Product Type: OBaby prams, pushchairs and strollers
Newest Review: ... this I found the buggy 'ok' to push and easier to manouver, but no where near as easy as my Luna, which was a dream to push even single han... more
OBaby XI Tandem Sport
Member Name: nickwock
OBaby XI Tandem Sport
Date: 30/07/11, updated on 01/08/11 (744 review reads)
Advantages: Looks good, all the extras included, the price
Disadvantages: Quite heavy, clip to lock when folded is rubbish, harness broken
From what I could see (after much internet research) there are three types of double. (I made up the titles myself.)
The side by side - This type means that the seats move independently, so one seat can lie flat while the other is up straight. The downsides are that they are wider than most buggies making them difficult to get through doorways and shop aisles. We have a very narrow hallway and although we found one which could just fit through our front door, we wouldn't be able to manouver it in the hall.
The long base tandem - both seats are on the same level, but the chassis is quite long. Again, the seats can usually work independently, but due to the frame length the buggy is bulky and difficult to manouver.
The adaptable tandem - a single style pushchair adapted to add an extra seat unit to the front and/or back (and in some more expensive models, a car seat) . These were fairly new and restricted to only a few brands, namely Phil and Teds which are expensive, or Icandy - amazingly expensive! The extra seat is fairly basic and when fitted to the back, means that the main one cannot be reclined much. The extra seat is usually a set shape, although I have noticed that Phil & Teds have recently produced one that does recline slightly. The plus side of this style of pushchair is the size - only slightly larger than most singles and the fact that it can be used as both a single and a double, giving it longevity and making it quite versatile.
My first choice was for the adaptable tandem, but I was quite shocked by the price of the main brand, Phil & Teds, especially as in most shops all components have to be purchased seperately, even down to the raincover (which unfortunately seems to be a growing trend). The best price was £360 for the pushchair, double seat and stormcover on Kiddicare. I had decided that this was the buggy for me, however, on the same site we also found the Obaby XI tandem, favourably priced at £228.99 for the same package, plus it also had a bumper bar and an apron included, the cost saving alternative was too good for me to overlook!
Our new buggy arrived within a few days - and unfortunately first impressions were not good. The buggy itself certainly looked the business, very modern and sleek in jet black with minimal white, sporty looking type on the restraints. It was easy to put together, even without the detailed instructions. However, after assembling, we realised one of the clips on the chest restraint was faulty and unable to attach to the waist harness. Kiddicare, deserve a mention here, they were fantastic and arranged for another puschair to be sent and for the faulty one to be picked up as the new one was delivered, which took just a couple of days. Thankfully, the second buggy was fine. To begin with anyway...
==Put to use==
As we had to sell our other buggies to help towards the cost of this one, it was soon put to use as a single (we had a couple of months before the baby was due). I did struggle at first, it seemed to veer to one side, but this was soon sorted once the tyres were pumped up. The pump is supplied, exactly the same as a bike pump and kept in a handy pouch at the back of the buggy by the brakes which I thought was a nice touch. After this I found the buggy 'ok' to push and easier to manouver, but no where near as easy as my Luna, which was a dream to push even single handed. Although I must stress that to keep the buggy at it's best, the tyres do need pumping up quite regularly which is a pain. The chassis is longer than a normal single pushchair, so getting the front single wheel up is noticeably heavier, but my sister had one of the longer chassis style tandems which I had used and that was definitely worse.
The front wheel can swivel or you can lock it just by moving a little bar above the wheel, although locking it keeps it locked in a straight forward position which is impossible to manouver and I can't imagine why anyone would choose it . Folding is quite easy, there is a safety catch which needs lifting on the right side, with a catch on both sides which need to be lifted up at the same time. This may sound fiddly, but the saftey can be released with a thumb and the catch pulled with the rest of your hand. The front wheel folds under when collapsing, and then the handle bar section folds over the top of the seat, so in effect, the buggy 'triple' folds. There is a clip to keep it in the folded position, but it can be loosened. In my experience, it actually loosens easily by itself, making the buggy quite loose and difficult to get out of my boot. I have an Astra and it is a bit of a struggle sometimes to get the folded buggy in right, due to the weight (15kg) and the large wheels. Unfortunately I do now have a few scratches on my rear lights, but never the less, it does fit! You can take all the wheels off easily if you need to, just by depressing the centre of the wheel and they just click back in really simply, but I'm far to lazy to do this and I do sometimes find myself having a comedy tussle when the side wheels get stuck under the parcel shelf. The wheels and buggy have colour coded stickers to make sure they are put on correctly.
==Okay, so Ruby comes along.....==
While Ruby was still a tiny baby this buggy wasn't too much of a problem. She lay in the main seat unit, I laid it out flat and bought a Phil and Teds cacoon for her to sleep in as Obaby did not sell one of their own. Personally, I have never had a problem with using it this way, but the reality is that the Phil and Teds cacoon has velcro straps which secure into a Phil and Teds buggy - but NOT an Obaby. If I were walking around more I would appreciate a cacoon made especially for my brand of buggy, thus knowing it secured properly and that my precious newborn was secured adequately. Of course, you can just lie your tiny baby in the roomy flattened out seat unit, you may just need a cosy blanket or five before you feel baby is protected enough from the restraints and any bumps and knocks caused from the vibrations of strolling the puschair over uneven terrain.
There is a removable panel which kept the main unit enclosed when flattened out. It does have a 'window' so you can keep an eye on your little one, but keeps them cosy and protected from the weather as it velcros around the opening.
While Ruby was still laid out in the main unit (approx five months) Logan sat in the extra seat on the front of the buggy. There are 'legs' at the front of the extra seat unit, which slot into holes in the frame - also allocated for the bumper bar (supplied). There is a metal button either side which need to be clicked into position (two choices of height) and the seat is secure, although situated higher up than standard pushchairs, but not uncomfortably so. When the holes in the mainframe are not being used by either the seat or the bumper bar, they come supplied with endcaps and velcro flaps which hide them completely.
