Phil & Teds Verve Double Review
The phil&teds Verve is a sleek and sophisticated inline that is extremely attractive. It’s the arrogant but good looking member of the phil&teds family – you know the sort, loved by women, envied by men and good at everything! With the Verve under the microscope, we shall find out if this charmer has an Achilles heel!
The expansion to a double on the Verve is a fantastic facility to have in a pushchair and the added advantage of being able to fold it up with it in place is genius, however it is not perfect.
- Generous looking
- Highly manoeuvrable
- Compact fold
- Unrestrained canopy
- Strap recline
Obviously, a great personality and an ability to turn your hand to anything are commendable traits but you can’t help but gaze at the phil&teds Verve without sensing automatic attraction.
It is aesthetically stunning with its long scooped frame, angular supports, wide back axle and jaunty canopy. It’s the sort of pushchair that gives you a sense of elegance whilst still being ready to off-road – appealing qualities!
Working our way around this disarming pushchair, it’s hard to know where to start. The handle should be the first port of call, and even here there is functionality to discuss. The angle of the handle can be adjusted into six positions by pressing the buttons on the inside of the handle, allowing the height to span 78cms to 109cms.
A safety hand strap comes as standard on the phil&teds range, a useful attachment to make sure your pushchair doesn’t take off without you. Not a prospect worth thinking about with two children on board!
Centrally located on the handle is the brake. The small red button applies the ‘full-stop’ and the longer black button releases it. I love its location and the ease of use. In terms of safety it’s the best possible place to deliver an immediate response when required.
The canopy lies comfortably against the frame, but is not attached in any way. On one hand, this does pose a problem as soon as your child discovers that they can pull the canopy forward onto their lap, a battle of wills is bound to ensure. On the other hand, it can follow-the-sun to provide shade to your passenger regardless of the direction in which your journey takes you (however it’s more likely to act as a wind-break in the UK!). The canopy itself comprises of two segments of slightly textured black nylon and it includes a pop-out UV mesh bill that offers a slight extension.
Moving down the frame to the 34cm generously wide seat it can easily accommodate a three or four year old with the 58cm back height with a further 10cms head clearance in the canopy.
The soft, washable seat pad sits against the contoured and ventilated plastic panel that forms the back of the chair. The five point harness attaches through the pad and through holes in the back panel. Phil&teds offer by far the easiest solution to altering the shoulder height of your harness. Concealed under the shoulder pads on each strap is a pinch clip. Simply undo the clip and unthread it from your seat pad. Twist and slide the lugs on the end of the strap to allow it to slide freely up or down runners on the back panel which are punctuated by 3 possible stopping positions. Twisting the lug back to horizontal locks it into its new position, then it’s simply a matter of pushing the strap back through the seat pad and reattaching it to the rest of the harness.
The seat is reclined using the nylon straps and a toggle on the rear of the back panel. Squeezing the clip and running it down the straps will recline the back rest. As with all reclines that use this method, going down is not a problem, it's going back up that might test your patience. When the seat is weighted with a child, you would be inclined to push the back rest up and hold it in place while you slide the toggle up the straps however, you need two hands to do this!
The bumper bar is a non-poisable foam covered handle, it slides into place on top of the frame but does not have a gate opening mechanism to make loading and off-loading easier. You either have to slide your child in behind it or remove it completely leaving you one hand less to aid your child’s ascent or decent.
The passenger’s feet come to rest on the plastic step that sits in the curve at the bottom of the frame. There is an ample drop from the seat (24cms) to make this a comfortable seating position.
Below and behind the seat is a huge basket, that is wide (41cms), deep (17cms) and cavernous (49cms long), providing plenty of room for shopping, toys and just about anything you may need.
Supporting all of this are the large wheels. Two 30cm air filled tyres sit astride the wide back axle while the front has two 24cm EVA foam tyres that reduce the overall weight of the Verve and minimise the potential of a flat. Exposed suspension on the front, and mud guards on the rear give it that ‘ready-for-anything’ look. On rough ground it would be advisable to lock off the front wheels, prohibiting them from swivelling. The levers on the hubs perform this trick; flicked up to constrain, down to release.
Folding the Verve is a doddle and the finished product is slim and stands vertically. Pull up the paddles either side of the seat, then press the rocking aluminium lever that acts as a safety catch. The frame breaks at the hinge to fold in half, ending with the front wheels tucked neatly against the basket. An auto-lock keeps the frame together plus closing the paddles will keep this fold tidy.
Opening it back up is not a mystery. Open the paddles, undo the auto-lock bracket and pull up the handle. Once the frame is erect, close the paddles (which can be a little stiff) to restore the rigidity in the frame.
As a single pushchair the Verve is manoeuvrable, spacious, good looking and uncomplicated. It’s the sort of solution that all ‘wannabe’ outdoorsy types should choose because at the same time as being a great urban pushchair for nipping to the shops or gliding seamlessly round a mall, it has all the necessary equipment for the occasions you may go for a walk on the beach or for a crisp winter ramble after Sunday lunch.
Not only that, it has ‘to-be-seen-with’ status. There’s no denying that phil&teds has a desirability factor that only really applies to the top echelon of the pushchair world. Some of this comes from the price and some from the very ‘cool’ marketing. Whatever gives a pushchair that ‘X’ factor, the Verve has it. If it wasn’t for the unrestrained canopy, the strap recline and the non-poisable bumper bar, this pushchair would be near perfect.