Hard to believe it's been four years now that we've been visiting the BIG, REALLY BIG Stroller Roll-Out! And this year's show was gigantic! As Maclaren USA's CEO, Bahman Kia said, "You've really got your work cut out for you!" So with all the Royal effort we could muster, we took more than 300 photographs, and interviewed the rulers of 40 different Kingdoms, er,companies!So roll the drums, let the trumpets blare, dun dun dun dun dun dun dun....Announcing, the latest, the greatest, all the best of the new model year, live from Strollerland, it's the "2007 BIG Stroller Roll-Out!
This year, Peg's gone with 3 different collections. Marketing research showed that there were 3 different types of parents--"Traditional", "Sportive", and "Modern." Hmm, there are models I like from all three. Wonder if that makes me confused? I do know I like these polka dots on their newest model--the "Uno."This is "Revi black", and "Revi orange", part of the modern collection. It's the same chassis as the time-honored Venezia, right down to the reversible handle and footsteps. But here's the notable exception--and the first trend I see for 2007--the large fixed rear tires on the back, and the small swivels on the front. The thing that is a little odd here, though, is that is you have the handle reversed, then you have the fixed large tires in front, and the small swivels in the the rear. So this requires you to steer the stroller in "rear wheel drive." Marketing reps insist their tests show people prefer it, because you can "turn the stroller on a dime." I dunno', it's an acquired taste, I reckon.The GT3 Completo knocked me out at the 2006 show. And now it looks like it is finally making it to market. I am still crazy about it, and I am giving it the award for the "Best Niche Stoller"of the show. Why? Because it is a true A/T, with a swivel wheel, AND a handbrake, AND a rear footstep for an older child to stand on! WHOO-HOO! There is nothing, and I mean nothing else like this on the market, Loyal Subjects. In addition, it has a boot, raincover, padded front bar, dual retractable side cupholders, parent fanny pack, adjustable suspension, car seat anchors, huge basket, and the easy fold Peg is famous for. But why this is part of the Mod line and not the Sportive, I don't get. I am so confused! Nevertheless, I am eager to get my hands on one!New to the US, but not to our Canadian and Euopean friends, is the "Pramette". It is basically a P3, in which the fabric reverses to make a newborn bassinette. Note the new, contrasting chassis colors. The color is "Mod Verde." Speaking of the P3, the wildly popular model comes in all the colors of all the lines--traditional, modern, and sportive. I guess this is the one that crosses all the lines!One of the reasons I love Peg, and the reason they remain a market leader, year after year, is that not only do they take risks, but they are also responsive to what we want. So, yes, to Jessica in MA, they have made the P3 steps bigger, lol! We also wanted the P3's little sister to become lighter, and so, the Pliko Lite loses a couple of pounds, and becomes the Pliko X-Lite! The recline mechanism and chassis changed a bit, to cut the weight. I folded it next to the P3 to compare sizes:Another thing people wanted was to put a car seat in a side by side stroller. OK, I didn't want it, because I don't believe in putting car seats in strollers. But people were doing it anyway, hence the "Aria Twin 60-40" was born. It is so-named because one side is wider, 60% of the stroller, to accomodate a car seat. But the interesting thing is, I measured this prototype at 29 inches, so it is actually now narrower! The color here is "Soleo", and is considered traditional. Still confused.If you're looking for a tandem, the Tender Twin is making a comeback. But only in one traditional navy color, and it will accept a rear car seat. If you are looking for a tandem that takes two car seats, has seats that face both ways, and the very cool steering wheel, then it's the Duette. It also comes in a Triplette version.This year, Peg will sell a dozen different models in the US. Because the line is so large, release dates for each model are staggered. Other models being carried over include the Aria, Venezia, and Centro Completo. This has the reversible fabric and canopy like the Pramette, boot, and footstep for an older rider.
Alex Williamson is the proud papa of the brand new modular "X" system for Bertini. This is why he is so proud:Because this Australian-based line is based on an entirely new concept. First, you choose your "X"chassis--Automatic, Classic, Lite, or Trek. Next, you choose your seat and or bassinette, from one of five colors--black, red, blue, green, or orange. Then, you buy a high-chair frame and a rocker frame, and pop said seat or bassinette off the chassis, and onto the rocker, or the high chair. The tray can also fit onto the stroller. OK, this one is really not as complicated as it sounds. It is really just a cool modular concept, in which everything fits together. All of the models have height adjustable handles, quick release wheels, and can be folded with the seat forward or rear facing.OK, this last "Z1" "model is the exception. It is not modular, but it's narrow rear wheel base makes it awfully cool looking!
looking! I decided to have another look at this, and I am glad I did. Because how many A/T's are out there that weigh 15 pounds, (more or less), come with both swivel and fixed wheels that are interchangeable, and folds into a cute little compact package?There's a lot of things to like about this very popular- in- the- Netherlands stroller. First of all, fabulous maneuverability. Thing two-fingered steering. Next, huge seats, ("Dutch children are tall!" they said). The Easy Walker comes in 7 yummy colors, with footmuffs and changing bags that are really cute. You can also get a raincover and carrycot, which foretells trends two and three of '07, lots of lots of accessories, and the return of the bassinette, yay!
