Yes or no - Mixing your own on the bike energy drink

Hi all,

I’m into the 5th week of my TR journey and I’m loving it. On SSB1 and already getting faster and seeing the improvements. I’m currently trying to get my nutrition dialed and toying with the idea of mixing my own energy drink for on the bike, but I’m curious to know… How many of you out there prefer to mix your own energy drinks as opposed to using the conveniently pre-made shop-bought branded ones (i.e tabs or powders)?

Do you mix your own on the bike energy drink?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

If you answered yes, what do you do when you’re on the bike for multiple hours (long outdoor rides) and need to top up your energy drink, do you take additional mixes with you and how do you store it?

If no, I’m equally interested in your reasons too.

I personally think I will trial mixing my own. Especially with all the great tips I’ve read on this forum. Previously I have always gone with the convenient pre-made branded route but it’ll end up pretty pricey if I stay as consistent as I plan to.

Looking forward to seeing which way this swings.


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I usually just use SIS’s carb/electrolyte drink mix but I have sometimes added maltodextrin to it to make it a bit more carb heavy if I think I may want/need it.

I would just put some in a plastic baggy and put that in either a pocket or saddle bag. Then when you stop for water you just add that into the bottle.

EDIT: Also, on days where I’m just doing an hour or so of easy and just doing water then I’ll sometimes add a pinch of salt and sugar to help it absorb a bit better. I usually only do that in summer though.

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I’ve been mixing gatorade powder and maltodextrin to get 50-60g of carbs per bottle lately and feeling good with the fueling (topping off with some gels or chews to get closer to 80-90g/hr). For long rides I will sometimes just buy a gatorade at a gas station or bring a ziplock baggie of mix. Or just drink water and take more gels along depending on the length. Anything 4+ hours and I get hungry for real food anyhow.
For trainer workouts, the mix is awesome and I find it much easier to stay fueled than trying to eat 3 gels and hour. Not to mention it works out to about $0.20/bottle instead of $2/gel!


Back in the 90s, we used to buy (full-sugar) Coke, leave the bottle open overnight so it went flat, then dilute that 30% with water and add a pinch of salt. Additional fuel was a banana. Low-tech but it worked.

These days, I use 50g maltodextrin/500ml water, add zero-sugar squash, and dissolve an electrolyte tablet in there. I’ll usually top that up for long rides with gummies or jelly babies.

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I buy bulk maltodextrin which I mix with fructose (here you get fructose in the baking aisle in every supermarkt). Then I add some ready mix like powerbar or enervit just for the taste. When I put the powder into the bottle I add some salt.

Maltodextrin comes in fairly large containers. I just add the other ingredients, roll the container across the floor and I’m good to go. Easy. Super cheap and just as good as the expensive mixtures.

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I mix my own.

To get the sugested 2:1 ratio of sugars I use table sugar and maltodextrin. I then add a sugar free electrolyte mix to get in the rest of the hydration goodies, specifically I use BioSteel.

For my trainer rides I typically will mix 75g bottles that I drink within the hour. I’ll then top off with a shot of maple syrup if I need to get into that 100g/hr range.

How I mix the bottles: 25g of maltodextrin and 50g of table sugar. I then add 1x scoop (7g of biosteel). I use a kitchen scale and just do each bottle individually.

For long outdoor rides I will put the mix in a ziplock baggie and then mix on site at the gas station when I top off with water. If I need more carbs per hour I will use gels on my ride rather than maple syrup.

I’ve found this is the most cost effective way, I think it comes out to around 80cents (canadian monies) per bottle depending on if you can find all the ingredients on sale or not. Worst case, if nothing is on sale, you’re around that $1 (CAD) a bottle range.

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For the last two years I’ve been using a custom mix from Infinit Nutrition that was engineered for centuries, which contains maltodextrin, dextrose, electrolytes, caffeine, and a little bit of protein to fend off hunger on longer rides. I only use it on longer, more intense workouts. It’s about $2.00 - $2.50 per bottle (USD).

I found SiS Beta on sale for $1 per packet a while ago and tried some. That worked well, too.

I plan to mix my own once I’m through my current stock. Electrolytes and flavoring could be the most expensive part, though. I also haven’t price caffeine yet, but am interested in recreating my custom mix from Inifinit as closely as possible.

For indoor rides I mix as many bottles as I’ll need before hand. For outdoor rides I carry extra mix in zip lock bags in my jersey pockets. The snack sized bags perfectly fit one serving of the Infinit mix.

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I usually go for the convenience thing but I have done the home made thing too. Nothing special just a little sugar and salt added to some diluted juice.

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Two really good resources available on here on this topic

  1. Make SIS BETA fuel your self just a few pence per bottle

  2. Generic / Fake Maurten?

I make my own mix and have been now for the last 12 months as I dial in my nutrition on the trainer and try and save on burning cash on gels needlessly.

