It's so difficult to improve when you are already at the top of your game, but the iCandy Peach has had a re-jig to make it even better. We take a look at the new iCandy Peach 2....
It has to be said, that iCandy is one of the most desirable brands in the nursery world. Not only is it a British company, but the range is attractive, functional, adaptable and contains something for everyone's budget.
One of their best sellers is the iCandy Peach. For those of you to whom this gem is still undiscovered, I must urge you to take a look. Not only is it aesthetically beautiful, it fulfils all its glamorous potential by being technically brilliant at the same time – like Miss World with a PHD!
The 2012 version of the Peach is called the Peach 2 – not a breathtakingly original name but it does what it says on the tin, it's like the old peach – but new! So you might assume that there's something wrong with the old model to warrant making changes...not at all, the Peach 2 simply contains revisions brought about through customer feedback. So instead of resting on their laurels, iCandy have been listening to their customers and striving to make an already excellent product even better.
What's in the box?
The RRP of the iCandy Peach 2 is £595
The iCandy Peach 2 in Black Magic is now available. The rest of the Peach 2 range in the new colours will be released in stages throughout 2012.
One of the fundamental changes to the Peach is the extension of the Blossom Pip converters. In English, this means the brackets that turn the single into a tandem have been lengthened to give a greater clearance between your two passengers. This seemingly insignificant change has altered the dynamics of the pushchair enough for it to impact elsewhere.
To start at the very bottom, the wheels are silver and as before, the large 25cm back wheels and the smaller 17cm front wheels are all EVA foam, so punctures are a thing of the past.
The frame is still chunky and solid with all the workings, such as the suspension, enclosed in bold black plastic giving a very smooth and finished appearance. The front wheels suspension springs are visible with the swivel lock button poised above.
The large scooped-back basket sits neatly between the front and back axles and has been lengthened to accommodate the changes to the Pip converters. This is unnoticeable when the pushchair is in single mode and will only come to the fore when using it in double mode.
iCandy have been supplying chassis' with the extended basket since November 2011, allowing customers to still have the option to upgrade from a single to a Blossom 2 without any fuss. Those chassis featuring updated basket frames are easily identifiable by batch and serial number, product labelling or by a feature on the basket frame itself.
The brake, situated in the middle of the back axle is applied by foot and takes no effort. It can be released with ease and won't result in sore toes. The longer basket makes the pedal less visible but take my word for it, it's there.
As I said, the whole frame feels chunky and this includes the foam covered handle. It gives you that invincible feeling you get when you are wearing snow boots or wellies – you are in control. Pressing the button in the centre, will lengthen or shorten the height of the handle from 105cm to 95cm for shorties like me!
This frame is a doddle to fold, simplified for speed and ease, you are never going to find yourself struggling in the rain to collapse your over complicated, rubix cube of a pushchair. Firstly, remove all the components (seats/carrycot or car seat), firmly push the handle into the frame to its lowest height setting. This will then release the handle allowing it to drop in between the back wheels, then simply pick up the shoulder strap from the basket and the two axles will come together as you lift, resulting in a very portable and compact frame. The closure latch is a manual affair that needs sliding into place to ensure it is locked closed.
The Peach frame is quite heavy at 10kgs but can be easily reduced to 8.4kgs by removing the wheels, however it will stand vertically making it easier to stow in the car or store at home.
To open, undo the closure clip, swing the front axle out and lift the handle – now you are ready to add your choice of seats/carrycot or car seat.
Attaching the primary seat is self explanatory, the pegs on either side of the chair drop into the sockets on the frame. Be sure to give the seat a good push down to hear it firmly clip into place. Pressing the outer ring of the hub on the chair will release the seat from the chassis. These buttons can be triggered independently so that you don't have to contort yourself to perform the click-click-lift procedure.
The back height is a maximum of 48cms with the canopy in place, however, the canopy can be unzipped from the frame and moved up to accommodate a taller child but their head will then rest on the metal frame of the chair.
The seat is a good size at 24cms deep and 30cm wide. For a smaller child, a padded liner accessory can be zipped in to reduce the seating cavity to 21cms deep and 26cms wide.
The five-point harness can be adjusted to three shoulder heights relatively simply, accessing the back of the straps through the Velcro seal in the rear of the chair. On the Peach 2, the waist straps have a new configuration allowing greater adjustment for children of different sizes.
So let's assume your passenger has nodded off and you want to recline them. The recline control is a button in the centre of the chair release; a hub located each side of the seat. It can be performed from the rear of the pushchair but I found it easier from the front being a bit of a shortie. The footrest can be inverted to flatten the position of the legs, or adjusted in angle using the controls either side.
Supposing it is a sunny day (remember those?) and you need to shade your child from the glare. The canopy extends by 90 degrees to the frame giving ample cover; however it makes a clicking noise as you open it. Although I love this sound effect, which makes it feel extremely well made, it might wake a dozing infant by the time you have it at full stretch.
The bumper bar is foam covered and slots into brackets on the frame. Even though it has been modified on the Peach 2 to be straight rather than angled, disappointingly It is still not gate opening. iCandy maintain that limiting its abilities maintains its strength, however I would prefer not have to remove it or slide my child in behind it when the alternative is more convenient.
The main carrycot
The main carrycot is a rigid cocoon with a similar canopy and bumper bar to those on the seat unit. Also, like the seat unit it is neatly framed with a polished aluminium edge. It is sealed with a tailored, zip-in apron that extends vertically to make a wind shield near the face. The carrycot affixes to and is released from the frame in exactly the same way as the seat unit. The feet on the bottom allow the carrycot it to be removed to let a baby continue sleeping away from the pushchair.
iCandy have done so little to the Peach pushchair in its single mode that it is difficult to see how it has been affected. The basket extension only adds more room to an already roomy basket, which any parent would agree is a win-win situation!
The alterations to make this the Peach 2 will be more obvious when using it in double or twin modes which we will explore in separate reviews.
The only elements I don't like are the recline buttons – both must be pressed to tilt the chair, which is a tricky procedure when they are located either side of the seat and don't leave you a hand free to actually adjust the angle. The fact that the bumper bar is not gate opening or adjustable is more of a disappointment than a problem, in a pushchair of this quality it's just something that you imagine would come as standard. I am sure the noisy hood is something that your passenger would soon get used to and to be honest, I like the noise!
If you can't be impressed by the technical changes then the aesthetic changes are sure to tempt you in. The 2012 colours are gorgeous but they are agonisingly being released in stages throughout the year. Black Magic is already on sale with Silver Mint, Berry Bon Bon (which is as delicious as it sounds) and Parma Violet all to follow.
We give the iCandy Peach 2
4.5 out of 5 stars
Age: 6 months +
Open size: 72 x 60 x 95-105 cms
Closed size: 70 x 51.5 x 25.5 cms Weight: 10kgs
Closed size: 70 x 60 x 28.5 cms (without wheels) Weight: 8.4kgs
Main carrycot: 84 x 43 x 21.5 cms Weight: 5.2kgs
Main seat unit: 87 x 41 x 50 cms Weight: 4.2kgs