In general, umbrella fold strollers have the same standard features – they’re fairly lightweight, pretty easy to push around, and often bought as a second pushchair once a tiny baby becomes more of a toddler and doesn’t need all the features of an all-singing-all-dancing travel system.
First off, it’s suitable from birth – and it can be parent facing. The newborn accessory pack contains a hood, apron and padded bamboo seat liner with head support which can be attached to the lie-flat seat unit, and looks like it will offer a comfortable ride. There is also the option to attach the Silver Cross simplicity car seat thanks to the easily usable car seat adaptors – something which I’ve not yet seen in another similar stroller. (Currently the adaptors are only available for the Simplicity which is a shame, but perhaps that will change in the future…).
And without the newborn accessory pack, the stroller is still full of features that make it stand out.
The seat unit is ergonomically designed so that the seat liner doesn’t touch the rigid frame – meaning that the happy occupant of the pushchair can have a nice comfortable ride along with good air flow, keeping things cooler in the summer months. This comfort is enhanced by the harness and buckle pads, and the lovely plush-feeling padded apron which attaches and detaches easily using poppers and handy magnets which mean the top of it won’t be flapping around in little faces. An articulated bumper bar is another new addition which is rarely seen on umbrella strollers – and even better, it can stay attached while the stroller is folded. Bubby D likes that kind of thing – she’s past the age where she wants to be held back with the full on five point harness and she loves leaning forward, looking at what’s going on. (The harness on the reflex can be fastened with only the bottom straps attached, meaning older kids can have their arms free for waving around as much as they like).
Talking of waving arms, one thing that I KNOW Bubby D would love doing is switching the integrated lights on and off! Visibility at night is a problem for a lot of pushchairs, and we actually invested in some LED’s that we attach to ours to make it more obvious. But no need for that with the Reflex, as it has them built in! The multi-LED lights have three different modes – static, flashing, and rotating – and also a four second delay when you switch them on, meaning that they won’t be tapped on accidentally (something that happens frustratingly frequently with our current lighting solution). The battery life is around 40 hours in static mode, or 200 hours for flashing – so they’ll last a good long time and can also be replaced easily where necessary.
The extendable hood with UPF 50+ sun protection is absolutely massive, and provides great coverage with a parent viewing window at the top which can be blocked out if required – and for rainy days there’s an easily attached raincover that is small enough to fold down for easy carrying around when not in use, yet big enough to keep everything dry in a downpour. The shopping basket is fairly generous, and although when the pushchair is in lie-flat mode it can’t be accessed from the back, the addition of elasticated sections at the sides means you can still get at your stuff without disturbing a napping baby. (The silent, one-handed recline is good for ensuring naps don’t get disturbed too!).
With it’s adjustable leg rest, wider than average frame and generous seat unit it’s a pushchair that should last right up until you don’t need a pushchair any more – and since it’s been tested up to 25kg even the largest of toddlers should be comfortable and happy in it.
Large, lockable swivel wheels with reflective accents and puncture free tyres mean it’s fairly easy to push and it’s got good kerb pop – I haven’t taken one out and about but it feels like it would be easy to get on with, especially given the extending handles (which the Other Half would be pleased about) and secure braking system which stands out clearly thanks to it’s bright red colouring. There’s a seat back storage pocket for chucking your wallet, keys and wipes in too for easy access too.
Folding and unfolding is a little bit clunky, just like the majority of umbrella folds – with a quick flick up at the back, press down on a side lever and then push down until the locks click into place on either side. But it IS a one piece fold, even with the newborn accessory pack, which is a bonus, and it’s fairly compact too (86cm x 61 x 35 – which should fit in the majority of boots). Unfolding is a little bit fiddly as you have to release the lock on either side, however given a bit of practice I reckon it’d become fairly second-nature and it does mean that the stroller is nice and secure when folded down – making it much easier to heft around into boots, porches or onto bus luggage racks with the integrated carry handles (the fact that it weighs only 8.5kg is useful in that respect as well).
For first time parents who are looking for a pushchair that will last, or for those looking for a lightweight stroller that doesn’t skimp on comfort or usability, the Reflex looks like a great bet.
It’s out in March, available at John Lewis or Silvercrossbaby.com in seven different colour options, and it’ll be priced at £250 for the stroller (including apron and raincover) with an extra £75 on top for the newborn accessory pack.
Disclosure: I was not paid, bribed or otherwise cajoled into writing this post – I just like looking at pushchairs!