Easywalker June at Harrogate Nursery Fair 2012
The Easywalker June at first sight looks small – everyone who I know who had already seen the June had given me a comment along the lines of “oh thats the small one”, or “it looks tiny”, and in real life it does look small. But almost every promotional photo there is of the June shows an older toddler in the seat (apparently because the children in the photos are employees children and they dont have any babies!). I have to say I did wonder how these older toddlers fitted so well in the seats if the pushchair was so small, but I got to try the June out with my own tall (102cms) 3.5 year old and she looked extremely comfortable in the seat, with lots of head room under the hood.
I think part of the reason the June can take older toddlers so comfortably is because the seat is ever so slightly tilted down towards the back, so that a childs bottom is ever so slightly lower than its knees. Its not a lot, but seems to just allow an older child to sit comfortably in the seat unit. The hood slides up the chassis from quite low to high. If for any reason the hood is not needed, especially with an older child, then the hood simply slides away behind the seat. This is a really neat feature and to be honest a good one for when you have an older toddler who wants to chat to you.
The seat itself was simple and had a liner on it. There are several colour choices for the liners. The liner seems to fold around the edges which is good for head support for a younger toddler. The sides of the seat are elasticated and stretches as the seat is reclined. The seat has a 4 position recline including a very upright position for a toddler. The seat is adjusted using a lever underneath the front seat.
The seat unit is reversible ie it can forward or parent face. Easywalker say that the June is designed to be intuitive, but I had to ask for help to remove the seat unit. I think though its easy when you know how! There is a front plate plate half way between the seat and the footrest and this appears to be flicked up / off before the seat then lifts off. I can’t be precise about it although I did see it done several times.
The Easywalker June has a good leg length for an older toddler. There is no footrest on the parent facing side (similar to most parent facing pushchairs), but the Easywalker man did say it wasn’t beyond possibility that one could be added if there was demand. I have to say I really liked the way that Easywalker seem to want to listen to feedback, but more importantly to respond. I liked their attitude.
What surprised me was how good my toddler looked parent facing. Her feet were well clear of the floor and wheels, and she looked great. I didn’t even feel like she needed a footrest which is rare. She just looked comfy and to be that was all that matters. I had the full demo on Day 1, and we asked if we could take the children back on Day 2. But our toddler was threatening melt down, and demos were in full swing, so we had to wait for a while for a gap. We literally had to snatch 2 minutes to put her in the seat unit in both directions – hence not having time to do the harness up, nor having time to put our youngest in the seat. But I think the photos give a good indicator of size, especially if you look through Best Buggy (maybe the set of 10 pushchairs in the side by side comparisons) where our daughter is the same height / age. It would have been good to have seen our son in the seat unit. I am a little worried that the open sides will lead to aeroplane legs (where they stick out at the sides and knock everything off supermarket shelves!) but we will have to wait to find that one out! There is no lift up / pull out leg support which admittedly is not on many pushchairs, but would have been a nice touch on one of this quality and price bracket.
What was more surprising was to see the tall Easywalker man actually sit in the June to demonstrate the strength of this pushchair! It really is strong! When he did the carrycot and car seat demos he picked the whole pushchair up by the handles (see photo) to demonstrate how firmly the carrycot in particular was attached.
The carrycot attaches at 4 points to the chassis. However there is a really simple one handed release. The carrycot looked a good size, and in particular a good depth. The carrycot is suitable for overnight sleeping and we were shown the breathable layer inside the mattress. The mattress looked a good thickness. The carrycot is hard bottomed but lightweight. The carrycot apron is padded with layers of a warm material (sorry I can’t remember what it was exactly) to ensure that a baby is kept warm inside the carrycot. The carrycot easily collapsed flat for storage or travel. What we really really really liked was that inside the carrycot, there is a sleep positioner with a velcro fastener to stop a baby from rolling or sliding inside the carrycot. We didn’t have a close look at how this works, but only recently on the Best Buggy Focus Group we had been discussing whether babies should have a harness in a carrycot or not, and also how to stop a newborn sliding. I dont know how secure the fastening is, but it was a really nice idea and we hope that in reality it is useful.
The Easywalker June can take several car seats. It can take the Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix or Pebble, an Izi BeSafe or a Cybex Aton. The car seat adaptors simply clip onto the sides of the frame – its almost a wrap around fixing – you put the entrance to the adaptor onto the chassis and then slide the rest on. It is possible to see how they work in one of the photos. The car seat adaptors felt quite expensive though at almost £45 a pair.
I think the Wow factor came for us when the June was folded / unfolded. First of all the fold is easy – I think I am correct in saying that the red buttons on the side are how the fold is done. We didn’t try it though. But the fold is neat, flat and small, whether the seat is left on in either direction, or if the seat is removed. The photos do show the June folded in both directions. The handle tucks right down so make a compact package.
So what was the Wow? The Wow was the memory fold. In a similar way to the iCandy Strawberry the Easywalker June ‘memorises’ the last position the seat was in, and it reopens in the same position. This was something new and unexpected to us about the June, but was really good to see. I do get tired of having to set up seat units before using, so I liked this feature.
I have to say though the Easywalker June is much heavier than it looks – which I guess is understandable with the 4 air tyres and being sturdy enough to hold the weight of an adult. But having come straight from the Baby Jogger City Versa, which really is the June’s main rival this year, we actually expected the June to be much lighter. But it wasn’t. Interestingly after having written that sentence I looked the weight of the June up, and it is 9.9kgs, so there is only 2kgs difference between the two pushchairs. So whilst the Easywalker June looks small, neat and light, in reality, it is still a bit of a chunk. The only other pushchairs that currently folds very neatly with the seat on in either direction, are the Bugaboo Bee and that weighs 1.4kgs less than the June; and the iCandy Strawberry – which folds in a larger package but still weighs 1.5kgs more than the June. (We know the Babystyle Oyster folds fairly neatly but not with a similar end package like the Versa, June, Strawberry and Bee do). I also tried to lift the June up and there really was no logical place on the chassis to hold. It felt a bit awkward. Plus there doesn’t appear (and please remember we only got a short look) to be an autolock, so as I picked the June up, it was starting to splay open on me. I suspect it may well be easiest carried by the handle but the way the June was laid flat on the floor I naturally went to pick it up at the side. But it is possible to tow the June along nicely behind you when folded.
The handlebar seemed to have a good range from low to high. The handlebar will be foam covered – two of the prototype models had leather covered handlebars.
This may sound like a mixed initial review but its not. The Easywalker June is pretty unique in that it parent and forward faces, and folds neatly in both directions, has the carrycot and car seat options, can easily take a larger toddler, but also it has off road wheels! 4 small neat, but chunky off road tyres. Aesthetically these make the June look pleasing to the eye, but it also means that the Easywalker June really is the only pushchair you ever need to buy. If Baby Jogger UK do import the City Versa with GT wheels then the June will have a worthy rival, but at this point in time, I can see all pushchair addicts being cured by the Easywalker June – this pushchair really is the pushchair to end all pushchairs!!. I can see the end to families like us, having one pushchair for about town and one for off roading. Unless you need a particularly light pushchair, then the Easywalker June will do everything you want and more. Its appears to be a fantastic little pushchair.
We are very very excited by the Easywalker June and we can’t wait for it to arrive in the UK.
Other Easywalker June Reviews: