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Babyzen YOYO – the ultra compact, lightweight stroller built for travel

The Babyzen YOYO is brilliant. There, I said it. I was asked to review the newest lightweight stroller, and to see if it really is the best stroller for city living, flying with a baby, and for fitting into the car along with all of your other essentials. I have to say, I was fully expecting it to be style over substance… but I was pleasantly surprised.

The Babyzen YOYO is super cute, very light, and soooo much more practical than the ubiquitous Maclaren. And – we’re pleased to say it is now available at Mothercare!

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Most importantly, my 5 year old was able to assemble it and pop it open from its compact folded state (see below for video evidence!)…. a feat which bodes well for mums trying to open it while wrestling a tired toddler.

 

Here’s how the Babyzen YOYO compares to the best lightweight strollers you can buy:

How light is “lightweight”?

5.8 kg. That’s about the same as a 6 week old baby. Or 2 roast chickens. Or 4 Macbook Airs.

Most lightweight strollers weigh in between 4 and 6 kg, the lightest being the Maclaren Volo and the Quicksmart Backpack strollers. The question is… can you tell the difference? I can’t. When I’m not flying, as long as it’s under 10 kg, folds up small, and both myself and baby are comfortable, I’m happy.

How small does it fold?
Babyzen YOYO lightweight stroller dimensions
Babyzen YOYO lightweight stroller dimensions

52 x 44 x 18 cm. Yes, that’s very very compact. They claim this is the first stroller in the world to fully comply with cabin baggage recommendations. You will have seen others making a similar claim, but it is both smaller and easier to stow than the teeny tiny Quicksmart Backpack, which is allowed on some but not all airplanes.

Babyzen YOYO airplane cabin luggage
Babyzen YOYO in the overhead compartment on the plane

Yes, of course, you can bring even the most enormous buggy right up to your gate at the airport… but remember that when you arrive, many airlines will have (quite unhelpfully) arranged for it to be collected from the baggage carousels instead of at the arrival gate. Nightmare. Being able to actually bring the buggy onto the plane with you is a massive bonus.

Babyzen YOYO lightweight stroller on the train
Babyzen YOYO stroller on the train

How easy is it to fold and open the Babyzen YOYO?

While you wait for me to upload a video of my 5 year old daughter figuring out how to open the buggy in 10 seconds, let me tell you a little story.

Those lovely folk over at John Lewis and Kiddicare always make folding and popping up buggies look so easy… so when we ended up buying a Bugaboo cameleon when Mads was a baby, it never occurred to me to practice folding and unfolding the thing at home. Having successfully convinced my husband to pack the car, and taking only 12 minutes to unfold it and attach my super snazzy red moses basket section to the frame, we went for a lovely day out. At the end of the day, there we were, tired baby in her grandmother’s arms, me fighting with the buggy. Sweating. Cursing. Pushing everything that looked vaguely circular even when it was clearly not a button. 40 minutes later we were driving down the motorway… with baby and Grandmother in the back seat, and an stubbornly open Bugaboo stroller frame strapped into the front passenger’s seat.

Since then I have become highly attuned to “ease of folding“. Weird, I know. But it pains me to see people taking wheels and whatnot off of their Phil and Teds to get them into the boot. Or to see new-ish mums and grandmas struggling to open a Maclaren outside the nursery, kicking various bits of the frame as they’ve seen the more practiced mums do.

I’m rambling. But here’s the thing. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but once I did, it’s a super easy and incredibly quick 2 step process.

It’s good, but it’s not perfect… you absolutely need both hands, and there is no way to get around this as you need to simultaneously press two buttons – one on either side of the pushchair.

Is there a better option? Well, there is one buggy which I can safely say is the easiest to open and close… it’s the City Mini. Heck, I can even open a City Mini Double buggy with one hand. But, the City Mini for all its merits is just too long to comply with hand luggage specs, and it’s heavier than most of the lightweight strollers.

How’s the ride?

Smooth, smooth, smooth.

The Babyzen YOYO has a single rounded handlebar, which means that it is infinitely easier to push than any Maclaren, Mamas and Papas lightweight “Trek”, or the little Chicco. The handlebar is relatively high – that’s a good thing as it means no hunching over, so less strain on my back.

Even with 4 wheels, it turns on a dime and is comparable to the 3 wheeled City Mini. As the ultimate test, I strapped my 4.5 year old boy into the YOYO and took him for a spin around the house, using toys, small children and narrow doorways as obstacles. Bumping up and over kerbs was fine too.

Pushing and steering one-handed was a breeze… as was pushing with one finger.

How long will it last?

Technically, it should last you from when your first baby is 6 months old, until your last child is about 4 or 5 years old.

It feels very well built and sturdy, but it’s too new on the market for me to ask other mums about durability.

If you take it off-road or use it for your buggy fitness class the wheels will probably not last you as long!

What about the rain?

I love this rain cover. Again, it’s not as good as the City Mini one, but it is miles better than most of the others I’ve seen. It’s made of high performance plastic, which will come in very handy when your toddler tries to kick it. It also has a really lovely feature – a sort of semi-rigid internal frame near the footrest which bows it outwards and away from your child’s legs. The result is that even my fidgety 4.5 year old boy felt like he had plenty of room under the raincover.

What happens when my baby falls asleep?

Sadly, coffee and a paperback do not magically appear.

But there is a strap at the back which you can loosen to allow the seat to recline to 140 degrees. It’s not flat, but it’s near enough, and your little one will likely have a better rest than in 75% of the other lightweight pushchairs.

There’s also a little shopping basket on the bottom to carry along your book and thermos flask so you can enjoy your much needed break.

