September 25, 2006

Mutsy: All That And A High Chair, Too

I still have posts from the ABC Kids Expo and there's already big news stacking up from Kind + Jugend in Cologne, the sehrgrossekidgearfair so big it makes Las Vegas look like Cactus Pete's.

I think I'm just gonna push through, so brace yourselves for a slight gear onslaught.

Mutsy. Mutsy was huge in Las Vegas, at least square footage-wise. They're bringing three stroller models to the US, some in a couple of different trim levels, where the major difference seems to be wheel design.

They seem to be focusing on specialty retailers for selling, but it looks like a bit of an information-intensive product that calls for online research/shopping, frankly. I have a hard time picturing a high school stroller jockey being able to do justice to the Mutsy steering, wheel-swapping, and modular option story. [Yes, I'm thinking of Buy Buy Baby here, too.]

mutsy_easygrow_highchair.jpg

What was news to me was the EasyGrow High Chair, an all-aluminum extendable, adjustable chair that's coming along for the ride. How does a high chair fit into Mutsy's "baby mobility" brand, you ask? Yeah, I'm a bit vague on that point, too. But I can totally imagine the production meeting where they're discussing what to do with all the extra aluminum extrusion capacity at the new stroller factory, and then some designer starts fiddling with a paper clip...

I think the Mutsy EasyGrow High Chair will start at $169, plus $49 for the removable foam booster seat insert. [mutsy.com]

8 Comments

Friends of ours bought an Mutsy Urban Rider and are unhappy with the storage below. They say that everything falls out. They actually went to Planet Kids to see if they had a solution. By chance, the National Sales Manager for Mutsy was at Planet Kids at the time. He said they have heard of similar issues and are planning to address this in September with some type of new basket. Has anyone had a similar experience? We already ordered our Mutsy Joey and just want to know what we are in for.

Thanks!

We bought the Urban Rider in July (07'), so I doubt this will do the previous poster any good- but felt like sharing anyways.

This stroller is garbage.

I SO wanted the Urban Rider to be the end all, be all, non-Bugaboo-all, but you can't always get what you want.

We live in the LES, don't own a car, and work from home; we expected to and do use our stroller daily, so we needed one that could take a beating pounding the sidewalks of lower Manhattan. Where to start...

Pros:
- Style: Looks good- gets a lot of Bugaboo-wielding dads turning their heads and checking it out. (I guess that's a pro?)
- Storage: To the previous post, I actually really like the shallow, but wide, storage bin. It provides very easy access and we can put 3-4 shopping bags on it, along with a rain cover and Bjorn. Haven't had anything fall out, but I'm careful loading it.
- Handlebar: Handle extends easily.
- Seat: Toddler seat is very adjustable- moreso than the Bugaboo (a big reason we bought the thing). The backrest adjust up and down, but also in and out (2 different positions for smaller legs). Even the leg-bit can fold flat to allow almost "true" flatness for the baby when sleeping.
- Chasis: I loved the pivoting chassis for better handling around tight spaces... in theory. It's fairly cumbersome to use in reality and stays in the "locked" position (I guess this might be a con).

Cons:
- Stability: The sleek design, with the handle extending all the way to the front wheels instead of to the seat and then to both wheels (ala Bugaboo), makes it harder to push and much more bouncy on the seat (which wakes our son up constantly)- it's a big ol' cantilever with the seat in turn cantilevered off that midway down (for you archi-types out there).
- Size: It's huge and heavy. I'm a big, athletic guy, but this is a workout even for me wheeling around. And good luck trying to do shopping or going to a restaurant with it... or heaven forbid you want to talk on your cel phone or have a coffee while pushing it.
- Wheels: "Urban Rider" is a complete misnomer. If you use the big, pneumatic tires in front (that don't pivot), just make sure you only have to go in a straight line. If you use the nice, easy pivoting little wheels regularly for city-use (for which they work perfectly), they break- or at least two sets did for me in less than 3 months.

I was told by Mutsy USA that I was mistaken to use those wheels daily AND to have purchased the Urban Rider in the first place (instead of the 4Rider). Huh? Was I expected to swap wheels in and out on the fly while going about my business? So the 4Rider is really the urban stroller, but the Urban Rider is really for... ummm...
- Folding: Doesn't. I guess this is a flaw in my own specific stroller, but the damn thing won't fold. Almost ruined our summer vacation (rented a car and tried to fold it for the first time :stupid: while putting it in the car... thank god for our Graco cage stroller). If it actually did work, it's not the most convenient folding mechanism in the first place.
- Customer Service: Well... this has been good and bad. Here are is the litany of issues we've had:
-Came delivered without the front small wheels (Planet Kids took care of this immediately)
-Rain Covers and car-seat adapter were backordered and came 6 weeks late (Planet Kids did their best here)
-Front left (small) wheel fell apart on the sidewalk (thank god not in a crosswalk). Mutsy USA rep was very sweet and apologetic- sent out new wheels fairly quickly, albeit without emailing me the tracking info first as agreed upon to confirm that she had sent them. Sent a diaper bag as appeasement- nice.
- Front wheels are now grinding, not pulling or turning wheel and making an already beastly ride that much more difficult to push. Whoops... right- that's my fault.
-Frame won't fold. Same rep promised to send a whole new chassis the next day before going on vacation. Nothing. No returned calls, emails- nothing. Weeks later, we were forced to call the mananger (?) who was not apologetic for the problems we've had with his product or his rep dropping the ball in the first place, and also inferred that our issues were either made up ("I've never heard of a wheel falling apart" "I can't imagine that happening") or our fault ("You shouldn't use those wheels every day in the city", "You should have bought the 4Rider", "Are you reading the instructions"). Pretty condescending, really.

