was initially sceptical but after tasting the amazing waffle, I will definitely be keeping a few of these in my office draw as well as in my jersey pockets.
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