Babystyle Oyster Max Out and About Review
We have had the Babystyle Oyster Max now for nearly 2 months, and I honestly can’t sing the praises of it enough.
The Babystyle Oyster Max is brilliant!
I thought in many ways that our double pushchair days were nearly over. But the Oyster Max has made it so easy to push two children around, that I have found myself reaching for it more often than maybe I should have done!!
Manoeuverability and Ease of Use
We have been pushing around a (just) 4 year old, and a 27 month old who are no lightweights! But the Oyster Max handles their weight with ease. The push and manoeuverability is fantastic! In the last weeks, we have been everywhere with the Oyster Max: on grass, in parks, on pavements, cobbles, shopping centres, and even up and down steps fully loaded!!! Even I went eeek when I considered the latter of these, but I had no option, so the Oyster Max managed to be tipped up several steps and then handled being bumped down really well!! I was gobsmacked!! In my experience there aren’t many tandems that can handle steps well! We have had to go several times into very tight shops and the Oyster Max simply spins around on the spot to get back out again. The only thing the Oyster Max doesn’t really like is being pushed head first off a larger kerb or step – it is necessary to either bump it down on its back wheels, or to turn around and drop off the edge backwards. As the photos show, we managed to get the Oyster Max through some very tight doorways and even into a small lift! There have been several outings with the Oyster Max where a wider double pushchair would never have been able to go, and we have been very glad of having the Oyster Max! We have loved the capabilities of the Oyster Max.
Seat and Raincovers
What has really made the Oyster Max different for us is that it really suits an older toddler. The front seat sits bolt upright for an older toddler, and importantly the Oyster Max has the front footrest for an older child which makes a huge difference to the longevity of the Oyster Max. Believe me, finding a tandem with good leg room for an older toddler is difficult!! However, Babystyle have omitted to put a ledge into the seat footrest area for a younger child, and our 2 year old has struggled to find somewhere to put his feet at times – they just slide off the end. Its a minor detail but it would make a big difference for a younger child.
We absolutely loved the opportunity to have our youngest parent facing when he was sleeping. In reality, it would not have worked if he has been awake because he could kick our eldest in the face. However it would work great for a younger child. The front seat lies flat and so is suitable for a newborn baby, and we are hoping to use the Oyster Max with a young baby soon. As a parent of a newborn it would have been awesome to have a parent facing upper seat for the baby, with the toddler underneath. The toddler would have a clear view out of both sides, and would be near enough to be able to chat as you walk along.
The lower seat is a large seat. I love how the hoods on both seats slide up the chassis to allow room for growth. The balance of the Oyster Max is best with the older child in the top seat – BUT we are carrying a lot of weight on our Oyster Max. I suspect with a younger toddler in the lower seat and a baby in the upper seat, that the balance would be better. This is something we hope to find out in coming weeks. However I did purposely take the Oyster Max out on an outing with our eldest in the lower seat, both to try out a parent facing upper seat to see how she found it, as well as what it was like to handle. There was enough give in the fabric of the lower footrest for her to push her heels back into the seat to allow room for her size 12 feet. We are pleased to report that she had no complaints at all (and believe me she makes her feelings known!!). I had no problem at all pushing the children in this configuration either, although having a lie flat seat at the front, does make the Oyster Max feel longer than having both seats forward facing. The only issue with an older child in the lower seat was that we needed to use the raincovers and she had to wiggle her feet underneath the edge of the raincover to hold it in place. The lower raincover really just fits the seat frame rather than feet in the basket.
Whilst on the subject of raincovers – the upper raincover fits great forward facing. It is a little more tricky parent facing, and the velcro straps could do with being a little longer. But we managed to secure the raincover on parent facing – it just looked a little lop sided as we had to secure it on different places on both sides.There are no securing straps for the lower raincover. We did not find this an issue, but I was surprised there was no way of securing it. The shallow hood on the lower seat also meant that the raincover is quite close to the face of the lower child. Our eldest was not happy at this, and preferred to get wet rather than have the raincover on. I am sure our youngest would probably have tried to bat it off! The only other point is that we did find that the raincovers steamed up fairly quickly, but there did seem to be adequate ventilation holes and gaps.
Whilst the upper seat lies flat, the lower seat does not lie flat. The lower seat does recline, but I really would prefer a bit deeper recline on the seat – whether its the seat lying more flat, or it tilting. Our photos clearly show how our two year olds head lolls to one side, more than I would personally like. However I have been chatting to a lady with a young baby who is also testing an Oyster Max, and she says that because her baby is so small, the baby sits quite low down in the seat and therefore she has had no problem keeping its head upright when sleeping.
