If pounding the streets is your thing then the TFK Joggster Twist could resolve the problem of maintaining a running routine once you've had a baby. The Joggster Twist adapts from urban shopper to speed machine at the twist of a switch....
Trend For Kids are relatively new to the UK even though they have been popular in Europe for some time. They have a full range of pushchairs that suit every application, from strollers all the way up to our review specimen, the urban jogging pushchair.
All the models in the TFK range have a unique look, using durable fabrics and reflective stitching; they stand out from the crowd and stand out in the dark. They look chunky and European in the same vein as Kipling bags.
The Joggster III is the top of the tree in the TFK running range and has a fixed front wheel that enables you to maintain your course whilst running, however it will not be available in the UK. The Joggster Twist, our review specimen, has a 360 degree, swivel front wheel making it more practical for everyday use, running and off-roading.
What's in the box
The RRP of the Joggster Twist is £449 or £569 with carrycot
Chasing the frame
The TFK Joggster Twist 2011 model comes with pneumatic 12 inch tyres with a wide, deep tread affording great grip on any surface. All the braking is controlled at the handle, to either slow or stop the pushchair. After dreading the idea of assembling something with disc brakes, I have to say I can only congratulate TFK on their ingenious design. You don't have to be trainee mechanic to work out how the back wheels and brakes go together, even without the instructions!
On top of this user-friendly simplicity, the brakes really work; you can feel the grip with the slightest pressure on the lever. If you want a secure full stop, apply the red lock to the lever and your pushchair is immoveable.
The front wheel can be locked into position using the very obvious rotating control above the front wheel. Position 1 will allow the wheel to swivel and position 2 will lock it off either underneath or ahead of the frame. The bright red button in the middle of the control releases the front wheel in a jiffy to reduce the size when folding.
A large, deep basket, 48cm in length, 33cm wide and 20cm deep will keep most items under control although it could really do with a lid or net cover in case it turns into a trampoline as you gather momentum.
Suspension is built into the frame where it joins the back axle. You can test it out yourself by leaning on the handle and feeling the ‘bounce'.
To suit your individual height, the angle of the handle can be adjusted via the buttons either side to give a total height of 68-105cms.
Pop your seat on
The seat is applied to the frame via numerous poppers that are surprisingly easy to pop, they don't break your thumb as you snap the two sides of the stud together. Having a removable seat is such a good idea, especially if your child snacks in their pushchair – just pop it off, give it a shake or a wipe and pop it back on again!
The seat is 30cms wide, 27cms deep and 54cms tall which would accommodate a child of 5-6 years depending on their weight. It is lined with the ‘Airgo' breathable seat cover that stops your child from sticking to the seat and keeps them cool and well ventilated. Handy, zip-up pockets hang either side of the chair; ideal for small toys or snacks.
The chest pads on the five point harness are soft and emblazoned with the Joggster Twist logo - they look like those found in sports cars. The harness itself can be cleverly positioned in one of two shoulder heights by shortening or lengthening the straps, using the loops on the back of the seat.
The fabric, although durable and wipeable, feels a little utilitarian. It's not plush but it is tough.
The foot rest is attached to the seat unit and can be locked into three different positions by folding the footplate up and sliding it into a higher or lower position. It can also extend the seat horizontally by being propped up using the bracket attached to the frame.
The bumper bar spans the wide seat, clamping onto the frame either side, allowing it to open like a gate to get your child in or out. The small red buttons on the top of each hinge provide the means of adjusting the angle of the bar but they are a little fiddly and can be activated individually allowing your bar to end up wonky, in different settings on either side. It has a removable cover to make cleaning easy.
Reclining is controlled by a series of zips in the back of the seat. Two zips can be undone in various combinations to give you three recline positions, from nearly fully flat to upright.
Staying in the shade
The canopy on the Joggster Twist is enormous and includes a viewing window in the top to let you look in on your passenger. A roll-up flap covers the window when not in use. The entire rear apron can be zipped off for better ventilation when it's hot.
The rim of the canopy has a zip compartment that hides a pull-out mosquito net. Further zipped compartments on each side are spacious and convenient for bits and bobs that you need to hand.
The TFK Joggster Twist is a large pushchair, but with that in mind - it's fold is relatively compact.
Firstly retract the canopy, fold the bumper bar down to it's lowest setting and flip the footplate up. Then unclip the black brackets either side of the frame and lift the red safety loop on the left. The handle then folds towards the front wheel, cutting the frame in half. Next, grab the carry strap that resides in the basket below the seat unit and pull up, this manoeuvre makes the back wheels swing under the frame. Once closed, the folded frame can be compacted by removing the front wheel and folding the handle up, it will then be able to stand vertically. It is quite a tidy fold for such a large pushchair.
Unfortunately there is no means of keeping the folded frame tethered together so it has a tendency to open if you try to pick it up at the wrong angle.
Opening has a knack that makes it easy. Holding on to the two black arms of the frame that sit slightly proud of the folded frame, put your foot on the back axle and roll the rear wheels toward you. Then unfold the top of the pushchair by pulling the handle towards you, secure the frame open by closing the clips either side and then extend the handle. You can attach the front wheel at any time, I left it until the end as it seemed to be more stable when it wasn't in place. Next, and most importantly, press down on the back of the basket until you hear a click, this signifies that the fold is complete.
The TFK Joggster Twist is a large but versatile animal. The Joggster III is its closest relative, and as a dedicated jogger, it is exactly the same as the Joggster Twist but has a fixed front wheel. Personally I would never buy a dedicated jogging pushchair, not because I'm exhausted at the mere idea of running to the loo but because you need a pushchair for so many other applications that a fixed front wheel would render impossible or impractical at the very least.
The Joggster Twist can change it's personality to suit – jogging , all-terrain one minute, to nippy, shopper the next. Plus, it's a pack horse if you take advantage of all the storage pockets and the large deep basket.
The fold is brilliant and easy to achieve even though it sounds a little convoluted. With the carry strap it is easy to transport even though it's a little on the heavy side. The braking system is brilliantly responsive and you wouldn't have any concerns about stopping, whatever your speed or terrain.
Unfortunately, apart from the reflective stitching that has been used liberally all over the seat, the fabrics on the Joggster Twist seem very under engineered compared to the work that has gone into the mechanics of the frame. The texture makes the pushchair slightly rough to the touch. Plus, with so many accents; the stitching, the pockets, the flaps and logos make it quite a busy feast.
Altogether, the Joggster Twist does the job that it's employed to do, and does it well – it's a very user friendly pushchair.
We give the TFK Joggster Twist
3.5 out of 5 stars
Folded 88 x 60 x 40 cms (with wheels)
75 x 60 x 20 cms (without wheels)