Jane Muum Review
Jané's ever expanding range includes a few new offerings, with a more stylish cutting edge design, will the Jané Muum compromise Jané's traditionally practical approach to pushchair design in its search for style or will it max out on both practicality AND style? We find out...
If you're after a lovely all singing, all dancing from birth pushchair to see you right the way through the Jané Muum is well worth a look. The Matrix car seat/carrycot has to be seen to be believed, it is fantastic.
- High Quality
- Innovative Features
- Handlebar play
Jané are one of those quiet brands, who never seem to be blowing their own trumpet, yet time and again, over the years we have been impressed with their pushchair offerings. Hailing from Spain, Jané (pronounced 'hanay') have been creating adaptable pushchair solutions for families around the world for around 75 years now. We take a look at how their competitively priced Muum travel system shapes up in the modern day market...
Straight away you get a great feeling of quality and reliability from the frame of the Jané Muum. A smooth satin feel, with chunky yet simple components create a great modern and stylish clean look. The finish on our test subject is a classy one, a sort of satin effect gunmetal grey/brown and a cool to the touch Aluminium. There are no exposed bolts or untidy welds and the whole thing feels touchably smooth.
The feeling of quality continues in the rotating height adjustable handlebar; covered with a lovely warm leather effect material the bar handle is the full width of the pushchair, making it easy to steer and giving a comfortable amount of space to position your hands, although it is here that you first notice the pushchairs width.
Plenty wide enough to take even the broadest shouldered toddler, the Muum is definitely a full sized pushchair rather than a stroller, and you get a great robust feeling from this although it does make you feel like you are pushing a tank along occasionally.
Giving a far less robust feel is the ‘play' in the Muum's handlebar, there is some flex built into the chassis to allow for a smooth ride for your little one, but with the seat fully loaded it gives an unusual feel to the push; the handle feels distinctly wobbly. This is something that I am sure you would become used to, but initially I felt the need to double check the pushchair was locked into position and that the seat was attached properly, in parent facing mode this flex makes it fairly tricky to pop up and down kerbs.
The large diameter EVA rear wheels make for an easy push and comfortable ride for little ones, and the lockable swivel wheels are easy rolling to make manoeuvring the pushchair easy, they give a smooth and comfortable ride over most surfaces you'd find in a town or city environment, and I would expect them to cope fairly well with slightly rougher ground as well if the need arose.
The shopping basket is really spacious, and has great access from all sides, especially the rear. There is plenty of space under the seat to throw whole bags of shopping in, with no need to poke items in one by one.
The brake is unusual on the Muum (normal for Jané products), and is controlled by a hand operated lever to the side of the handle bar. A lot of design work has gone into the brake and it works exceptionally well. I am wondering why anyone would ever bother with a foot operated brake when this could be an option. It is a simple flick with your thumb and the pushchair immediately comes to a halt, flick again and you can push again. This would be a godsend if you were juggling a baby in a pushchair and a toddler in one hand whilst making frequent stops, in a shop for example. This system also leaves the back axle clear of any brake pedal, handy for longer striding people, and great if you need to pull the pushchair backwards up stairs.
The forward or rear facing seat unit is a real treat on the Jané Muum. With luxurious foam padding, and high quality stain resistant, wipe clean fabrics the seat will be more than comfortable enough for the smallest of babies right through to a larger toddler.
The seat unit is suitable from birth, and this seat unit would make an exceptionally comfortable and secure sleeping area for a newborn. Not only does the seat lie very flat (unusually for a two directional seat – the backrest drops down independently, rather than the whole seat unit swivelling), and the sides of the seat are such that they create a carrycot effect, with a deep rim on either side of the seat – like a bucket style seat in a race car. The footrest can also be raised right up to enclose the bottom, and the hood covers a good portion of the top half of the seat. All in all – an exceptionally secure seat to use from birth compared to many others on the market, and with some extra padding would keep even the littlest baby cosy and snug.
For older children the Muum's seat is very spacious, and wide enough to accommodate a broader shouldered toddler with ease, there is good clearance under the hood for taller children too. It has three recline positions. The upright position is very supportive and quite upright, great for nosey toddlers. The recline is a one handed operation which is great, with a squeeze button on the rear of the seat back to tilt the backrest down. The button is slightly obscured by the hood fabric, especially with the hood retracted, but once you've done it a few times you get to know where to grab and it's an easy operation, to sit the seat back up you reverse the process, squeeze button to unlock and then push forwards until it locks (with a resounding ‘clunk') into place.
There is however a glaring problem with the seat, one so obvious I thought I was missing something very simple and had to call Jané. When you lie the seat back, the straps pull tight as there is no automatic adjustment to lengthen the shoulder straps. The only solutions appear to be, adjusting the shoulder strap length every time you move the seat, leaving the straps very loose when the seat is upright or independently releasing the shoulder straps when you lay the seat back. One thing is for sure, this will eventually drive you mad enough not to bother using the shoulder straps altogether.
I am also not keen on the way the waist strap is fixed in the seat with the strap completely exposed and plastic retaining loops potentially sitting under your childs bum.
All in all the straps look like an afterthought and not something that was integrated into the seat design in the early stages.
Chest pads are included as standard, and the five point harness is adjustable at the waist and shoulder, both in terms of length and height. The crotch strap is padded but not adjustable in terms of length or position. The buckle is just stiff enough to prevent little fingers opening it, and each side can be helpfully done up individually.
