ABC Design Takeoff Review
Designed and engineered in Germany for parents looking for a compact stroller, we're taking a look at ABC Design's reincarnation of the Takeoff.
For urban surroundings, the Takeoff excels and has a smooth push. As it's a relatively slim stroller, and as the fold can be achieved one handed, it's ideal for public transport. Whether you regularly travel on buses, trains or the underground, the ABC Design Takeoff is one to check out.
- Compact fold
- Bright colours
- Great features for travelling in warmer climates
- Very open seat
- Handle height is static
- Bumper bar isn't gate opening and needs removing for fold
Following the trend for smaller and smaller pushchairs, ABC Design have relaunched their Takeoff stroller to compete in the market. Including features that you look for in larger pushchairs and with travel system compatibility, it's sure to be a hit with parents on the go. Established 25 years ago by Dietmar Fischer, ABC Design have a reputation of having a wealth of knowledge in the pushchair sector, so let's put that to the test in our ABC Design Takeoff Review.
As you might expect with a compact stroller, the Takeoff is boxed ready to go. All you need to do is take it out of the box and unfold. No laborious instructions, playing with wheels or attaching hoods here. It may be an odd comparison for a pushchair, but the first thing to strike me about the styling of the chassis and handle bars is it's resemblance to an insect, the handlebars being it's antennae! We have the Lime colourway in for review which comes with a black frame.
The best thing about the Takeoff is the fold. It folds down to a really compact, easily stored square parcel that would fit into the smallest boot space. It even has it's own carry handle, and because it's so light, it's very easy to transport. Before you can start folding, you have to make sure that the harness is undone and the bumper bar removed. To complete the fold, you first squeeze the small button on the left side of the handlebar, simultaneously pressing the large button underneath. This releases the top section of the stroller which you fold forward on to itself and then back towards the floor. Next, just pull up with the handle from the centre of the stroller and push together until you hear the automatic lock. With a bit of practice, I can now do this pretty much one handed, which is great when out and about. It has a really neat self stand, or you can lay it flat.
To open the stroller, it's a few more steps, but once you get the hang of it it's a quick process. The automatic lock is placed to the left of the folded stroller, above the rear wheel. Once you press the button to release the bottom part of the stroller, you can place the wheels on the floor. Next, pull the handle up until the seat is erect, push forward until it clicks, and pull back until it clicks. It may sound more complicated than it is because of the extra steps, but it really is quick and simple.
With the frame being made from aluminium, it is light at only 7.8kg. It actually feels lighter because of how easy it is to carry. The transportation of some strollers can be awkward at times, so we love this feature.
The handlebar on the Takeoff is fixed at 108cm and has no adjustability for pushers of varying sizes. At 5' 6", I found the height to be about right for me, so I'd suggest having a test push if you are much shorter or taller.
As a travel/city stroller, the four hard plastic wheels on the Takeoff are quite small, with two larger ones at the rear, so neither are designed to tackle any off-roading or bumps. The rear wheels are removable, but because of how the fold works, there's no need to remove them for a smaller fold, though it does enable easier cleaning. With the swivelling and lockable front wheels, manoeuvrability is very good on smooth surfaces, whether you're navigating a bustling shopping mall or a busy airport for example. They can be set to swivel or locked via a sliding button at the top of each wheel.
To keep the Takeoff stationary, the brake for the rear wheels is positioned to the middle of the rear axle in a push down, lift up pedal. It's not particularly flip flop friendly, as you need to lift with the top of your foot, but the brake was not too stiff.
With a small shopping basket capable of carrying 5kg, the Takeoff can just about carry your essentials. The access is limited and from the front and rear, it won't hold your changing bag, but for shorter trips you could fit some nappies, wipes and a change of clothes.
The seat of the Takeoff can be used from 6 months up to 15kg. If you wish to use the stroller before then, the only from birth solution is to use an infant carrier. To do this, you need to purchase the car seat adapters, which slot into the front of the seat. To remove them, there is a red button on each adapter and they're even labelled left and right to make sure the fit is right.
