Babystyle Hybrid Edge and Tandem Review by Best Buggy
The Babystyle Hybrid Edge is a pushchair which is unlike no other! It is three pushchairs in one thanks to an ingenious conversion of the rear axle, as your family grows and changes. The two single versions are the Hybrid Edge (single large rear wheels); the Hybrid City (a single with smaller, narrower rear wheels) and the Hybrid Tandem (a pushchair for two with larger rear wheels and an extended axle to create room for the second seat). We have written about the Hybrid in all these modes, previously on Best Buggy when we first saw it at Harrogate, and at the official Hybrid Edge launch at the end of last year.
The Hybrid Edge is a very modern looking pushchair with a luxury feel. The solid wheels are very contemporary and space-age; whilst the aged-look leather detailing gives a refined classic look. There are several details which are immediately obvious. The chassis is light to carry, and is very compact when folded, which is surprising when you consider this can become a double pushchair. The seat fabrics are a beautiful textured material in a choice of beautiful natural hues. The seats are large and are the same size whether used as a single pushchair, or a double pushchair. The handlebar extension range is enormous! We like the finer details which show the thought which went into designing this modern looking pushchair.
Child Comfort, Harness, Bumper Bar and Accessories
The pushchair seats are a really generous size. We were very impressed. Our 3 year old tester in the photos was 99cm tall (71st centile) and was totally comfortable. The seat is lightly padded with good quality fabrics which are soft to the touch. The fabrics have a slight sheen and the threads appears to be slightly different shades of the same colour, which gives the fabric a depth of texture to the eyes.
The harness is unusual. It is essentially a 5 point infant car seat harness. We believe it is the first time a harness like this has been used on a pushchair. This harness is brilliant because instead of having to chase 3 or even 5 pieces around the child, and then adjusting all the straps to accommodate clothing; this harness just requires one pull to ensure a perfect fit. These unique one pull harnesses mean that it is easier to use these seats with a range of children without needing constant adjustment. Great for childminders or siblings for example. The downside to this type of harness is that the straps twist easily under the slots on the buckle. This has been slightly annoying as it takes a while to straighten the straps back out to ensure that they lie comfortably on the child, and also to ensure the perfect fit. There are only two harness height settings which doesn’t allow much variation for a 6 month old baby as they grow into a 3 year old. Most pushchairs have three height settings. Babystyle did indicate that you don’t need the additional height setting with this particular harness, but we would have liked to have seen one.
The two harness buckle pieces fit together jigsaw style and then slot into the buckle. This requires a very firm push. We don’t know whether this would loosen up across time, but it does make our hands hurt to push it in. The positive side is that the buckle is also difficult for a child to undo.
There are lovely thick colour coded harness pads on the seat, although they may well swamp a baby. The pads are secured with velcro, so they could easily be removed, and swapped for some thinner pads if this were an issue.
When in single mode, the seat can both forward and reverse face by squeezing the levers on each side of the seat and turning the seat around. The seats are suitable from birth. In tandem mode, the seats can only forward face. The seats are identical, however, it is important, when beginning to use the seat in tandem mode, that you remove the bars underneath the fabric which form the footrest area in the lower seat. This makes the footrest area flexible and allows for the lower child to be able to push the fabric back to give them room for their feet in the basket.
There are four recline positions including an upright position and a lie flat one. These are accessed via a one handed lever at the rear of the seat which has a satisfying click as the seat drops into each position. The lever is easy to lift up and use.
The bumper bar is beautiful and is one of the defining features of this pushchair. The bumper bar is very padded and thick. It is covered in hand stitched leatherette which has an aged / cracked look to it. In the centre is stamped ‘Hybrid’. The bumper bar has a button on each side which enables the bumper bar to be removed, or it will swing away to allow a child access if one side is released. The bumper bar does require a firm push to close.
Hood, Storage, Apron, Footmuff and Raincover
The hood has 2 large panels, with an additional hidden central panel which can be unzipped if necessary. We love the detail of the little leatherette tag with ‘Hybrid’ embossed onto it. There is a large front silver sun visor which can be flicked out to provide protection from the sun. For hot days, there is a mesh section hidden under the rear panel. The fabric on top can be folded forwards to reveal this ventilation. This mesh section can also afford you a view of your little one, which is particularly useful in tandem mode to see the children from behind.
The hood has a fixed position. Whilst the hood is plenty high enough to allow an older toddler to sit comfortably underneath, it would have been an additional benefit if the hood had been height adjustable, especially given the large seat size.
