Wiggle recently launched an in-house ‘sports energy’ range and haved bucked the trend by branding it Wiggle Nutrition rather than creating a new name; their clothing range is dhb, their tools are Lifeline, and their bike range is Verenti. On being asked about the name choice, they responded: “Wiggle Nutrition was the most natural name… and there’s a lot awareness of Wiggle off the back of the events side”.
Wiggle launched the hydration tabs and energy gels at the end of June, and in no time, review samples were on my desk; lemon, orange and blackcurrant flavour. Each compact flat box contains 20 energy gels, each gel is 38 grams and ‘delivers’ 90 calories (384kJ) from 22.6 grams of carbohydrates. The lemon flavour is a ‘caffeine gel’ with and an added 30mg caffeine for a short energy boost. Simply tear the plastic foil top off the energy gel with your teeth or hands while riding and squeeze the gel into your mouth; it’s quite fluid, slightly more viscous than water.
Wiggle also sent their blackcurrant and lemon flavoured hydration tabs which come in a tube of 20. A single 4g tab is dropped into a 500ml waterbottle and contains electrolytes – your body needs these to remain hydrated during sport, particularly for extended activity, as well as for recovery after sport.
In this review we wont go into the virtues of energy supplements, except to say if you are not getting the energy you need then you wont be able ride to your full potential and can bonk more easily. And if you are not keeping your body hydrated, you’ll start to feel like a wet towel.
The Wiggle energy tabs are $4.83 for 20 tabs, which is about 25 cents per ride (if you use one per ride). With similar products from other brands, you can expect to pay 75 cents to $2.50 per single serving, although buying ‘bulk’ tubs can help bring the cost per serve down. The wiggle products are priced very competitively.
The gels are $25.99 for a box of 20, so add up to about $1.30 each. Some competitors products start at about $1.30, though many, such as the Endura Sports Energy Gel, are around $2.50 for the same size. On price it is worth noting that Wiggle are also specifically targeting ‘new users’ and are not trying to compete against top shelf supplements.
One thing that I really liked with the gels and hydration tabs was the fairly unobtrusive flavours. The electrolyte tabs for your waterbottle have the slightly salty taste you would expect from an electrolyte (think powerade or gatorade) but are very light on the flavour, which is a plus if you can’t stomach a taste explosion while riding. The gels are also comparatively light; there is the stated flavour and a sugar sweetness (6.6g), but the taste and low viscosity makes it go down easily.
Have you ever cut your mouth on an energy gel? The edges of the wrapper on some brands are sharp enough that you can accidentally give yourself a paper cut. I can’t stand this; instead of cycling and slamming down a gel, I start to think about how I need to manipulate it to make sure I don’t rip it out of my mouth too fast. The Wiggle energy gel wrappers are well constructed with smooth edges, only near the top where you tear it off does the plastic foil have harder edges. This makes the wiggle energy gel wrapper significantly nicer than some of the competitors such as GU Energy Gel.
But Wiggle also get some minus points. When the samples arrive on my desk, two of the boxes were caked in sticky residue, evidence of faulty production or a mid-delivery explosion; one of the energy gels had a leakage and created a sticky mess. I have no doubt that if a customer experienced this, Wiggle would immediately rectify this. For the hydration tabs in the tubes, I also found that the tops could be removed without undoing the tamper-proof seal. While tampering is hardly a concern if you are ordering direct, it still hints at a problem in quality control. Both the gel and hydration may need packaging fine tuning.
Personal preference for flavour as well as personal requirements for your own energy needs will play a role as to whether the Wiggle Nutrition products suit you. The brand have done their homework and have a competitive and accessible range of energy supplements for cycling.
For more on the products and nutritional information:
Wiggle Energy Gels – $25.99 / 20 Gels
Wiggle Hydration Tabs – $4.83 / 20 Tabs