Product Type: Jane Powertrack prams, pushchairs and strollers
Newest Review: ... belts are fiddly to attach and removal and attachment of the cot to the attachments is very fiddly and awkward - definately not a quick ... more
Very good pram
Jane Powertrack Matrix
Member Name: mpamike5
Jane Powertrack Matrix
Date: 14/12/08, updated on 14/12/08 (652 review reads)
Disadvantages: The wheels are too small
This is a 3-wheeled design which is the successor to the Powertrack 360 model.
The major differences are that the wheels have been changed from the Powertrack's traditional metal spoked ones to plastic alloy look. I think that there may have been an intermediate Slalom model which had the new wheels but the old attachment system - something to watch out for when you're shopping.
These pushchairs are available separately or with the Rebel car seat (conventional "sit up" design), Matrix car seat (can be varied between lying flat and sitting up) or the Rebel + a carrycot (a Moses basket which can be fitted in the car). The add-on seats can be bought separately. So far as I know the "Profix" versions are not compatible with the older system.
The chassis is made of aluminium tubing, and it has a sturdy, yet streamlined, look. It's well put together and weighs about 8kg/17.5lbs without a seat on it.
The handle is a single bar ("one handed use"...) covered in soft foam for grip and a warm touch. It can be adjusted for height easily by holding in two buttons (one either end) and moving it to one of several positions, this can also make it smaller when folded. The foam grip is very comfortable.
Fixed to the handlebar is a single bicycle-style brake lever. The brake is powerful, and should be applied gently and progressively. The lever has a rubber coating where you grip it and can be rotated around the grip to get it at a comfortable angle.
When folded the chassis will still stand upright on its wheels - very useful for "parking" in a corner. It folds almost completely (5mm more and the catch would engage) with the Matrix seat attached. I don't know about the Rebel car seat or the carrycot, though I think that the latter should work like the Matrix.
Underneath the frame you'll find a nylon "basket" for putting stuff in. This has the pump for the tyres fixed to it with a couple of elastic loops. It has been commented on before that the basket isn't very big, this is quite correct. It is low down and awkward to access because of the bending involved and getting past the rest of the pushchair. I wouldn't say that it is any worse than comparable pushchairs though, you'll only fix these things by raising the seat higher and going to a 4-wheel chassis. This would make it larger, heavier and potentially less stable.
The wheels look like 5 spoke alloys (for the dads again!) but are actually plastic. This makes them rustproof and easy to clean - great. (don't forget that the bicycle spokes on the older design also need to be properly tightened up or the wheel will go wobbly) These have pneumatic tyres with inner tubes with a long, angled valve to make it easier to put the pump on (although it does have a flexible tube to connect it to the valves - this is hidden in the pump handle).
The wheels themselves have a superb quick release system. You just push in the large button in the centre of the wheel and remove wheel & axle. Replacing them is just as simple (it takes as long to say as it does to do). If you hold the button in you can pull the axle out of the wheel. This reveals that each wheel rotates on 2 cartridge bearings , unlike the brass or even plastic bushings you'd find on a cheap design. What this means to you is smooth, maintenance free operation for a long time. When the front wheel is removed the brake disc stays on the frame. This makes it easier to remove and replace the wheel, but be careful of knocking or bending the disc when it's exposed. It does, however, seem to be quite sturdy so I'm not too scared of this - just wary.
The front wheel swivels, but can be locked by turning a knob through 90 degrees. This can be adjusted to either "soft" or "hard" via a knob on either side. There isn't much in the way of travel and There is a "parking" brake on the rear wheels in the form of a bar which pushes down into cogs on the wheels and locks them in place. Simple, effective and unlikely to break - I've seen this on a lot of pushchairs and prams.
Above the front wheel is a footrest, apparently made of powder coated alloy. This can be folded up, along with the fork for the front wheel, for transport/storage. This is done by undoing a quick release lever.
Once you've completely folded the chassis it is quite light and flat for putting in your or boot. The wheels will fit into the middle of it, so they don't take up any more space. It fits into the boot of a small car easily enough, but you won't get much else in. It only takes a minute to fold.
The upholstery part of the pushchair is all quite easily removable, although it will take you a couple of minutes to undo all of the poppers, catches, velcro etc. This allows you to put it away if you're using the chassis with one of the car seats or the cot, thus keeping it clean & undamaged and reducing the weight that you have to push around.
The seat itself has a hard base and back which is nicely padded and upholstered. The upholstery can't be removed for cleaning though, so you might want to consider a liner
You can adjust the angle of the seat back using a simple pull toggle, allowing you to set it at any position between fully up and completely back. The seat has a footrest which can be set to several positions in the same way as the handlebar. To hold your child in there is a 5 point harness with pads over the shoulder straps and a padded crotch strap.
The fixing points for the harness are all set, unlike some other seats, and adjustment of the straps is by sliding buckles (like on the shoulder strap of a bag). This is compensated for somewhat by the fact that you can use the mattress pad and strap protectors out of the car seats to improve the fit for smaller children.
There is a removable arm support bar which fits across the front of the seat using the fixing points for the car seats. This is covered in foam and has a zip-off upholstery cover.
Lastly you get a hood. This fixes onto the frame and is supported by a sturdy alloy (like the frame) hoop at the front which can be moved to several positions. The hood itself is of padded fabric which matches the rest of the upholstery. It has 2 small, flapped pockets on the back and a flap which you can pull back to see your child through a plastic (PVC) window. The back part (with the pockets on) can be removed altogether or zipped off at the top or sides to allow access to your child whilst the hood remains in place. The hood has a stiffening hoop at the back to keep it in shape. The hood looks to be showerproof at best and can be removed for hand washing.
Overall the chair looks smart. The upholstery is all co-ordinated and matches with the car seats. There is a choice of colours and I gather that they all feature retro-reflective piping and other markings to make them more visible at night.
The three baby carrier options that you can get (Rebel, Matrix and carrycot) all have a hooped carrying handle built in. In the middle of this handle, on the underside, you'll find a large round button. You simply hold this in and lift to remove the carrier from the chassis. To fit the carrier to the chassis you hold it with the 2 fixing points above the matching slots on the chassis (baby facing to the rear) and lower. It's that simple. There are no adaptor kits or additional pieces to be fitted to the carriers or the chassis.
A point worth noting is that you can't choose which way your baby faces - they face forwards in the pushchair, backwards in one of the carriers. Some systems do allow you to switch.
On the minus side, don't forget that this is a larger pushchair (with the Matrix seat/carrycot fitted it makes a nice, traditional type pram). When you go into places its width can be a problem, it is just over 2'/60cm wide. This will fit through a domestic door and supermarkets are OK, but some shops are just too tight a fit. Remember how much space it will take up in a car.
I think that the seat harness could be improved, at the expense of added complexity, with variable fixing points and more easily adjusted straps. Upholstery which could be removed for cleaning would be another plus. I would also have liked standard 12" tyres to improve spares availability.
This is a quality travel system but it is not cheap.
There are other systems on the market which offer more features (mostly at significantly more cost).
Summary: Good value for money