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Babystyle Hybrid: Edge, City and Tandem

Best Buggy were invited to the new Baby Planet store in Derby, for the official launch of the Babystyle Hybrid pushchair onto the UK market. The Hybrid is a very unique pushchair which incorporates several new concepts for pushchair design.

The Babystyle Hybrid is a pushchair which truly grows and adapts to your family and their changing needs and requirements. The Hybrid chassis comes with either the Edge rear axle, or the City rear axle. It is possible to buy additional axles: the Edge axle; City axle or a Tandem axle. The City axle has small rear wheels and has a very narrow width of just 56cm – perfect for life in the city. The Edge axle has larger rear wheels and is slightly wider. Finally, the Tandem axle also has larger Edge rear wheels and is also 15cm longer to allow room for a second seat to be fitted. These three modes can be seen in the photos above taken in the shop window – The Hybrid City is on the left hand side (small rear wheels), the Hybrid Tandem is in the centre, and the Hybrid Edge is on the right hand side (large rear wheels).

Having different axles may sound complicated, however, in reality a customer will choose the chassis that they require. If they want to later change the axle, it literally takes a minute to pop the old axle off, and pop a new axle back on. The axles can be seen in our photos on the top shelf next to the carrycots. It is a really clever way to get the pushchair you need for the stage your children are at, or for the lifestyle that you lead. If for example you have a second child then the tandem axle is an additional £50; but if you are downsizing then the City axle is available for £40. There is no compromise in any mode, and each pushchair fundamentally has the same features and good all round suspension.

The Hybrid has a large seat (Little Miss BB fitted in it aged 7 at the Harrogate Nursery Fair back in March) with a leatherette swing away bumper bar. The seats incorporate one of the other new innovative features – a one pull 5 point harness. This is similar to the harnesses that you find on a car seat, so that the child can be put into the seat, and then the harness can be pulled tight with one hand which means the shoulder straps, waist straps all come together to fit the child snuggly. This makes altering the harness easy, whether it is so that a pushchair can be used by children of different ages, or whether it is to accommodate the change in clothing across the seasons. There are just two harness height settings which Babystyle felt were sufficient with this style of harness. The footrest has 4 positions. The seat is suitable for use from 6 months old. Prior to this, your little one will require a carrycot or a car seat.

The Hybrid carrycot is incredibly light for a carrycot. The carrycot arrives flat, but when the supports in the base are pulled into position, then the sides become rigid. The carrycot is suitable for occasional overnight sleeping because the sides meet the safe critical fall height criteria. The base is also vented and the carrycot comes with a mattress. We very much liked the effort made to bring style to the carrycots including the smart looking leatherette covered corners, edges and the leatherette carrying handle situated in the centre of the hood. The hood has a pull out silver sun visor for additional sun protection; whilst at the rear of the hood, the fabric can be lifted up to reveal a vented panel which is fantastic for air flow when it is hot, or for you to keep an eye on a baby when in the lower tandem position. We like that the mesh is covered to keep a little one snug in winter.
There is a really neat little zipped pocket on the front of carrycot for small items. A raincover and an insect net come with the carrycot, and the pocket is perfect to store the insect net in. The carrycot apron is included and is held neatly in place with press studs.
One of the best features of the carrycot is how it is removed from the chassis. There is a lever at the base of the hood which releases the carrycot from the chassis, so that the carrycot can then be easily lifted clear using the other hand. We have seen this on other prams, and it does make carrycot use much simpler.

The carrycot is the same in both single and tandem configurations. The seat units are also essentially the same, although the frame inside the footrest needs to be removed for the lower seat to fit in tandem mode. Height adaptors lift the front seat upwards to give the child underneath plenty of space. These height adaptors can be used in single mode as well to bring the seat up to the height of a table, or simply to bring your child closer to you so that you can chat as you stroll along.

Storage has been well thought out on the Hybrid. First of all the basket can be altered and extended as the chosen chassis requires. The rear of the basket also folds up or down depending on how you would like it. Magnets neatly hold the basket in position allowing for good access. We love the ingenious changing bag which fits perfectly into the Hybrid basket when in single mode. The bag can be opened up and attached on either side of the chassis so that there is easy access to the items inside. It is like a mini suitcase, and is really handy to have everything very organised so that you don’t need to rummage to find what you require. Babystyle appreciate that you can not put the changing bag in the basket in tandem mode, so they also have added neat bag hooks on each side of the handlebar. This prevents the changing bag from sliding down the handle. There are also abutments onto which the Hybrid changing bag can be hung. Small details, but ones that parents will appreciate.

The handlebar has an extraordinary range. There are 10 positions in total, so you are guaranteed to find the right position to suit you. In tandem mode, the handle is best extended into one of the higher positions to ensure that the rear of the pushchair does not get kicked as you walk.

The Hybrid is a one handed fold, although you do need to be near to the ground to do the second stage of the fold, which may need some practice before doing with a child under one arm. First the handlebar needs folding down. When folding the Hybrid in tandem mode, only the upper seat can be left in situ, and the handle must only be folded as far as the two triangular shaped markers to allow space for the wheels and longer axle. In the other modes, the handle can be folded completely in. The second step involves a button and a pull handle which are situated above the front of the basket. The chassis folds down flat to the floor. The footrest needs folding in to achieve the neatest fold.

Babystyle showed us, how the single pushchair can be folded with the seat left on, facing in either direction (although as the pics show, although it is possible to leave the seat parent facing, the fold is not very neat- but we did insist on trying for research purposes!). The forward facing fold is extremely neat for any pushchair, but especially so for a tandem pushchair. When the seats and the wheels are popped off, the Hybrid fold is very small. The changing bag can also be left in situ in the basket when folding which is really handy.

The Hybrid is very simple to open – simply release the fold lock, and pull the pushchair upright onto its 4 wheels. Then extend the handlebar to the desired height.

There are lots more photos of how the Hybrid works, how the axles fit, and how the pushchair folds, in our initial write up of the Hybrid Edge prototypes that we saw at Harrogate earlier this year.

The wheels are PU wheels with 4 wheel suspension. The rear suspension is especially good. The wheels are solid disc wheels. This is to prevent small fingers getting trapped in any spokes, especially when the pushchair is in tandem mode.

The Hybrid comes in 7 gorgeous colours – Lava Red, Mineral Blue, Stonewash, Wild Orchid, Simply Navy, Pistachio and Phantom Black.

The Hybrid City retails at £449; the Hybrid Edge retails at £499; the Hybrid Tandem retails at £678 (chassis and two seats); the carrycot costs £129; a second seat costs £129. The Hybrid is in retailers across the UK now.

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