“ Brand: Cow & Gate / „
At the tail end of last year we had a "little accident" with our Graco (the one that cost my in-laws hundreds of pounds) in which it met it's end when one of the wheels snapped clean off as my husband was trying to navigate it through the snow. We were buggy-less for a few days as the accident had happened on Christmas Eve evening. We managed to wheel the broken buggy home and picked up an Argos catalogue on the way back as well.
We looked at all different kinds of buggies; from Winnie the Pooh to Iggle Piggle and those weird three wheeler space-craft looking strollers. They all seemed terribly complicated to fold up or cost absolute fortunes. Remembering we'd bought a BabyStart high chair I opened up Google Chrome and searched for BabyStart strollers - which brought this little stroller up.
The Stroller: Pros and Cons.
Okay, so onto the meat and bones of this review. The stroller is a nice neutral blue colour (not as bright as it looks in the pictures) with a nice brown that compliments the blue rather well. If you want a stroller that comes in a variety of colours or don't want the blue then this probably isn't going to be your buggy of choice.
The basket at the bottom of the stroller isn't as big as I'd like it to be, but it does us okay - plus the handles are of a different thickness to our Graco so we can put a few shopping bags on this buggy's handles.
The straps do seem flimsy in comparison to other models but this isn't really a problem as the buggy is safe so it doesn't matter. You don't get many extras with this stroller; a rain cover and built-in hood is about your lot, but that is to be expected for what you pay (£35 when we got ours.) I opted for buying a separate foot muff to go with this stroller as with my last one I hadn't been able to take off the cover - and this one is completely in-built so the only option of cleaning it would be with a wet cloth. Plus the foot muff is essential in winter - especially for babies/toddlers who keep pulling off their socks and shoes!
My husband is 6ft 2 and tells me that it is a "bit low" for the taller gentleman (or lady.) As I'm at 5ft 6 I haven't found this to be a problem whatsoever. The handles are nice and easy to use and are in a fixed position.
This stroller is SO much easier than the bigger strollers to fold up - and get back down again.
I would buy this model again. I find them to be sturdy, reliable and cheap - but not nasty, just great value for what you pay. I don't see the point in spending hundreds on a stroller that will probably have the same life span as a cheaper model - our faithful Graco lasted us ten months and even then the wheels were worn down. Even if this model did break I wouldn't feel at such a loss as it only cost a couple of pounds. It's served us well so far (two months) and has stood up in the test against all kinds of weather. I would recommend this stroller to anyone who is considering buying a new one - for whatever reason.
Although we already have a travel system we needed a cheap, lightweight stroller for our holiday. To be honest, my criteria weren't really that taxing, I didn't want to spend a small fortune, but still wanted a stroller that would lay back, in a colour scheme suitable for boys and preferably included a rain cover. I really don't see the point on spending more than £40-£50 on a stroller, in my experience the more expensive models aren't really any more comfortable and don't last any longer than the mid-range models. After trawling the internet (there aren't any shops selling strollers in the town where we live) I plumped for the Baby Start Kyle Stroller, which was on sale in Argos for £39.99 and included a hood and rain cover.
The Kyle is a fairly lightweight, multi-position layback stroller in shades of brown and blue. While it's not the lightest stroller I've ever owned, at 6.8kg it's not so heavy as I struggle too much in carrying it. The lay back function is a little odd, in that there are no set positions, instead there is an adjustable strap, meaning that the seat can be adjusted to suit your baby. This strap can also be unclipped to allow baby to almost fully lay back and sleep. Along with the actual buggy, there is also a detachable hood, a rain cover (that only fits if the hood is in place) and shopping basket.
Let's Go For A Walk
When I received the Kyle, it came in a fairly large box and required very minimal assembly. The front wheels had to be clipped into place, and this was surprisingly easy requiring very little force. I then needed to attach the hood and this was a little harder, to be honest the actual instructions weren't very clear, but I'm assuming that I've got it right as the rain cover seems to fit quite well. Opening and closing the Kyle is fairly easy, well it is for me, my partner does struggle a little bit, as it's a two step process (and you need to do them in the right order). Although it's advertised as being a two-handed umbrella fold, I personally can manage to fold it down one-handed. Even saying that, it does still feel very sturdy when unfolded, I've certainly never felt as it is going to fold up whilst Freddy (my baby) is in it. There is also a clip to hold the buggy closed, and even though the instructions state this won't work while the hood is attach, I can't say that I've ever had problems using it. Although I don't personally own a car, I have had to transport the Kyle in the boot of friends cars, and so far I haven't found a car that it won't fit in from a large saloon to a small hatchback.
When we first got this buggy, at five months, Freddy was under the recommended minimum age of six months, but due to the fully adjustable backrest, I was able to find the perfect position for him to be able to sit comfortably. The five point harness was easy to adjust so that he was safe and secure in the stroller. I really like the fact that I can keep the shoulder straps attached to the lap straps and therefore strap him in much quicker. Now Freddy is a little older (eight months), when he's awake he has the backrest in it's most upright position, which isn't really fully upright and then when he gets tired it's really easy to undo the clips to allow him to lie back. Although the seat isn't in the least bit padded, Freddy still seems perfectly comfortably and can sleep for a good half hour.
This isn't the tallest stroller around, at 98.5cm high, it's a perfect height for me to push, but I'm only 5' 1". My partner is 5' 8" and regularly moans that the stroller is too low and gives him back ache, so if you're not shorter than average, then this may not be the most comfortable stroller for you to push. Although there are plenty of fancy three wheeled buggies and strollers available, the Kyle is not of them. The Kyle is a bog-standard four wheeled stroller, well six wheels really, with two wheels at the back and two sets of double wheels at the front. Although the front wheels can be fixed, I've always preferred swivel wheels as I can control the stroller better that way.
On flat, smooth pavements, the Kyle is a joy to push, lightweight and responsive, so responsive that it's possible to push one handed (to a degree at least). But off of the pavement it becomes a little more problematic, there is absolutely no grip on the wheels and no suspension. When pushing this over less smooth surfaces every bump jars my arms, and as I already suffer from some pain in my joints, I can be left in a lot of pain. It's almost impossible to push the stroller over sand (although this is universal with all but the most expensive of strollers), and it simply slips and slides on snow. I used this a few days ago, when all we'd had was a sprinkling of snow, and I really struggled to stay upright as it slid around the pavement. Suffice to say, I decided it was better to use Freddy's heavier travel system for further trips out in the white stuff. The Kyle is, however, a delight (in normal conditions) to use with public transport, it's easy to manoeuvre onto buses and trains and easy to fold down if necessary.
I'm not all that convinced that the brakes are as good as they should be. Once they are engaged, they do seem to hold the buggy in place, but they are so hard to engage. It's a bit hit and miss really, sometimes I can push down on the bar and they'll engage straight away, but other times it can take me three or four attempts to get the brakes to engage. For this reason I would never leave this stroller on a sloped surface and expect it to stay where I've put it.
The supplied hood is pretty good, it keeps some of the sun out of Freddy's eyes and is easy to fold up and down. The rain cover also does exactly as it should, even though it can only be used in conjunction with the hood. But the rain cover only fits to just below the foot rest, so I don't think it will be suitable for children at the upper limit of the suggested age range (three). There is a very small shopping basket under the stroller, and I mean very small, I can fit the rain cover in, but not much else, maybe a carton of baby milk. Carrier bags can be hung over the handles, but it's very easy to overload and will tip back with only a few bags. Even if the stroller doesn't actually tip, overloading it seems to damage the stroller and over time it will become quite wobbly.
I'm quite realistic and would not expect any stroller to last forever. Over the years (and five children) I've owned a fair number of strollers, from £15 cheapies to £100+ luxury models and quite simply no stroller will last more than a year if used regularly. So far I've been using the Kyle several times a week for the last three months and it's holding out quite well. The wheels are starting to wear down a little bit, but this is only along the outside edges. The folding mechanism is still as smooth as the first time I unfolded the stroller and the seat fabric doesn't show any sign of fraying. Apparently the seat fabric can be removed and hand washed, but as this involves undoing screws, I've not bothered. What I do is simply wipe it down every now and again. The only real problem this stroller has as far as durability goes, is that my partner has overloaded it on occasion and now it feels a little wobbly.
While there's no doubt that the Baby Start Kyle Stroller is a budget option, it's really not that bad. We originally bought it to take on holiday, but I still use it several times a week. Short, little me finds it comfortable to push, get up and down kerbs and on and off of buses (although my taller partner finds it a little less so). The added rain cover is a nice touch, as rain covers on there own can often cost in excess of £20. My only real gripes are there is no completely upright position for the seat, you need to make doubly sure the brakes are engaged and it's not fantastic in the snow. And so I'm giving the Baby Start Kyle Stroller four stars out of five, as it's a pretty good stroller for the price (as long as you are short).
Baby-Start / Stroller with hood and raincover.