I THINK I NEED TO BUY A PUSHCHAIR

On January 26, 2014 by Kunle Barker

my child red pushchair

One summer’s evening as I sat drinking cocktails with a group of friends in a London members bar I mentioned that I needed to buy a pushchair, with delight one of my friends asked, “So, are you going to be a Mugaboo?” At first I thought the last round of Gin Gimlets had been too much and he had finally succumbed to the powers of that tasty but strong beverage. It was in fact clear that his satirical wordplay was actually a comment on the entire stroller market and not just the brand whose name has an unfortunate rhyming partner; this irony is compounded by the fact that Bugaboos are one of the better stroller manufacturers and aren’t even the most expensive on the market. It appears that since I was a baby things have changed quite a bit; gone are the days of the good old pushchair, we now live in the world of travel systems, five-point harnesses and summer textile kits. All of this added safety and style comes at quite a cost, the cost of a Land Rover. This is not hyperbole, I could actually buy a Land Rover for the price of a top end stroller, and although Land Rovers don’t come with summer textile kits, they do come with engines!

Land Rover – £1000 – Autotrader – December 2013

 

STAGE 1 – THE SHORTLIST

The next morning I announce to Mummy Bean that I have put myself in charge of all electronic or gadget-based purchases for Kidney Bean and the first order of the day is the Stroller. Mummy Bean agrees and I quickly compile a shortlist of three strollers which we should consider;

1)   Bugaboo Cameleon

cameleon http-::www.babesta.com:images:W:bugaboo-cameleon-3-bundle-DKGB-SC-0gray

2)   Stokke Xplory

xplory 2 - http-::www.babyloveit.com:images:stokke_xplory_stroller_carrycot_beigemelange

3)   Uppababy Vista

vista http-::www.whwatts.co.uk:images:products:zoom:1339578299-45268400

To compile this shortlist I used three criteria: 1) Needs to be a travel system 2) Needs to be a reliable brand, well built and safe 3) from a male perspective needs to pass the high street test. You’re probably thinking, ‘what’s a high street test?” Well it’s a simple test, which poses a simple question: ‘Would you be happy to push your child down your local high-street, on your own, in broad daylight in this stroller.’ I concede it’s a superficial question, but if you wish to avoid pushing a pink polka dot stroller with matching changing bag down your high street, it’s a question that you ignore at your peril.

Girls Push Chair

Much to Mummy Bean’s annoyance, now that we have selected the final three strollers it’s time to get anal. I designed a scoring system to help us make the decision process more transparent and as I sit her down to explain the decision parameters, she asks, “Why do we have to have parameters?” “How else are we going to make a good decision?” I reply. “Wow, you really can take the fun out of absolutely anything, it’s like your super power or something,” says Mummy Bean with a smile. I ignore her and succinctly explain the decision parameters.

We decide on six separate criteria and will rank each stroller by allotting them points one to three. At the end of the process we should be able to rank the strollers based on how many points they have, ‘simples’, and so the process begins:

 

STAGE 2 – THE CATEGORIES

 A) Weight and size

Mummy Bean doesn’t drive so she will have to negotiate the joys of London’s public transport system. This means that weight and size are perhaps amongst the most important criteria. In terms of weight, the Stokke Xplory is the heaviest at 12.1kg and the Bugaboo Cameleon is the lightest at 9.6kg. The Uppababy Vista is firmly in the middle at 11.5kg.

 Results

  1. Bugaboo Cameleon  – 3pts
  2. Uppababy Vista – 2pts
  3. Stokke Xplory – 1pts

 

B) Manoeuvrability

On the face of it, this seems to be quite an even category as each stroller has good manoeuvrability with small directional front wheels giving all three very tight turning circles. We had planned to split the points equally in this category until we discovered that the Xplory can be used in a ‘2 wheel mode’ which means it can be wheeled up a set of stairs using only the large back wheels. This makes the Xplory much easier and safer to negotiate tube escalators as when in ‘2 wheel mode’ the centre of gravity shifts and is between the stroller and your body. Ordinarily taking a stroller up and down stairs can be difficult as the centre of gravity is further away from you so making the stroller harder to control. Another factor is that the Xplory is the thinnest of the three and due to its tripod-like design, once you get above the wheels the stroller actually gets much thinner. This makes a big difference in crowds.

