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Review: Combi Helio 2008 Stoller

September 8, 2008

Previously we had been using a Graco Spree Stroller that had come in the travel system we bought with a Graco Snugride Infant Car Seat. But honestly while durable (it has survived our dog chewing on the wheels) the stroller is pretty cumbersome and takes up almost all of the bottom of the trunk in our Prius. So before our last road trip we decided to downsize and get something that would take up less trunk space and mean we could still find our daughter among all of the stuff that we previously were packing in the backseat with her. We went to a store that specifically specializes in baby and children supplies and found our new Combi Helio 2008 Stroller in Ember and Wasabi. I have held off writing a review because I honestly figured I wanted to give the stroller some time to break in and really see what problems could possibly arise. We have now had the stroller for a month and have taken it everywhere we can with us from walking around our neighbor, which was a challenge before even with the Graco because not all the roads around our house are paved, to going shopping at the mall, supermarket, walking all over town. The list of features advertised on this stroller include the following:

  • Taller Handles
  • Wider seating area
  • Compatible with Shuttle Infant Seat
  • Quick and simple tri-fold
  • Lightweight and portable lifestyle stroller
  • Opens easily with one hand
  • Deep recline will accommodate an infant
  • Adjustable European Style Canopy with Viewing Window
  • Basket with easy access
  • Convenient carrying strap for traveling
  • Removable Guardrail with Washable Fabric Cover
  • Front swivel wheels for easy maneuvering
  • Convenient footrest for toddler comfort
  • Removable, Washable Padded Seat Cushion
  • Seat cushion has air mesh ventilation that allows baby to stay cool
  • Independent wheel suspension system for a smooth and restful ride
  • Includes Safety Boot
  • 5-Point Harness w/ Logo
  • Removable kids tray with a cup holder and snack tray
  • Includes removable diaper bag

The stroller weighs 13.4lbs can accomodate up to a 55lb child, has open dimensions of 32.5X15.25X40.

The biggest pro for us was that it was lightweight and folded up compactly. Otherwise the other pros that have come in handy are as follows:

  • Removable diaper bag, which fits a quite a few diapers, a small case of wipes, and some extra binkies or a toy quite easily.
  • The recline is very simple to operate and it goes back to a nice recline for our daughter to sleep in.
  • I like the hinges on the side of the canopy to open it and collapse it down, they are easily operated and do not get stuck like on our Graco stroller.
  • The carrying strap has come in handy when we have had to just carry our daughter due to certain terrain.

Unfortunately the list ends there, as we have had some rather frustrating happenings with this stroller (note I plan on contacting the company about these and will be writing another review after I do that to comment on the company’s response to my complaints).

Cons:

  • When folded the lock, which consists of a latch type mechanism, has a tendency to pop open causing the stroller to unfold from the tri-fold.
  • The basket has a bar blocking access from directly behind the seat and there is not much space to access it from the sides either. I expected the basket to be small but it is almost unsuable except for very small items.
  • The front swivel wheels have a tendency to get stuck so after making a turn sometimes they will not return to a straight position resulting in sudden stops.
  • The locks on the front stroller wheels are very stiff, I have to operate them with my hands, and according to the instructions must be on when you are folding up the stroller to prevent damage to the wheels, which means I have to repeatedly bend over when folding and opening this stroller to work the locks.
  • The brakes on the rear wheels are very stiff as well, requiring that you wear shoes unless you possibly like scrapping your toes on the plastic to flip them up into the unlock position.
  • The handles do not seem to be that tall, but that seems to be a continuing problem with most of the strollers that my husband and I have tried, I am 5’9″ and he is 6’0″ and we are constantly kicking the wheels when using this and our Graco stroller.
  • It says that it opens easily with one hand, and while yes I can unlatch the lock with one hand to open it takes me personally two hands to make sure that it locks when unfolded.

While I really wanted to love this stroller as it does have a child cup holder and some nice features the problem with the front wheels in particular has become near unbearable, I can barely manuever through the bookshelves at Barnes & Noble without getting stuck every two minutes.

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