ABC Design Zoom Review by Best Buggy
The ABC Design Zoom tandem is a double pushchair that we have wanted to review here at Best Buggy HQ for some time. It is a spacious stroller for two children with a wide choice of seating / carrycot / travel system options. However, unlike most tandem pushchairs, it is important to note that the Zoom is not also a single pushchair, although you could use one seat on the large chassis, if you desired. Therefore the ABC Design Zoom is most useful for parents of twins or siblings who are close together in age.
The first impression was that the Zoom feels long, but we loved all the configurations and that the children have lots of space. The seats are equally sized and there is good leg room for both the children – this is really important to note, because this is something which you really get with no other mid range tandem currently on the UK market. Twin mummies in particular like the Zoom for this reason – because neither child is compromised, and one seat will not be outgrown before the other. The Zoom is nearly a metre and a half in length (143cm) according to the stats, and it is probably longer with the handlebar extended. However, we have had the Zoom stood next to Baby Jogger City Select (134.5cm) and there is not much visible difference lengthwise. As stated above, the Zoom can not be a single pushchair. Yes, you could just use it with one seat on, but the base does not shorten. This may be a consideration if you have a toddler who is near to walking full time.
Child Comfort and Seating Positions
There are so many seating options on the ABC Design Zoom. This is a huge plus point for this pushchair, because there are often compromises with tandems, especially deciding where each child goes, at each stage of development. The seat units can go either forward facing or parent facing. They can face each other or go back to back (sorry we did not photograph this). The Zoom has two configurations which we see parents of siblings ask for a lot i.e. the baby parent facing in a carrycot or car seat, and the toddler forward or parent facing. It is rare to find a parent facing carrycot on a tandem.
The ABC Design Zoom seating options are:
- Two carrycots
- Two car seats
- Two seat units
- One carrycot and one car seat
- One carrycot and one seat unit
- One car seat and one seat unit
The front seat is slightly lower than the rear seat which gives the rear passenger a view out when the seats are forward facing. It does however make it difficult to see where the front end of the pushchair is, and more importantly where the legs of a front forward facing child are.
Although there is a lot of space for the children, there are some positions where the footrests do touch, and you may need to consider which child goes where, especially if one or both children are likely to need to sleep. However, you can recline either seat in any combination or position enough for a little one to nap, so this is less of a consideration than with other tandem pushchairs. There is plenty of space for legs and feet, both on the footrest itself, or with feet in the basket if necessary. The height of the upper seat gives more leg room. However, if you look at our photos of our small 5 and 3 year olds, they both have plenty of space. Just look how much our younger testers LOVE seeing their sibling! We love the face to face position.
The seats both have three recline positions – upright, semi-recline and lie flat. This is achieved by pressing in a button on each side of the seat, and then rotating the seat up and down. The seats also have adjustable footrests which can be useful to alter in certain positions. Again these are adjusted by pressing in a button on each side of the footrest and then lifting it up and down. There are 3 positions which click into place. However, the chassis of the Zoom does restrict how the footrests sit mainly when the seats are facing the basket.
The seats are quite well padded, but they also come with coloured liners which makes a smaller child fit more snuggly in the seat. We forgot to add these on for the photoset, but we did use them when out and about. These are great to protect the seats during use. The footrest area is black, so doesn’t show the dirt.
Harness and Hoods
We like the silky feeling harness which is similar to a car seat belt in thickness and style (but much softer). The harness on the Zoom has just one height setting. This has been an issue particularly with our smallest travellers, because you only get a good harness fit when it can be properly adjusted to suit the child. A correctly fitted harness is what will keep a child safe. Different height settings are important to achieve a good fit. The harness itself has been easy to alter, and we like that there are just two pieces of the 5 point harness to plug into the buckle. The buckle itself is released from one side, which is easier for an adult to grasp and squeeze one handed than a typical central push button release. We love that ABC Design have made a crotch strap protector which encompasses the buckle and then velcros over the top to prevent little fingers playing with the buckle and to make it more comfortable in lighter clothing. This does take a second or two longer to fasten and unfasten though. The harness has pads on the shoulders too. These are really cleverly held into place by velcro tabs on top of the harness straps. To date these have not fallen off which is great! Under the pads are quick release squeeze buckles. These are handy for adding a footmuff or liner. If you do happen to lose the harness pads, then you may wish to invest in more to prevent the plastic buckles rubbing your child or getting hot in summer.
