ABC Design Takeoff Stroller Review by Best Buggy
The ABC Design Takeoff Stroller is an old friend here at BBHQ. In fact, we were so delighted to see it on sale again, that we asked O’Baby (the UK distributors) if they would let us have another try with one, and they kindly agreed.
We first met the Takeoff when it was made by Lebruss and appeared on the BBC TV Programme ‘The Apprentice’. It was one of the first pushchairs we had for Little Miss BB and there are some super cute photos of her here in our original Takeoff.
So, why did we want another look at the Takeoff? We loved the mechanism and fold of the Takeoff and sparked an obsession for small folding pushchairs. It was a fantastic buggy to put into a small space in the car and to take on an outing. However, tiny Little Miss BB insisted on sticking her feet out of the side of the pushchair, and this led to her knocking displays over in shops. We were forced to sadly sell it. Master BB meanwhile is several years older than she was, and we hoped that we could experience the Takeoff from a toddler perspective. We also loved the new sporty and zingy colours of the new Takeoff.
The dinky fold of the Takeoff is the big selling point. It is small but chunky – like a small child’s suitcase – and is easily carried using the handle situated on the top when folded.
When we flicked open the Takeoff, we were amazed to find that although the Takeoff looks tiny, at just shy of 5 years of age (102 cms) Master BB fitted in amazingly well in the seat. His feet rest well on the footrest and the seat has good depth to it. The seat has a good upright position with a toggle recline, and is suitable from 6 months of age. The recline on the old Takeoff, was a strange slight recline that slid the seat back and it wasn’t the best. This toggle recline is far superior and gives good upright, and also much deeper recline positions. However, this new version does not have the deep side wings of the older Lebruss Takeoff, or the extendable calf rest, which is a feature that was handy for little ones on the older version. The seat does not seem quite as inclined backwards as the old seat did – it is more horizontal which is better.
The seat is padded and Master BB seems comfortable. He certainly enjoys hopping on board. He insists on having the bumper bar which is included with the pushchair. The bumper bar is simple to put on and off – much simpler than the old version. However, the bumper bar does need removing to fold, which means that it needs removing and replacing each time. The bumper bar has three positions which is handy for children of different ages – especially for a little one who may want to play with attached toys. The bumper bar cover can be unzipped and removed for washing.
Hood and Harness
The hood is large and extends high above Master BB’s head. We love how clear it folds back, out of the way, when not in use. There is no peekaboo window in this version of the Takeoff, however you do gain two useful zipped mesh pockets on either side of the hood and a toy loop at the front of the hood. The rear section of the hood can also be unzipped and rolled up neatly into its own pouch to allow air flow through the pushchair in summer. The hood as a UPF 50+ rating for good sun protection.
There are two harness height settings and a 5 point harness with a good chunky buckle where one side can be released at a time. The harness can break into 5 pieces with force i.e. it will not simply fall apart in your hand – this is positive! The proportions of the harness could be better. The shoulder straps are a little too short for Master BB (although we do accept he is at the upper end of the age group for use), however, the side straps are at the tightest setting for him, which leaves us with concerns for younger passengers who really would need a tighter harness.
Storage and Raincover
There is a small basket underneath the seat of the Takeoff. The instructions can be kept in a pocket in the storage basket. However, these are not much use when you first get the pushchair and need to open it! Access to the basket is very limited. Only small items can realistically be pushed underneath for storage, and are difficult to fish out afterwards – best accessed from the front. The old Takeoff had no basket, but instead had a mesh bag on the back of the seat. This was more practical really, although the underseat basket is more robust. There are the two mesh pockets on each side of the hood which were handy for my camera, however, my keys got caught on the mesh.
The Takeoff comes with a raincover. There are a matching footmuff, seat liner, cupholder, parasol, extending sun hood and changing bag, all available as optional accessories.
Handlebars, Handling, Wheels and Brake
The handlebars on the Takeoff are unusual, but very comfortable. They are two foam covered handlebars which are attached along a central stem. The handle height of 108cms is perfect for me at 5ft 6ins tall. I find that I only use one handlebar to push and steer, but the position for two handed pushing if necessary is comfortable. The handling has been extremely easy, even with heavy Master BB on board. The Takeoff has been light and whizzy and a pleasure to use. There is no obvious suspension, however, the handlebar has some give in it, which means that the pushchair is comfortable to push.
The Takeoff has 4 fairly small wheels. The front wheels are lockable / swivel wheels. The rear wheels are slightly larger than the front ones. The push is quiet and the Takeoff simply glides along. However, the Takeoff is an urban or holiday pushchair, rather than a full sized pushchair, and you have to accept the use the Takeoff it was built for. Perfect for nipping into town with a small car.
There is a rear parking brake situated centrally between the rear wheels. The brake is simple to flick on and off using your foot.
The ABC Design Takeoff can be used as a travel system from birth with the addition of a Risus Infant Carrier; a Cybex Aton /2 /3 or a Maxi-Cosi Citu SPS, Cabriofix or Pebble. These require adaptors (available to purchase separately). The adaptors were simple to fit, and our Maxi Cosi Cabriofix slotted easily on top. The pushchair hood meets the car seat hood in the middle to offer sun and rain protection to a little one.
The ABC Design Takeoff fold is unusual. It is worth watching the video of the fold / unfold before attempting as it nothing like any other pushchair we have ever met.
When unfolding the pushchair first release the slide button on the side. This releases the wheels which will fall down open, so that the pushchair lands on it’s four wheels. The handlebar comes upwards and open with the wheels, so that you are left holding the handlebar. Then importantly, tilt the pushchair seat back forwards past the vertical, so that it ‘catches’ on the seat pad. This locks the seat back to the seat pad. The seat then needs rocking backwards towards you, which pulls the seat pad upwards slightly with it. It is important to check that you have ‘caught’ the seat pad and that everything is locked into position.
To fold, slide the ridged button in the middle of the handlebar to the side. Squeeze in the button underneath the handlebar and fold the handlebar down towards the seat pad. As this is done, the pushchair seat ‘breaks’. As the handlebar reaches the middle of the seat, it then needs to be rocked back again towards you. As this is done, grab the central handle – between the seat back and the seat pad and pull the pushchair upwards and squeeze the back and front together into a neat cuboid shape! The fold and unfold can both be done one handed with some practice, although it is easier with two hands. The pushchair can then be picked up and carried. At 7.8kgs it is a reasonable weight to carry. This is a useful pushchair for public transport. Unlike the old Takeoff, there is no pull along handle or available storage bag.
It has been 5 years since we last used a Takeoff, and the ABC Design Takeoff was just as lovely to use now, as it was then. We enjoyed taking it out and about, and it has been especially handy for trips where we did not have much space in the car boot, or where we needed to nip quickly into a shop. The Takeoff is very much an urban pushchair with its small wheels, but it is sturdy and quiet to push. The ultra manoeverability and light push have been strengths, along with the large seat, and easy fold and unfold. It is a practical small folding pushchair which is useful for a small car boot or an upstairs flat. Compared to other small folding pushchairs, the storage does let the Takeoff down, although the pockets in the hood are handy for smaller items. The Takeoff is a pushchair which you would buy if you had a need for the small fold; and compared to other small folding urban style pushchairs, the Takeoff performs well. We are pleased to award the ABC Design Takeoff a Best Buggy gold 4.5 star rating.
Thank you to O’Baby for letting us have another look at one of our favourite pushchairs.
Other ABC Design Takeoff Reviews: