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Mamas & Papas: Skate (Double mode) Review

Review Overview

Mamas & Papas: Skate (Double mode) Review
Expert Reviewer
143 Reviews
Reviewed On: 05 Jan 2012
Helen Taylor
Expert Reviewer
Helen's Verdict:

Mamas and Papas led the way in bringing great design from Europe to deliver an alternative to the established UK pushchair market. Their colourful, contemporary offerings gathered huge popularity making Mamas & Papas a household name. We have their versatile Skate in for review....

Review Summary

Summary

Pushing the Skate in the double configuration is a breeze. It has a short wheel base and all the weight is centralised which makes kerbs and obstructions easy to overcome.

What’s good
  • Large seat
  • Easy to attach
  • Great raincovers
  • Short wheel base
What’s not so good
  • Parent facing only
  • No canopy
  • Three point harness
  • Net basket

Review Content

Mamas & Papas: Skate (Double mode) Review

We all know that planning ahead can save you a fortune in the long run. Buying a pushchair with the built-in adaptability to eventually accommodate two children has got to be good advice if you are planning to have a standard sized family. Of course, planning is one thing and nature is another so with all the optimism in the world, number two may never happen. Buying a good quality single pushchair with the adaptability to morph into a double when necessary will cover all eventualities and meet your needs, whatever comes your way.

The Mamas and Papas Skate is a versatile single that can be easily transformed into a double.

Frame

The Mamas & Papas Skate is quite distinctive which is predominantly due to the frame. It has a wide flat wheelbase with what looks like a high-wire safety net stretched from the front to the back. This net is actually the basket that, when accompanied with the elasticated strap on top can stretch to a relatively decent capacity – a medium change bag or two bags of shopping would sink nicely into this stretch hammock secured by the diagonal elastics.

It has quiet and intimidating, overcomplicated look but is actually very straightforward. The foam covered handle can span a huge arc of 79 – 112 cms which breaches the largest of differences in parent height.

mPgroup_skate
Fold

A little lower down the handle, are two switches that are the primary procedure in the fold. When they have been flicked, they remain in place until you step on the button in the centre of the back axle market ‘FOLD'. The handle will then drop towards the back wheels and the auto-lock bracket on the right will click into place. To make the fold more compact the handle can fold inwards, creating a foot to enable it to stand vertically if necessary.

skate-folded
Stop and start

The brake is applied by stepping on one of the two plastic silver pedals located on the back axle. The release is flip-flop friendly and just a matter of flicking the pedal upwards.

The rear wheels are 27cm foam tyres that can be removed from the chassis by simply pulling on the silver button below the brake. Likewise, the narrow 17.5cms front foam wheels are removed by twisting the control knob above them. They can be locked off to be unidirectional by stepping on the locking mechanism above the wheel and released in the same way as the brake - with a flick of your foot.

Soft stuff and the seat

The fabrics on the CityScape Skate, our test victim, are beautiful. Instead of a flat regular black, the CityScape is more of a dark grey suiting fabric which sounds stiff but actually looks really classy. The contrasting canopy lining is a cream, red/grey stripe that softens the overall appearance.

The seat is 24cm deep and well padded. With a width of 33cms and a back height of 50cm, it will accommodate the largest toddler. The five point harness is basic and a bit of an irritation to alter in shoulder height, it's easier to achieve if you remove the seat from the frame. Slide your hand up the fabric at the back, here you can feel the lug that needs twisting to push though its current location hole to reposition in one of the other three options.

The calf rest is not poisable and is bizarrely covered in foam along the foot bar. It's strange, but convenient when this is one of the primary points of contact that an infant will reach for when attempting to toddle. However, it's not so practical when they are more confident and climbing in and out with soiled shoes.

