Maclaren Mark II Review by Best Buggy
The Maclaren Mark II is a throw back to the first ever Maclaren Butcher’s Stripe pushchairs. We had one when I was a little girl – the last picture above shows my sister being pushed by me, in our original Maclaren buggy, in 1975.
So, the Maclaren Mark II is a modern day version of the original Maclaren pushchair. It is very pared down, and yet refined. It is super lightweight at just 3.3kgs, but yet is packed with the main features which anyone would need when travelling with.
Child Comfort and Harness
The Maclaren MKII is suitable from 6 months of age. However, there is no seat recline at all, so we would strongly suggest that this needs to be taken into consideration, if you have a child who may potentially fall asleep en route.
The main seat fabric is strong and durable, whilst being light. The centre panel is breathable mesh, which we are not particularly keen on. However, putting this pushchair in context, the Maclaren Mark II is exactly the sort of pushchair that you would be taking with you on a plane to somewhere hot and sunny this summer. Thus, a child would probably be glad of some cooling air on their sweaty back. However, back in the UK, in February, warmth is definitely what a child needs. Thankfully Maclaren do make a seat liner, and a footmuff, to keep a child warm.
The Maclaren Mark II was easy to push, even with a larger toddler on board, although it did take a push to get the buggy over door lintels. In the UK the Mark II is certified for use up to 15kgs, however the same label says that the Mark II is certified for 20kgs in Australia and 25kgs in the US for the same pushchair! With this weight range, we would have anticipated that the buggy would be built to accommodate an older child. However there is a bar down either side of the seat, which Little Miss BB found uncomfortable (age 6 but 21kgs, so useful for an opinion), and the harness shoulder straps were much too short for 4 and a half year old Master BB. He did have a thick winter coat on, however, we really struggled to get the harness done up. We did manage to get him fastened in by extending the side straps (because the shoulder straps were very short). Master BB is 4 and a half (100cms). This pushchair is more likely to be used in summer, with lighter clothing, which needs less harness strap. However, we have rarely ever had an issue with a short harness with Master BB. He is the size of a 3 year old.
There is a choice of three harness shoulder height settings. It was easy enough to alter the harness height by pushing the harness ends through the seat fabric. The harness buckle is good – sturdy and secure. The buckle is released by pressing in the red button on one side of the buckle. It is quite hard to press. Little Miss BB struggled to undo it which is good!
One of the things most noticeable about the Maclaren Mark II (and we have seen this in other photos of this pushchair), is that the buggy is almost proportioned wrong. There is a low seat, with a footrest that is very near to the child, and also low to the ground, and yet the space above the child’s head is huge. The seat really needs lifting up by about 20cms to give more room for a child’s legs, so that they aren’t ‘paddling’ their feet on the ground. Master BB was very good and kept putting his feet back on the footrest whenever he was asked, but he could reach the ground. I know this is an issue with umbrella fold pushchairs generally, but the Mark II just seems extra low.
Master BB did look very comfortable in the seat though – it is a lovely deep seat which is exactly what an older toddler needs.
Hood, Handlebars, Raincover and Basket
The hood is large with a flick out silver sun visor. The hood has UPF50+ sun protection, is waterproof and has a peek a boo window. We did find the hood required two hands to open. The fabric also kept moving off the back wire, and we kept having to tug it to make the hood lie straight. You can see this in some of our photos.
The handlebars are quite tall. They were the perfect height for me at 5ft 6ins tall, and Mr BB found them fine too (he is just shy of 6ft tall). We were not overtly keen on the angular shape of the actual handlebars, but they were fine for what we consider to be more of an occasional / short trip use. The handlebars curved inwards to the centre to make them comfortable to hold. They are covered with a unique tight soft plastic foam which is antimicrobial and is durable. There was some flex in the handlebars, however, on such a light, umbrella fold pushchair, it was surprisingly only slight. We think that if you really needed a small fold, very lightweight pushchair, that you would accept these as compromises.
The Maclaren MKII comes with a small folded raincover which fits to the front of the pushchair when needed. The upper half is clear, and the lower half is white waterproof fabric.
The basket is a reasonable size for an umbrella fold pushchair. The space directly under the seat is largely unusable – we would recommend you put your raincover into this part, or push coats or jackets in, as there isn’t much clearance. I did get my medium sized handbag, and Little Miss BB’s rucksack in the rear part, which was great. So there is room for a small changing bag or Pacapods. The basket is made from mesh, which was ok on a dry day, but on a wet day, could leave your shopping vulnerable.
Wheels, Brake, Shoulder and Wrist Straps
The Maclaren MKII is built on an alumium hex chassis with four sets of double wheels. The wheels give the feel of rubber wheels. These wheels combined with all round suspension, give a comfortable ride and push. The front wheels are lockable / swivel ones. This is easy to apply by pushing a slider up or down.
There is a footbrake at the rear of the pushchair – clearly marked in red near the right hand wheels. Press it on to engage, and flick it off to go again.
On the rear of the pushchair are two straps. The biggest strap is a really handy shoulder strap. The Mark II is so superlight, that it is absolutely no problem to sling over a shoulder whilst holding a toddlers hand, although it is not the most comfortable item to carry. It would certainly suffice for the times where we could envisage needing to carry the pushchair. It is so lightweight that Little Miss BB aged 6 could sling the buggy onto her shoulder, or carry it in both hands.
The other strap is a wrist strap. We would advise the use of this at all times, because the Maclaren Mark II is extremely light. Even with the brake on, during our photoshoot, several times the buggy got blown away (unoccupied) into the road!
The Mark II really is the perfect travel pushchair. We know of one family who took it on holiday with them, and it went easily into the luggage rack above their heads on the train.
Fold and Warranty
Folding is easy peasy. The Maclaren MK II is a traditional one handed umbrella fold pushchair. First push up the centre of the chassis at the rear of the stroller underneath the red marker – however you do need sturdy shoes to do this with your toes. Then step on the bar which extenuates out from the right hand side to ‘break’ the chassis. Push the handlebars forwards until the chassis locks into a folded position, with the handlebars near the wheels. To open the pushchair, simply undo the fold lock, flick the pushchair open, and press down on the red marker in the centre of the back bars until the buggy is locked open and the bars at the rear are horizontal.
The Maclaren Mark II comes in several colours – silver, navy blue, orange and hot pink. There are optional accessories such as an insect net, footmuff and seat liner.
Maclaren give a Sovereign Lifetime Warranty when you register, which will give peace of mind.
The Maclaren Mark II is pared down and basic, but yet it has enough to get you by. It is a shame that there is not even a very slight recline for holiday use. However, for anyone who needs an easy to fold stroller for the London tube, bus travel, travelling abroad or to carry upstairs to a flat, then the Maclaren MKII is a godsend. We suspect there is no other pushchair as light as this, nor as easy to put up and down, whilst holding onto the hands of a toddler.
The Mark II is an easy push. The four double wheels are substantial enough to cope with most things that city, or even country life may through at it. The fabrics feel strong although we are not keen on the mesh in the seat. We would have liked the seat a little higher, but again we accept this is probably a compromise to the lightweight design. For what you get, the price is high. However, we suspect the technology and lightweight fabrics and paring down, have cost more to get this pushchair lightweight, yet sturdy. The other negative is that it is long when folded – so just check out your boot space before buying.
All round, based on what the Maclaren Mark II is i.e. a super lightweight, travel pushchair, that is easy to use, we have to give it a 4 star Best Buggy rating. There is simply nothing else as light as this pushchair, and if light is what you need, then the Maclaren Mark II is the answer.
Other Maclaren Mark II Reviews: