Mima Kobi Review – Opening the Box & First Impressions!
The Mima Kobi has to be the most stylish tandem pushchair currently on the market. The Kobi, and its sibling, the Xari, certainly are pushchairs which provoke strong first reactions. The Mima Kobi seems to be a pushchair that people instantly love or think is too unusual. But having been in this latter group, but having seen the outstanding quality and design of the Kobi for myself, and more importantly, have had the opportunity to use the Kobi in real life situations, I have to confess to having done a complete U turn and I want to say that never before have I been so impressed with a pushchair (and believe me I have had a few!).
As you open the pink & white boxes you instantly realise what a quality product lies within the packaging. The first item out of the single Kobi box was the was the hard folding hood. I think the best description is that it is like an Armadillo’s shell. The upper seat has a 3 leaf hood and the lower seat had a 2 leaf hood (because there isn’t enough space for a 3 leaf one underneath the main seat unit). These leaves slide inside one another. You need to pull the front leaf quite firmly from the centre to open the hood. I had a horrifying moment when I thought we had dinted the hood by pulling on it, but a reassuring phone call informed me that there is meant to be a dimple in the centre of the hood to encourage people to pull the hood from the centre, not the sides! Phew! There are ever so slight gaps in the hood leaves but they do overlap and I don’t think in winter that it would be blowy for a child. The hoods attach very simply which is useful, because I have found that it is easiest to remove the lower hood to put the baby in the bottom. The hoods do not slide down flush to the back of the seat unit, and being hard they aren’t forgiving when leaning over with a baby in your arms. But the seat units look equally great without the hoods on and it is a minor niggle – and one of those compromises you have to accept in the name of having an exceptionally stylish pushchair!
Next to unpack was the stunning curved seat unit. The seat units feel beautiful; like a smooth leather – very tactile – you are simply compelled to run your hands around the smooth curved body of the seat. I love the dark grey of my Kobi especially when the contrasting red fabrics is added in either carrycot or seat mode. The Kobi is the first pushchair that I have actually laid a blanket down to unpack because I was scared to damage the smooth seat units, but as time is going on, and my toddler has been let loose, I am realising how robust the seat units actually are. Any scuffing from shoes just rubs off, any rain simply wipes dry, and an other incident which scared the life out of me, because the Kobi is on loan, left a seat unit totally in tact and unmarked. Apparently more resistant marks can simply be removed with an eraser!
The seat units are heavy – but inside the main Kobi seat is cleverly hidden a transforming carrycot! Simply unzip the shell of the Kobi seat unit and remove the metal framed carrycot. It is simple then to tuck the corners of the end supports under the metal frame, add a bumper bar and the carrycot Starter Pack (a lovely thick mattress and apron – one side to match the Kobi shell and the other is micro fleece backed) and you are ready to go. The carrycot apron has hidden magnets to allow you to change the position slightly of the opening flap. It literally takes a minute or so to set the carrycot up, and as the advert says, it takes seconds to collapse again and zip away back inside the seat. . The only downside is that you have to store the outer seat shell somewhere whilst you use the carrycot, until your baby reaches six months of age, when they can then sit in the seat unit. My baby is a tall ten month old and for illustration purposes I put him in the carrycot. But even at ten months old, my baby had plenty of space to wriggle and move and he laid very happily playing with his toys whilst I took the photographs. The carrycot fits very well underneath the upper seat in toddler and newborn mode. However twin carrycot mode is more questionable. The carrycots basically stack so there isn’t much viewing space for the lower twin, or for the parent to see the baby unless you remove the hood. But as someone who has pushed pushchairs for more than half her lifetime, I know that a young baby will usually be asleep within minutes of you beginning to push them. I know parents like to be able to see their babies, but I think second time mums can probably see past the short term use of a carrycot in comparison to the Kobi’s lifespan as a tandem pushchair with two seats on (ie six months compared to 2.5+ years). It is perfectly possible to put an infant carrier in the upper position with a carrycot beneath which maybe would be a compromise for twin parents. But I urge any twin parent reading this review to not be blinkered by the short newborn phase, and to look long term because you will struggle to find another tandem that pushes as well with older children in.
The wheels came out of the box next. I can’t say I really get excited about wheels, but they are simple and stylish. I did notice the rubber on the front wheels which was really unusual and lovely to see. I bet the Kobi gives a silent drive through a shopping mall on them. The wheels are solid and strong. They are easy release so simple to pop on and off.