What about when it becomes encrusted with raisins and partially chewed Organix gingerbread men?

All the fabrics strip off in a matter of minutes, and you can pop them in the washing machine.

Colours, colours, colours. 

Yes, you’ve got some colour options, both for the frame and for the fabrics. I’m digging the white frame as it feels like I’m driving a giant smartphone.

How much does it cost?

That depends on where you buy it, but RRP is £309. It’s not cheap. If you are just going to be pushing a buggy to nursery and back, then get yourself a Maclaren or similar – they have so many annoying issues, but they are affordable enough that you won’t mind leaving yours unattended outside the nursery or pushing through a muddy park.

The Babyzen YOYO is more of a premium stroller – you’re paying for the fact that it’s much more practical, easier on your back, and has a better design than most of the other lightweight pushchairs. In short, it will make your life easier.

When you’re buying a buggy, remember this piece of kit is going to be with you pretty much 365 days a year for 4 years. It’s worth the money if it makes each of those 1,460 days a little bit better and if it takes the stress out of travelling.

Anything I won’t like?

Well, it’s going to sound a little petty… but there is a tiny little plastic viewing window in the top of the canopy. When your child is in the reclined position, it’s in exactly the right position for you to glance down and see his cute little face peering up at you.

Lovely yes, but the problem is that he isn’t supposed to be peering up at you, he is meant to be sleeping. But the (rare) sunlight is beaming down through the window keeping him awake. It’s a nice touch, and is great for when you’re still cooing at your baby every possible moment… but once your baby has stolen your sleep for a few months and you are desperate for just a few minutes to yourself, you will be frantically covering up the viewing window with milky smelling muslins in an attempt to trick him into falling asleep. Just saying.

Overall

If you need a lightweight buggy for travelling – whether it’s for travelling on a plane, underground or car – this is the best option we’ve come across. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn close.

Where to buy your Babyzen Yoyo

The Babyzen Yoyo is now available at Mothercare in Pink, Red and Black with white or black chassis.

 

Which lightweight stroller would you recommend? 

Written by Janis P.

Comments

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  1. Have seen that this is now available at huggle in London (NW3). They have advised they are taking pre orders as it is not available until end April 2013, but understand that there is a floor model available to demo and play with. Its also available to pre order on their website (www.huggle.co.uk)

    • Hi Louise, I replied ages ago but my reply seems to be lost somewhere in the ether! Technically you could attach a buggy board to it, but personally I wouldn’t do it.
      The buggy is very lightweight and the wheels are solid rather than pneumatic so I would expect some serious wear and tear on the wheels and chassis from the extra weight and it crashing down every time your toddler decides to stay on the board when you go up/down a curb.
      If you’ve got two kids and are looking for something super light that steers well and is small enough to take on holiday, I would highly recommend the City Mini Double.

  2. Hi – love this review – so incredibly helpful and honest. So if there was 20 things I am looking in a stroller, this ticks about 15 of them. Would you say that its great for every day use? I am happy to invest £300 or over on a stroller, but would like something suitable from newborn (in case we are crazy enough to have another). DS is already 1.5 years old. I love that it folds down compact enough for cabin size- but seeing as we are swearing off international travel after our last jaunt abroad (horrific), not sure if its worth it for the couple of times a year we’ll actually use a plane. There is a new stroller on the block I’ve seen this week – Combi – Japanese I believe – but I do not know much about it. The one I’ve seen wouldn’t comply with cabin baggage regs, but seems great for every day use and suitable from newborn. Do you know anything about this ? Really need some help – as like you, I have kicked my bugaboo enough times that my toenails have inverted!!!! 🙂

  3. What would you say is the competitor to this stroller? Anything this compact for traveling? Any others I should be looking into?

    • That’s hard to say – it depends what sort of travel you are going to be doing and whether you are likely to travel alone. There are other strollers that are ultra-lightweight and compact, but the way they fold is such that you wouldn’t be allowed to bring them on the plane. With the other ones I have seen, you can bring the right up to the gate so they are fine for departures.. but then the airline staff take them from the gate and put them onto the plane, and you usually have to collect from the carousel. *Some* airlines will have them ready at the gate upon arrival but in my experience it has been more often the case that you somehow need to get from the plane to the carousel without a buggy.
      Somewhere like Heathrow that will mean walking for about 20-30 minutes carrying a baby, your handbag and the changing bag, and then waiting in the world’s longest queue at immigration, and standing around the carousel still holding everything, and wondering what to do when your bag arrives on the carousel. If you’re lucky you might even get to try and use the toilet while holding the baby, because that is always super-fun.
      It’s all do-able with the help of fellow passengers, but it can be pretty stressful and your back will not thank you! The main selling point of this buggy in terms of how it compares to the others I’ve seen is that it folds up into the size and shape that you will be allowed on the plane with you… a massive help if you are travelling alone or with more than one child.

  4. Hello there,

    I currently have an Uppababy Vista which I LOVE… But I moved into an apartment that has a steep flight of stairs to get in. My little one weighs 25 pounds and I am looking for a lightweight stroller that I can use while doing my everyday errands. I have a less expensive stroller that I leave down in my car and I hate it! I have to use two hands to maneuver it anywhere… Which makes having a nice coffee while I’m walking impossible. Would this be good for everyday use? Would it be comparable to the uppababy in its handling?

  5. “Technically, it should last you from when your first baby is 6 months old, until your last child is about 4 or 5 years old.”

    The manual states that the Yoyo 6+ will only accommodate up to 15kg, or roughly 33lbs. My 19 month old is almost 30 lbs. I will gladly pay the premium for this stroller if it were to accommodate up to 50lbs.

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