 Results

  1. Stokke Xplory – 3pts
  2. Bugaboo Cameleon  – 1.5pts
  3. Uppababy Vista – 1.5pts

 

Stokke Xplory in 2 wheel mode easier for going up stairs

 

 C) Versatility

The Uppababy Vista has the only carrycot on the market that is recommended for overnight sleeping. This is a huge plus for the Vista as it eradicates the need for travel cots and superfluous Moses baskets. However, the Stokke Xplory is also versatile as it is the only one of the three which has an adjustable height setting for the seat/carry cot. This has two main advantages; one, your baby has a high riding position and so is much closer to you. Two, for taller women you don’t have to bend down too far to pick up your baby, which can be of particular importance straight after birth. This benefit also means that for fathers over 6 feet tall (1.82 metres) you don’t look like you are pushing around a toy pram.  This adaptability also allows you to use the Xplory as a highchair in the home and when out and about in cafes with friends. The Bugaboo is also versatile but not quite in the same unique way as its competition.

Results

  1. Stokke Xplory – 2.5pts
  2. Uppababy Vista – 2.5pts
  3. Bugaboo Cameleon  – 1pts

 

bassinet-stand-uppababy-vista

Uppababy Vista – with carrycot stand

D) Price

All of these strollers are towards the top end of the market so are going to make a dent in your wallet. The Uppababy Vista comes in at £629.95 with the Bugaboo Cameleon costing £799 and top of the pile the Stokke Xplory at £999. All prices include frame, carry cot and seat and are priced from UK high-street retailers. In terms of ‘bang for you buck’ the Uppababy Vista is great value with the lowest price and a raft of extras including car seat adaptors, covers, etc. Also the Uppababy Vista is the only one of the strollers that can be converted to carry two children so it can keep pace with your expanding family.

Results

  1. Uppababy Vista – 3pts
  2. Bugaboo Cameleon  – 2pts
  3. Stokke Xplory – 1pts

 

 E) Resale potential

Unsurprisingly, the desirability of the Stokke Xplory and the popularity of the Bugaboo Cameleon mean they have a thriving second-hand market and if you wanted to sell either of these strollers it would be a relatively simple process. The Uppababy Vista seems to have less demand on the resale market but I’m sure in good condition you would be able to find a buyer.

Results

  1. Bugaboo Cameleon  – 3pts
  2. Stokke Xplory – 2pts
  3. Uppababy Vista – 1pts

 

 F) Design

Good design combines functionality in a package that looks good. There is no point having a product that looks good if it’s not fit for purpose or vice versa. In my opinion, the Stokke Xplory combines good looks with a high level of functionality in a way that the other products don’t quite manage to achieve. It’s not that the other two are designed badly, the Bugaboo Cameleon looks good and the Uppababy Vista is functional, but the Stokke Xplory looks better and is more functional than its competitors. Stokke as a brand obviously take the design of their products very seriously and it shows, plus the Xplory knocks the ‘high-street test’ out of the park.

Results

  1. Stokke Xplory – 3pts
  2. Bugaboo Cameleon  – 2pts
  3. Uppababy Vista – 1pts

 

STAGE 3 THE VERDICT

So scores are in, the points have been collated and checked by an independent adjudicator and I can announce the results as follows:

=1)   Stokke Xplory – 12.5pts (awarded 1st as had most first place finishes)

=1)   Bugaboo Cameleon – 12.5pts

3)   Uppababy Vista – 11pts

As you can see, it was a close race and to be fair it is not a terribly scientific or objective piece of research. The truth is they are all good strollers and you will choose one depending on your personal circumstances. If space is an issue, you may well choose the Bugaboo Cameleon, if you will be moving around and travelling to in-laws a lot you may choose the Uppababy Vista as your baby can sleep overnight in its carry cot. If you like great design and want the added functionality that this gives you, then it has to be the Stokke Xplory.

For the Bean family, the choice was very easy, we love great design and love that Stokke design products that you actually like to having in your home. The Stokke Tripp Trapp chair reminds me of the Rietveld classic Zig-Zag chair and the Bounce ‘n’ Sleep would not be out of place in the Bauhaus Archive. Stokke products are incredibly well designed and the Xplory is no exception to this, I know it seems superficial to think about what a baby product looks like, as they should really be about what is best for your baby, but why can’t we have both? Why can’t I have reliable, well made and safe baby products that also look good in my home?

The decision was quite easy for us and Kidney Bean’s first mode of transport is going to be a Stokke Xplory, I did suggest the Land Rover but Mummy Bean didn’t even dignify that with a response.

xplory 2 - http---www.babyloveit.com-images-stokke_xplory_stroller_carrycot_beigemelange

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