Micralite Super-lite review
What is a nippy petite pushchair that can transform into a pram or travel system and folds down to a footprint of under 40cms square? The Micralite Super-lite.
The Micralite Super-lite is fantastically engineered and weighs next to nothing. It is ridiculously easy to manoeuvre and with such a nippy personality, it would suit busy people.
- Extreme manoeuvrability
- Super easy small fold
- All terrain
- Easy to tip
- Not well protected from the elements
- Small canopy
If you've never seen a Micralite Super-lite then you've also not seen anything like it. It's completely unique. The Super-lite resembles a mechanical, over-engineered grasshopper, which is by no means a criticism, it's just so different from everything else.
The Super-lite is an incredible design that does exactly what it says on the tin; it is Super Light. At only 6kg, it is one of the lightest pushchairs on the market meaning it is ideal for anyone petite. At 5ft 2ins the Micralite Super-lite is one of my ideal pushchairs, simply because I can manage to throw it around with zero effort.
It's difficult to know where to start a review on the Super-lite, but probably top of the ‘points-of-interest' is the seat. From the front it is a triangular shape, as it is from the side. It measures 36cms along the front edge, narrowing to 23cms across the back. The seat looks small but it's actually 52cms tall, the optical illusion is created by its narrow width.
The whole seat is made from a meshed fabric that will offer fantastic ventilation in the hotter months but would definitely be a bum freezer in the colder ones.
The 5-point harness can be adjusted at the shoulder in 3 different heights to suit the various growing stages of your child. Altering the position is merely a matter of poking the buckle through its current hole and re-inserting it into another one.
Reclining the seat, like everything on this pushchair, is unconventional. The rear of the pushchair has two vertical stems running from the handle down to the rear axle, this is the backbone of the Super-lite and everything branches from it. On each vertical are brackets that slide down under pressure, to recline the seat to 40 degrees – certainly not flat, but sufficient for a comfortable sleep.
The brackets can be a little tough to press but everything about this pushchair is made more functional with a passenger on board. Weight in the seat makes all the difference to its performance. To sit the seat back up again, slide the brackets up the stem until you feel the locking point.
Although there are four wheels on the Micralite Super-lite, the rear wheels dominate the appearance and provide all the drive, the front wheels are merely for directional manoeuvrability.
- The rear measure 31cm compared to the meagre 15cms of the front.
-The rear tyres are chunky and air-filled whereas the front are made from EVA foam.
-The rear wheels come under the control of the brake and the front swivel 360 degrees unless locked off to be unidirectional.
The combination of these mismatched sizes makes it look powerful and robust, like a tractor, and although I would class the Super-lite as a predominantly urban pushchair, it would be at home on most terrains, especially when tilted to be used on its hind legs
As I mentioned before, the entire frame on the Super-lite extends out from the vertical posts that run from the handle to the rear axle. From approximately halfway down, the arms for the front wheels extend outwards. The folding mechanism sits at this junction (more about this later). Just below it, the foot brake is a rudimentary metal bar that applies a firm stop to the rear wheels. Although basic, it is easy to apply and can be released without the necessity of wearing steel toed boots.
The shopping basket is suspended from the frame between the front and rear axles. Even though it looks relatively large, the complexity of the frame and a support strap that runs over the top, limits the access.
The canopy virtually forms part of the frame. It starts near the rear wheels and arches over the seat. It isn't huge but it is endearingly simple. It has a viewing hole in the top to keep an eye on your passenger.
Brilliant manoeuvrability needs decent handles and the chunky foam covered handles of the Super-lite give you excellent control. The ‘bull horns' can rotate 360 degrees, so at what point you clamp them into place is up to you.
I love the fold on the Super-lite. At the junction where the front stems join the vertical backbone is the folding mechanism. You don't need to read the instruction manual because the modus operandii is written on the levers.
Press down on the red lever, then, with your other hand, press on the grey lever while lifting up on the whole bracket. Due to the clever construction, the folding mechanism slides up the rear verticals towards the handles, pulling in the front legs as it goes. Once at the top, an auto-lock clamps onto a horizontal bar that spans the rear verticals.
It's a neat fold that stand upright with ease, making it ideal for use on public transport. You end up with a free-standing, small pushchair and you haven't had to suffer the embarrassment of wrestling it to the ground to get there!
Unfolding the frame is equally as easy, simply unhook the auto lock and slide the folding mechanism down the verticals to extend the front wheels forwards until you hear it click.
Included in the package is the novel raincover. It comes in a round bag that can be hung from the handlebar. When you open it, it's a bit of a challenge as it has a rounded wire running along the front to make it stand away from the knees of your passenger. At first it presented me with the same irritation I get from pop up playhouses or tents, I was wrestling against the curl on the wire but eventually I triumphed and attached it to the pushchair using the elastic bungees round the handle and the Velcro elsewhere. It fits well, but wouldn't stand up to serious rain.
Apart from an all important foot muff, there are many extras that can be purchased to enhance the Micralite Super-lite. The car seat and carrycot adaptors allow the Super-lite to be used from birth and the Air-flo carrycot is the custom made Micralite bed that can be used on both the Super-lite and their larger Toro. A couple of the accessories to look out for are the rider board and handle extensions. The board allows your toddler to hitch a ride on the back when they have grown tired of walking, and the handle extensions, apart from looking really cool, give a better reach for those with a longer gait.
The Micralite Super-lite is fantastically engineered and weighs next to nothing. It is ridiculously easy to manoeuvre and with such a nippy personality, it would suit busy people. Whether you are dashing into town in the car or catching the bus, it takes no effort to unload and fold, then open and away when you get there. The fold makes it easy to store in the home or the boot of the car, unlike some pushchairs it won't over dominate your house or leave no room for shopping in the car.
The accessories available are not overpriced but in some cases an absolute necessity. By the nature of the fabric, the seat will be a bum freezer in the winter months, so a liner and a foot muff should be at the top of your 'must buy' list.
It's great that such a nifty stroller can also accommodate a proper carrycot and your choice of Maxi-Cosi car seat. You could have a complete travel system for under £500 on a frame that will see you through to when your child is no longer needing wheels - a bargain with longevity!
I only have a couple of gripes with the Micralite Super-lite: firstly, the canopy could do with being larger because it shades more of the chassis than the passenger. Secondly, you will need to keep a beady eye on an over-keen toddler, because if they try to climb in themselves, the seat is really easy to overbalance.
Altogether, my love for the Micralite Super-lite is based around its innovative engineering and its incredible nippy feel. It's a reasonable price and can last the distance and what's more...it's British!