The Skate's solution to the bumper bar is unique. I have never seen a gate-opening/multi-angle bumper bar engineered in this way. The bar attaches to the frame by sliding it over a spring loaded button that locks it into place once it's located properly. To open the gate on either side, you need to squeeze the release buttons on the top and bottom of the hinge, it will then swing out to give you or your child better access to the seat. The bar itself is covered in a squidgy plastic sleeve which can rotate around the bar....a great source of amusement or even a handy teething aid for your toddler!

The canopy is an average size until you unzip the two extra segments, making it huge. One of the segments has a flap that can be peeled back to reveal a netted panel. This is really useful for keeping an eye on your tot or to allow ventilation in the summer to the heavily shaded seat.

Reclining is controlled by the obvious, easy-access lever on the back of the seat. The three choices range from upright to fully horizontal with a snoozing angle in between.

The matching carrycot is beautiful and styled to co-ordinate with the rest of the pushchair. But don't get too comfortable, the latest encarnation of the Skate adapts the seat into a carrycot/pramette (as depicted in the picture at the top of this review). We will be examining this closer as soon as we have the latest model in house for inspection.

Chair to chassis

It took me a while to work out how to lift the chair from the frame as, yet again, it is very unconventional but like most things, it is easy once you know how.

The buttons that need to be deployed to release the chair are in disguise as the sockets for the canopy. They need to be pushed down with your thumbs as you lift the seat off. It is really uncomplicated and a simple matter of squeeze and lift.

The hubs into which the seat is mounted have another little party trick. By pressing the silver buttons on top, the brackets can slide up or down the frame allowing you to select a high, medium or low seating position. With the seat having the ability to be mounted in either parent or front facing mode you can have a closer affinity with your child when the seat is in the higher parent facing position or greater freedom  to get in and out on their own in the lower, front facing position.

The Mamas & Papas Skate is a peculiar pushchair but ticks all the functional boxes as well as being attractive and comfortable. I love the peculiar bumper bar and the location and size of the recline lever. It is superbly manoeuvrable and the variety of seating positions and handle heights make it easy to customise to suit your height and reach.

The Skate is attractive and built to withstand anything an urban environment might throw at it, however I can't help but criticise the plastic they  have used for the ‘doing' bits. Every lever and button has been made from the same ‘cheap' looking plastic. It not only looks cheap but has a brittle quality about it that lets the overall quality of the pushchair down. After all, the ‘doing' bits are the parts that you will be using every day, to stop, fold, recline etc.

In Double mode

To attach the second seat on the Skate is simply a matter of clamping it into place but where will baffle you initially. The primary seat must be parent facing on the highest height setting to allow the junior seat to clamp onto the shafts of the frame. Two feet extend from the bottom of the seat to give it extra support on the wheelbase, a red button on the right automatically locks when these feet are at the correct angle.

Skate-jr-seat-combinations

With very little information to go on, it was hard to identify if the Skate can be folded with the second seat in place. My attempt was hardly compact and didn't look like anyone would purposely design a pushchair to ever look so awkward, so my preference would be to remove the junior seat before you fold. It's hardly a big deal to press the red locking button and unclip it from the frame and it results in a far more logical fold.

The raincovers have been beautifully crafted to fit one or both of the seats. Both provide the usual Mamas & Papas, high quality, tailor-made solution to weatherproofing your pushchair.

Our verdict...

This second seat does what it says on the tin, it is a ‘junior' seat, which in translation means it is not suitable for an infant. It only has a three point harness and at 33cms wide, 24cms deep and with a back height of 43cms it would simply not be safe enough for the younger child.  As a junior seat however, it serves its purpose very well. It sits far enough away from the primary seat so that it is not cramped and is ample in size enough to fit a four year old if necessary. It doesn't come with a canopy which adds to the spacious feel of the seat and allows a better view of the surroundings. Unfortunately both seats can only be parent facing when the junior seat is in place, with this in mind, it would suit a 2/3 year old toddler when a new sibling comes along just as a means of alternative transport on longer walks.

Pushing the Skate in the double configuration is a breeze. It has a short wheel base and all the weight is centralised which makes kerbs and obstructions easy to overcome.

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