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Mutsy Urban Rider with Duo Seat

The Mutsy Urban Rider with Duo Seat has intrigued me for a while…it looks very cute and neat but yet chunky at the same time. I saw one around town some time ago but kept being put off by bad reviews. But I finally took the plunge and bought one.

The Mutsy Urban Rider chassis is a curious beast. It has four large chunky wide air tyres but with rear wheel drive. I can’t think of another UK pushchair that is rear wheel driven, so it really is rather peculiar! There is a good sized basket, however the rear is very shallow, so you can’t fit much in it. It is a shame really because in Duo mode, the main basket space is at the back because of the footrest for the rear child’s legs. In the basket is a small hand air pump. At first Mr BB was excited at such a good idea. That was until he tried to use it today, and pronounced it in his words “as useless as a chocolate teapot!” He simply couldn’t get it fixed onto the valve properly.

The chassis has a chunky footplate at the front, but this is hidden underneath the front seat in Duo mode. The chassis itself is beautiful. I have the “Next” edition with the leather handle and black chassis with contrasting aluminium (?) parts. I love the sturdiness of the chassis especially the large wide wheels. The Mutsy Urban Rider is easy to put up. I do have to head scratch to put it down again because the fold isn’t obvious, but it is actually easy enough to do. The fold is large though.

So, onto the Duo seat. The Duo seat arrives in several pieces. There are the two main seats, labelled 01 and 02. These remind me of a US cheerleaders / basket ball outfit. Each seat has its own hood – a larger one for the rear seat, and a smaller one for the front. There are also two frames – one large sturdy one, onto which the seat units fix; and one smaller frame which helps form the recline for the second seat. I have to say it took two fresh attempts for us to work out the smaller frame and how it fixed onto the larger frame. It sounds simple to do, but its difficult to get the angles right. Once the rear seat was on, then the front one was easy. The hoods then clip in afterwards. There are 8 clips to do up, plus the hoods to put in place, so setting the seat units up is not the most simple pushchair build. To dismantle, the seats do stack, but the frame is bulky. However, I have discovered that you do not need to dismantle everything to store. The Duo seat plus hoods will lift up on the frame in its entireity, and then can simply be dropped back onto the chassis before the next outing. But I would worry about leaving the hoods on when storing because they seem a little exposed. But even so, the chassis and seat unit are fairly large, and ideally it would be easier if the pushchair could be left up in a hall or somewhere ready to go.

The Duo seat itself is one of the most basic and functional I have ever seen. The seats are simply shaped pieces of metal with hard PE board on top and a layer of fabric. There is more padding in the hood than there is in the seat units! Believe me this pushchair is not about comfort!! Mutsy would probably argue that you should have a footmuff but its been 24 degrees here today and my children don’t need a footmuff in summer! We probably need some seat liners, but the seats are so basic that I have no idea how liners would sit! There are no sides to the seat unit. It isn’t a problem for the short journeys that we do, but if you have a child who is likely to nap, then how to support a lolling head, even reclined, could be an issue .

The heaviest child has to go in the front seat. However I have a serious issue with this. My daughter is 2 and 3/4 and she can touch the ground very easily. She naturally hangs her feet in most pushchairs, so I was continually checking that she had her feet on the footrest. It would be so easy to hurt her unintentionally, and that does horrify me about this pushchair. The other big safety issue I have are the second seat straps. My baby is 11 months old and he is tall weighs over 21lbs. But yet the straps even at their tightest were hanging off his shoulders by a long way – I could have got both my hands underneath each side. I know that safety straps could save his life, so I was very hestitant about taking him out with them loose.

The Duo seat is marketed as being suitable from newborn. I understand it is insisted on that the special footmuff cocoon with newborn insert is used for a newborn. The newborn basically lies in the upper part of the rear seat but I have read reports of babies growing out of this space very quickly. But with the combination of the straps, plus the 90 degree seat angle, I would not want to put even a 6 month old into the second seat.

My 11 month old son likes to be sat upright, but as I started to walk his head was slumping down onto his chest and I had to stop the pushchair and recline him by a notch (the recline takes 2 hands and isn’t easy – more by chance than technique!). He was then fine for the rest of the journey. There is no recline on the front seat. The footrests are fixed. I also did not like the way that every movement my eldest did transferred through the pushchair to her brother – and when she started to rock I had to stop her! I have been so bothered about the amount of movement in the seat unit, that I wouldn’t let my daughter clamber in like she would normally (although I appreciate she is nearing the upper weight limit).

The seats in theory are in stadium style. However my baby could not see out, and there is less headroom under the rear canopy so I am not sure it is great for twins either! If you look at the photos, you will see the back seat is higher but the hood line is the same.

Aside from the safety issues, both children had plenty of space underneath the hood, but both were resting on the padded fabric when the hood was back. Both children seemed happy enough. But comfort is not a word to use with this pushchair. We did a short run to the shops and back – less than an hour – and for that it was fine. But if we had been any longer, I would have chosen a different pushchair to give the children more support and comfort.

The strengths of the Mutsy lie in the huge tyres – it simply drove up kerbs without needing to be lifted. It drove down large steps easily. The pushability on the air tyres was super. The bouncy suspension was brilliant. I suspect the Mutsy Urban Rider is a great off road pushchair. I could see it being taken on dog walks or through the woods or across the beach. I hope to take the Urban Rider to the beach at some point to see how it handles.

Going back to the rear wheel drive. At first I naturally left it in this mode, but after a couple of strange swerves onto the pavement, I decided that I wasn’t experienced enough to use the rear wheel mode, and locked the wheels easily with my foot. I have to say having 4 locked wheels was much easier than I thought with two children on board. There was just enough give in the chassis to allow minimal steering ie enough to subtly change direction eg to move to one side for an oncoming person, or to move around an object. So apart from large changes of direction, I didn’t feel that I needed the rear wheel drive. I flicked the rear wheel drive back on to go into shops. But I got completely stuck in the bank and had people laughing at me as the pushchair had a mind of its own as I tried to turn and get out. I gave up in the end and locked the wheels again and dragged the pushchair out. I fared better in the post office, but I got confused between the brake and the wheel lock (they are both near to each other) and ended up trying to move with the parking brake on!! I got a little better on the way home and managed to swerve neatly around an elderly lady who suddenly stopped in my path! I think this is one pushchair that needs some practice! You can buy swivel wheels for the single Urban Rider, but these are not recommended when in Duo mode.

However I have to say, I did enjoy our outing. The Mutsy Urban Rider with Duo seat is a fun pushchair. It ranks highly as one of the easiest and lightest tandems to push with two children on board. I definitely could not have it as my only pushchair because it does not have the comfort levels for both children, the support for my baby, and the safety issues (feet on floor and straps that are too large) do bother me.  Would I recommend one – no – would I buy one again – no. But as a bit of fun for now on a beach trip or to the lake, (and very probably in future with a Fun Seat on in single mode and with swivel wheels), I suspect the Mutsy Urban Rider with Duo seat will be staying. There’s no logic to this, because safety should really come first, and the steering was tricky, but the Mutsy is cute, chunky and cool and has a small footprint. It is quite simply just completely different to anything else I have ever pushed, and that makes it fun – and it made me smile!!

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