Finally out of the main box came the chassis. The Kobi chassis is truly an object of beauty. Mr BB and I both stood and just marvelled at it. I adore the shiny elbow detail – it really stands out and gives this pushchair that extra kudos that says it is special. I haven’t seen the black chassis, but the silver is gorgeous. The lines are sleek and smooth. The two sets of seat runners move easily into two different positions giving height where it is needed and offering the upper child a brilliant view. I loved the storage basket. It is a lovely shape and really unusual. It really is the finest chassis I have ever seen on a pushchair. You can tell the quality and thought that has gone into it.
There is a beautiful hard storage changing case which fits perfectly into the storage basket. Inside are a quality changing mat – the thickest changing bag mat I have seen – a wet bag for dirty clothes etc and an insulated bottle holder. There are also various pockets. Design hasn’t been forgotten here with a velcro fastening to enable the strap to be tucked away neatly around the perimeter of the bag when stored – so no dangling straps! However, there is one disappointing issue with the changing box – it will not fit in the storage basket when in two seat mode. It will fit underneath the carrycot when in lower mode, but you have to remove the carrycot to access it. I can forgive this because at least you would have the changing bag on board, and the carrycot is easy enough to remove and replace. But to not be able to use this superb bag, with its roomy interior, in two seat mode is a real shame. It really only needs an adjustment to make the storage basket a few cms deeper and the box would fit in with both seats on. I really hope Mima look at this issue and consider making the storage basket deeper to accommodate the box. Not only that, but I don’t know of any mum who would not appreciate the bit of extra storage space this would create in the basket when the box isn’t in place. I know today I could only fit a limited amount of items in the basket without them either falling out of the front or sides (Mr BB has just told me something fell out of the basket but he spotted it and picked it up), or my toddler kicking them off. We had on board some library books, the Kobi double raincover, 2 muslins, a bottle of water, a bib and a small bag of shopping. I would like to suggest to Mima that a drawstring type bag similar to the Bugaboo Chameleon or Stokke Xplory, which clips onto the Kobi basket would be a useful addition for shopping. It would mean you could carry more items without them falling out of the sides and yet I am sure Mima could come up with something extremely stylish to suit the Kobi. A bag of this sort would be flexible and therefore fit under the lower seat. To be honest, I go to two sorts of places – either the shops where a drawstring bag for shopping would be useful, or to playgroup where I would prefer to take the changing box. For the price of a Kobi, I think a drawstring bg would be a small thing to add into the package, and I personally would like the option for my money to be honest!
Mr BB really would love to see better use of the hollow seat units by providing storage with access through the back. I tried to persuade him that it would spoil the beautiful line of the pushchair, but he is probably right. In real life use, a flat, carefully designed magnetic shutting flap would have allowed valuable storage for the raincover or the odd nappy and wipes, or more importantly somewhere for the parents to put keys, a purse or wallet and a phone.
Anyway I digress. Going back to the chassis, I started to fold it (very very easy to do compared to most other tandems). Mr BB stood open mouthed and as the Kobi folded he sighed and said “that is one sexy fold”, and it really is. The Kobi chassis simply glides together effortlessly. The chassis itself is neat and flat so will fit into a car boot well, or will slide neatly into a gap for storage. The Kobi folds just as easily with one seat unit on. Apparently you can stand the Kobi on its end but to date I have not managed it, but I will keep trying and will come back and edit this when and if I manage it! The Mima Kobi is quite bulky when folded / both seats stacked. I have a large car boot (admittedly an awkward shape) and I had to pop three wheels off to make the Kobi sit down enough to get the seat units stacked on top.
The handlebar is foam covered and the perfect circumference for my hands. It fits perfectly and is very very comfy. In fact I can’t think of another handlebar that has felt so right – it may sound a really basic thing but we ran through our collection of pushchairs, and couldn’t actually find another handle that felt as good. The handlebar adjusts to a high and low position, with several settings in between, so it should suit a range of parent heights. Mr BB has just highlighted the handle as a real plus point for him.
The foot brake is positioned centrally on the back axle. It is easy enough to locate with your foot despite being out of sight. When you depress the foot pedal, the pushchair rolls a tiny amount and then the brake will lock. Equally to release the brake you have to start to push slightly before the brake releases. But these brakes are strong and once applied you can’t move the pushchair. The foot pedal is very easy to do – even with flip flops or soft shoes on, but as I discovered even my toddler can flick the brake on and off, which isn’t always a good thing when they are driving the Kobi around the hall!
