April 8, 2008

Waiting Over For Godot's Stroller? The Phil & Teds Vibe

phil_teds_vibe_kit.jpg

So the most elusive stroller on earth--or at least Middle Earth, as played by New Zealand--is finally here, I think. The all-aluminum Phil & Teds Vibe was launched last fall at the ABC Kids Expo, but the P&T folks were adamant that NO PHOTOS were taken; seems that the year before, some meddling kid of a blog had published a photo of the new, all-aluminum GT--which, depending on who you talked to, was either "coming soon" or "a concept study,"--and they got tired of fielding questions they apparently didn't know the answers to themselves.

Anyway, except for P&T's signature stack-em-low, inline double stroller feature, the Vibe shares little with the company's other models. Its two-strut frame is made from Bugaboo- and Quinny-style extruded aluminum instead of powder-coated steel. [The weight savings is only one pound.] There's a new, complicated fold which, for the first time, lets you fold the rig without removing the double kit. The sun canopy's bigger, finally [the regular P&T canopy's always struck me as being one propeller short of a beanie.], and there's contoured padding. And now the underseat bag/footwell is lined with ABS, so your kid won't put his foot through the fabric when he climbs in.

All around, it's a sweet-looking, higher end-looking Phil & Ted's and a significant improvement over the GT. But was it worth the wait? We ended up spaced out of the double stroller market, so I wasn't waiting for it. Does the aluminum-to-aluminum comparison really change the equation for people deciding between the P&T and other brands--or other Phil & Teds?

Has anyone seen a Vibe offline? [DT advertiser JoggingStroller.com has the Vibe listed as "In stock," but none of the brick&mortar stores I've checked has one yet.]

As for the other new P&T, the Dash, which keeps the company's original steel & Asian soup spoon profile, as of three weeks ago, it seems they hadn't even left the dock in New Zealand. [Sometimes I feel like I've dropped the ball by not tracking all of Phil & Teds' brand and model changes since the E3 branched out into the Classic/SPort/Dash. But then, I've never felt the urge to count the model angels on the head of Maclaren's pin, either. There's Volo, Techno, and everything in between.]

Phil & Teds Vibe, $599 at JoggingStroller.com [joggingstroller.com]
Phil & Ted & Ted & Ted & Ted [spilling the beans]
Phil & Teds NZ site has less info than jogginstroller.com [philandteds.com, via dt reader david]

Previously: ABC Report 2006: Phil & Teds & Steve & Jobs

21 Comments

Buybuybaby in manhattan has the vibe. We looked at it this weekend. We are just getting into the double stroller market, and we don't like it. We like our compact Bee. It definitely looks a lot nicer, in my opinion, than the P&T sport, but to each his own. If we get a double for the city, it will probably be the vibe.

The change to the footwell sounds great. We haven't had a problem with its strength when our daughter climbs in, but when she gets fussy, she presses her feet down hard, which pushes against the wheel, which suddenly makes the stroller very hard to push. So some protection against that would be welcome.

Also, folding in double mode sounds nice.

[the Dash has/will have the reinforced footwell/bag, too, but you have to take the second seat off to fold it. -ed.]

I saw one in person about a month ago, at the Mississauga bricks-and-mortar location of Babyproofingplus.com (Not sure it's even on their website, though.)

I'm relieved to hear that P&T has finally addressed the problem with the footwell when the stroller is in doubles mode. I recently had an incident with on of my kids trashing our E3 footwell/basket during a park-leaving related tantrum. I absolutely love my E3, it's really compact and easy to maneuver, overall a terrific city stroller. I've been using it for my twins since they were one and I'm terribly sad to replace it a year and a half later now that they are outgrowing the rear seat.

By the way I recently saw the Vibe at Galt Baby here in Chicago a few weeks ago. It looked pretty cool in person, but I didn't get a chance to test drive it because another couple was already playing with it.

[all we need now is a west coast sighting, and we'll have the whole country covered. wake uuupp, California! It's 8 o'clock, time to start blogging! -ed.]

I have seen the Vibe at Real Baby in denver CO. I like the fact that you can fold it with the doubles kit attached, however, the fold is not effortless. It takes a bit of pushing and prodding to get it fully closed. I did not really feel any difference in weight between the P&T Sport and the Vibe. The Vibe is better looking by far and the canopy is a big improvement. Im just not sure if it's worth the extra cash. I may wait for the second generation.

I am/was in the market for a double stroller and I heavily considered the Vibe but the weight and the rumors about the fold being just as difficult at the sport model kept me away. I really wanted to like this stroller or the sport but they are not practical for a Dallas mom. I am not interested in lifting that thing out of the car and spending 10 minutes putting it together and breaking it down. I did buy the Baby Jogger City Mini double which is lighter and real easy to fold, not a total eyesore, but it is pretty big. I am not thrilled with any of the double options out there, so I settled. Who knows how often I will use it anyway. It's better than a Graco.

I ordered my vibe and received it last week. I have used it a few times now and have to say that I really like it. It even navigated the massive hordes at Costco on a Saturday. The hood is the best I have ever had on a stroller. It moves freely to block the sun and fits over my toddler when he sits in the double on top. I was disappointed in the photos I found online...I like a good view before I buy, but I actually like it more in person. Fold is not hard when you practice a few times. (better than most doubles) I took a bunch of photos for anyone interested. http://www.flickr.com/photos/25090861@N03/sets/72157604343954236/

Kristina,
Thx for the slideshow, answered a few questions for me.

