Stylish and good value, the BabyStyle Oyster is ideal for urban dwellers and easy to fold when it’s time to pop it in the car boot.
When I was first shopping for my son’s buggy, I was blinded by the idea of a Bugaboo like plenty of other parents were at the time. But when Jack was 11 months old another eye-catching buggy hit the scene – the BabyStyle Oyster. And the Oyster and the Bugaboo are not dissimilar – both offer forward and rear facing options, have handle heights that are adjustable, fold easily, have decent shopping baskets, and can have a car seat added to make a travel system. However, there’s one rather noticeable difference: the price tag.
The Oyster buggy, which includes the chassis, seat unit, fitted apron and raincover, is £249. You can add the seat unit colour pack (available in 12 colours) for £50, taking the total to £299. This is probably advisable for most, as it contains the hood (which I really rate), seat liner and car seat head hugger.
If you want to create the BabyStyle Oyster travel system, you add the Oyster car seat, £74, and Oyster car seat adapters, £15. You can also opt for two other brands of car seat – Maxi-Cosi and Britax. There are optional extras you can purchase too, including the Oyster carrycot for £115 and carrycot colour pack for £22.50.
The BabyStyle Oyster is a bargain, outstripping buggies of a similar price in terms of design. The sun canopy (part of the £50 colour pack) is brilliant, cleverly zipping out to extend. Even some of the best sun canopies can leave Jack squinting like John Wayne, but the Oyster’s canopy comes down a long way, shading him for all the sun angles we encountered. There’s also an integral shade/mosquito net, tucked away in a zipped pocket under the front of the seat.
The shopping basket is very accessible, but without seeing you groveling in the dirt to get to your goods.
The BabyStyle Oyster offers a cosy ride, but without being squishy. The seat doesn’t recline flat, but Jack was still happy to have a good snooze while we were out with the Oyster. Also, because the seat doesn't recline to a full-flat position, if you want to use it from birth, you'll need to purchase the carrycot or car seat. I tried out the carrycot by borrowing my friend’s baby, 4-month-old Minnie May, who’s tiny. Unlike other buggies I’ve tried, Minnie didn’t roll about like a lost marble, and the vent at one end of the unit kept her cool.
Getting Jack's current buggy into the car boot sees much swearing (from me) and laughter (from Jack and my husband) as I wrestle it to the ground before hauling it into the boot. The Oyster is the opposite – it’s easy to fold down (just press two buttons) and reasonably lightweight. It also folds with the seat still attached, which certainly cuts down on any faffing about. Folded, with the wheels on, the Oyster is 56cm (w), 40cm (d) and 75cm (h). If you take the wheels off, this goes down to 50cm (w), 31cm (d) and 70cm (h).
The BabyStyle Oyster is also a breeze to assemble and fold – even when sporting one of those special Sunday morning heads that only adults should have, I practically worked it out without the manual.
Suspension-wise, both my husband and I felt that Jack had a fairly hard ride, though we did take him off road and over pretty bumpy ground. It’s not really designed with country outings in mind, and I feel the BabyStyle Oyster is at its best on urban paths only.
The rain canopy is flimsy and would have problems coping with some of our British storms. It seems like an afterthought, and it tore on a seam the first time I stretched it into place.
Urban parents seeking style on a budget.
The BabyStyle Oyster is a stylish buggy that offers value for money. It’s easy to fold, compact and light enough to get in and out of the car boot without a fuss. Being able to reverse the seat from rear facing to forward facing mode is another bonus. However, if you live in or often visit the country, its suspension isn’t great on those rough lanes.
First reviewed 09/12/2009. Updated 22/02/2012.
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