September 4, 2008

Ausgezeichnet! Concord Neo Carbon, Deutschland's Schwarziest Stroller


Labor Day's over, there's all this politickin' in the air, the kids' heads aren't getting any rounder. You know what this place needs? A good, old-fashioned dad-friendly strollerlusting!

So wilkommen to the Concord Neo Carbon, the jaw-dropping, all carbon fiber version the company's flagship rig, the Neo. But wait, you say, wasn't there some black stroller last week that was a freakin' psychedelic chickfest or whatever? Totally different. While the fashion & style of Quinny's new, black-framed Henrik Vibskov collection is targeted at moms, the materials & performance of the Neo Carbon seems more dad-oriented, and it fits with Concord's marketing, which has put bottle-toting dads front and center in their corporate identity for a long time.


Unfortunately for Concord, Maclaren introduced the CF6506 over two years ago, so the Neo--announced last Spring and launched last month--cannot claim credit as the world's first carbon fiber-equipped stroller. But the company threads the PR needly by touting the Neo Carbon as "the first ever buggy to make consistent use of carbon. Ooh, in your face, Maclaren!


Which, surprisingly, might actually mean something. The Mac had a CF skin laminated onto its traditional aluminum frame, while Concord implies that it's all carbon, baby, through and through: "the framework [is] handmade of carbon, the high-quality material with its special qualities: extreme weight reduction and superior cushioning properties." Also, the Neo Carbon's Y-shaped frame is handmade to order in Germany, then laser engraved with a serial number and a personalized name or message. [Frankly, I'd think engraving something like "Shiloh" or "Suri" would help the resale value more than your actual kid's name.]


There's more carbon fiber in [? on?] the optional matching Carbon Ion car seat, but none is apparent on the Scout bassinet/carrycot. For all the weight-saving thrill of carbon, I can't actually find how much lighter the Carbon is compared to the 11.2kg standard Neo.

Like the Maclaren, the Neo Carbon has some leather accents, but only on the handle, not the entire seat. The padding inserts are covered with flowery merino wool, which sounds nice, looks odd, but is ultimately fine. The white leather & fabric option, however, is totally heinous. Let's not speak of it again.


If the Neo Carbon has a dealbreaking flaw, it's the limitations of the original Neo design. The Y-shaped frame is nice; the Stokke-like, table-height, reversible seat position is smart; the underseat raincover and integrated wind guard are innovative. But the angles and brackets and plastic elements overall look awkward and unrefined from some angles. And no amount of carbon is going to change what only Concord's engineers can.

But maybe that's just me. As carbon fiber strollers go, the Neo Carbon is the hands-down carboniest. With a list price of EUR2200 [just 1800 if you remember to take your VAT refund!], it's possibly the sickest, most elite stroller in the world right now. [Actually, the standalone stroller is EUR1500.] Which, depending on how you feel about sick, elite strollers, is either apocalyptic or awesome.

As a shamelessly dad-friendly hot rod concept, the Neo Carbon wins without moving a single unit. And even if they only sell a dozen of them, planting that insane price tag in shoppers' heads makes the awful similar-looking, EUR900 stock aluminum Neo look like a bargain. Now if I can just get my hands on one of those floor model Carbons when this promotional campaign is over...

Concord Neo Carbon mini-site [ via dt reader melissa]
La Culla in Bergamo is one place offering the Neo Carbon travel system online, though I don't know about shipping. EUR2200 []
La Culla, the Neo Carbon, and The Doors, all rocking out together; someone else's Neo flickr set [youtube, flickr]
Previously: Once you have Mac...


It is also available at Two Left Feet, and somewhere else in London (can't remember). But the £ to $ exchange rate is even more depressing than the Euro.

I rang up re the price of this and the 1000 pounds was too much for me, though it is amazing to look at.

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