Once your little one is old enough to move into the seat, comfort is ensured with the padded seat liner and harness. For younger babies, I'm not a fan of how open the seat is. There is no protection from the elements to the side of the pushchair, so the child is left very exposed. For warm summer days, this wouldn't be an issue but likely more a benefit as there is plenty of space for circulation, but we do live in England! Also, it's easy for the child to get their legs at either side of the seat, so not great for slim shopping aisles and brimming shelves. Toddlers will appreciate the seat as their view isn't restricted in any way.
The harness on the Takeoff is 5-point, so will keep little ones secure. There's two adjustment heights for babies and then toddlers, though the crotch strap stays the same with an adjustable length. To adjust the harness height, it's a case of unhooking from the back of the seat and slotting back through the correct hole. Fastening the harness gives a nice audible click, but as it's an open type of buckle, so watch out for little fingers! Padded harness pads are velcroed to the top of the harness to keep them from sliding.
Something I like to see on a pushchair is a bumper bar, providing extra security for the child should they escape from their harness. The Takeoff features an adjustable bumper bar, so does not disappoint. Slotting in to each side of the seat, it can be moved up and down via buttons to the side to suit the child. It's easy to remove by releasing the buttons below the big adjuster buttons, which is good as it isn't gate opening.
With a strap recline on the seat, it doesn't recline completely flat - more like 50-60°, but most children would find this recline suitable for their naps, especially when you see the positions that some babies fall asleep in! The toggle is smooth to operate, and may only be a nuisance if you have an awkward toddler pushing back when you want to push forwards.
The Takeoff features a large hood that is positioned quite high above the seat unit, offering more coverage than if it was of a standard height. With a 50+ UPF rating, you know your little one is sheltered from harmful rays. It has 4 clicks to go from open to closed and offers needed additional storage in the way of large zippered pockets on each side. An added feature, that is again great for warmer weather, is that the rear of the hood is detachable. By unzipping the side zips and undoing the poppers at the back of the seat, you can roll the material up and tuck it into a neat little pocket placed at the top of the hood. Although increasing the openness of the seat even more, it would ensure that the child is kept cool.
Measuring 45cm, the seat back isn't one of the largest out there, so anyone with taller toddlers may be limited to how long they can use the Takeoff for. Saying that, because the hood clearance is larger than normal, they should still be able to sit comfortably in the seat, even if they outgrow the height.
There isn't a calf rest on the Takeoff, so smaller children's legs will dangle, but for older toddlers, there's a wipe clean plastic footrest for them to keep their feet on, with plenty of room for growing legs.
Included with the stroller is a raincover. The covers and material on the Takeoff are all water repellent, but to keep your child dry in a downpour, the raincover is a must. The raincover is of a very generous size, so good for children who hate being confined underneath. It covers the whole hood and seat of the stroller and is secured into place with several Velcro tabs. It's easy to see which way round it goes on because of how it fits around the handles.
As a travel stroller, I really like the ABC Design Takeoff. The styling is slightly strange, but it has a very compact fold and features that ensure your child is kept comfortable. It's light too, so easy to carry. I personally wouldn't use it for a child as young as 6 months, due to the openness of the seat, but other parents might find it a great option.
For urban surroundings, the Takeoff excels and has a smooth push. As it's a relatively slim stroller, and as the fold can be achieved one handed, it's ideal for public transport. Whether you regularly travel on buses, trains or the underground, the ABC Design Takeoff is one to check out. The same goes for holidays. Though not IATA size approved for cabin luggage, the fold is small enough for you to take away with you and doesn't take up any extra valuable space.
I would recommend the Takeoff for families with an older baby or toddler, especially if public transport is your main mode of getting around. I think there are a few things that could be improved on, such as adding a gate opening bumper bar and adjustable handle height to open it up to more parents. Due to the small wheels and the lack of suspension, it isn't great on rough ground, but that's not what it was designed for. It's a great alternative option if you don't want to go down the traditional umbrella fold stroller route.