Helping You Ride Stronger, Look Better, and Feel Great!

Tested: GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink

gu roctane gels and drinks

To complement the Roctane gel, you can add GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink into your fueling strategy.

The key words here are ultra endurance. It’s specifically made for demanding situations like high-intensity events lasting 4+ hours, providing lots and lots of carbs and electrolytes per serving, plus BCAAs, taurine, and caffeine.

We’ll get into more detail in the next section…

GU Roctane Drinks Health and Nutrition Info

Much like the Roctane gel, this drink is formulated for ultra-endurance efforts. Just look at the ingredients list.

[Grape] Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Fructose, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Taurine, Citric Acid, Histidine, Leucine, Valine, Tartaric Acid, Carnosyn® Beta-Alanine, Malic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Fruit And Vegetable Juice (As Color), Isoleucine. Caffeine Free.

It’s packed. Simple and complex carbs, BCAAs, and more. An endurance athlete’s dream!

*Note that grape is caffeine-free, while the other flavors contain 35mg caffeine per serving.

Let’s start at the beginning. The carbs are maltodextrin and fructose. No surprise there – that’s the proven base of the GU gels.

But in this case, it’s not just any maltodextrin. GU says this is “a special maltodextrin to increase energy density and improve consistency.” It sounds like hype, but it’s little details like this that matter when you’re talking about ultra-endurance events where your body is being pushed to the limit.

What’s less common is the taurine, a semi-essential amino acid more commonly found in energy drinks like Red Bull. On an average day, you probably have no use for extra taurine. However, it could play a role in your performance during big events.

I haven’t researched taurine a whole lot, but what it does is helps with calcium handling in your body. And calcium helps your muscles contract properly. So taurine could improve performance and may help decrease fatigue in skeletal muscle tissues during prolonged exercise.

It can also improve heart function. Studies have shown that during prolonged exercise (like Ironman events,) the ability of the heart to pump blood is decreased, which can lead to decreased exercise capacity. Taurine to the rescue!

There’s also beta-alanine, which you won’t find in the regular gels or drinks. The end goal of this is to minimize changes in muscle pH during intense efforts over lactate threshold. (And the Carnosyn® Beta-Alanine that GU uses is supposed to be the best quality available.)

Nutrition Facts

Calories 240
Sodium 320mg
Potassium 105mg
Carbs 59g
Sugars 15g
Protein 0g

Roctane is all about getting lots of calories. Yeah, you better believe it. This mix packs 240 calories per serving, which goes in a 21oz water bottle.

A bottle of that and you’ve already racked up 60 grams of carbs in an hour!

You’ll notice there is no protein, which makes it unlike some other high-calorie drinks. Instead, it’s packed with amino acids, which is even better.

GU Roctane Drinks Taste Test

Roctane comes in three different flavors, all fairly common.

Tropical Fruit

First off, it smells good, and puts me in a good mood. It tastes like the fruit punch you’d have at a party, out of a punch bowl. I’m not sure what to compare to – it doesn’t remind me of Kool Aid or Gatorade or anything (it’s better.) But not quite like eating real tropical fruits.

Grape

The best grape flavored drink I’ve ever had! (Rarely if ever would I choose a grape flavored beverage. This is the only time!) It’s just sweet enough to tell your brain, “everything’s going to be OK.” And give you a little mental boost. It’s a very light flavor, crisp, coupled with just the right sweetness – they did an excellent job here!

I don’t know how they can pack in so many carbs and keep the texture so light and refreshing!

Lemon Lime

I saved this for last since it’s usually a solid flavor, or at least acceptable… Not in this case! It was bad!

It’s a bland flavor, and bitter. It wasn’t sweet or sour, either of which would have been pleasant characteristics. I’m not sure how to describe it, other than terrible. It’s the worst lemon-lime flavor I’ve ever had.

Fortunately, the drink itself is crisp, and there is no aftertaste (which was a problem with other GU drinks in lemon lime.)

Which one would I recommend?

The safest bet here is probably the tropical punch. Most people will probably find it acceptable. The grape, though I loved it, might not be for everyone. (Get a packet of the grape before buying a full canister.)

Roctane is totally different from the high-calorie Hammer Nutrition products. These are all very light, crisp drinks, yet they pack tons of calories. But you can’t even tell. Hammer’s drinks are thicker. You can tell they are full of calories. I don’t mind that, but some athletes don’t like it.

Mixing and Testing Roctane

First, let me point out that most people don’t need something this intense. It’s made for Ironman triathlons and similarly epic physical endeavors!

And when you see the price you understand my point.

Box of 10 packets – $29.25
Canister (12 servings) – $27.00
Canister (24 servings) – $40.50

So even in the biggest container, it’s $1.70 per serving. If you want convenient packets, you’re going to pay $3 per serving!

Mixing

Roctane is a super fine powder that’s easy to mix. (This is where you begin to appreciate the quality of the ingredients.)

The experience is much like Hammer Heed, which I believe is a similar recipe.

Just shake it up in a water bottle and it will mix just fine.

Enduring some ultra endurance testing

I’ve tested this out alongside the Roctane gel, as well as on its own.

Unfortunately, I have yet to test it during anything even close to a half-Ironman (let alone a full Ironman.)

So I don’t really know if the caffeine and taurine are living up to their reputation.

But I can confirm that I felt great when I used it for a few rides of the 2+ hour variety.

I’ll update this review when I have a full supply that I can use to fuel multiple 4+ hour workouts.

My final verdict is…

In most cases, you won’t need to use Roctane – a regular drink will suffice. And keep in mind that if you use it daily, it will get real expensive, real fast.

But it’s delicious and works well for me, so if you’re an ultra-endurance athlete with big races coming up, this is something to test out.

Official website: www.GuEnergy.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com | www.LuckyVitamin.com

Product Review Details
Company: GU Energy Labs
Product: GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2015-04-18
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

Click here if you would like to get your product reviewed on CoachLevi.com.

More articles you will probably enjoy:
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Email this to someone
4 Comments
  1. Hi

    My daughter is 10 years old and it’s her swimming competition in
    coming week. My question is can she take Roctane ultra endurance energy drink mix on the day of event as she has 5 events on the same day

    Thank you

    • @Mo

      Thanks for your question. Generally I do not recommend supplements like this for children.

      Not that this would necessarily be harmful, but it’s probably not necessary for a strong performance, either.

  2. how long does this last once mixed with water.? In other words, if I mix it up the night before a race, and say it’s raining cats and dogs the day of the race – and I opt out. Once mixed like that, if kept refrigerated, how long before it goes bad?

    • @Bryan

      You know, I never thought about that! I usually use my drinks soon after mixing.

      However, I don’t see a reason for it to go bad. Maybe it could lose some efficacy, though, so I’d ask GU!

Leave a Reply

coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

usa cycling certified coach


pn1 certified coach
Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
Coach Levi's Mom
Hometown, PA