In the second box were the Comfort Pack of fabrics. Never have I seen such a thick seating pad on a pushchair. It is very luxurious. You get the pad and the harness with fixings. You fit the harness fixings into the appropriate holes on the seat pad, and then round the back of the seat shell (opened up) you simply slide the caps onto the back of the fixings. It’s very simple. It is a brilliant piece of design that means that the seat pad doesn’t slide every time your toddler sits onto it. Apparently in winter the footmuff affixes in a similar manner. The seat pad is removed, and the footmuff can be affixed in the same holes, thus again allieviating the annoying sliding footmuff problem that I know every parent will be familiar with. A stroke of genius to be honest! If the footmuff is as luxurious as the seat pad then I bet it is very warm and snuggly. Note that the Starter Pack has the carrycot, carrycot apron, seat fabric and harness in it, whereas the Comfort Pack just has the seat pad & harness in it for a toddler.
The bumper bar is foam covered. It clicks into place easily. It is jointed on both ends so that you can both rotate the bumper bar forwards or back (useful on the lower seat), but also you can unpop one side which gives you a hinged bumper bar for easy access in and out of the seat units. There are two sets of wheel guards – small and large. Small for single mode and large for tandem mode. I put the larger wheel guards on at first, but they vibrated badly as I pushed the Kobi, so I swapped them for the smaller ones which have been fine. Apparently there has been an issue with the large guards before, but the distributors are aware that I have had an issue too, so hopefully this will be addressed. I felt there was no safety issue with me using the smaller wheel guards as my baby is not able to reach anywhere near the wheels.
A single raincover is included as standard but the double raincover is an extra. The raincovers come in lovely small drawstring bags. I have to say I am not a fan of huge bulky raincovers (they take up so much space) so to have a raincover in a small useful bag is great. I discovered today that there is a really useful little ‘screw’ on the left hand side of the handle (I believe it is part of the folding lock) which is perfect to hang the raincover from, thus leaving valuable space in the storage basket. But to make things perfect I would love a bag that you could velcro onto the chassis or handle that is more in keeping with the sleek lines of the Kobi, like Phil & Teds do with their storm covers. I was even eyeing up the back axle earlier wondering if my Phil&Teds Base Bag would fit over the axle to keep the raincover in! But that’s me being having a wish list and I love the raincovers in their bags – its certainly a vast improvement on bulky raincovers that arrive in cheap plastic bags! Anyway I digress once again. The raincover comes tightly coiled – that in itself is a thing of beauty and I was compelled to photograph it! I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get the raincover back into the tiny bag again, but I did, although admittedly it took two attempts! The raincover fits perfectly. For something that folds so small I was very impressed. I tried the mosquito net too and that fits extremely snuggly. I liked the additional velcro flaps which hide the zip joint at the top, and should make extra sure no bugs get in through the fastenings.
The seat pads come in a separate box, as does the second seat unit. I currently have the twin version here so inside each seat shell there is a carrycot hidden inside, but you can buy a toddler seat, or even two toddler seats which don’t have the carrycot inside which reduces the weight of the seats and the cost. You can buy a Kobi as a single and later upgrade to a tandem with the addition of the second seat.
I was also sent some extras to try out. First of all a parasol – which is really lovely quality with thick fabric. It clips onto the frame really easily. However we found it doesn’t work well in parent facing carrycot mode because of the angles involved. Therefore it is best used with a forward facing carrycot or seat unit. But to be honest the Kobi hood is probably enough on its own. Also included was an very luxurious faux leather changing bag. I opened it up and was greeted with a gorgeous red silk lining incorporating various pockets and pouches. There was another luxury travel changing mat inside, a wet pouch and insulated bottle holder. It is very smart. I have to say I have not had chance to try, but I would guess it would fit very nicely into the Kobi basket.
The seats click really easily onto the chassis. There are two height positions for each seat and it is important to read the instructions on where to place each seat or carrycot unit. The seats remove easily by pressing a button on either side of the frame. The hood is also held on by a velcro flap at the back of each seat and this cleverly hides the seat recline lever. It is a simple lift and the seat moves silently and smoothly into the new position. I found it simple to do when standing but a little harder whilst walking along (maybe I should have stopped!). But it is a great feature.
The seat units have three position settings. The upper seat goes from upright to a flat recline (suitable from 6 months), but the lower seat, even though it is in the uppermost position, only sits at best in a slight recline. This for me was a disappointment as the reason I sold my original Peach Blossom, (and as a result is partly why I have been given the new Peach to test out,) is because the currentPeach Blossom lower seat only reclines. My baby does not like being reclined in his current pushchairs and I had hoped he would go in the upper seat as my daughter doesn’t mind being reclined now that she is older. However, having read the instructions I discovered that it is advised that the heaviest child goes on the top, so I crossed my fingers that my baby wouldn’t get upset being reclined (as his sister did in the Peach a year ago), but he was absolutely fine and happy. He must have been comfy because he fell asleep within a few minutes. When he awoke, he was very happy looking around him out of each side. I have not seen him so interested before. I suspect because the seating position has no sides that nothing was obstructing his view (even if the front seat did obstruct the front view). He did not once grumble to be sat upright. But the lower seating position is something I would love Mima to look at in future models. I am sure you could get another notch or even half notch to push the lower seat into upright position – but I know the UK has strict standards on spacing between seats – so there may be good reason for the reclined seat?
