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Micralite Superlite Pram

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1 Review

Brand: Micralite / Type: Stroller

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    1 Review
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      06.02.2012 14:04
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      Great pram let down by an inherent problem and bad customer service.

      UPDATE TO REVIEW:

      Since writing my review (below), I have decided to update it, based on the terrible customer service I have received from Micralite (re an ongoing problem with the handlebars, which I touch on in my original review). It is this which has spoilt something that would otherwise be a great product.

      The handlebars themselves are repositioned by pulling up on a 'hinge', loosening it, moving the handlebars to the desired position, then tightening the hinge again (this has to be done on both sides). Not long after receiving the pram, the handlebars began to move when they were supposed to be locked (you can read more about this below). I consider this to be quite dangerous and it did cause an accident at one point. Micralite took the pram back and 'fixed' it, claiming there was a problem with the washers. However, soon after, this problem occurred again. I have subsequently read a few other reviews claiming a similar experience. I recently contacted Micralite but was told I'd have to send the pram in again to be 'uplifted' so that their engineers and design team could inspect it. Given that this was the second time I was having to send this pram back, I didn't appreciate being met by internal jargon. Either there is a fault with this particular model (in which case, it is an inherent problem that needs to be rectified in order to make this a pram fit for purpose (and, more importantly, safe)) or it's an issue with my particular pram. They've tried to fix it once - it didn't work. I expressed my concerns but the response was this is the way things are done at Micralite. Since they're the manufacturers, as a consumer I would have expected them to put their 'procedures' to one side and offer a replacement, given ongoing issues I've had with the pram. After all, something which has broken twice now certainly isn't of satisfactory quality.

      For this reason, I'm amending my review and would warn potential purchasers of this issue - and, also, of the rather shoddy customer service you can expect from Micralite if you do have an ongoing issue.

      Below is my original review (now with a strong caveat warning buyers about the problem with the handlebars)

      _________________________________________________

      ORIGINAL REVIEW:


      ABOUT THE MICRALITE: The Micralite Superlite is the most recent addition to the Micralite range - weighing a super light (wonder how they came up with the name?!) 6kgs. It also claims to have an ingenious single-handed fold mechanism. It's suitable for little ones from 6 months, has 2 seat positions and HUGE pneumatic rear tyres - this baby is built for off-road strolling!

      OFFICIAL FEATURES:
      * 2 position seat
      * Lightweight aluminium frame
      * Unique one handed fold
      * Extremely manoeuvrable
      * Pneumatic tyres
      * Under seat shopping basket
      * Adjustable handlebars
      * Waterproof 300D woven fabric with TPE coating
      * Raincover included
      * Conforms to EN 1888 & ASTM F833-09
      * Basic weight: 6.2kg
      * Folded size: 102 x 40 x 35cm

      PRICE: £159.95 (on Kiddicare.com and pramworld.co.uk) and £149.95 on Play.com. Mothercare also sell them.

      SO WHY THE SUPERLITE? It's probably fair to say that, for mums, finding the 'perfect' stroller takes the place that was formerly reserved (pre-baby) for finding the perfect handbag. By the time my little girl reached thirteen months, I'd already had two other pushchairs. From the off, I'd avoided the much-hyped Bugaboo, feeling it was more a case of style over substance (although all you Bugaboo lovers out there, feel free to shout me down!). The fact is, though, I didn't really want to spend the money on something like a Bugaboo and I actually didn't much like the look of them anyway. However, I'm only 5ft 2" and quite small, so I was finding pushing my existing pram (a Peg Perego Uno), and ever-growing toddler, quite a strain.

      With this in mind, I set out to find the lightest stroller I could and, after quite a bit of research, the Micralite Superlite seemed like a good contender. You can even see videos online where dads race each other using different prams - and the Superlite trounced the competition.

      WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? Looks-wise, the Superlite might not be for everyone. Its futuristic 'triangular' shaped mesh seat and large rear wheels aren't especially girly (a consideration if you do have a girl). I was never into the pretty pink things though and the flash of colour provided by the hood (I chose red but they also come in yellow, blue, black and grey) was good enough for my requirements. It's fair to say that this is a stroller most blokes would be happy to push round - it's cool-looking and the rest of it, apart from the hood, is all black. And then you have the distinctive 'bullhorn bars' - they can be positioned in any direction but, when slanted up, look exactly like a bull's horns.

      The pram comes in parts but is easy to assemble - it also comes with a rain cover in a special case - although, once out of the case, I found it impossible to return. Still, I'm a pessimistic sort who normally keeps the rain cover on the pram for much of the year! You can also buy seat liners (to match the hood colour) which gives a bit of extra warmth or, as I did, a black zip-up cover (around £45). Your little one sits on it and if it gets cold, you can zip it up (it's a middle zip). By about 18 months though, my little girl didn't want it zipped up and was starting to get a bit too long for it.

      For summer months, the mesh seat is fantastic - allowing air to flow and, also, biscuit crumbs to fall through. It also has a mesh basket underneath (accessible from the front, unusually).

      WHAT'S IT LIKE TO PUSH? Once you've used the Superlite, you may never want to go back! It is the easiest stroller I've ever handled - it feels like guiding a feather through the streets. Plus, its ergonomic design means you can push it one-handed. At last I can order a coffee from Starbucks and manage to hold my cup AND push the pram at the same time! The secret is all in those large back wheels (and swivelling front wheels), which make it easy to steer through any terrain. I even managed to push it home yesterday through snow (although it would struggle with very deep drifts - but then cars do too!).

      ANY DOWN-SIDES? There are some niggles with this pram - in fact, the very thing that makes it so easy to push, can make it a bit of a nuisance when loading it into the boot of a car. The wheels are very large and it can take a bit of juggling to get it in. That said, we have a Micra (possibly one of the smallest cars on the road!), so it's a bit unfair to blame the pram. If you have adequate boot space, you'll be fine. Also, the wheels can be easily removed (if you can be bothered with the faff).

      Some people might not like the fact you can only access the basket from the front - it means lifting your child's legs up (once they're larger) each time you want to get something. The basket is also divided by a strap which cuts down the middle at the top (it has to be there because of the way the stroller folds). So if you have one very large bag of shopping, you couldn't get it in. However, I've never had a problem with this - I mean, let's face it, there's only so much shopping a whining toddler will allow you to do anyway!

      The main problem I've had with this stroller has come from the bullhorn handles. In order to adjust them, you have to prise up a swivelling lever, move the bars into the desired position, then tighten the lever and lower it again. No matter how tightly I turn the lever, the bars always seem give way when any pressure is put on them. And because there's a point beyond which you can't tighten the levers any more, I would suggest that this is a design fault and something I'd like to see rectified in future models. I actually sent my pram back because of this. They said the bars were moving because the washers had gone - however, despite them replacing the washers and 'fixing' this, I still have the problem. It means, if you're pushing the pram down a curb and press on the handles, they may dip. This can be dangerous and I once fell over because the pram tilted forwards. Also, it goes without saying that with a pram that's so light, it's inadvisable to place anything heavy on the handlebars (although all pram manufacturers advise against this).

      IN CONCLUSION: Despite the 'problem' with the handlebars, this is an outstanding stroller. If the issue with the handlebars gets ironed out, I'd hazard to suggest this could be the best stroller on the market (and they're the only thing that's stopped me giving it five stars). I went to Tenerife a while back and bought the Maclaren Volo (which is 9lbs, that's around 4.08kg, so lighter than the Superlite). I got it simply because it had regular sized wheels, which made it smaller for the plane etc. However, it is certainly not easier to push (and this is one of the other main contenders in the lightweight stroller stakes). Nothing I've ever pushed compares to the Superlite - it's a sheer pleasure to navigate it around the streets. For me, this pram screams individuality - it says you're 'in the know'. Pah to Bugaboos and Juicy Coture prams that will finally do your back in! Opt for a stroller that makes at least one aspect of parenthood a breeze!

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