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The Albion ABR1 bib shorts are ideal for riding day after day in hot weather, are impeccably finished, and made largely of recycled materials.
Albion says its ABR1s are 'high performance bib shorts designed for extreme comfort on your longest, hardest days in the saddle'.
The Italian-made ABR1s are certainly very nicely put together. Fine quality flatlock stitching is used throughout, and the finish is top notch. The vast majority of the material used is recycled, too; the main fabric, for example, is 80% recycled nylon, and the mesh back is made entirely of recycled nylon and recycled elastane.
The legs are a single layer of Lycra – you can just about see through the material when holding it up to the light – while the rear panel includes a double layer.
The legs are hemmed, unlike quite a few bibs I've seen recently which are hemless and laser cut. They are still plenty comfy, and a hem should prevent any potential loose threads from becoming an issue. There is a silicone backing on each hem too, and they stayed perfectly in place with and without leg warmers, with no slippage.
They are considerably long in the leg, which won't suit all; I found they came right down to the curve of my knees, which I don't mind and found it good in searing sunshine, but if you like a bit of exposed thigh you won't get much of that with the Albions.
Special mention should go to the straps: they are really comfortable, almost velvety to the touch. I don't think I've ever audibly "cooed" at pulling on a pair of bib shorts before, but I did with these.
The pad in the shorts is supplied by Italy's Elastic Interface, the same as the one in the 'pocket' gravel version of these shorts, which Hollis reviewed. According to Hollis it's the Liège HP, which EI claims is suitable for rides over seven hours.
It's excellent on the comfort front, smooth to the touch but deliberately minimalist and quite firm, so it doesn't have that "nappy" feel of some pads in other endurance bibs I've used.
The fairly thin aspect to the pad and the lightweight material of the shorts really helps in hot weather; you can feel that air is able to permeate through the thinner front of the pad, keeping you cool.
That extends to the shorts overall: they performed exceptionally well in hot weather and on long rides. I did a two-day, 250km ride during that recent record-breaking UK heatwave, as well as two weeks of daily 50-60km rides in the Ardèche region of France with temperatures around 29-35°C and they felt great. They just performed day after day, and I didn't feel sweaty or clammy in them at all.
Comfort break pee-stops are easy as well, as the front is just the right height.
A welcome touch to low-light visibility are small reflective strips along the stitching of the leg panels, and a rectangular patch of the same reflective material on the right leg.
I can confirm the ABR1s clean up well both handwashing in a bowl as well as chucking them in for a machine wash at 30. I've been wearing them almost every day for a month and they are still unmarked and unfaded, boding well for longterm durability.
Should there be any issues, Albion also offers a lifetime free repair service, or it can send out repair kits if you are feeling confident enough to tackle small repairs yourself.
So quality and comfort is there, how about value for money? For the performance and finish, they're certainly worth the money in my opinion, but how does that price compare with similar offerings?
You can get cheaper or similarly priced shorts, such as the Assos Mille GTs at £125, also able to do all-day riding – although our reviewer Ben did mention that they have quite a short leg length, which might not suit – and the Nopinz Souplesses are a penny shy of £120 and were highly rated by Stu as being very comfortable, light and well made, and good in hot conditions too.
But you can also pay a lot more: Le Col has a premium endurance offering in its men's pro bib shorts at £170 (up a tenner since we tested them), but despite their impressive pad, our tester Matt felt these didn't have a particularly great finish, despite trying several pairs of shorts.
So to sum up, the Albion ABR1s might not be the cheapest, but they are quality, well-finished bib shorts, made largely from recycled materials, and with great performance for all-day, hot weather riding.
Excellent for all-day riding in hot weather – top quality but not top price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Albion ABR1 Bib Shorts
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Albion says: "High performance bib shorts designed for extreme comfort on your longest, hardest days in the saddle"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Reduced panel, anatomical design using 4-way stretch performance recycled fabrics
Albion x Elastic Interface ultra pad technology for long distance riding
Mesh upper back panel to aid breathability
Wide exterior silicone leg gripper
Flatlock seams for close to the body comfort
Reflective tabs at side and rear.
Made in Italy and very nicely sewn together.
The Albion AB1 performed exceptionally well for comfort in hot weather and on long rides. I did a two-day, 250km ride during that recent record-breaking UK heatwave, as well as two weeks of riding daily 50-60km rides in France with temperatures around 29-35°C and they felt great. The ABR1s just performed day after day, I didn't feel sweaty in them at all.
I've been wearing them almost every day for a month. They are still unmarked and unfaded despite all-day rides and daily washing.
It's not quite race fit, but there is no bagginess anywhere. The fabric has a gentle compressive effect.
My tested size of large was perfect. I'm 5ft 11in, 92kg with a 34in waist and chunky thighs and they were spot on. No loose material anywhere and very comfortable. I would class these as long bib shorts, with the legs just coming into the curve of my knees. I guess some riders might not like the length but I did.
172g is really good for the quality of the shorts. They feel lightweight but not flimsy.
Really comfortable for the distances I tried: 250km across two days and continual hot weather rides of 60km per day, plus daily commuting. Comfort break pee-stops are easy as well as the front is just the right height.
Most endurance bibs from other quality brands seem to be between £120 and £170, so these are towards the lower end. They're a bit more than some but a lot less than others, and their impressive performance over long distances and in hot weather bumps up the value. They are well worth the money.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
After a 30 degree machine wash they come out as new each time. They also come up fine with a hand wash and scrub in a sink with some travel wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Superb. I think for long distance riding, especially in hot weather, the Albion ABR1s are a great choice. Would not hesitate to recommend.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Hot weather performance is really good, straps are super comfortable, they're lightweight and very well stitched together.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing really. Just bear in mind they are long in the leg.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're excellent: lightweight, with a quality construction, and largely from recycled materials. Super comfortable for riding big distances day after day in hot weather, the Albion ABR1s should definitely make your shortlist for endurance bib shorts. Highly recommended.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT Grade My best bike is: Boardman ASR 8.9
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Zwifting