There are lots and lots of lovely family-owned stroller businesses. And the family of Shalom New, president of Valco Baby, is one of the loveliest. Of course it helps that they ply you with cookies, from both Brooklyn and Australia, from the moment you arrive, until the moment you leave. Then, in a sugar-induced haze, all the products are sweet. Especially the new cool Rad.The Rad won't be out until next year, but you can get a Buggster now.The Buggster has a front bar, large reclining seat, compact fold, boot, and raincover. So here you see the continuation of the '07 trends. The swivel/fixed wheel combos, loads of accessories, and the return of the bassinette. Which is not to say that Valco is not innovative. Don't forget their Runabout Tri-Mode with toddler seat.And the eagerly awaited Runabout Tri-Mode Twin has arrived! It has all the features of the single, including the 3-position quick release swivel wheels, saddle bags, zip-off back carry bag, front bar, large basket, relatively compact fold, and fully reclining seats. It has independent twin canopies with flip out sunshades and a mesh airflow, and is still the narrowest double on the market. Colors are Harlequin/black, Sunrise/navy, Bubblegum, and Scarlet.You can also add an additional toddler seat to this. And the footrest makes a convenient seat after a long day!
On page 2...A new stroller folds into a suitcase! The return of Silver Cross to the US! And what the heck is Strollerqueen doing with the dude in the kilt?
In the 1950's, there was a nifty new "concept" stroller that was demonstrated by traveling salesmen. What was so ahead-of-it's-time about it, was that it could fold squarely, into a small, compact suitcase. As I have oft said, what is old becomes new again, and so we have the "Cielo." This one is easy to fold, and even comes with it's own travel bag! There are a half dozen models in this new line, which debuted right here at the show. They are on the heavy and hard to push side.
But they have all the features consumers want, like trays, and big baskets. There is even a reversible with rear-wheel drive. The prices are kind of 1950-ish, too, ranging from $149 to $349.
Priced for the new millennium, with a look to match, is the Stokke Xplory. Think $50 shy of a grand. What's new for 2007 is a car seat adapter, and colors--turquoise, beige, green, black and red. I have yet to see one being used in real life, although it does have a few fans in Strollerland. I just thought that SOME Bug owner somewhere, would want something a little different? Well, not in my neighborhood, at least.
Looking Looking at Uppa Baby, a couple of sayings come to mind. One is, "Why re-invent the wheel? Another is, "Don't mess with success." And so, capitalizing on the perennially popular Bugaboo and Volo, "Uppa Baby" has the "Vista System" and "G-Lite." But I'm sure company owner Bob Monahan would say, "If you can build a better mousetrap..." There are some nice touches here. The Vista comes with a bassinette and car seat adaptor. The bassinette has a reversible summer/winter lining, pops off easily, and has a safety indicator to make sure that it, or the seat, is securely attached.The handle is height adjustable, and it will fold with the seat on, forward facing only. The tires are EVA, not air. Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on where you live. It retails for $599, and is shipping out now.The G-Lite has an aluminum frame, carry strap, and reversible, washable seat pad. It weighs one pound less than the Volo, because the recline is different. Instead of using your foot, you pull up on two tabs. It also stands alone when folded. Retails for $99.Maclaren
Why is there a guy with a kilt trying to serve Strollerqueen drinks? The answer is: Maclaren has decided to return to it's Scottish roots. The Scottsman, (although rumor has it he has been seen playing Cesar in Vegas, too), is to drive the point home. The argyle logo is becoming central to the design, since Maclaren originally came form the Argyle district in Scotland.
The newest model is the Techno XLR, which comes in a beautiful, rich shade of chocolate. Why more manufacturers don't do brown is beyond me. It is gorgeous. You will see a few more chocolate models in this Review, that are simply stunning. Anyway, the XLR is that it is much bigger than the XT (which will still be sold.) It can hold a car seat, and a child up to 65 pounds! The Techno XT will be sold in gray, and you will choose your pad inserts at the time of purchase--as you can see below.Colors are more subdued this year, very urban looking. Because, as Executive Director Bahman Kia says, "Our customers are very sophisticated."
There is also a new pink,and a deeper red. But, and this is big, HUGE news for Strollerland, back by popular demand, the retun of the PLAIDS! Not yet, but look for the wonderful plaid colorways starting the middle of next year. In the meantime, the Philippe Starck model was creating a buzz, You can see the matching diaper bag with it, on the "parcel shelf."
Who is coming to America? And which stroller looks like a Hermes' scarf? See page 3 for answers!