The seats have a swing away bumper bar. These are released via a button on either side to allow access for the child, or can be completely removed. The bumper bars are covered in padded black fabric. However, you are also given additional padded colour coded zip on bumper bar covers too. These are simple to remove for washing, however, we did find our children played with the zip, so it was good to still have padding underneath if we chose to remove the coloured cover.
The hood has two main sections. The rear section has a plastic peekaboo panel which extends the full width of the pushchair. The front section also has a small padded visor at the very front. At the rear of the hood is what is actually a really annoying padded flap. We believe that this is meant to sit over the plastic panel to block out the daylight for a sleeping child. However, it is not wide enough to fully achieve this, and most of the time it simply hangs down and looks messy. It also gets in the way of the rear seat when it is forward facing too especially when trying to recline the seat. The hood also has a zip, which when undone, reveals another hood panel but in a more floppy lycra type fabric. When fully extended the hood is generous. The hoods have a UPF rating of 50+ to keep your little ones protected in the summer sun. The other part of the zip out section can be folded back and fully covers the plastic panel thus giving darkness for a sleeping baby, and rendering the flappy padded panel even more pointless. At this point, we will mention that the instructions are really poor, and give very little help with setting up the pushchair (although it was not difficult) and there is no information about the hoods. The instructions are stored in a pocket in the base of the basket, but we would recommend removing them and storing them somewhere else where they won’t get dirty.
We have had a lot of issues with the hoods popping off when moving the seats or carrying them, or even simply touching them. They have been frustrating at times!
Carrycot and Travel System Options
The ABC Design Zoom does have an optional carrycot option (carrycots and adaptors are required) and car seat adaptors (Britax or Maxi-Cosi). The ABC Design Risus Car Seat also fits onto the chassis.
We did try the Zoom out with one carrycot and one car seat.
The carrycot requires a carrycot adaptor to sit it onto the frame. This is the frame with parallel bars next to the liner photo. The next image shows the car seat adaptors which fit straight onto the chassis. The Risus car seat then fitted on top. The car seats looked very padded and comfortable.
The carrycot folds flat for storage and is easy to erect by pushing the bars in the base into position. We were pleased to see D-rings attached to the base which allows a harness to added to the carrycot to secure the baby if desired. The carrycot comes with a black covered mattress. The carrycot apron velcros neatly onto the carrycot at each side. The carrycot hood is attached to the carrycot handle. Therefore the hood needs to be up in order to carry the baby.
The hood does unzip at the rear to allow airflow for the baby in summer. It also allows you to see where you are going if your baby is in the upper, parent facing position! If the hood is completely pushed back, then the hood fabric does sit over the baby’s face. There is a small padded sun visor on the carrycot, however there is no pull our lycra style sun visor. This also means that the only cover for the plastic window is the padded rear flap, which as stated previously, does not cover this window completely.
We absolutely loved the built in insect net which is hidden behind a zip at the foot end of the carrycot! A brilliant idea and great to see.
The carrycot was fairly easy to lift off the chassis although you do need both hands to release each side of the carrycot, and then a hand to lift the carrycot clear. When the front seat is forward facing, then the hoods can clash and it may be easier to remove the front seat first.
Storage and Raincover
The Zoom basket basket sits neatly inside the frame of the pushchair to give a curved line. It is large and generally speaking you can get a lot in it, depending on how the seats are placed. Access can be restricted especially if the seats are facing each other. However, the basket could very easily be made deeper to facilitate better storage space particularly at each end. But the basket is definitely a positive selling point for a tandem.
The ABC Design Zoom comes with a one tandem raincover which was so easy to fling over both seats, rather than trying to put on two individual raincovers.
Handlebars, Handling, Wheels and Brake
The chassis itself feels strong. Ours is black painted metal, and it looks very smart. The chassis feels sturdy to push. There is no movement in the frame which is good. The Zoom is on the heavy side to lift, however it pushes well and surprisingly, although it takes a good push, we have had much worse pushchairs to get up and down kerbs, even when fully loaded. The length and seats are well placed on the chassis. We can certainly think of worse tandems for kerbs! It is fairly easy to negotiate most towns these days using dropped kerbs. Going up steps is much more of a challenge though and you will need help. Handling is always going to be interesting with such a long pushchair, especially around shops and in tight spaces, and this is something to consider when looking at which tandem to buy. We have had some issues on cambered pavements and steering around tight corners, but again, we have had worse!
The foam covered handlebar extends telescopically from quite low to high by pressing a button in the centre. There are 5 height settings ranging from 90cm to 105cm, which is excellent for a pushchair. Our only issue has been that when the rear seat is forward facing, the hood can get caught in the handlebar, and the flap part of the hood can cover the handlebar too. The hood may completely fall off either! Sometimes it has taken a bit of sorting out before we could move off.
