First Look: Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts

The latest long-distance bibshort offering from UK brand Albion, with performance, all-day comfort and sustainability at the forefront of the updated design

It’s not always easy to mesh being an ethical, considerate consumer with being a cyclist. For all the ‘green’ credentials of cycling itself, bikes are largely made of carbon fibre, clothing and equipment is often made from synthetic fabrics, and all of it is shipped around the world from factory to consumer. The vast environmental footprint hardly bears thinking about. 

It’s true what they say: the most environmentally friendly thing you can buy is the one you already have. 

But what happens when you need to buy a new pair of bib shorts? Because buy a new pair of bib shorts you inevitably must. The most important item in any cyclist’s wardrobe will eventually succumb to those brutal hours of pressure, heat, sweat, road crud and machine wash 30 cycles. What then? 

Related: The Desire Guide to bib shorts

You could do worse than turn to Albion, the self-styled “UK cycling brand on a mission to help people stay outside for longer”. Albion is big on recycled performance fabrics, and that’s just what goes into their bib shorts. Indeed it's what goes into the whole Albion wardrobe, for men and for women, which in the case of the Spring/Summer 2022 range includes updated short sleeve jersey, ultralight jacket, mesh base later and bib shorts.

All are made in Italy using recycled fabric and meet the ‘Global Recycled Standard’, a voluntary industry mark that verifies those positive environmental attributes. The bib shorts go even further and are “Bluesign® Approved”, meaning the fabric in every pair of shorts has been independently traced through the supply chain and checked to make sure it meets standards for sustainability. 

Albion has been attracting attention for its bibs for a while and its not hard to see why. The ABR1 bib shorts have been the brand’s best-selling item for two years thanks to their anatomical fit (for both men’s and women’s models), wide leg grippers, flat lock seams and supreme comfort. 

It’s hard to get too excited about them because it’s hard to get too excited about any pair of bib shorts. The pair that does the best job is the pair you don’t notice is there. The shorts that don’t shout ‘look at me’ or remind you that you’re wearing them; they just quietly get on with doing the job. 

The ABR1 bib shorts are modest, subtle, understated, and they do a very good job. If you disagree, Albion offers a 60-day guarantee for exchange or refund. 

With sustainability in mind, the latest iteration of the ABR1 has seen Albion enhance the rear panel – the area that sees the most abuse – to further protect it from “high UV environments and salt”. Or in other terms, your sweaty derrière on repeated long, hot days in the saddle. The Albion repairs service adds another layer of guarantee. 

New this season are the pocket bibs, with added secure mesh pockets on each leg and a rear pocket for storing gloves, jackets, Belgian waffles or anything else you deem appropriate for those extra-long days in the saddle or the rides where you opt not to wear a jersey with pockets. 

The ABR1 bib shorts are available in black and navy and retail at £135.00; the Pocket Bib Shorts (available in black) retail for £145.00. But as another saying goes: buy once, buy well. 

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