Having seen the Bumbleride stand at Kind+Jugend for the last two years, I’ve admired their simplicity but dismissed them as American, i.e. never coming to the UK! But chatting to their entourage this year revealed that they were looking to move into the UK very soon. So I can finally scrutinize their flagship model, the Indie, with a more considered approach.
Bumbleride don’t have an enormous range, five in total; Indie, Indie Twin, Flite, Flyer and the Queen B. The Indie is definitely their flagship model and hopefully the one that will be crossing the pond.
You would be excused if you think the Indie looks like a lightweight Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle or a softer, less stitched TFK Joggster Twist because it does have echoes of both of them. Like the MB and the TFK, the Indie is a dream to push and can turn on a sixpence.
The soft stuff
Our test victim is an Indie Fog from the Bumbleride Movement Range which has some slight changes in the fabric set compared to the regular models. The original Indie has a canvas feel to the fabric and comes in some stunning colour options, with the eye-catching Aqua joining this list in 2012.
The Movement Edition comes in Jet; sleek black trimmed with electric blue , and Fog; a warm grey trimmed with a burst of persimmon (orange to you and I!). The fabrics in this limited edition range are soft-touch, sports fabrics that are water-resistant and feel like the lightweight material used to manufacture running clothes (like that found in a good quality track suit). The grey and orange are a fabulous colour combination, highly appealing on first impressions, although, at Kind+Jugend, I played with the new Aqua colourway and I have to say, it’s stunning!
The canopy on the Indie is vast, as with most American pushchairs. When the seat is reclined it is encapsulated in the rear apron. This can be unzipped from the canopy to give a full flow of ventilation through the pushchair and to allow the canopy to be poised to give the best protection, regardless of the angle of the sun.
The peephole window in the top is more of a ventilation mesh because you can’t really see much through it. The whole hood is lined with a UV fabric that reflects heat and offers SPF45 sun protection. On the rear of the apron a handy zip-pocket would fit a purse and a mobile or any other small bits you may need close at hand.
The foam covered bumper bar is also covered in a zip-off padded sleeve. It can be angled in five different positions, spanning 180 degrees along the angle of the frame.
The seat is very spacious at 35cms wide and 26cms deep with an ample back height of 50cms. To make sure your passenger stays on board, it has a five point harness that is soft and silky. This sheer texture helps when you want to move the shoulder height from one position to another as the straps unthread easily from the buckles that are discreetly sheathed by the chest pads. The remaining strap can then be relocated into one of the four height options before being re-attached to the rest of the harness. Maintaining the sporty theme, both the chest pads and the crotch pads are covered in a soft airtex-like fabric.
Recline is controlled using the strap mechanism at the back of the chair. A toggle with a button slides down the strap, the back of the seat following, providing an infinite number of reclining angles. As with all strap reclines, it’s not the ‘down’ but the ‘up’ that poses a problem. Sitting the seat upright again, especially when weighed down by a child, is not possible with just your hands, you have to get a shoulder or even your head involved to prop up the back of the seat while one hand slides the toggle and the other holds the strap. It’s not the best recline solution but we are seeing it on more and more pushchairs.
The calf rest can be angled from nearly upright to flat against the frame, resulting in a very relaxed and comfortable seating position. When the seat is reclined and the calf rest is laid flat, the length of the bed reaches an incredible 95cm (an average 3-4 year old!).
The chassis of the Bumbleride Indie is made of super-lightweight aluminium, allowing the finished product to weight an incredible 6.8kg. With no heavy, steel strengthening in this pushchair it is perfect for jogging and most terrains, you are only going to discover it’s limitations if you are trekking up a mountain which, although a possibility for some, never applied to mere mortals like myself – with or without a baby in tow!
The foam covered handle can be stopped at six positions along 180 degrees, reaching a high of 111cms and a practical low of 75cms.
The 30.5cm (12inch) pneumatic tyres ensure a comfortable ride regardless of what’s underfoot and the solid brake puts a full-stop to the rear axle when you need to halt. Included in the package is a jogging wrist strap to make sure that you and your pushchair don’t part company. The front wheel can be locked off using the switch at the front of the frame which, although it does its job, is rather rudimentary and draws your attention to the very ‘unfinished’ looking front axle.
Along with large canopies, the American manufacturers seem to be rather adept at building-in large baskets. The Indie’s basket is a whopping 43cms long, by 32cms wide and would easily accommodate a large changing bag or multiple bags of shopping.
For a large three wheeler, the fold is neat, easy and comfortable to pick up. Trigger switches on either side of the frame, release the top half of the pushchair to fold forwards.
At the top of the basket is a rubber carry handle, lift this and the back wheels swing towards the front wheel, resulting in a reasonably compact fold that can just about stand vertically. You can only perform this balancing act if you lock it shut, this involves the closure brackets which are two large plastic arms that have C shaped clamps on the ends, these must be forced over the tube of the frame opposite to ensure closure – a nail-breaking procedure that most women will abandon over time.
I love the appearance of the Bumbleride Indie, it looks like a comfortable ride and is definitely a pleasant push. The fabrics on the Movement Edition are exquisite, they feel soft to touch and don’t crease, so your good looking pushchair stays uncrumpled.
For Mum, the steering, the fold and the huge shopping basket are great plus points and for your child, the enormous canopy the seating position and the air tyres enhance every journey.
Although I don’t like the fiddly recline, the resulting bed is long and well protected and will make many-a sleep starved mother yearn to climb in and curl up.
The fold is good and simple to achieve but the locking mechanism is very old fashioned and bound to break your nails, as are the removal mechanisms of the bumper bar.
The only pimple on the face of the beautiful Indie is the lack of attention paid to the front wheel axle. It gives the frame the appearance of a slightly unfinished prototype that needs a fraction more care. Otherwise, the Indie is a stunning, nippy mover and will WOW the UK, especially in Aqua. (did I mention that earlier!)
Keep your eyes on Pushchair Trader for more news on the Bumbleride’s breakthrough into the UK, where we’ll keep you posted as soon as we know more.
We give the Bumbleride Indie
3.5 out of 5 stars