J

Our local southern NH baby store (Baby-go-Round) carries only three doubles: Dreamer Ditto Manhattan, P&T Sport, and P&T Vibe. After testing the three with our 2.8 toddler, we ended up with the Vibe. We are not at all happy about the price tag, but there were several features that made a difference: (1) The height of the sun canopy is adjustable and the seat back of the doubles kit seat is relatively tall. Our daughter is about average in height, and yet her head was touching the very top of the Dreamer Ditto and P&T Sport seats. When we opened the canopies, we could see the bulge of her head. This is not a problem with the Vibe. We also liked that the canopy rotates like on our Maclaren. (2) The Vibe seat is wider than those of the sport or the Dreamer; again, better for our toddler (a quote: "This feels better on my bum."). (3) We liked having the full recline for our 2-month-old (the Sport has this, too, but not the Dreamer Ditto).
The Vibe should arrive in the store for pick up later this week, and so we haven't given it an on-road test yet. In the store, though, we were disappointed that the Vibe did not seem to be as easy to steer, especially one-handed, as the Sport or the Ditto. We have to hope that this won't be a problem.

After looking at Kristinas' excellent slideshow... I'm wondering if an extra toddler seat were available, could this then be used as a Triple of sorts?!?

P.S. the newish Bertini X/Z line has just made it to my local market:-} http://www.bertini.com.au/pages/selection.php

I don't think so sam... If you are thinking of having one double seat on top and one on the back with a newborn in the bassinet, that wouldn't work because the back of the main seat has to be down for the bassinet and there wouldn't be any room for another kiddo in the back seat. Becides... I would worry about weight balance. But I would be kinda funny if it did work... wonder how long till Phil & Teds invents a three seater.

I saw a Vibe at the BuyBuyBaby in Springfield, Va a couple of weeks ago. Overall, it's a nice rig, and it makes sense as a double, but while I love the styling of the Bugaboo and other modernish strollers, the Vibe is too over the top. It's like it's trying too hard. And, to echo some of the comments above, it's a heavy, big stroller to push around; it felt much less wieldy than our Mountain Buggy.

I also played with the new four wheel Zapp. That's a nice stroller. I'd have bought it on the spot but for the fact that we're hearing "WALK! WALK!" much more often these days.

[wow, less wieldy than a Mountain Buggy? that's not very wieldy. the 4W Zapp is because the EU 3W ones apparently tip over sideways all the time, which didn't seem to bother EU safety experts, I guess. chalk one up for our overly litigious American culture. -ed.]

To bad it sounds like the triple Idea is out!
Not that I need such an option nor wish to "Gulp"... Just would make the only pseudo triple of substance I can think of!!!

Hay Sam I just found you a perfect accessory for the vibe... Get two of these things.

http://www.strollerideas.com/swstribybiha.html

One on each side of the vibe and you can tote 4 kiddos around... hmm...maybe throw and extra kiddo on the foot rest..

{actually, the Strolli goes behind the stroller; the BuggyPod is a sidecar/sideseat. but of course, that defeats the whole purpose of having a narrow P&T-style stroller in the first place. -ed.]

i hosted a giveaway for a vibe a couple months ago for totsonthego.com + phil&ted's wouldn't let me post pictures of it until it was on the ship on it's way to the store.

Plus that forgets that... 2] offer not valid for Bugaboos, Phil&Teds, Stokkes, Mutsys, and a whole slew of rigs the BuggyPod folks prefer to call "differently abled." yet nice idea!

Any news about the Dash?

Just posted a fresh review of the new Phil & Ted's Vibe at strollerinfo.typepad.com. Check it out!

The Vibe has been eagerly anticipated, but....

www.StrollerInfo.com

Free, accurate, unbiased stroller information without a push to buy.

Love the Vibe. It is the best stroller, very narrow compared to any other doubles stroller, easy to fold, not too heavy to lift into the car and the extra seat serves as the biggest basket ever when child #2 is not in it!

I purchased this stroller late in 2008 (after reading a lot of reviews) and only actually used it for 3 months. Almost all reviews I've read about the stroller indicate that it's new. When it's new, it looks good and such a welcome change. After a little use, this is what I've encountered.

In 3 months, I've had the following issues:

The second seat spring broke and will not detach (meaning the seat is stuck on there)
The frame is crooked
The front wheel is wobbly (not the typical wobbly)
The brake is impossible to actually set

In order for the distributor to look at these issues, I need to box up the stroller and mail it to Michigan at my cost and inconvenience, as well as being without the stroller. For the $900 I've invested in the stroller and accessories, it's terrible quality, customer service and responsiveness.

The new distributor, US Care, told me that Regal Lager was no longer being used as the P&T distributor because they mailed out parts without having the stroller sent in. I hope this isn't true but, a representative said that.

I like the look of the stroller but, sorely regret the investment I made in such a low quality and unreliable stroller. The fact I have to go without it for a month while it ships, at my expense, for all of the warranty issues, is just the final straw.

P&T and Regal Lager announced late last year that they were ending their relationship in May, so it sounds like you got stuck right in the middle of the divorce.

That said, while I know Bugaboo will send out replacement parts for warranty repairs, there are plenty of companies who require you to take the rig into an authorized repair place--or to send it in. Unless they're willing/able to decide remotely that they should replace your entire stroller, that's just the way it goes.

But that's almost always the way it goes; some BMW dealerships--and the Maclaren center in SoHo--will loan you a ride while yours is being serviced, but Apple doesn't loan me a computer while mine's getting the hard drive replaced for the third time.

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