One of the features we like about the Babystyle Oyster Max is that the pushchair can be folded with the upper seat on in any direction. The lower seat then slots into place easily. We do find having to open the lower seat before fitting a bit fiddly, but you get used to it. However we love how the front seat folds forwards allowing brilliant access to the lower child. This feature has been so useful. I know it may seem like a minor thing, but it does make life much easier!
The one grumble – but for us it is a BIG grumble – is the lack of storage space. There are no pockets on the rear of the seats. There is a great sized basket in single mode, but this gets obscured by the lower seat when in tandem mode. There is actually usable space in the basket in tandem mode – and as the photos show, things have been put into the basket. However getting them out again is a nightmare and does involve removing the lower seat and its occupant. If I was to ask for just one thing, it would be that Babystyle consider putting a zip on the lower edge of one side of the basket to give some storage space access – for raincovers, a purse, keys, mobile, cup, nappy or even a small handbag. This to us would really be the icing on the cake. As it stands at present this one small detail really really would question for us whether we could live with the Oyster Max as our only double pushchair. We NEED to shop! We NEED to go out for several hours! We sometimes NEED raincovers. We NEED some, even limited, storage space ON the pushchair!!!! We are trying our best to pimp the Oyster Max up with Bagabottles, JL Childress accessories, a saddle bag, Hamster bags etc but some of these obscure the view for the lower child, and quite simply adding bags to the frame of such a beautiful looking pushchair, really does spoil the look!!! There is basket space – there just needs to be access!!! PLEASE Babystyle listen, and consider basket access.
One lesser grumble is that the basket catches on the lower seat adapters when unfolding. We are having to be careful that we do not tear the basket on the pointed edges of the adapters. Another smaller grumble is that when folding the pushchair, the hood doesn’t fit under the handle (even pushed down to the lowest hood height setting) and I have found myself fiddling around to get the chassis locked. I am actually finding it simpler at times simply to remove the seat. The last photos of this set hopefully illustrate this point.
The Oyster Max comes with a bumper bar. Whilst we appreciate that this is included, and the chassis can be folded with the bumper bar in situ, we do find that it leaves the seat gaping open thus creating a larger fold (see final photos). Someone told us recently that they had put their Oyster Max bumper bar onto the lower seat which is a good idea, especially as for us, the youngest would like to have some toys to play with, whilst our eldest likes clear access in and out. The lower seat has blanking plates which are easily removed to fit the bumper bar on. We did manage to get the Oyster Max to freestand but it was not easy! We have struggled a little to store the Oyster Max. The pushchair doesn’t really lie well on its side, nor on its handle. The rounded wheel hubs do hinder a sideways lie. The seats being hard plastic “shells” mean that the seats dont store easily. I find it easier to leave one seat open and then lie the other seat on top. But this monir niggle is really to be put into perspective along side the folded size of most other more bulky tandems. There is absolutely no doubt that the Oyster Max has an incredibly light chassis and that both seats are small folded! For many people this will be a big selling point.
Handlebar, Wheels and Brake
We love the handlebar with its rotating multiple positions. Its leather like, hand stitched handlebar is a real luxury touch, on what is a mid priced pushchair. The handle bar feels lovely to use. There is a height to suit everyone!
We like that the wheels are semi soft rather than hard plastic. They are making the ride smoother. However, our wheels are starting to look quite worn and cracked after only a few weeks use.
One of my favourite features on the Oyster Max is one which most people do not use, but for the photosets on Best Buggy, I use a lot: the fixed front wheel option. I absolutely LOVE the easy click on and off button above the front wheels to lock or unlock the wheels. In fact its one of my favourite things to demo to people! There’s no faffing around trying to get the wheels in line. Simply depress the button and a satisfying click tells you that the wheels have locked / unlocked!
I wish the brake was a little more decisive. It works fine, but there is no ‘feel’ or click that tells me that it has been fully applied. There have been a couple of occasions where I thought the brake was fully depressed or it wasn’t. However bear in mind that our Oyster Max is a test model, and we have given feed back on this and our other comments to Babystyle, so hopefully this may be modified.
We have tested most of the main tandems currently on the market, and there is absolutely no doubt that the Oyster Max is one of the very best. It seems to work well for all stages from a newborn and toddler to two toddlers, or for twins. Its light weight, small fold and easy to push combination is one that everyone will love. On top of that the Oyster Max is a great mid range price for what looks like a luxury pushchair, and feels great quality. Yes, there are some negative points above, but these are really minor niggles when faced with the bigger picture. The Oyster Max really is fabulous!!
Other Babystyle Oyster Max 1 & 2 Reviews: