Phil & Teds Promenade (double mode) Review
The phil&teds promenade has been marketed as a premium urban stroller – is this because it has exquisite style and smooth functionality or simply because it has a premium price tag. Let’s take a look....
Released last month, (January 2012) the phil&teds promenade is going to spike your curiosity even if it doesn’t turn out to be the right pushchair for you. In their true inline style they have conjured up a townies version of the Verve but with a full size spacious second seat. It has all the knobs and bells that have been missing in the off-roading range and is elegant to boot, with a stylish brushed matt aluminium finish to the frame and the edge of the seats.
- Same size seats
- Excellent recline
- Light and nippy
- Knuckled bumper bar
- Cannot parent face in double mode
The phil&teds promenade is certainly a departure from their usual sporty, outdoorsy, inline pushchairs. Filling a gap in their range, they are appealing to the urban, city dweller; supplying the phil&teds versatility with a more refined edge.
Where a phil & teds pushchair will usually have air tyres and straps to recline, the promenade has smooth EVA foam tyres and a handle at the top of the seat to perform the recline.
To reduce all the kit and caboodle you need to make this pushchair suitable for newborns, the promenade has pramette seats. What this means is that the seat unit can be transformed into a carrycot by releasing two straps that span the rear of the chair.
Released last month, (January 2012) the phil & teds promenade is going to spike your curiosity even if it doesn’t turn out to be the right pushchair for you. In their true inline style they have conjured up a townies version of the Verve but with a full size spacious second seat. It has all the knobs and bells that have been missing in the off-roading range and is elegant to boot, with a stylish brushed matt aluminium finish to the frame and the edge of the seats.
So, to start with, let’s take a look at it in the single mode...
The first thing that will strike you about the chassis of the promenade is the handle. It stretches in a languid arch from the front wheels to its initial stopping point at 105cms from the ground, this can be extended to a height of 108cms, which seems very little but it’s more to accommodate a taller persons gait rather than their height. When it is set at the higher of the two levels, it positions the pusher 60cms away from the back axle, so there is never going to be a scenario where you might catch it with your toes. It also gives the impression that the pushchair is very long, but the handle has direct control of the front wheels making the manoeuvrability smooth and nippy.
The 28cm, EVA foam, back wheels, sit astride the rear axle making the overall width of the pushchair 64cms. The brake pedal is a rocker switch that sits on the right of the axle and has obvious markings; red to apply and grey to release.
The 19cm front wheels can be locked off using the pedal above to make them unidirectional and each has a suspension spring that will soak up the bumps on rougher terrain.
In single mode the basket is enormous, around 67cms long by 36cms wide. There is very little you couldn’t fit in a space this large. With the seat in the front facing mode it is cavernous. If anything, they could do with making a shopping basket accessory, as Microlite have done with their ‘twofold’, using the space that will eventually be occupied by the second seat to accommodate a lift-out shopping basket...just an idea!
I like the fold on the promenade it’s simple and results with an auto lock. Apply the brake and contract the handle all the way into the frame. Then press down on both release switches, located on the inside of the handle shaft. These give way for you to be able to slide the fold trigger upwards thus collapsing the handle towards the back wheels.
The fold is not petite but for a double pushchair it is one of the best at only 96cms long by 64cms wide. You can fold the promenade with the seat in the forward facing position; it won’t fold with the seat parent facing, in carrycot mode or with the double kit in place.
The single seat unit can be dropped onto the frame in the forward or parent facing positions. However you will find that there is a separate bracket for each. As it comes, the fixed bracket is for the seat to face forward. The second brackets are supplied in the box and snap onto the handle shafts either side. Conveniently market with ‘L’ and ‘R’ you stand little chance of getting it wrong, just as well because they are quite difficult to secure.
What is particularly appealing to me is that the seat in parent facing mode is positioned high up on the frame thanks to the snap-on brackets, giving you better interaction with your infant.
The mechanism that allows you to remove the seat from the frame is a little fiddly. Your thumbs have to press down on the dial (below the bumper bar) at the same time as lifting the seat from the frame. I have to say, I prefer release buttons to work in the same direction as you are lifting...just to make it more logical – you don’t want to have to be exerting a downward pressure at the same time as lifting!
As a seat, this unit can recline in three positions with the easy-to-use and easy-to-locate handle at the top of the chair. The footrest can be angled in four positions to suit your child by pressing the buttons on the outside of the seat frame.
