Mule Bar complete range review
Over the last week and a half I have been chomping my way through the contents of a large box containing the entire product range from the Mule Bar gang.
I seem to be the Bikesoup guinea pig for testing nutrition based products as I tend to use them the most. Some products are easy on the stomach, others, well, aren’t. So it was a great relief to see that the ingredients used for the entire Mule Bar range consists mostly of “real food” – i.e. stuff that you actually recognise. They also use Fair Trade and organic ingredients wherever possible so you get to feel good about yourself whilst munching.
I’m quite a fussy customer when it comes to nutrition products because I do an awful lot of running as well as cycling. Running is more demanding than cycling in terms of needing to get it right because it’s very harsh on your stomach (if you’re not a runner – try jumping up and down for 2 hours and you’ll see what I mean). It’s also tougher to eat during a fast run than it is a fast cycle. Carrying stuff is also tricky whilst on foot. All in all, if it works on foot then it will work on a bike. The following products have been tested on and around fast runs as well as long slow runs and even some interval sessions.
- Mule Bar Review
- Mule Bar Mega Bite Review
- Mule Bar Kicks Review
- Mule Bar Refuel Review
- Mule Bar Energy 10 Competition
Mule Bar Review
The Mule Bar is the staple product. You’ll see (if you visit the Mule Bar website) that it comes in a vast range of very quirky flavours including Hunza Nut, Apple Strudel, Summer Pudding and a whole lot more. Having now sampled each and every one, I can honestly say that they all taste pretty damn good. The only one I wasn’t keen on was the Pinacolada (Pineapple and Coconut) – it just tasted a bit too out there. It has to be said I was 6 miles into a hilly run at the time so perhaps it was just asking a bit too much.
These bars pack in 38g of carbohydrate and 4g of protein. They are perfect for setting your self up for a good ride or run about an hour before you go out. I discovered they also make a fantastic mid morning or mid afternoon snack when you are feeling a little peckish. Most of the¬†flavours¬†contain less than 0.5g of saturated fat and around 200 calories or so, so they are guilt free chomping.
Score & Summary:– tasty flavours and a great pre exercise snack.
Mule Bar Mega Bites Review
The Mega Bite comes in all the same flavours as the main bar but it’s a tiny 30g version. It’s marketed as being consumable in one big bite but for me it took a good 4 bites to avoid choking mid flow. But that’s no bad thing. The ultimate mid ride/run snack for me needs to:
- Be easy to carry
- Be easy to unwrap and get into my mouth
- Be easy to chew
- Be tasty
- Not be too dry
- Not be too crumbly
- Not do nasty things to my stomach
- Be worth all the above effort in terms of nutritional value!
That’s a lot of boxes to tick and this little pocket rocket delivers on all accounts. It is actually the only snack I have been able to confidentally consume whilst running hard. It’s tasty and easy to chew and doesn’t sit heavily on the stomach. At 30g it still manages to get 20g of medium release energy into you. The blurb suggests consuming 1-2 an hour but I actually found that 1 kept me going for a long time, especially when combined with a gel.
Score & Summary: 4.5/5 – a great little energy boosting treat for those longer rides when your stomach craves more than a slippery gel.
Mule Bar Kicks Review
Gels are very much a personal preference. Some get on better with certain gels than others. I have tried a few gels in my time. The Mule Bar Kick (I tried the Cherry flavour) is not an isotonic gel – in other words you need to take it with water for it to be effective. I generally avoid these kind of gels because I don’t like to carry water when I run and I’m too tight to buy a different gel for running and cycling.
That being said, these worked very well indeed. The brown rice syrup in them has a very high GI value and¬†therefore¬†begins to work very quickly. I didn’t get the crazy buzz that I get off some other gels but I definitely got a quick and significant energy boost during a very tough workout.
They have a very well crafted top which opens very easily, creating a gap just big enough to squeeze the goo through. This keeps mess down to a minimum.
They had no negative effects on my stomach which is always welcome. Regarding the taste, well the flavour is OK but the texture is as¬†unpleasant¬†as most gels out there!
Score & Summary: 3.5/5 – fast working gel but make sure you take it with water.
Mule Bar Refuel Review
Chewing on a recovery bar packed full of protein is normally a workout in itself. Whey protein, in solid form is notoriously chewy. The protein bars you get for body builders generally have around 35g of protein in making them mega chewy. Cyclists however, are a little more complex than your average Iron Pumper – we need a mix of protein and carbohydrate to successfully recover and be able to train again the next day (or even later that day).
The Mule Refuel Bar contains 13g of protein as well as 38g of medium-high GI carbohydrate. This forms a great recovery combination. Not being overloaded with protein keeps the jaw ache down to a bearable level – although I will say that when they get cold they become harder to chew. The bars contain crispy bits of rice puffs which give you the sensation of it being slightly crunchy – it’s a welcome effort because¬†psychologically¬†it does make you forget the¬†chewiness.
It has to be said, these taste great, which is quite surprising considering that they only contain 0.7g of saturated fat. This is once again due to the clever selection of natural ingredients. 23% of each bar is made up of dates – nature’s most protein generous fruit. The addition of cocoa makes it a tasty treat in my opinion.
The sessions where I followed up with one of these (within 20 minutes) were the ones where I recovered most efficiently. Without a doubt, I’ll be stocking my cupboard with these from now on.
Score & Summary: 5/5 – A tasty, lean, and very effective way of recovering from those hard sessions and races.
Mule Bar Energy 10 Competition
The kind chaps over at Mule Bar have agreed to give one lucky Bikesoup reader an Energy 10 pack (pictured above). This great little box is packed to the brim with Mule Bar samples from across the entire range. Here’s what the winner will¬†receive:
- 2 x MuleBar 56g bars
- 2 x ¬†MegaBite 30g bars
- 1 x ReFuel 65g bar
- 5 x Kicks energy gels
To be in with a chance of winning, all we want you to do is tell us your favourite flavour name from the entire range. Be it Apple Strudel, Pinacolada, Hunza Nut, or whatever name you like the most just let us know via one or more of the following mediums:
- Tweet: Click this link and change ***** to your favourite flavour name. Make sure you also follow @bikesoup and @mulebar
- Facebook: leave a comment on this post on our Facebook Page
All entrants must be in the UK. One entrant will be chosen at random. Each entrant may enter via all the methods of entry but will only be counted once per method.
The competition closes on Tuesday 27th March 2012. Good luck