The main seat is definitely more padded and therefore more comfortable than the extra seat, so as soon as Ruby is able to support herself more and sleeping less (approx 5-6 months) I decide it was time to change the buggy, by raising the main seat, she was starting to get frustrated at lying down all the time! As it was February and very chilly, I added a Maclaren cosytoes which I already owned to the main seat, which actually fits very well, so I assume the safety harness is very 'standard'. The five point safety harness is very thick and a little rough, so I also added some soft shoulder restraints, which helped. Still, at five and a half months, she looked very small in such a big buggy.
Obviously by this stage, the extra seat now has to be moved to the back. I wasn't sure how Logan was going to take to this change as in this position he can't see much (except the back of the main seat) but suprisingly it didn't bother him much. With this second seat now being lower to the ground, he can get in and out easily which saves me having to lift him. The seat is easy to fit, the same as on the front, although to fold the buggy, the extra seat needs removing (it doesn't on the front). The little metal buttons buttons need depressing to remove the seat, so this really is a two handed operation.
After using both ways, I find the weight is distributed more evenly with Logan at the back, making it easier to push, but still if I do anything more strenuous than just going for a stroll around the shops my arms ache from the strain of controlling it.
Very quickly you learn that on the extra seat, even the tightest setting on the harness is a joke - at less than two Logan barely struggles to practice his Houdini skills, however, there are loops attached to the back of the seat, which, if I pull the waist restraints through and then pull around Logans waist, they are very snug, although obviously, because of the 'snugness' this solution will not last for long. Shame, espescially as the clip which attaches the chest restraint to the waist strap has broken off the right hand side. Funny, this is same area in which I had the problem with the original buggy that we returned.
The other problem I have is that there is a large plastic 'catch' in the middle of the back seat which tightens and loosens the straps which reclines the main seat unit. It is situated right in Logans line of sight, between his eyes. This means I can only recline Ruby in the main seat by a couple of centimeteres at most before it compromises Logans comfort. This really is no where near enough gradient to offer any comfort to a sleeping baby, while obstructing the comfort to the small infant in the unwieldy back seat.
Another major problem is with the raincover. Although it is lovely to have one included in the price, it really must work to be of any use. While it covers single buggy mode more than adequately, with Logan using the extra back seat, it just doesn't stretch to velcroing around him! I find myself draping the back part over the handle bars, to act as a hood leaving no protection to the sides.
Point three is that when the seat is fixed on the front, the hood skimmed over Logans head, so you could see the shape of it through the fabric!
Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. The key which lock the front wheel into postion has broken off. Thankfully, I already had it locked at 'swivel'. Sadly, it has come out a couple of times and got locked into the straight forward position which I can't abide. This is quite easily fixed by getting my car key and dragging the shard which is left back into my required place, but still a great inconvenience as I never notice ubtil both children are loaded in and I start pushing it.
Also, one of the poppers securing the main seat unit to the frame has come away, making it a little loose, and this sometimes gets caught in the mechanism when opening, making it lopsided and unsafe. I now make sure I open the buggy by the handles first and then manually fold out the bottom section and clip it into place. This means that the handle bar can rub the ground and get dirty. Being covered in soft rubbery foam, I also worry about wear and tear.
The main things I really like - it comes with an apron, a bumper bar, airpump and raincover - some things which you have to buy seperately from Phil & Teds!
Generous hood, with a fold over 'peep hole' and a small pull out sunshade.
The brakes are very strong and secure.
Easy to clean material.
Easy to fit mud guards included, to cover the back wheels and also help protect little fingers.
Removable back section, which covers a sleeping baby, but which can also be removed when your toddler is sat at the back.
Generous shopping basket with small zip pockets on the sides (although when the extra seat is fixed on the back, your childs feet will be in it!)
As a single - far too bulky and no where near as easy to push (especially with one hand) as single buggies.
As a double - not such a long chassis as some buggies, also not as wide as side by sides, which means getting around Supermarkets should be easy. In reality, it's super heavy with two kids, and near impossible to manouver single handedly - so you need an impressive forearm, strong ribcage and a bucketfull of determination.
Tyres constantly need pumping up.
Raincover does not fit in double mode.
Not enough 'optional (or otherwise)' extras to prolong the useage - newborn cacoons to cup holders.
Dimensions and Weight
Veers off to the right.
Most importantly - with a child using the back seat, you are unable to recline either seat. If you need a double, at least one of your children is going to be fairly small and therefore sleeping often, so a reclining seat is a necessity.
I just CAN'T recommend this pushchair. I can forgive it for being unweildy, it does have two children in it most of the time after all and I expect any double is going to be bigger and heavier than singles, but even as a single it's still large, difficult to push in a straight line and near impossible with one hand. The harness strap breaking in the extra seat means that it is essentially now just a waist restraint and I feel it is unsafe for babies. Although Ruby is now ten months and sitting strongly and crawling, I still feel she needs the extra support. Both children are comfortable and happy in it, but that's probably the most positive thing I have to say. I suppose it doesn't help that I live in quite a hilly area, it's definitely easier to push along a flat surface, but with the sporty design and pneumatic wheels it does give you the impression that 'off road' would be a doddle!
I suppose you get what you pay for, so my advice is - spend the same amount of money on a second hand Phil and Teds. A friend recently did just that and hers is so much easier to push and personally, I think it's lighter. It's worth pointing out here that Kiddicare don't even sell this buggy anymore, although it is now available online in Mothercare for a colossal £300.
Summary: There is a reason it's cheaper than the market leader!
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