In single mode, the Hybrid Edge or City, here is a decent sized storage basket which is ample for most outings, however it is on the shallow side. The rear of the basket can also be flicked up or down to add depth. The basket can extend and be altered depending on the mode of transport, so the basket space is larger in theory in tandem mode, however, in reality this is simply space for the lower seat and for the child to rest their feet, as there is no usable basket space for shopping etc. in tandem mode.
Babystyle have usefully added bag clips on each side of the handlebar which does mean that a changing bag can be hung. Our tester did invest in a rucksack for shopping with!
Babystyle have a unique changing bag. It is is specifically shaped to fit perfectly in the basket when the pushchair is in single mode. The bag is structured to keep the shape, and there is a useful carrying handle, and shoulder strap. The Hybrid logo is stamped into the top of the bag. The changing bag has a large central compartment with elastic storage straps, and a mesh section on the lid. There are also small elastic tabs which can be used to attach the lid of the changing bag to the underside of the chassis, which allows the bag to stay open, so that the contents can be easily accessed. The bag can also be extended to increase the size, by unzipping a hidden section out. There is a shaped changing mat included. We love the changing bag. It is practical and looks smart and neat when nestled in the basket.
Each seat also has a beautifully detailed zipped storage pocket on the rear of the seat which is useful to store keys or a phone. The pocket opening is finished with leatherette with a Hybrid tag and lovely zip pull. It is the small details like these which set the Hybrid apart as a luxury stroller.
The Hybrid seats have lovely aprons which fit over the foot area of the seats to protect a little one. These are not very thick, however it is simple to tuck blankets underneath to keep a baby warm.
There are gorgeous matching footmuffs available. The exterior of the footmuff looks very smart, whilst the interior is baby soft. Absolutely gorgeous and so snuggly. The footmuffs are a generous size and are incredibly easy to fit thanks to a series of panels which velcro together around the harness straps. The footmuff and apron cover does make it more tricky to find the button to release the harness.
The Hybrid seats each come with an individual raincover. It is easy to put on the raincover on the main seat, but it is more tricky when trying to put the one on the lower seat because of access. Storing the raincovers in tandem mode is a bit of a headache! You also get an insect net with each seat, which is handy to have in summer.
What is fantastic about the Hybrid, is that there are no tandem adaptors to mess around with adding with each use unlike some competitors pushchairs. The Hybrid chassis in any mode mode, has the main (single / upper) seat sockets fixed to the chassis. When the Hybrid is needed in tandem mode, then the axle needs to be changed. The axle has the tandem adaptors already fixed onto it.
It is really quick and simple to change the axle. Simply undo the rear of the basket, and then pop off the single chassis by pressing in a small grey ridged button which is situated on the chassis, about half way along the basket. The axle then pulls off. The tandem axle can then be slotted into position. The basket needs extending by pulling apart two poppers, and this will allow the velcro tabs on the basket to be refitted along the rear axle. This isn’t something that you need to do every journey, and we would anticipate that once converted, the Hybrid would stay in tandem mode until finished with.
There are optional height adaptors available which can be fitted to the top seat to give more space for the child underneath. These can also be used in single mode to lift the child up nearer to you. Even without the height adaptors we felt there was a lot of space for the children in tandem mode.
The large seats accommodate even older children. As with most tandems it is easier to load the bottom child in first, and the put the upper seat into position as the lower seat is very low down which makes it tricker to put the child in afterwards. The seats drop into position easily, and the central recline handle makes reclining for a snooze simple. The harness was tricky to fasten up with the top seat in situ.
The Hybrid Tandem is suitable for twins or siblings. It takes a combination of two seats, two carrycots, two car seats or a mix of any two of these.
Handlebar, Handling, Wheels and Brake
The handlebar has a huge range – it is one of the tallest handlebars we have seen. In single mode, this is an excellent pushchair for a parent of any height because the range isn’t just high, but also goes down very low. In tandem mode, the longer and higher you have the handlebar, the easier the Hybrid is to push and get up kerbs, however the range is still there for you to choose the perfect height. Having the handlebar higher also allows for more space so that you don’t kick the lower seat or carrycot, although this will be less of an issue if you have short legs!
The handlebar is covered in hand stitched leatherette. It is a fairly slender handlebar to hold, which will suit some people. It gives an impression of a light pushchair to push, and indeed it is pretty light to push, even with two children on board. We have enjoyed using the Hybrid when out and about in both single and tandem modes. In tandem mode, our testers commented on how nippy the Hybrid Tandem was around shops, although it was quite difficult to push uphill as a tandem. Tipping the pushchair up kerbs was no problem, but lifting the rear wheels up was difficult. We found it easier to find dropped kerbs. We were concerned that a thin chassis would create movement, however, the chassis seems to be sturdy and has stood up well in our testing.
The wheels are solid puncture proof tyres with a small amount of give in them. The wheels are a solid disc design to prevent small fingers from getting trapped in tandem mode. These wheels really are probably the biggest defining feature of the Hybrid, and they really make a statement. You may instantly love them, or hate them, but they also grow on you! They certainly are simple to clean because they can be wiped over really quickly. The wheels do give a smooth ride and was good on the school run. There is all round suspension which is notably good at the rear.
The brake is situated at the rear of the pushchair behind the right hand wheel. The brake is a step on, and flick off one (although you could step on it to release, but its tricky). It is decisive, with a good click when engaged.
Carrycot and Travel System
The Hybrid seats are only suitable from 6 months of age. Therefore a carrycot or infant carrier is required to use the Hybrid from birth. We haven’t had the carrycot or car seat adaptors to test these modes out. However, there is more information about the carrycot itself, and photos of how the Hybrid can be used with one or two infant carriers, or two carrycots in our earlier reports here and here. The infant carriers which fit on the pushchair are the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix and Pebble; Kiddy Evoluna i-Size and the BeSafe infant carriers.
The Hybrid fold is extremely easy, neat and compact in any mode. Before folding, if used in tandem mode, then the lower seat needs removing. In single mode, the seat must be forward facing. The handlebar needs to be lowered. In single mode, this needs to be lowered right down, but in tandem mode, the handlebar should only be lowered as far as the triangle indicators on the handlebar to allow clearance for the longer tandem chassis.
Once the handlebar is in the correct position, the fold is finished using a handle which is situated underneath the main seat. There is also a button. Simply lift the handlebar up, and then slide the large button downwards. The pushchair will start to lower to the ground. Push the chassis to the floor, or alternatively lift the chassis into the air, and it will autolock. Our testers particularly commented on how easy the fold was.
The fold looks neater if the seat footrest is bent slightly. It is possible to nest the seats by removing one bumper bar, so that the seats can be stacked easily in space saving format in a car boot. Both seats will nest on top of a folded chassis, which makes a compact package.
The seats can be carried using the bumper bar, which is really useful, as you can tuck one seat in the crook of an arm, whilst carrying the other seat and the chassis, to save on two trips.
We should also pay tribute to the wonderful box which the Hybrid Edge arrives it. It has a wonderful graphic of the City of London on the outside.
This ultra modern, cutting edge Hybrid pushchair has been a pleasure to use in both the Hybrid Edge and the Tandem modes. We love the quality fabrics and leatherette detailing and stitched handle and bumper bars. The large seats are comfortable, and we especially loved the thick furry footmuffs. We liked the ease of use of the one pull car seat style harness, but we found the straps twisted, and it was tricky to find the harness release button underneath the footmuff.
In tandem mode we had to ensure that the correct seat (with no footrest bar) went on the bottom each time, but we liked that each child gets a bumper bar. There is plenty of room for the child in the seat underneath, with good space for little feet. However, this compromises basket space, although the bag clips do facilitate a changing bag to be carried, although there is no space for anything further. In single mode, the basket is a reasonable size. The axle swap is quick and easy although probably wouldn’t be altered unless necessary eg as a second child arrives.
The fold is simple and is so neat that The Hybrid only takes up a small amount of space in a car boot in both single and tandem modes. Above all the Hybrid is light to push even with two children on board.
We don’t often mention price here on Best Buggy, because we tend to focus on whether a pushchair will meet your needs, however, the Hybrid is noticeably cheaper than the competition, but there doesn’t appear to be any compromises with this buggy for the difference in price. The chassis feels sturdy, and the finish and attention to detail is very good.
The Babystyle Hybrid Edge is an excellent pushchair which will grow with your family. We are going to give the Hybrid Edge a Best Buggy 5 gold star rating and the Hybrid Tandem a Best Buggy 4 and a half gold star rating.
Many thanks to Babystyle for their help with doing this review.
Other Babystyle Hybrid Edge Reviews: