Albion is a British clothing brand focused on creating clothing to meet the demands of the changeable British weather conditions in a sustainable way. Founded by three friends in 2014, the brand aims to create functional garments with practical features that improve the riding experience in a region where riders can encounter all four seasons in one day. Albion also has an environmental mission, with its own in-house responsibility commitment to ensure all products are well made, last longer, and manufactured using responsible fabric solutions.
I have the brand’s ARB1 bib shorts in for review, and while I put those bibs through their paces in the changeable Irish weather conditions, Albion also sent its Burner lightweight and packable insulating layer.
If you have watched the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia, you’ll most likely have seen riders stuff newspapers down the front of their jerseys just before a long descent for an extra layer of insulation and to block the wind. Albion’s Burner is the 21st-century version of this pro cycling tradition.
Albion says it designed the Burner “to give the rider quick and easy access to an ultra-light, highly packable insulating layer to add rapid warmth and wind block to any outfit.”
At first I thought the Burner was a little gimmicky, but after a few rides it had me wondering why no one has done this before (it turns out Warmfront has). The Burner sits between a base layer and the bib straps and provides a surprising amount of insulation for a layer weighing just 18 grams. As packable as it is lightweight, the Burner easily scrunches into its own pocket and is about the size of a mini-bake or small energy bar. Packed away like this, it takes up minimal space in a jersey pocket, but I found it stored just as easily and quite securely between my saddle and saddlebag.
On the sustainability front, Albion uses 100% recycled nylon outer fabric and an insulating layer made with 90% recycled fibres. Furthermore, Albion offers free lifetime repairs on all garments to ensure garments last longer, in turn creating less waste and, perhaps counterintuitively for a clothing brand, fewer purchases.
I found the Burner an excellent addition to my wardrobe as a layering item for spring, autumn, or just Irish summers. While not a replacement for all wind vests/gilets, the Burner’s ability to give added protection in a much smaller package made it a new must-have for me. I found it perfect for early morning rides when I knew it would heat up later in the day, and for days slightly too chilly for just a jersey.
With the Irish climate, I don’t often get to wear a short sleeve jersey as my outermost layer; the Burner has given me that option by placing that removable insulating layer beneath the jersey. Racers could find a similar benefit with the Burner – they can keep their aero jerseys and race suits as the outermost layer with the Burner sat below for that thermal protection.
Removing the Burner is simple with just a one-handed pull through the front of a jersey. However, putting it in place requires a little more precision. This is still achievable on the move for anyone comfortable riding no-handed, but the Burner does need placing below the bib straps to hold it in place, and I feel it would benefit from being a bit wider to facilitate this.
The Burner is available in three colours, mist (white), black, and pine green, and is priced at £35 (US$45 / AU$61 / €38). You can learn more at Albioncycling.com.
Follow the link to see previous products we’ve reviewed in our Spotlight series.