Babystyle Oyster Review by Rachael
On paper I have fancied a Babystyle Oyster for a long time, so when I got the opportunity to experience one for a while I was really happy and my expectations were pretty high. I have heard almost nothing but good things about them over a couple of years, a few front wheel issues notwithstanding.
Out of the box it is very simple to set up, click on the wheels, unfold the seat, clip that on and you’re ready. First impressions were good, the overall look is compact yet the feel is sturdy without being heavy. My on the taller side 2y 6m old was the first rider, she pretty much fills the seat but looked generally comfortable. She did not seem to be able to place her feet on the footrest very well as it seems a bit shallow but she didn’t complain. When she was reclined in the pushchair I found it VERY hard to get it up kerbs, which for me isn’t great as I can’t get from my house to school without doing this several times. It was similar with my 6m old in the seat reclined but less pronounced. One thing I really like about the Oyster is how when it folds the handle moves up and forwards over the wheels instead of dropping down like many other pushchairs. This means when you put pressure on the handle to get up kerbs you are not pressing down in the same direction as the fold but against it, which makes a lot more sense to me.
In terms of sitting position both children were happy (if they are I am, seeing as I never sit in it myself!) the 6m old was perhaps not as well supported as in some other pushchairs but she is at the very start of the age range for using the seat unit. There is a curve to the seat where the seat part and backrest meet, I have encountered this before on other things (the Jane Rider and Twone for example), it does not seem to pose a particular problem. The basket is a great size, to complement this I used a JL Childress stroller organiser on the Oyster. I like to have my essentials to hand, especially when the basket is often taken up with older kids jumpers, school bags etc. rooting through all that for a tissue or something is REALLY annoying! The console is great for this, nappies, wipes, tissues and snacks, plus purse, keys phone etc. right there, no need to forage. It blends with the pushchair pretty well as everything is black and doesn’t get in the way of the handle adjustment or fold.
Speaking of the fold it is easy to do and the fact you can fold it with the seat parent facing is really great, yes it’s not particularly compact but it would fit in most mid size car boots comfortably.
The telescopic handle is useful, comfortable to hold and adjustable enough to accommodate most pushers and on smooth surfaces the Oyster is really nice to push. However once I got outside with it I ended up a little disappointed which surprised me. The more recent Oysters appear to have very much stiffer front suspension than the earlier ones, as a result of this the ride on our bumpy paving, cobbly bits and rough surfaces was hard to the point of being uncomfortable. Especially when the wheels got stuck on uneven paving stones etc. I would be interested to know how/if the Air Tyres on the back wheels would improve this. I see quite a few Oysters in use locally, quite rightly it is a popular pushchair, but after pushing one for a while I do wonder how people are coping day to day with the hard ride.
If I lived somewhere smoother I think I would have completely fallen for the Oyster, it’s neat, narrow, nice looking, sturdy, easy to use and has most of the features I would look for. One niggle for me is I am unsure why the seat has not been made lie flat so it would be newborn suitable, that would be a big improvement in my view. The parent facing fold is a stand out bonus. As it is though, where I live just made using the Oyster frustrating, I wanted to use it far more but everywhere is just too rough, bumpy and uneven for it to be comfortable. To be fair it is far from the only pushchair I have experienced this with, (the iCandy Peach Blossom being a notable other,) and many people would not have this problem.
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