With a pushchair as long as the Zoom, there needs to be extra care taken when crossing roads. Do not push the pushchair out first and put your child at risk! It can be awkward sometimes, especially in busy places, to have the room to turn the pushchair sideways to look for a safe gap. It is very difficult to see where the front of the pushchair ends. We have also found that when the front child is forward facing, that it is very easy to catch their legs or their feet without knowing. We have preferred to have our children facing each other to ensure that the front child does not bump into objects particularly in shops.
We do like the puncture proof, soft touch wheels which give cushioning to the ride. The suspension is visible at the rear which does always bother me lest it weathers across time. The suspension feels right for this pushchair. It is not too soft or too hard. The rear wheels are 28cms in diameter and the front wheels are 20cm. The front wheels do protrude a fair way at the front. They can be set to swivel or to lock if necessary.
There is a large flick on / flick off brake situated between the rear wheels. This is very easy to locate and feels decisive when engaged. You do need to flick the brake up again using your toes to release it.
Both seats need to be removed before folding. The chassis fold is quite large and chunky, and this must be considered before purchase, especially to go in a car boot. The seats lift off the chassis very easily using two levers on each side. It is simple to turn the seats around and drop them into a different position. The chassis itself folds fairly easily. First, use the sliders on each side of the handlebar to start off the fold. Then disengage the red plastic covered secondary lock situated near the rear left wheel. This may not be the easiest thing to do if you have just had a C-Section or have a bad back. The handlebar will then fold easily down towards the wheels where the autolock will engage.
The size of the fold overall is one of the big negatives. The chassis does not lie flat when folded. The wheels sit proud off the floor and so make the Zoom a larger fold that you hope. Our tester could barely get the pushchair into her large saloon car boot with the wheels on, because of the depth and length. The chassis will not freestand when folded which is a real pain for storing. You either have to lie the chassis flat on the floor, which takes up a lot of floor space, or you have to somehow balance it against something – which we would not recommend because it could easily fall. The wheels do easily remove for storage if necessary. The seats are great! They are slim and can slide into a gap or the footwell of a car, easily with the bumper bars removed, or they will nest or stack. The seats are reasonably light to carry – two can easily be carried one handed – one on your arm and one on your hand. However, overall the pushchair is very heavy at 16.1kg (with seats fitted), so you need some muscles to carry the chassis. There are logical carrying places though, and the chassis stays neatly folded which makes things easier.
The unfold is easy. Simply undo the storage lock, and pull the handlebar up towards you until it clicks into the fully open position. Then add on the seat units.
We don’t often mention price here on Best Buggy because for us functionality comes first. However the ABC Design Zoom does sit in the mid range price bracket which makes it one of the most affordable tandems on the market. There are not many options in this price bracket. The build quality seems good but equally this is not a top end tandem and it doesn’t have the finesse of say the iCandy Peach, Egg Stroller, Joolz Geo etc. which are in a different league. We don’t think we have ever seen so many rivets on a pushchair! However, for the price, options and functionality, the Zoom does brilliantly. In fact one of our testers – a parent of twins – much much preferred her Zoom over the other more expensive tandems we have tested, because her children got an equal view, position and space. There was no way we could persuade her otherwise.
Seat liners and a raincover are included with the pushchair, which are sometimes optional extras on more expensive tandems.
It is worth noting though that the Zoom does not hold it’s value like a more expensive pushchair, so although it may have less initial outlay, it may be worth very little at the end.
The ABC Design Zoom sits in a unique position in the tandem pushchair market because it has no real competition at this price point. It is a sturdy pushchair, with great seat options, and with further travel system and carrycot options. We love all the different seating positions and the large basket. The children, all seemed comfortable in the seats and we love how much space the children have. However, this does make the Zoom probably the longest tandems we have tried out here at BBHQ, and this has considerations when pushing, in tight spaces, going up kerbs and crossing roads. We appreciated the extras like the liners, swing away bumper bars, raincover and insect net in the carrycot. We think the hoods could be improved so that they don’t pop off the chassis so easily, and also to have a better cover over the peekaboo window. The fold size and non-freestanding does let the Zoom down because you require a lot of storage space. You need a large car boot with a good opening, to fit the chassis and seats in. We do feel that the Zoom will appeal more to parents of twins, rather than siblings because there is no single pushchair option. However, all round we have enjoyed using the Zoom, and particularly for value for money, we are giving the ABC Design Zoom a 4 star Best Buggy rating.
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