The Bike List

Maxi Nutrition Cyclone Milk £28 (8x330ml)

Tested by Christophe Demoulin, tester for The Bike List

Protein shakes are now commonplace in cycling, offering quick, convenient access to protein for a faster and better recovery. Some cyclists swear by them while others shun them in favour of more natural nutrition like rice and tuna. Taking protein shakes at face value, I tested a pack of eight Cyclone Milk chocolate flavour bottles as an alternative to my usual post exercise recovery treat.

First and foremost, it is worth mentioning what you get in 330ml of Cyclone Milk. The little bottle packs a punch with its pre-prepared, ready-to-drink chocolatey goodness: 30g of protein, 3g of creatine and 7g of BCAAs. Let's start with the protein: the 30g is made up of a milk protein powder which matches or beats most other protein shakes, which usually provide around 20g. (For comparison, a chicken breast or lean cut of steak, would provide around 25-40g of protein per 100g.) Milk protein is generally composed of casein and serum (whey) proteins, so not unlike what you might find in other sports drinks.

Next up, creatine. When this hit the body building market a few years ago, it hit in a big way. Creatine is said to increase the ability of muscles to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), therefore letting you push harder and more often. For cyclists, creatine is going to be most useful with weight and sprint training, much less so endurance. If you're racing, it's also worth noting (in case there was any doubt) that creatine is a naturally-occurring chemical that is WADA approved; in fact, every bottle of Cyclone Milk is "screened for banned substances and is registered with the Informed Sport programme". Cyclone Milk gives you 3g of creatine per serving, and as far as I am concerned, this is a big win.Cyclone Milk is also the first ready-mixed protein shake to include this chemical.

Lastly, BCAAs, otherwise known as branch chain amino acids… These are the building blocks of protein. In calorie-reduced diets or longer endurance events, your body may go into a state of muscle catabolism which occurs when you no longer have the necessary sustenance to fuel your effort, so your liver draws on the amino acids within your muscles. BCAAs are a convenient supplement to prevent muscle catabolism. They effectively increase the rate of muscle synthesis, increase the muscle cell's capacity for protein synthesis and reduce the rate of muscle breakdown. They effectively do the same things as any high protein consumable, but require virtually no digestion and are absorbed by the body very rapidly, making them an ideal post-workout supplement. It's worth noting, however, that simply keeping your carb intake high enough will also prevent muscle catabolism, and might be a lot cheaper!

Enough of the science chat though, you're probably wondering whether this awful-sounding concoction of chemicals is going to make you visit the toilet moments after taking your first sip? Well provided you give it a good shake, not only is the taste delightful, but the texture is milky-smooth and free of any offensive chunks you might find in other protein drinks. This may be linked to the fact that Cyclone Milk is almost fat-free (just 1g per bottle), and made with semi skimmed milk.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of this protein drink is how it sits on your stomach, provided you aren't lactose intolerant. Cyclone Milk bottles are only 330ml (the same as a can of Coke), while most other protein shakes are the best part of a pint or more, which I've always found tough to stomach after a hard session. At only 201kcal per serving, you're not going to ruin your dinner, either, or encroach upon your daily calorie allowance if weight loss is one of your training aims. The benefit of the drink is rather subjective and difficult to assess. Compared to my usual home blend of protein and supplement powders, I felt good through a week of hard training and daily consumption.

When it comes to pricing, you won't be surprised to know its pricier than Cyclone powder which provides 22 servings for £50 compared to eight servings for £28 - roughly 50% more expensive, in fact. But you are paying for convenience here; a bottle to leave in the fridge at work, or one to chuck in your race bag for the ease of use after an event.

At a glance

Verdict Maxi Nutrition’s Cyclone Milk is a winner in its content, taste and performance relative to its competitors. Although a touch pricey for daily use, it’s best suited to post-race applications, and arguably worth paying the extra for its convenience.

Maxi Nutrition says:

A high protein milk drink with creatine to support your strength and power goals.

  • 30g protein
  • 3g creatine
  • Naturally containing BCAAs