The hood is made from a soft touch stretchy fabric, and can either be fully extended or retracted. Once extended it gives excellent coverage, with an additional sun visor at the front, but in parent facing mode with the seat upright it largely obscures your view of your child. The hood itself sits nice and high up on the seat frame, allowing good clearance underneath for taller children, and is easily snapped on and off for reducing the folded size of the pushchair. The soft touch gate opening swing away bumper bar is covered in matching zip off fabric for ease of cleaning.
The adjustable calf rest is also nicely padded, and in a fully upright position will support a young babies legs, although muddy shoes and the fabric might not mix too well as your child gets older, and as there is no dedicated footrest an older child may find long periods of time with feet dangling a bit uncomfortable.
There is additional soft touch padding in the seat to make it even more comfortable, and this can be easily removed to give even more room if needed, although giving extra support the padding does not form a head hugger.
The seat is removed from the frame by use of two latches, one on either side of the seat, nice and easy to do you just lift the latches and keep a hold of them while you remove the seat. You can easily replace the seat as the latches are located directly above the attachment sockets, so there is very little faffing about lining them up to be done.
Last but not least, the removable bumper bar is gate opening - perfect for extracting an upset child and easy when you have one that is determined not to sit in their seat!
The fold on the Jané is something rarely seen in the reversible seat market as the Muum can be folded with the seat removed, with the seat forward facing, and with the seat rear facing.
Folding the Jané Muum with the seat removed is by far and away easiest and gives the most compact folding result. If you want the frame to free stand you need to rotate the handlebar down to its lowest setting, then lift the two trigger action latches on either side of the handlebar (depressing a small grey button as you do so), the handle drops down toward the floor, you reach forward to grab a strap in the centre of the pushchair crossbar and lift the whole thing upwards – snapping it shut.
The Muum can stand upright on its handle, which although isn't ideal if you're out and about is great for storage at home or in say a restaurant. However, I get the feeling the handlebar cover may have a difficult life, the pushchair really only collapses fully if the front swivel wheels are angled inwards – if this is not the case the handle bar rests upon them, not great after a walk in the mud. Luckily the leather effect material will be far easier to keep clean than foam.
The process is similar with the seat on, but the resulting fold is much larger. Jané have incorporated a carrying handle into the base of the seat unit and the chassis though so once folded and standing upright you can pick the entire pushchair up no matter how you have folded it– making it easier to get in and out of a car boot for example - brilliant.
One of the most functional aspects on the Jané Muum is that it can take a wide range of their Group 0/0+ car seats, some of which can double as both carrycot and car seat. The Jané Pro-fix system - locks and unlocks car seats with just one hand, directly onto the chassis.
The pushchair can be bought in combination with the Jané Matrix 2 Light carrycot/infant car seat, which is described by Jané as "a revolutionary multi-functional infant car seat that turns into a carrycot, the Matrix 2 Light is the only infant car seat on the market (patented) that offers the option of safely travelling with baby in either a sitting up or lying flat position". We have been sent this model to test.
Once again, my first impressions are really good, with luxuriously padding the carrycot gives a really secure resting place for your little one. The Matrix 2 has a compact internal area with various elements of removable padding and is perfect for a growing baby when used as a straight up carrycot, this padding is a function of its security when used as a car seat.
The Matrix is fantastic quality and very well made. There is the ability to check the instructions for it's safe and correct usage ‘on the go' by scanning an integrated QR Code.
The Matrix 2 can also be used for overnight sleeping, killing several birds with one stone. It can be installed in your car as a carry cot allowing you to take much longer car trips with your newborn than in an upright car seat where time in the seat is restricted.
The Matrix 2 easily converts from the lie flat Group 0 carrycot which fits in the car lengthways using two full seat belts (or Matrix Platform), to rear facing Group 0+ car seat. There are four backrest recline angles in total ensuring a comfortable ride for all situations making this a great ‘full time' option to use on the Muum chassis during the early months before making the big step of transferring to the pushchair seat.
In rear facing mode the seat is a very generous length and the design and padding gives you the impression that your child will be secure.
An optional Matrix Platform is available that secures the car seat into the car in either the carrycot or seated position. The Platform allows the seat to rotate for ease of access to your child and means you can install or remove the seat one handed using the Pro-Fix system.
The Matrix 2 is a fabulous product with nothing to fault. Safety comes first and the fact that you have so much flexibility is brilliant.
I'm going to admit it, I really like the Jané Muum. It's not small or compact but it is secure and robust. There is no hiding the fact although not exceptionally wide for a single pushchair, the squareness of the handlebar and the spacing of the rear wheels make it feel like it is. It does however feel great quality, look really smart and modern, has loads of innovative features, and does much more than an entry level pushchair is usually designed to do, especially given its very reasonable price.
A few little things have slipped through the net that would otherwise make it perfect – the handle bar resting on the floor, the wobble in the handle bar and not one to usually be fussy but the colour options are a bit lacklustre for my liking. However, none of these things are particularly major, and don't really reduce the rating, and all are outweighed by the many positives and the great feel the pushchair gave me.
There is one glaring problem though and that is the issue with the straps. It is very frustrating to have to keep adjusting the shoulder straps every time you move the seat back or forward. I can see most mums only having the straps correctly adjusted when the seat is upright and unclipping the shoulder straps when reclining the seat. Not very practical. It is such as shame that Jané don't have a better solution for this, it really lets a brilliant product down.
If you're after a lovely all singing, all dancing from birth pushchair to see you right the way through the Jané Muum is well worth a look. The Matrix car seat/carrycot has to be seen to be believed, it is fantastic. With the Muum and the Matrix combined, there are very few from birth travel system combinations to match or better it. As it is, the issue with the straps on the main seat regrettably means the Muum ultimately misses out on a higher mark.