The five point harness can be adjusted by pushing the plastic buckle through the rear of the seat and out through the front. You have a choice of three heights altogether and to secure it in an alternative slot, you only have to post the buckle through to the back...job done!
The belly bar, or bumper bar – depending what you call it, slides into the sockets on each side of the seat frame. It can independently unplugged to gate open, allowing you or your child easier access to the seat...perfection.
The canopy snaps onto the top of the seat with four press studs and grips the edges of the frame with clamps. With a covered viewing window to spy on your passenger in the top of the ample hood, it can also unzip to extend by a further segment to provide shade and ventilation through the discreetly hidden, UV meshed panel.
Converting the set into a carrycot is so quick; you are going to have to concentrate to not miss it.
Fully recline the seat to horizontal, undo the strap at the rear and the strap underneath, that forms the crease for the knees in the seat, push down to drop the fabric to form the carrycot...stop the clock!
Now, I’m not normally a fan of the ‘pramette’ but the promenade carrycot is large (larger than the phil&teds peanut and relatively well protected. The rigid rim and the thickness of the fabrics makes a stable and comfortable environment for a newborn as long as a liner or a cocoon is used.
To convert it back to a seat, simply reconnect the straps at the back and tilt it into a sitting position!
As a single pushchair, the promenade is not obviously a double with only one seat on board. It simply looks like you’ve invested in a pushchair with a lot of carrying capacity and a high seating position (if facing you). Plus the fold doesn’t reveal it’s expandable secret as it is quite compact.
It is the first pushchair that I have seen the seat successfully transform into a carrycot without extra fabrics or units to clog up your cupboards when not in use. It is excellently manoeuvrable and would be comfortable for the tallest parent to drive without the fear of back ache or treading on the back axle.
There are only a couple of elements that I’m not so keen on. The seat release has been accomplished using a better technique in other models, it’s unnecessarily overdesigned and fiddly on the promenade. Another niggle is the fabric footwell. Given that the seat transforms into a carrycot, I wouldn’t want the end of the carrycot to retain the germs of some of the nasties that toddlers can transport on their shoes. The fabric is wipeable and I’m sure antibacterial spray will overcome any aggressive germs but it is still bound to get some dirt engrained into the fabric.
Overall this is an elegant, streetwise pushchair with few faults.
We give the phil&teds promenade in single mode
4 out of 5 stars.
When you purchase a double kit, you will get a virtually identical seat to the one that came with the original pushchair. The only differences are the attachment mechanism and the shape; the double kit seat tapers towards the feet.
Below, two pegs protrude from the rim of the seat and slot neatly into the sockets at the base of the basket, announcing their correct location with a ‘click’.
The double kit seat echoes the single seat by working in exactly the same way in the carrycot transformation, harness height adjustment and canopy attachment. The differences are slight. The canopy is shallow but still retains the covered window to check up on your passenger and the footrest is not adjustable. Apart from that, neither seat is disadvantaged, the double kit seat even reclines in the same manner using the handle at the top of the chair. It has a great sitting upright angle and drops all the way back to virtually horizontal. Very rare in an inline pushchair!
Both seats have plenty of space so it doesn’t feel like you are sitting one child on top of the other. They can be configured seat/seat, seat /carrycot, carrycot/carrycot and car seat/seat. Unfortunately the double kit seat can never be parent facing.
The marketing tagline for the Promenade is ‘start as you mean to go on’. I understand that this is translated as ‘a pushchair for life’ but given the imagery they have used it takes on a much more pompous lilt. For example the video shows the promenade in front of a Learjet, a Louis Vuitton bag, in a stately home library, being lifted out of an Aston Martin and wheeled to champagne dinner enjoyed by Mamma and Pappa. This flashy insincerity undermines what is a beautifully practical pushchair with sensible longevity built-in.
I hope this over aspirational marketing doesn’t deter anyone from buying what is an excellent inline. To me, it has all the fluffy elements that are missing from regular all-terrain pushchairs, like a rear handle recline, same size second seat and a knuckled bumper bar.
The Promenade is a dream to push and being an inline is an easy size to get around with the least hassle. However, this is the first inline I have seen that doesn't compromise the comfort of the child in the rear. Unlike most, the promenade offers plenty of visibility in the back and a full size seat. The large arched handle means that the pushchair isn't tripping you up on every step and the windows in the canopies ensure you can keep an eye on your passengers.
If the seats could face the parent when mounted together, this would be the perfect means of transporting two children. It's light, compact, nippy but full of luxury for parent and child.
We give the phil&teds Promenade in double mode
4.5 out of 5 stars