GUs are just kinda part of endurance sports. You see everyone sucking on one - before group rides, during rides, before races, during races. So they've gotta work, right?
I won this box of GUs at the Tundra Time Trial. I rarely used GUs or gels before that. Mostly because I'm cheap (I prefer granola bars, preferably on sale), but also because things that have very processed sugars, like Gatorade or candy, leave an unpleasant, sticky taste/feeling in my mouth. In this case, my cheapness (free GUs are cheaper than granola bars!) means I've been working my way through this box.
SPECS - $1.50 / 100 Calories / 7g sugar
WHAT'S IN IT? - Well, it's mostly maltodextrin, water, fructose and leucine. The maltodextrin gives you some carbs and thickens the water, the fructose (fruit sugar) is what gives you the sugar to perk you up, and leucine is just kinda a flavor enhancer.
TASTE - I actually like these pretty okay. I like that they have caffeine, and I like the flavor (I like coffee a lot, I drink coffee a lot).
PERFORMANCE - In terms of the pick-me-up they give versus a cookie or a granola bar that has regular sugar in it, I can't tell much of a difference. I always wash it down with water, otherwise it kinda sticks in your mouth.
VALUE - I don't think these are a great value, but that's for gels in general, not specifically these.
RECOMMEND? - While I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with these for other people, I just don't like them for myself. I won't buy any after I get through this box.