Mamas & Papas Urbo Review
There are some traditional names in the pushchair business that are associated with quality and reliability, Mamas & Papas deliver both, and add style to the mix. We have the Urbo at Pushchair Expert HQ for review – see what you think....
Mamas and Papas are renowned for their stylish, well-built pushchairs. They had a period as market leaders, being the only company bringing the best of European style to the previously uninspired British Isles. Other manufacturers have joined the race and overtaken them at times but M&P are always hanging from the top of the desirable tree.
- Gate opening bumper
- One-handed recline
- Easy seat removal
- Huge canopy
- Firm brake and shallow basket
- Ugly footplate.
There are some nifty features on the Mamas and Papas Urbo that are worth a look but it's hard to tell if the Urbo is a contemporary pushchair or simply a well designed classic with built in mod-cons.
The Mamas & Papas Urbo comes in black, grey, mustard, lavender and stone on a silver frame, while the Urbo Elite comes in black or mulberry on a black frame.
The seat on the Urbo is quite low and the frame is very square, these attributes combine to make the Urbo extremely stable. This is a no-topple, no-wobble pushchair.
The frame is very utilitarian. Our review victim is an Urbo Elite, so all of the aluminium tubing that forms the chassis is gloss black. The handle displays a touch of finesse, covered in a stitched padded leather grip, reminding me of the steering wheel of an old racing car. The height is variable from 84.5cms to 102cms by unclipping the grips on the shafts of the handle and sliding it in or out of the frame to the required height, then restraining it once again by closing the clips.
The wheel base is nearly square, with only a 2cm difference between the length and the width. The 15cm front wheels can be locked off at the switches above them on the frame to stop them rotating 360 degrees. The 18cm rear wheels are fitted with the braking mechanism. The pedals to apply the brake, stem from the back axle and either of them can be deployed to make the pushchair come to a firm halt, so firm in fact that you need to be wearing shoes to release it, I would not recommend flip-flops.
The basket is slung from the four corners of the chassis and measures 34cms by 38cms. Even though it looks ridiculously shallow at 7cms the bottom of the basket is elasticated, making it deceptively capable of carrying more than you might think.
As I said, our review victim is an Urbo Elite which lends itself to being slightly more lux than the mere Urbo. Dimensionally, the Elite is identical to the Urbo with room for a large child. The depth of the seat is 25cms and the width, a huge, 28.5cms. With a back height of 51cms, I doubt your child will outgrow this voluminous chair, they are more likely to simply outgrow riding in a pushchair.
The large canopy is removable but integrates seamlessly into the chair. The fabric that forms the canopy is sumptuous, our Elite being black with a geometric pattern. On top is a peephole window that is beautifully finished with a magnetic flap. Comprising of two large segments, the canopy can be extended further by flipping out the sun visor, providing full sun coverage for your passenger, eliminating the need for balanced blanket or third party sun shades.
The simple padded, diamond quilted seat has a 5-point harness that is easily adjusted by re-threading the harness from the rear of the chair. It has a choice of three possible shoulder heights to accommodate your growing child. The leg rest has multiple angle options between fully horizontal and vertical.
The bumper bar is simple to plug-in or remove and includes a gate opening hinge so that it doesn't have to be completely removed to allow your child to get in or out of the pushchair.
Sitting the seat on the frame is a doddle. It is obvious where the seat slots into the sockets and rewards you with a healthy click to let you know it is properly located. Removing the seat from the frame is equally self-explanatory; at the point you naturally reach to pick the seat up are handle grips that conceal the release mechanism within them. Pull up, as you would to remove it and it comes away from the chassis very naturally. From here, you can turn your seat to be parent or world facing, whichever suits your child more.
Reclining is also intuitive; squeeze the latch on the rear of the seat to choose one of three possible recline angles from fully flat to sitting upright, with a snooze angle inbetween.
The Urbo can be folded with or without the seat in place, however if you are folding the pushchair with it attached, it must be in the forward facing position. The triggers to break the frame are on the shafts of the handle, the left simply slides up but the right has a button that needs to be pressed before it will slide. The frame then neatly drops over the wheel base and automatically locks shut. It can stand vertically allowing it to be stored in the hall or a cupboard out of the way.
Opening is not immediately transparent, in fact it had me fooled for quite some time but it's simple when you know how....The sliding fold trigger on the left handle shaft has a raised rivet mounted on top of it, this clicks into a bracket on the frame when it is folded. To release the rivet from the bracket, the trigger latch must slide out of the bracket's grip whereas it's normally the bracket that moves.
All the accessories are ‘extras' except for the raincover, which in true Mamas & Papas style is custom made for the Urbo. It has a tailored, flawless look and encases the entirety of your child even if they are near the end of their pushchair days. From the knees down is a waterproof black fabric adorned with the Mamas & Papas logo. It oozes quality and is testament to the way that Mamas & Papas shoe-horn practical, good quality design into everything they do.
Having spent a couple of days in the company of the Urbo, I've got to know it very well and I'm surprised how much I like it. Initially I didn't like the ‘look' of its boxy, square frame or the low mounting position of the seat but there are many endearing qualities to this pushchair that have refreshed my opinion.
The quality of the seat unit on the Urbo is exquisite; the well finished, gate opening bumper bar; the simple, one-handed recline; the clever squeeze-and-lift seat removal mechanism and the huge canopy are particular favourites.
The relatively compact fold has the added bonus of being able to stand upright, a really useful quality in terms of storage, wherever you are. I love the tailor-made raincover it's gorgeous and only adds to the appeal instead of being an ugly, ill fitting, necessity as they are in lots of pushchairs.
Its cons are few but it does have some...The brake is very stiff and firm to release, definitely not flip-flop friendly. The basket is shallow and even with its stretchy qualities I wouldn't want to overload it as I would worry about my shopping escaping over the sides. The footplate looks like an ugly afterthought that doesn't seem to have had the same well-oiled design treatment as the rest of the pushchair.
Altogether, the pros outweigh the cons in the Mamas & Papas Urbo and during our time together we have become unexpected friends and I am becoming more aware of the attention to detail that M&P pay their products. It's refreshing to see things finished so well.
Keep your eyes on the Urbo, M&P are giving it a revamp that's due out early next year, it will have a larger basket, a smoother recline and new wheels.