We've had the Ibelieve Buggy in for road test this week. It's new on the scene, and at £245 the Ibelieve Buggy looks good value.
I'm often asked if I'd be interested in selling my own range of pushchairs. I always offer the same answer. I think it is a brave move and one fraught with pitfalls. The market's already crowded, and there are some great products out there. That's why I admire companies like Your Buggy Shop for bringing a new pushchair to the UK market. Question is, is it any good? Find out in our Ibelieve Buggy Review.
What's in the Box?
The RRP of the Ibelieve Buggy is £245
Complete travel system including Car Seat and Carrycot RRP £350.
• Open Size: 105cm
x 59cm x 75cm
• Closed Size: 40cm x 59cm x 90cm
• Weight: 9.1 kg
• Suitable from: 6 months (suitable from birth with carrycot)
The Ibelieve Buggy is available in Classic Black, Cool Blue, Funky Red, Groovy Green, Hot Pink, Ice White, Outrageous Orange and Sunshine Yellow
£245 is not a lot of money to spend on a pushchair these days, we often see strollers priced at this level. It's a nice surprise, then, to see a fully-grown pushchair available at this enticing price, especially one that includes a footmuff and changing bag.
The Ibelieve buggy looks great value, and this impression is re-inforced when you take it out of the box and look it over. First impressions are of a well-made, solid pushchair – it's a great start.
What's not so good is having to put it together. We're used to some assembly, but on the Ibelieve you even have to thread the hood sticks into the hood canopy and attach the seat fabric to the seat frame. It's not too tricky - it just feels unnecessary and it would be nice if it were done for you. That said, you're not left with loads of cut cable ties, foam packing and polystyrene balls covering the floor, as the packaging doesn't use them.
Once assembled, the Ibelieve buggy looks pretty smart. I must say, I am impressed with the quality of materials and the solid feel of the chassis.
The chassis itself is brushed aluminium and black plastic with a number of polished silver rivets. It is a little fussy to my eye, perhaps there are just too many rivets? The chassis does not hide any real surprises or innovations apart from an unusual bar under the basket - I will come to that later.
Starting at the top, the handle has a good range of adjustment having 5 positions ranging from 93 to 106cm. To raise or lower it you need to press two grey buttons on the inside of the handle at the hinge point. Move the handle to the desired position and release. The handle is covered in soft black foam and is comfortable to hold. The wrist strap is a nice touch – great if you live in a hilly area.
Large pneumatic rear tyres dominate the styling. Measuring 30cm, they will be very capable of handling the rough stuff. The wheel centres have an almost Volkswagen Golf GTI style telephone dial look and certainly catch the eye. The front wheels are hard rubber, measuring 16cm and sport the same telephone dial design as the rear. They have adjustable suspension which can be adjusted across 3 positions. It is a nice idea, but I am not sure how many will really adjust it. I bet most people will leave it in the position it was in when they received the pushchair.
The brake on the Ibelieve is a simple bar design. You press down to apply the brakes and use your toe to lift to take the brakes off. This type of brake design can look a little rudimentary, however, here the black brake bar blends in nicely. Best of all the brakes feel really smooth to apply and are light when you take them off. They are not totally flip-flop friendly, but will not hurt your toes when you remove the brake if you are wearing open toe shoes.
Everyone knows basket size is important. The Ibelieve buggy does not disappoint. The basket is 42cm x 32cm x 12cm. It is a little shallow, but is easily accessible from rear or front depending on which way the seat is facing. There is one little detail that is worth a mention. Under the basket is a large, flat aluminium bar. This combined with the hard base to the basket means you can place quite a bit of weight in the basket without fear of it sagging. It is a simple, clever solution.
The seat fabric on the Ibeieve Buggy needs attaching to the seat frame when you take the product out of the box. This should be simple, but the instructions don't help here. The photos are too small and just don't give you enough information. It is a fairly straightforward process to attach the seat fabric, but you still need some help with initial orientation – bigger colour photos would be great here.
Once you have the fabric attached to the seat frame, you will be pleased to find a large seat offering plenty of room for younger ones and space for older children meaning your Ibelieve Buggy should last you for some time. The seat measures 32cm wide and has a seat back height of 52cm.
Ibelieve has included an excellent gate opening bumper bar, press the grey button on either side to release it and pull it towards you and swing it away. Every pushchair should have this feature.
Removing the seat is a case of pressing the two small grey buttons on the outside of the seat post and lifting it off. The seat can be positioned forward or rear facing and is reattached by dropping it into place.
Reclining the Ibelieve seat is done by pressing the two big buttons located at the seat centre point. The seat recline has 3 positions, upright, a light recline and fully flat. In the flat position, the seats deep base (squab) is really obvious. I am not sure how comfortable little ones will find this position, I think that the middle position will be much more comfortable for them if they are sleeping. The seat recline mechanism is hard to use - pushing in the big buttons take quite a bit of effort. If you have small hands, doing this in conjunction with moving the seat will be tricky, you will have to employ a knee I reckon!
The Ibelieve hood is simple with no frills. There are two canopy sections and a flip out sunvisor. With the hood fully extended, it sits at 90 degrees to the seat frame, pull the sunvisor out and you get quite a bit of extra coverage. It is not a bad hood and can be exchanged for different colours very easily if you want to change your look.
It would like to mention the Ibelieve changing bag at this point. The design is nothing to write home about, it's just a black fabric bag with the usual range of pockets inside, but I do like the way they have added poppers to the handle to attach it to the pushchairs handle.
Finally the Ibelieve comes with a raincover. It is extremely simple to fit and will do the job required with ease.
The Ibelieve will fold with the seat in place but only if the seat is forward facing. If you are in parent facing mode, you need to remove the seat. For the purpose of this review, I will talk you through the fold with the seat in place.
First move the handle up to its highest position. Tip... Come one notch back from this to perfectly position the handle so the pushchair free-stands when folded. Next, locate the two toggles down on the frame below the handle, on the right hand side there is a red safety tab, disengage this. Pull the toggles toward you. The frame will break in the centre and fold down on itself – you are done! Well almost, you will need to manually lock the frame with a fabric strap if you want it held shut.
To unfold, undo the lock and lift the handle. It's so simple, even the grandparents will manage it!
I really think this pushchair needs an auto lock, the fold is great, simple and quick if a little large, but the Ibelieve is light and freestands. An auto lock would be an excellent addition really helping with usability.
The Ibelieve is an interesting pushchair, at £245 it is good value and it is well made. The overall quality and solid feel are a pleasant surprise. It may not be the ultimate in the style department, but that is not the point here.
There are areas for improvement, the recline is tricky, the fold is a little large and an autolock would be a real added bonus.
However, there are some really nice features. It is lightweight, the big tyres are great if you head off the beaten track, the bar under the basket is a great thought. The way the changing bag attaches to the pushchair handle is also very clever.
If you are looking for a big pushchair but are on a budget, check out the Ibelieve, I think you will be surprised – it represents excellent value for money.
We give the Ibelieve Buggy 4 out of 5 stars