Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

review

Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts

9
£145.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Near-flawless gravel-specific bib shorts – comfortable, great fitting, and with a clever rear pocket
Comfortable, non-intrusive pad
Good leg length
Flatlock seams
Generous side pockets
Rear pocket great for stashing bigger items
Weight: 
191g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Albion Cycling ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts are gravel-specific, designed for long days in the saddle, and work really well on or off the road. They feature side pockets and a clever rear stash pocket, an incredibly comfortable and non-intrusive Elastic Interface pad, and they fit me perfectly. They're definitely on the more premium side in terms of pricing, but are worth it.

The ABR1 Pocket bibs are a mild tweak of Albion's existing ABR1 Bib Shorts (we have a full review of those to come). The only real difference between the two, at least on paper, is the addition of mesh pockets on the legs, and one very large mesh stash pocket on the rear.

I own a pair of the non-pocket ABR1s and, not wishing to jump the gun on the review to come, think they're excellent bib shorts for endurance style riding thanks to their long-distance seat pad, which also features in the ABR1 Pocket bibs.

It's labelled as the Albion X Elastic Interface Ultra but, as far as this bicycle nerd can tell, is an Elastic Interface Liege HP Men, which is designed for rides over seven hours.

2022 Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts - chamois.jpg

It's very comfortable, but unlike some pads it's quite a low-profile design, so it doesn't overwhelm you like some thicker ones do. The seat pad in the Rapha Core Cargo bib shorts (another pair of gravel shorts I own) is much thicker and can actually get uncomfortable after a while as it tends to squish everything into your groin.

> 11 gravel-specific products you never knew you needed

Proof is in the pudding: I rode a 65-mile gravel event in Wiltshire a couple of months ago, which was pretty unforgiving in places, and I must say I didn't once think about my backside during the entire five-hour duration.

2022 Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts - legs back.jpg

The shorts themselves are made from four-way-stretch recycled fabrics, with flatlock seams to prevent any kind of chafing while you ride, and a mesh panel at the rear, ideal for keeping your back cooler on hotter days.

2022 Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts - straps back.jpg

The only slight gripe I have is that the reflectivity is pretty minimal. But then with summer shorts you're unlikely to be wearing them in the dark. 

2022 Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts - cuff back.jpg

In terms of fit, Albion Cycling has it pretty much nailed. The large on test are a perfect match for my long and slim physique: snug all round, but not race tight (my non-Pocket versions are actually XL, based on the fit from other Albion garments I've tested, but are ever so slightly long and not quite tight enough around the tip of the quads).

As for the pockets adorning these bib shorts, as I've already mentioned you get two at the sides, each one generous enough to fit a smartphone and some snacks in. The pockets are tight against the hips, but entry and exit is easy enough when you're grabbing for something in a rush.

2022 Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts - side pocket.jpg

The large rear pocket is a clever solution to stashing an item of clothing when you're on the move, such as a gilet or lightweight jacket. Because the pocket is a side entry, and a decent diameter, it's easy to cram clothing in without having to stop or look at what you're doing. And, because there's an entry/exit hole on either side of the pocket, it's good for lefties or righties.

2022 Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts - pocket back.jpg

The shorts come in black or Botanical Green, which is quite a vibrant option if you're feeling a little daring – paired with Albion's Fluro Green jersey, it's quite the look (in a good way).

Value

At £145, the Albions sit in the middle of a wide range of prices you can pay for good bib shorts, from below £100 to over £200.

Rapha's Core Cargo bib shorts are, in my opinion, one of the closest competitors to the Albions in terms of overall comfort and quality, but £45 cheaper. The ABR1s edge it in pad performance, and I'd say they're just a bit nicer overall – plus the stash pocket is more useful than the Core Cargos' two regular mesh rear pockets. If you can stretch to it, they're worth the extra in my book.

They are better value than Santini's Gravel Bib Shorts, which cost £160 and, according to Stu, are a bit lacking in pad comfort on the rough stuff.

But there are some decent options under £100: Madison's Roam Men's Cargo Bib Shorts were well received by Stu, with usable pockets and a good pad thickness for off-road rides, and they're £79.99. And Altura's All Roads Cargo Bib Shorts are virtually the same price, with good comfort and storage, but George found that the fitment was slightly off.

> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best cycling bib shorts

Looking at the other extreme, the Albions are almost a bargain in comparison: Rapha's non-Core Cargo Bib Shorts are £215 – though you do get some weatherproofing with those – the Assos Mille GTC Kiespanzer C2 bib shorts, reviewed on our sister site off.road.cc, are £210, and the Spatzwear Convoy Cargo bib shorts are £199.99 – and not without niggles according to Liam's review.

Conclusion

They're not as cheap as some but you do get some excellent gravel-specific bib shorts for your money, which excel in every way imaginable, with high levels of comfort thanks to a fantastic seat pad, a perfect fit, and great pockets – including a clever stash rear pocket, genuinely a game-changer in my opinion.

Verdict

Near-flawless gravel-specific bib shorts – comfortable, great fitting, and with a clever rear pocket

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Albion ABR1 Pocket Bib Shorts

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

Albion says, "High performance bib shorts with load carrying capacity, including a rear pocket to carry an extra layer and side pockets for your essentials. Designed for maximum comfort to help you stay outside for longer."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Albion lists these features:

Three pockets: mesh pockets on each leg and a rear mesh pocket allow for load carrying and easy access whilst riding

Albion x Elastic Interface ultra pad technology for long distance riding (with recycled face fabric)

Reduced panel, anatomical design using 4-way stretch performance recycled fabrics

Mesh upper back panel to aid breathability

Wide exterior silicone leg gripper

Flatlock seams

Reflective tabs at side / rear

Fabric and Manufacturing:

Main fabric: 80% recycled nylon, 20% polyester; mesh 73% recycled nylon, 27% recycled elastane

Made in Italy

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

As well as being very well made, in a factory in Italy, the majority of the fabric is recycled (Bluesign approved sustainable).

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Side pockets are excellent, and the rear stash pocket is a stroke of genius.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

No issues here (or with my other ABR1 bib shorts).

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

Snug, but not race-fit, and great leg length.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10

Large is what I normally wear, and these are true to size, unlike some of Albion's other garments, which tend to be on the small side.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

Pretty decent – lighter than the Rapha Core Cargo bib shorts.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Great for long rides on or off road, and the pad isn't intrusive.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

You can buy good gravel bib shorts for £80-£100, but you can also spend around the £200 mark (or more). So though these are pricey compared with some, they're not anywhere near as expensive as others. I reckon they're well worth the money, and not overpriced.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

30 degrees, easy to wash – nothing to write home about.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Perfect for gravel rides, and make for useful bib shorts on long road rides too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The rear stash pocket.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

They're £15 less than Santini's Gravel bib shorts (and better in the pad department), but £45 more than the Rapha Cargo Core Bib Shorts – while the non-Core Rapha Cargos are £215 (but do have some weatherproofing). There are cheaper alternatives – Madison's Roam Men's Cargo Bib Shorts and the Altura All Roads Cargo Bib Shorts are both around the £80 mark, and offer decent performance.

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

Albion's gravel-specific shorts offer a highly competitive performance for a price that, while more than some, is far less than other similar products. They do everything terrifically well, aside from that minor of not a huge amount of reflectivity (which I don't think is that big of a deal for summer shorts). Highly recommended.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,

Latest Comments