The Bugaboo Cameleon3 is instantly recognisable - but what's going on behind the distinctive minimalist chassis and chic colour-blocking?
Bugaboo may have gained a reputation for eye-catching modern style - and a small army of celebrity fans to go with it - but at heart the Dutch company is a team of designers and engineers.
Every part of a Bugaboo Cameleon3 contributes to its efficiency and performance - and it is there on show. From the adjustable suspension system that absorbs the bumps of kerbs and tracks to give a smooth ride, to the central joint that brings the modular concept to life, you can see your pushchair working.
That modular concept is at the core of what Bugaboo set out to achieve with the Cameleon3, allowing it to offer the features of several pushchairs in one. Flip the handlebar over the seat and the buggy transforms from an urban stroller with light one-handed steering and a very tight turning circle to an off-roader with large foam-filled front wheels to negotiate rough terrain. Travelling at the beach or in difficult wintry conditions? Remove the front wheels and the seat and the two-wheel version of the pushchair can be pulled through sand and snow.
This innovative idea is put into action as simply as possible, with the Bugaboo Cameleon3's famously pared-back aesthetics an intrinsic part of its functional design. The pivots let the main frame parts move in one smooth arc, with no unnecessary friction or strain. The chassis is made from aluminium, which is strong yet lightweight for easy handling both when assembled and folded down for storage and transport. The joins and moving parts are in heavy-duty moulded plastic with curved edges giving a flowing, streamlined appearance. They are intended to be as instinctive as possible to use, with straightforward push-in buttons and integral clips. The handlebar uses a telescopic system with seven click-in heights to eliminate the possibility of slipping over time and ensure that the angle for the driver is always the same. This gives leverage for raising the wheels over obstacles and avoids undue pressure on other points on the chassis.
Unusually, the carrycot and pushchair seat utilise the same frame. This means the fabrics fold down to a considerably smaller size for easier, more protective storage, which helps them to be kept in optimum condition too. When circumstances require, the units can be taken off the chassis as a whole and employ specially designed supports to give the option of a standalone seat on the ground or a bassinet, saving the cost of purchasing these separately for short-term and infrequent use.
The main fabrics are made from hardwearing fibres that can be machine washed, and the canopy and bassinet apron have been chosen for their properties retaining heat in cold temperatures and helping to maintain a cool interior in the heat. The footrest has a specific wipe-clean finish for additional resistance to dirt. As your family grows, an additional Comfort Wheeled Board can be easily attached to the Bugaboo Cameleon3 to allow a toddler to hitch a safe, balanced ride on their baby brother or sister's wheels when little legs get tired.
Bugaboo has built the Cameleon3 to serve generation after generation. The range of accessories and colour choices the company offers mean it can be customised afresh for every new occupant, owner or even season, but the pushchair itself will continue to offer the same smart and stylish appearance, ease of use and high performance.
That emphasis on clean lines and practical detail makes the Bugaboo Cameleon3 fashion-proof and its enduring desirability, combined with its ability to stand the test of time and terrain, guarantee a lively secondhand market, with parents embracing the opportunity to purchase a premium product at an affordable price.
Models in excellent used condition are currently fetching up to £650 on eBay and Gumtree, with most at around £400-£500, meaning those who buy a brand-new Bugaboo Cameleon3 at £849 can reasonably expect to get over half of that investment back when the time comes to sell it on.