Maclaren Twin Triumph Review
We take a close look at the Maclaren Twin Triumph as we ask ourselves, is it indeed a triumph in the world of twin pushchairs, or is it actually more of a tragedy?
All in all, it does what it says on the tin, is well made and from a brand you know you can trust. It should last and wear well and of course with a no frills attitude, I doubt there would be much risk of anything going wrong.
- Integrated head and foot barrier for newborn
- Well made
- Exceptional safety features
- Fiddly recline and strap adjustment
- Flimsy hoods
- Fabrics lack finesse
Maclaren, once the ‘go to' brand for your double umbrella fold stroller has been under increasing pressure from contenders such as the Cosatto You2 and Silver Cross Pop Duo. If you're looking for a pushchair for two, something suitable from birth and lightweight, something sturdy and reliable, and something from a reputable brand - the Maclaren Twin Triumph ticks all those boxes, and more, but will it emerge triumphant over its rivals?
The first thing I notice when I get the pushchair out of the box is how sturdy the chassis feels despite it being surprisingly light weight. Although the individual components that make up the frame look thin they seem well made and strong and I would have no qualms about putting a heavy toddler in both sides.
The two handles are comfortable to hold with an interesting crisscross pattern engraved in the foam, which ties in with the Argyll crisscross design on the lower half of the chassis, the seats and the back of the hoods. The chassis with just the seats attached weighs just 10.6kg, which is towards the lighter end of the spectrum for this type of pushchair, and the grab handle on the side lets you lift it up when folded fairly easily. The pushchair has six sets of doubled hard plastic wheels, which, at a compact 11.5cm don't look like they'd be up to much over anything other than smooth going and as there is also no suspension built in, if you did feel like you needed to off-road it your passengers would be in for a bumpy ride.
The shopping basket is nothing to write home about, Maclaren have done the best they can to give you somewhere to squeeze in a few essentials, but you're not going to fit your weekly shop for a family of four in there, the front of the basket also slips down so any shopping could fall out the front all too easily.
The linked brake which can be operated on either side is easy to operate and works well, I can put it on and off barefoot with just my big toe and it gives a reassuring clunk when it's on.
The pushchair isn't the narrowest side-by-side double on the market, and I know that where I live it would need to be folded to get it onto the bus, which would be a faff, especially if you were using it with a newborn, but it's not excessively wide and it feels quite neat to push, and not at all like you are trying to manoeuvre a tank. The weight distribution is also good, I found it easy to get up and down kerbs, even with my hefty 19 month old in, and it didn't feel like it was pulling to one side too much when I just had the one child in. Although you can lock the front swivel wheels with just the two handles I found it hard to push in a straight line one handed (if you were holding another child's hand for example).
The two forward facing seats are identical and both seats can be used for any age from newborn upwards, they have individual reclines and hoods so you can cater to each child's needs separately. The seats are well padded and although the fabrics are a little heavy duty for my liking they look like they would wear well, and as a pushchair that is designed to get a lot of everyday use this can only be a good thing. There is no calf rest with this pushchair but the front edge of the seat is soft so should be comfy enough for the backs of little legs. The seat fabrics can be completely removed from the frame for washing.
Both seats come with head and foot barriers that can be set-up for use with a newborn (to give you peace of mind that they won't slip out the bottom or top of the seat!), these are stowed under and behind the seat and can easily be poppered into place (though I recommend thick gloves as the poppers are double sided and require a firm push to get them into place!). The pushchair is suitable from birth, and although the seat is well padded and looks comfortable and safe for baby, I have seen much cosier and flatter ‘from birth' reclines. I also felt the seat was a little bit exposed and the harness straps too basic for a brand new baby, and personally I would invest in the comfort pack including head rest /shoulder pads and seat liner for use with a newborn.
The five point fully adjustable safety harness is adequate although the crotch strap cannot be adjusted forward or backwards so a little baby might slip down a little when first sitting upright. The shoulder straps have three height settings which are exceptionally fiddly to change involving a screwdriver and a lot of fiddling about. Two things about the harness buckle itself that struck me straight away was that 1. You need thumbs of steel to unfasten it, and 2. You need nerves of steel as the clips ‘eject' from the buckle with such force they whip into your hands!
The hoods are water resistant which is nice for dashing through a quick shower, and have inbuilt viewing windows at the rear and a pocket on the back for stashing your essentials. The viewing window doesn't have a cover which might annoy a napping child or fully reclined baby, but because of its position to the rear I doubt direct sunlight would ever shine in on a babies face. Although all good touches, the hoods feel a bit flappy and flimsy, and when you try to release the stay on the side to fold the hood back, the hood itself slides up the frame instead.
The seat back itself is not very stable, and can be moved right forwards from its set recline position by the child forcing his weight forwards against the harness, this is quite alarming although I doubt a child could actually escape from the pushchair this way. The recline is achieved using the basic clipped adjustable strap method at the rear of the seat. Although nice that you can chose an infinite amount of reclined positions for your child, it would be a pain to adjust it from anything other than "clip done up = upright" and "clip undone = fully reclined" on a day to day basis.
Folding is relatively straight forward, and I even managed it barefoot without too much difficulty. Firstly lift up the entire red brake pedal on either side to release the tension in the frame, then press down with your foot on the safety levers on either side of the chassis and push the handles over and forward to collapse the chassis in two. The stroller can be folded with the seats reclined at any position and with the head and foot barrier in place. The pushchair has a clip on either side that you can snap into place to hold it shut, and it also has a carry handle to help you move it about when folded. To unfold you release the clips on either side then just reverse the fold process, pushing down firmly on the brake pedals to fully open the pushchair.
All the hinges and moving parts such as springs are covered and it is obvious that Maclaren have been working very hard to make their strollers as safe as possible for little and big people alike.
Maclaren bill the Twin Triumph as the "go faster buggy for two", and although I can't say speed has ever been on my ‘must have' check list when buying a pushchair I can kind of see where they are coming from, with all the essential features well made and gimmick free, the Triumph will make your day-to-day life go just that little bit faster. The seats are comfortable for old and young alike – I really like the idea of the head and foot barrier, and the handles are really comfortable to hold. There are a few respects where this pushchair just doesn't quite make the grade; the hoods have great features - but are too flimsy, the seats are well made – but the harness is fiddly to adjust, it's nice to have a shopping basket - but it's almost impossible to access. All in all, it does what it says on the tin, is well made and from a brand you know you can trust. It should last and wear well and of course with a no frills attitude, I doubt there would be much risk of anything going wrong.