Babystyle Oyster2 Review by Best Buggy
Best Buggy LOVE it when a pushchair manufacturer listens to feedback from customers and reviewers, and improves a pushchair as a result. Babystyle have done exactly that – they have listened, and they have acted. They have taken their award winning, Oyster pushchair, and have made a very good pushchair, into an absolutely superb one – the Babystyle Oyster2!!
Two years ago, we reviewed the Babystyle Oyster pushchair. The Best Buggy team were surprised what a neat, well designed, useful, great value pushchair, the Oyster was. However, we felt that the seat and hood could be improved. A year later, we reviewed the new Babystyle Oyster Max pushchair, and preferred its seat and hood.
We quickly realised that a main seat like the Oyster Max one; combined with the neater chassis of the Oyster; would create a perfect pushchair. Therefore there was huge excitement at the first sight of the Oyster2, and hopes were raised here at BBHQ that Babystyle had actually produced our dream pushchair.
Babystyle have very kindly given Best Buggy the first exclusive review of their Oyster2.
So is the Oyster2 our perfect pushchair?
Opening the box was like seeing an old friend again. The Oyster2 chassis is nearly the same as the Oyster1 chassis. There have been a few minor changes. The basket has been extended forwards to incorporate a pocket for raincover storage or for small bits and pieces. Extra storage is always good! The wheels have a high shine finish to them. The stitched leather handlebar, we understand, comes as standard on the Oyster2.
At first glance, apart from the “Oy2,” (as the Oyster2 is nicknamed,) embroidered in the centre of the seat back, you could be forgiven for thinking the Oyster2 seat was the same as the Oyster1 seat. However, the new Oyster2 seat, like the Oyster Max seat, now has 4 recline positions. This makes a HUGE difference. It gives an older toddler a good upright seating position, which is a great improvement. The Oyster2 seat has also now got a lie flat position; which has been certified as being suitable for a newborn baby.
The pushchair seat drops easily onto the chassis with a satisfying click, and the seat is ready to be dressed in its Oy2 Colour Pack.
Oyster2 Colour Pack – Hood, liner, apron and head hugger
Babystyle have kept one of the best selling points of the Oyster, which was the option to customise your pushchair with colour packs. So unlike the Oyster Max where you choose a coloured seat unit, the Oyster2 has a black seat, and the customer has the choice of five colour packs. These can be easily swapped or mixed up for a fresh look or for a new arrival. The colour pack comes in a large reusable zip topped bag. Inside is a zip on chrome rimmed hood; a seat liner; an apron for the seat, and a head hugger, all in the chosen colour.
We had no problems at all in fitting the liner, and the seat gained a splash of instant colour. The hood however was more challenging. Mr BB and I, did have a frustrating time trying to fit the hood. I finally got the frame to fit onto one side, I then tried to move round to the other side, and the first side pinged off. Anyway, we eventually managed it – the trick was to flex the clasp in the middle rather than to hook the clip on at the edges. Once you know how, it is easy. However, this may be one challenge you wish to ask your retailer nicely, if they will do this for you, before leaving the shop!
The hood is a huge improvement on the Oyster1 colour pack hoods. Visually it looks smarter and more tidy. We love how the hood folds back, flush with the chassis. The hood slides up a short distance to allow more head room for an older child, or to be lower down for a young baby. The hood is beautifully silent when being opened or closed. There is no flick out visor on the hood, (unlike the Oyster Max,) however Babystyle have retained the useful huge zip out middle section extension in the hood, and the covered peekaboo window.
The coloured apron sits over the lower half of the pushchair seat. It fits on the seat in either direction and makes a snuggly environment for a baby. The apron has an opening to allow for the bumper bar, and the apron fits better when the bumper bar is used. There is plenty of room underneath the apron for blankets or even a baby nest or footmuff. We thought it was clever how the apron fastens onto the plastic poppers at the rear of the seat. However one of the team wondered how quickly the plastic would damage or wear putting the poppers constantly on and off. We did appreciate that the apron popper was double sided, so that the insect net could also be fitted on top of the apron.
The head hugger is meant to add a splash of colour to an Oyster car seat. However in our excitement at having the option of a newborn in the Oyster2 seat, we completely forgot this. So for the first photos, we added the head hugger onto the pushchair. As the photos show, there was an issue doing this, because the head hugger was a long way off the head of our tiny 7lbs, 2 week old baby.
However, Babystyle were fab! That same evening, they asked for photos and, they immediately actioned the making of additional harness openings, so that in future the head hugger can be fastened lower, around the head of a newborn baby, on the pushchair seat. What a good idea Babystyle!
One of the new features of the Oyster2, is that it is certified for use with a newborn baby. The near flat recline position means that a parent can now use the Oyster pushchair for their child from birth to 15kgs without the need to buy a carrycot. However Babystyle’s universal fittings mean that the Oyster Max carrycot is also recommended as an newborn option. The Oyster2 also takes a choice of car seats including the Oyster, Maxi Cosi and Britax seats to form a travel system. Some car seats will require height increasers. These can also be placed under the carrycot if desired to give a little extra height.
Best Buggy took the Oyster2 out to meet two beautiful newborn babies – a 2 week old boy, and a 4 week old girl – and their Mummies, to see how the Oyster2 fared with newborn babies on board.
Both the Mums loved the Oyster2. They thought the seat looked very comfortable for a newborn, and we have to agree. The liner helps create a lovely padded environment. One Mum, who usually loves a carrycot for her newborns, said she would be very happy to use the Oyster seat for her baby.
We were pleased to find that although the harness on the Oyster2 has been enlarged to accommodate an older child, there is enough adjustability to be able to tighten the harness right down, to securely fit both of our tiny newborn babies.
One Mum felt that the thick harness pads were a little hard and pointy near the cheek and ears of her baby. We told Babystyle about her concerns and within hours, Babystyle announced that in future the Oyster2 harness pads will be made from a softer material known as ‘peach skin’ which should benefit children of all ages. Hurray for a company who listens to feedback!
The new seat unit makes a big difference to how an older child sits in the Oyster2. An older toddler can sit properly upright in the Oyster2, and they look comfortable no matter which direction they face. The adjustable calf rest stays nicely back, which allowed our 3 and a half year old’s feet (he is the size of an average 2 year 7 month old, at 93cms tall) to rest his feet flat onto the wide footrest. He still has room for his legs to grow, and to be supported. He easily has over 20cms before his head nears the rim of the hood. The hood slides up the chassis to accommodate an older child; or moves down the chassis several centimetres for a younger child. There is no doubt that our boy was extremely comfortable and happy looking out, with no flappy hood fabric at the sides to obscure his view.
As mentioned, the harness on the Oyster2 has been enlarged to allow for an older child to wear a bulky winter coat, and for the harness to still do up easily. Our photos show that even with a thick coat on, there are several inches of shoulder straps free for our toddler, as well as plenty of length left on the side and crotch straps. The harness is simple to adjust for different clothing thicknesses, and has a sturdy buckle which our 5 year old is unable to undo. It is fairly easy to alter the harness height by pushing the harness through the seat.
The Oyster2 seat recline is actioned using a lever at the rear of the seat. It is very simple to lift this up, and the seat simply slides down a notch. As stated, there are 4 seat recline positions including upright, lie flat and two partial reclines. There is an adjustable footrest which can be lifted up to help create the lie flat bed for a newborn or sleeping older child; or the footrest can be moved out of the way for an older child to be able to use the lower footrest.
Bumper Bar, Basket, Raincover & Mosquito net
Babystyle include a bumper bar, raincover and a mosquito net with the Oyster2. The bumper bar on the Oyster2 is leather and has “Oyster” smartly stamped into the centre. This thankfully gives you a clue which way up to fit it! We found our old Oyster1 bumper bar confusing because there was no helpful indicator. The bumper bar is quite tight to push in and to pull out, however we love the gate opening feature on a forward facing seat, especially for an older toddler who can clamber in themselves. The bumper bar will only open a couple of inches rear facing, but for most people lifting a smaller child over the top will not be an issue.
The raincover is compact, folds well, and is made of soft plastic.The new Oyster2 basket has a pocket at the front of the pushchair which is the perfect size for the raincover, or for small items to be securely stored. The more open basket at the front allows extra room for bags etc as well, and also makes it easy to find things which have been pushed to the front.
The mosquito net is one of our absolute favourite features on the Oyster range of pushchairs. We were delighted to see this has been included on the Oyster2. The mosquito net hides in a special pouch underneath the seat footrest. Unzip the pocket and the insect net pulls out, and very simply hooks over the hood. The poppers do up at the rear of the seat. It is such a fantastic idea, and Best Buggy hopes one day raincovers will be stored and fitted, in this way too.