But that left me with my biggest worry still to overcome – did my tall 2.5 year old (in age 3/4 clothing) fit in the upper seat? I was heartened when I read the instruction manual that said that the upper seat unit limit was 17kgs – it is rare to find a UK pushchair that is tested beyone 15kgs, (the lower seat limit is 15kgs,) so my daughter was well under weight . So I lifted her into the front seat and she fitted perfectly. Yes, she is at the upper limits for the hood being attached, but she does fit underneath it at present. Long term the hood can easily be popped off and stored (in the lovely mesh bag that the second hood arrived in). Her feet sat well on the foot ledge however it is not really deep enough for large feet like my daughter has (size 9 shoes!), but to be honest she dangles her feet from most of our pushchairs, and the footrest is there should she wish. But unlike another leading tandem we tested recently, my daughter looked completely comfortable in the seat unit. It was the right depth for her and she wasn’t hanging off. I think my daughter was a little worried by being so high up, but she was happy with the bumper bar on (and any other child would grow up used to the height).
I was given car seat adaptors for a Maxi Cosi Cabriofix or Cybex Aton. The adaptors fitted very easily and removed easily too. The car seat looks good on the chassis. However you can only use the car seat in single mode. In theory the car seat will fit with a lower seat on, but it has not been safety tested and I can not endorse this. But I did try the seats in this position and it is a bit of a compromise as the lower seat would have to recline.
I should say, that although I am reviewing the Mima Kobi as a tandem / twin option, the Kobi is a superb single pushchair and will sit on the chassis in the upper position. The seat unit can be slid up or down the frame to the desired height. The carrycot and car seat go on the single chassis too and all can parent or outward face. I will review the Kobi as a single pushchair later.
So although the early information on the Mima Kobi had made me wonder how practical the Kobi would be, I have to report back that my two children at 10 months and 2.5 years old went on their first outing today, very comfortable and happy in their new pushchair. Best of all at the end my daughter did not want to get out but demanded “more pushchair”. So thumbs up from the small testers here
As far as their mummy and daddy go, well we loved pushing the Kobi. Even on a cambered pavement, I showed Mr BB how I could nudge the Kobi along with simply my forefinger and thumb and it glided along with no drift to one side or the other. I had felt that the Mima Kobi was heavy to push without the children in (the weight seems to come from the seat units), but with the children in, the Kobi felt no different. Once on the move weight was not an issue. Pushability is vitally important with two good sized children and this pushchair is definitely not heavy to push. It is one of the two lightest tandems I have tested to push. The front of the Kobi lifted easily up kerbs, turned round corners beautifully and moved backwards well. Mr BB wanted me to point out how beautifully the Kobi was balanced and built. To prove a point, my daughter sings from dawn to dusk. In a shop she started to sing, and as she sings, she rocks. With one tandem the upper seat starts to wobble alarmingly, and so I was watching carefully to see how the Kobi handled it. The Kobi upper seat did not wobble at all! It was solid. However, I wish the same could be said when my baby, who likes his feet in the air, decided to kick the upper seat hard, thus kicking my daughter from underneath amidst much protest from above!!
I have to say, I probably should have put the paragraph above at the start of this review….because when you first buy a pushchair, it is easy to focus in on your new baby/ies and not think into the future. I am now almost a year hence, with an older baby and a toddler who is a year heavier and taller. It is very difficult to find a good tandem that can cope easily with two older children, and not be difficult and heavy to push, and still be practical in real life. The Mima Kobi has higher weight limits than most other tandems currently on the market, and it is extremely light and manoeuverable to push. These two factors are important. Yes there are compromises – I can’t deny those - but every tandem pushchair has compromises – every single one!
Above all, the Mima Kobi is a style statement. Not everyone will like it – but it looks equally good walking down the street, running around the local supermarket, or going to the library; a lot of people will think it is expensive for a pushchair - but believe me you can see the quality and workmanship; but for practicality the Kobi scores much higher than I ever thought. The Mima Kobi is absolutely a pushchair that you MUST at least go and see in real life, because it really is a well designed, beautiful, stylish, but completely practical, work of art.
I will follow this Mima Kobi review up later in the week after we have been out and about: visiting family, shopping, to the beach, and in the car. But my first impressions are excellent. My only issue is that I do not want to give this pushchair back because the Kobi is that good!
With many thanks to Cheeky Rascals for their cooperation, help & the loan of the Mima Kobi.