He's promised to send a new 4Rider Chassis which should come by the end of the week. I'll try and report back about that one...

Sorry, I'm imposing on you men here - but have been researching using a Maxi Cosi Cabrio carseat with my Mutsy 4 Rider Light we bought a little over a year ago for our now 2 1/2 year old and your site came up!

We LOVE our Mutsy!!! I am so sorry to hear negative on the stroller - cause I researched heavily before purchasing and can't really say anything bad! It took a little time for me (but not my DH) to figure out how to fold the chassis down with ease, but once I did - can't help but love it! I had a front wheel issue after taking it on the beach, but it was simply a matter of removing the wheels, blowing out the sand and lubing with some vaseline. Like new!

Thanks to your site I was able to decide on the Maxi Cosi Cabrio carseat for our little man coming into the world soon!!

Ok- Mutsy guy back again for a RE-review.

Funny how those first couple of months are so life and death... my panties were definitely bunched over this when normally, and even now, I'd have been a lot more relaxed.

So-
Mutsy sent us a 4Rider and it's significantly better than the poorly-named Urban Rider.

It's still too damned big (our restaurant choices have narrowed to the lonesome few where we can actually squeeze in), and too damned bouncy (that sleek looking single, cantilevered bar makes for lots of baby-waking bounces... or maybe I'm not supposed to use this in a city with potholes? Nothing in the Mutsy literature about that)... but nothing's broken on us 5 months later. I suppose that's a good thing, right?

Well... actually, the front wheels locked up a few weeks ago forcing me to ride sonny home ala Evil Kneivel, popping a wheelie for several blocks. I was forced to take the wheels off, clean them and dab bike grease (not chain lube) on their posts which has helped. Friends with Bugaboos swear they've never had to maintain their wheels, let alone after a few months... true? I also swapped in the inflatable back tires from the Urban Rider to replace the solid rubber ones the 4Rider comes with (more rolling resistance on the rubber ones means harder to push). But at least we can fold it up this time.

Now that we're using the toddler seat, I can see some pros and cons there too... Pros: Other than the massive look-at-me Mutsy logo, it looks pretty nice and is very flexible as written about previously. Love the rain cover. Cons: Part of it's nice looks come at the expense of any kind of "bucket" around the seat like the Bugaboo. Unless it's stapled to his forearms, anything our son holds ends up on the ground, and not "caught" in the bucket.

All of that said- yeah, it turns Daddy-gear-heads, but I'd still never recommend the Mutsy when buying a more heavy-duty stroller. Do yourself a favor and get the Stokke or follow the herd and get the superior Bugaboo (let alone any of the new shmancy rides that have come out in the last year). It's too big, heavy and bouncy to overcome the "unique" factor.

Michael, it seems they sent you the 4Rider Light if you received one with non-air tires. The 4Rider also comes in a version with both front and back air tires, which is the one I have.

With the 4Rider you can also add the "Fun Seat" which is the greatest invention ever! Older toddlers and pre-schoolers love it! It's like a racing seat with a steering handle and a HUGE shopping basket.

Ok... I'm back.

We were given a several-years-old hand-me-down Bugaboo Chameleon not long after my previous post and have never looked back.

Having used both strollers now- even though the "new" one is beat to hell- there's really no comparison.

The bugaboo is smaller, easier to handle and more importantly, is a MUCH (and I can't emphasize that enough) smoother ride for our kid. We barely notice the curbs and potholes with the Bug, whereas I had to hold my breath that going over every sidwalk expansion joint in the Mutsy would rattle our son awake.

As it turned out, the Mutsy did fold up fairly easily (my original one was a lemon) and I do miss the idea of the more adjustable toddler seat and not getting to use the very cool "fun seat" attachment when he gets older... but that's about it.

I'm curous about the pro-Mutsy crowd in here... did you guys try the Bugaboo out for any extended period of time in comparison?

i have to say that mutsy has the WORST customer service ever!!!i never ever had to deal with such strange people in my entire life! i will post my full review here when i finish writing it...i have LOTS to say LOL
ps
don't buy mutsy!!!

uh, better yet, you email it?

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