I’ve landed on a mix that works for me of into a 600mL bottle of:
40g maple syrup
1.5g of salt
80g of maltodextrin

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I mix my own. I order large bags of maltodextrin and fructose powder online, and I also have skratch mix (mainly for flavor/electrolytes). I use a 1:1 ratio of malto to fructose/skratch and generally take in 90g of carbs per hour (when working hard). So I’ll make a bottle with 45g malto, 20g fructose, and 25g skratch.

Most of my outdoor rides are on dirt wearing a hydration pack. Up to about three hours I can get a good mix in my 3L pack, topping off with water. I’ve only done one really long (5hr) ride recently. For that I carried extra mix in ziplock bags in my pack. Generally I would stop at a store for water, but this was a pretty remote ride, so my buddy and I carried purification tablets and refilled from a stream. :slight_smile:


For indoor training, I make my own. This is largely due to cost. If the ride isn’t that hard (below sweet spot), I just do electrolytes. This mix ends up being about 5 cents a bottle.
For more intense workouts, I’ll add varying amounts of maltodextrin to this. I haven’t done the math on the cost for that, but it’s cheap.
If you use commercial products at retail prices, you can easily spend several dollars/workout just in nutrition - you are paying a huge premium for some flavored sugar water with some salt in it.

For riding outdoors, I usually take a commercial mix with me, as that’s simpler. I usually take some Nuun tablets, as they are quite compact, and then some other mix with sugar. Nuun has some nice single serving packs for that too. I don’t usually go for the very concentrated stuff - usually Nuun/Skratch/Cranked or similar, and then some food and gels.

Here’s a post desrcribing my mix:

I’m still working through the large batch I made up at that time. Having used it for a while, and learned a it more about it I will try using sodium citrate in my next batch. It adds a bit to the cost, but is supposed to help with flavor a fair bit. Between the sodium bicarbonate and table salt it makes the water a bit bitter, so you need more flavoring to overcome that. Also I’d likely just stick with Sodium/Potassium if I was starting over, as I the rest isn’t really worth it. I have the calcium carbonate and epsom salt now, so I’ll use them in the next batch, but I wouldn’t buy them if I didn’t have them.

For my typical 1.5 - 2 hr workout, I just eat a huge meal of either oatmeal with maple syrup, bananas, raisins, and peanut butter an hour or two before, bring a banana to eat during 15 minute warmup, and just drink straight water and I’m fine. Or I’ll do a couple eggs, olive oil, and a lot of rice or bread for my pre-meal. For 3 hours I need a bit more, so I’ll do the same but bring some bread and snickers bars to eat during a mid-ride rest or z2 interval and I’ll also bring some 750mg salt tablets. For 4+ hour rides, same huge meal prior, but 2 start bottles with 50gr maltodextrin, cup of OJ, and salt tablets. I will carry a container with enough maltodextrin for two more bottles, but will supplement with additional food (usually raisins and nuts), and a couple snickers bars. Sometimes, I’ll bring some caffeine if the ride is really long. Don’t usually take it but good to have!

Wow, thanks everyone that a pretty overwhelming swing. Gives me the confidence to go and mix my own now and thanks to all that shared their mix recipes, the detail of how and when to drink really helps too. Amazing

I suffer with cramp quite badly and found that saltsticks and stay hydrated have worked wonders at keeping that at bay. However looking at the content of saltsticks. I feel its a hell of a lot of salt to reach those numbers. Do you think sodium citrate would make up for this or will I need something else? Below is the SaltStick nutritional information:

Basic maltodextrin powder mixed with electrolyte powder is very, very cheap and does the job very well. If you want some flavour then you can add some juice…

The bulk suppliers in the UK/ Ireland have flavoured maltodextrin powder, for no more money than unflavoured in my experience so I just use those.

I’ve tried bagging myself for top ups on long rides - it wasn’t that convenient really, and that was on a clam day. For the few events a year, I just try and pick up ready mixed sachets/ packs when they’re on offer.

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That is not much salt at all. I am a heavy sweater and my sweat leaves white salt powder that I can scrape off. I have done up to 900mg sodium per hour during summer just to keep on top of loss from sweat and there are people that take up to 1500. Most of these so called electrolyte mixes have less salt than a handful of nuts or seeds.

long rides I take 2 x 750ml bottles of 70-80g maltodextrin mix and depending on how long exactly, I’ll take a banana, perhaps a bar and/or a gel. If its the sort of ride where I may stop for a few minutes somewhere then I may take a homemade flapjack - these tend to need 2 hands to unwrap and eat. Any more and I stop for refreshments/supplies somewhere

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I’m not an expert, but as I understand it you can get the Sodium you need to replace your losses through a variety of Sodium containing compounds. I’ve measured my sweat, and based on that I seem to lose about 800mg/hour of sodium in my sweat. Some people can lose a lot more - you should check out as they have an online questionaire that can help identify how much sodium you may be losing in sweat.
I have found that for long rides on hot days, I need a lot of sodium, and that typical sports drinks (skratch, Nuun, etc) don’t have enough for me on while on the bike. Even if I drink a lot of that on the bike, I need to drink a lot more sodium containing drinks after the bike otherwise I’ll get headaches later in the day.

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