There are a bazillion energy mixes, electrolyte tablets and fuel drinks on the market. For the most part, the biggest differences are in how your body reacts to the various formulas and how easy it is to consume on the bike. Since 2018, Styrkr [stir-kuh] has been interested in developing energy formulas that help maximize athletic performance — particularly for cycling and other endurance sports. I’ve been lucky enough to get the full sampling of energy rice bars, energy drink mixes and electrolyte tablets. With options to suit any athlete, I had good success with just about everything, but the tablets.
Styrkr MIX60/MIX90 Dual-Carb Energy Drink Mix
With two size options, you can get the right amount of energy for each activity. Lately, the fuel mixes are “unflavored” but I call them “Fun Dip Stick” flavor. They have a flavor, but it’s more like creamy sugar. These mixes dilute quickly and dissolve evenly. Since I had both sizes, I would typically split up the MIX90 and turn it into a MIX45, for 1.5-2 hour rides. I’d drop in the full MIX60 for 2+ hours and I haven’t had a 3+ hour training ride yet, but the MIX90 would do the trick.
I do appreciate the mixture of maltodextrin and fructose and find it to be very gut-friendly. I still appreciate mixing in solids or gels for added energy and hydration. Fuel mixes are always my go-to as a base for long activities and I’m digging these. The only downside is the mix can be quite sticky when dripped on your bars, etc.
Styrkr BAR50 Rice Energy Bars
I love rice cakes for riding, and the EF Pro Cycling recipe is a great one. But, instead of cooking and storing your own rice cakes, Styrkr has their own. While not soft and gooey, these are mighty tasty and offer a ton of natural goodness. The consistency is kind of like a dense Rice Krispie Treat, but packed with goodness. I find I can grab a few bites before a ride, then tuck it away for a mid-ride snack. Or, pull one out at the top of the climb to maintain energy levels for the rest of the ride. They pack well and all three flavors taste great.
It’s worth noting that each bar isn’t the same thickness. Because of the varied ingredients, each bar is still calculated to have approximately the same calories. So, you’ll find that the Apple/Cinnamon flavor to be almost twice as thick as the Date/Almond flavor. Something to keep in mind when stuffing your jersey pockets.
Styrkr Hydration Tablets
Hydration tablets have been a hit since Nuun made them popular for outdoor athletes. Styrkr has a unique take on them and I found it to perform well, but the taste isn’t tops on my list. You’ll notice that the tablets are really thick, but they have a split line to break them in half. Personally, I prefer a half tablet into a standard bike bottle, but it’s rider’s choice on how much electrolytes and flavor you’re into. They do off-gas a ton as they dissolve. I’m not kidding… it’s almost like a geyser.
I found I had to be aware of spurting as I took my first couple of sips because it tends to come out faster than I anticipated. As a result of that extra fizziness, they have an effervescence to them that I’m not sure I like. It gives me a flat Alka-Seltzer vibe — you know, after it stops fizzing. Well, sorry for painting that picture, but taste aside, it goes down easy and is formulated for fast absorption and rapid rehydration.
One parting thought. The nutrition facts are written in the tiniest font size I’ve ever seen on any packaging. You may need a magnifying glass to decipher all the contents. I hope they can bump that up so it doesn’t feel like you’re reading a Willy Wonka contract.
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