There are 2 press studs on the rear of the seat, either side of the Oy2 logo. These are for the footmuff which clicks on, to stop the footmuff from sliding down. Another great idea from Babystyle!
Wheels, Brake, Handlebar and Handling
We have tried the Oyster2 in every day life, including kerbs, parks, shops, into school and meetings, and its handled really well. The Oyster wheels are ideally suited to where we go in every day life – the swivel wheels are responsive about town or around the tight spaces on the school run; they also can be pushed easily across grass or rough paths. The wheels easily lock for more challenging terrain. We love the push on – push off buttons to lock / swivel the wheels. They are so simple and easy to do. There is all round suspension which makes the Oyster2 comfortable for its occupant, and also for the parent to push. There is also the option of adding on rear air tyres as an extra. The wheels can be removed very easily for storage, or cleaning.
The brake is situated centrally between the rear wheels. It is a good size and can be easily, and positively, flicked on and off.
The tall handle height has surprised us. I usually pull a handle out to the maximum, but I have had to set the Oyster2 handle to less than maximum to suit. Great news for taller parents; or for parents of different heights.
As mentioned above, the Oyster2 handlebar comes with stitched leather as standard, which is smartly stamped with the Oyster logo at the side. Having a leather handle under your hand, when walking along, is always a luxury touch which we appreciate.
The Oyster2 can be folded with the seat left on in either direction, or can be folded with the seat removed. Removing the seat gives the most compact fold. Leaving the seat on parent facing, yields a long flat fold which may suit some cars. Folding with the seat on forward facing gives the neatest one piece fold. It is a chunky fold but tidy. The Oyster2 sits very compactly in the boot of our car compared to many of the pushchairs we have had in recently.
The Oyster 2 will also freestand when folded in either direction which is great.
The fold is a two step one. First the seat needs folding down onto itself so that the two halves meet (like an Oyster shell). This is done by using the recline lever to push the back of the seat forwards, to the horizontal (slightly less when parent facing) (see photo). Then on the right hand side of the arm of the handle there is a secondary lock button. On each arm there is a slider. First press in the lock button, and then pull both sliders towards you. The Oyster unusually for a pushchair, folds away from you – so the handle needs to be pushed forwards over the top of the seat unit. The Oyster folds compactly down to the floor. There is a fold lock which is very useful. The chassis requires a push down to make it lock.
To open: release the fold lock. Pull the handlebar up towards you and flick the wheels out as the pushchair opens. Then use the recline lever sit the seat back up into the open upright position.
The bumper bar can be folded down, and left on to fold. However the seat does not form a tight clam shell. The neatest fold will be achieved by removing the bumper bar.
The seat unit lifts off the chassis very easily using two squeeze up release buttons on the side of the seat. It is very simple to lift the seat and remove, or turn it. The seat can be folded into a clam shell to protect the fabrics during storage or for a compact fold.
Our only negative comment is that the centre of our handle is already scratched from folding and standing the Oyster upright. This was the same on the Oyster1. However the centre of the handle is plastic, thus the leather will not get damaged.
The Babystyle Oyster2 really is pushchair perfection. It ticks all our boxes for a great pushchair. These include: a neat and narrow chassis; an easy compact one piece fold with a 2 piece fold option; an easily reversible seat; good newborn options such as a carrycot, car seat adaptors and a lie flat seat; a hood which can be pushed right out of the way; sturdy chassis, decent wheels and suspension to cope with most every day terrain including a park; a good sized basket which things will not fall out; accessories included in the box e.g. bumper bar, and liner; secure brake; extending handle and customisability; and modern styling with a quality finish. Above all the Oyster2 provides the child with a comfortable seat and feels great to push. All these superb features come at a very affordable price – especially taking into consideration that the seat can now be used for a newborn, without the requirement to purchase a carrycot. We do hope that Babystyle continue the Oyster1 tradition, by introducing new colour packs and special editions across time.
We appreciate that Babystyle have listened to feedback from customers and reviewers, and have been so positively reactive in making a great product, simply perfect! The result is a pushchair which anyone would feel proud to be pushing their Little One around in. Best Buggy LOVES the Oyster2, and has given it a well deserved Best Buggy 5 gold star rating.
Many thanks to Babystyle and Nick for helping us with this review.
Other Babystyle Oyster Reviews: