“ Brand: Jané / Seat: Single / Type: Standard „
I bought the Energy with a view to using it as an out-and-about buggy once my second baby was born, since the travel system we already had was not suitable from birth. The plan was that the baby would go in the buggy while my toddler walked, and then once the toddler got tired, I would put the baby in the sling and the toddler in the pushchair. I wanted something lightweight but not flimsy, with a big enough basket to hold a sling, suitable from birth to three years. This seemed to tick all the boxes, and at just over £107, it wasn't too badly priced. It's made by Jané (pronounced 'Hannay'), a Spanish company who sell their products through Johnston Prams & Buggies Ltd, who are their UK distributor. They are mostly available at independent shops and online, and there is a full list of stockists at www.johnstonprams.co.uk.
First, the good points. It is certainly light at only 5.6kg (the baby weighed nearly as much as that!) and it feels solid and well-made. It has five seat positions, from fully flat to upright, and the footrest is adjustable which is useful if you have a tall baby as it adds length to the seat.
It has a fabric hood which rolls up at the back, so in the summer your baby is shaded from above but air can still circulate so that it doesn't get too stuffy inside the buggy. The hood has a plastic panel in it at the back so that you can see your baby when it is rolled down.
It has lockable swivel wheels; I'm not fond of locked wheels, so I have never tried them in this position, but it is nice and controllable when they are on the swivel setting. The wheels are solid, so no punctures to contend with.
The basket is an OK size, about what you'd expect from a buggy rather than a larger pushchair. It comes with a raincover, which is not the most annoying one I've ever come across. It has a simple umbrella folding mechanism which could be done with one hand if you needed to, it folds down quite flat and it has a carry handle on one side so that you can get an easy grip on it to pick it up.
All in all then, it's a pretty good all-round buggy. Except.
It's not suitable up to three years, as it states. It's suitable up to 15kg, which is not the same thing at all. My toddler is fairly hefty for his age and reached 15kg not long after his second birthday, meaning that he can't use the buggy at all. I tried putting him in it a couple of times, but the frame couldn't handle the weight when I turned the buggy; I could feel that the uprights were not maintaining their parallel positions and it really felt as if it were going to break.
The shopping basket is a good size, but when the seat is fully reclined you can't actually get anything into or out of it.
You have to be careful that the brakes are on properly; there is a brake pedal on each rear wheel, connected by a bar so that when you press one, they should both engage. In my experience, this does not always happen when I try to use the right-hand pedal, so I only use the left-hand one. Maybe I just got a Friday afternoon buggy as I haven't seen this mentioned as a problem anywhere else.
The clip which holds the buggy closed does not, in fact, hold the buggy closed because it does not wrap far enough around the part of the frame that it clips on to. In a way, this is a good thing, because you can open it one-handed simply by giving it a little shake. Obviously, it is also annoying because it means the buggy is prone to popping open with no warning. It especially does this if you pick it up in any other way than by the carry handle. If you took this on a plane, you would have to tie it closed unless you wanted to make yourself very unpopular.
However, the really big downside, and the one that would put me off buying this buggy again, is the folding mechanism. This buggy has a Serious Design Flaw. The seat back is held in position by a small bar which fits into a notched groove; to move the seat, you pull on a handle at the back and the bar moves from one notch to the next. When you fold the buggy, the clip which (supposedly) holds it closed has a habit of getting stuck inside the frame unless you make sure that it is clear of the mechanism, and if this happens, the bar will come out of the groove altogether, meaning that the seat back will not stay in position on one side. I managed this after only the third time of using the buggy, and it is ridiculously easy to do if you are not paying full attention (I have two children. Of course I'm not paying attention). Luckily I managed to get it back in when the buggy was folded, otherwise I would have had to pay to get it repaired. Jané are clearly aware of this, as the clip has a little triangle warning sticker on it (isn't that considerate of them?), so why on earth they don't just change the design of the clip, I've no idea. Jané also say that you must never allow anyone to fold the buggy unless they have been properly shown how to do it, otherwise your warranty will be void. I'm sorry, but I don't have the time to teach everyone I know how to fold a buggy, just in case they might one day need to know how to do it without breaking it in the process.
I did read some reviews before I bought the buggy; most of them raved about it, while some mentioned the flaw but didn't make it sound as if it were anything major. Given that it would have cost me upwards of £30 to get it fixed (that was just for the postage), I would say it's an important point to consider before deciding whether this is the buggy for you.
I don't want to sound overly negative, as I do like this buggy and use it a lot (well, for the baby anyway. As it turns out, the whole buggy/sling combo was a bit of a non-starter as a) the baby was too heavy to be slung after about a month, and b) my toddler would rather walk, even if it does make us late to everything). For what it is it is very well priced; this is not a flimsy buggy which will last you one child if you're lucky - it's quite substantial and feels as if it would last a long time if you managed not to break it. If you think the folding mechanism problem is something you could work with, I would recommend this buggy as all the other downsides are minor really, and I haven't found they put me off using it.
I hope they fix the folding mechanism soon, as it is a really fantastic buggy otherwise and it's a shame that it is let down by something that could be so easily remedied. As it is, though, I can't give it more than three stars.
Folded size 30 x 28 x 107cm
Unfolded size 80 x 47 x 107cm
Wheel size 16.5cm
Handle height 107cm
Colours: Cherry (red/green)