An extremely affordable and stylish travel system, the BabyStyle Oyster is perfect for nipping to the shops, where you can spend the money you could've spent on a far more expensive alternative.When I initially shopped for 11-month-old Jack's buggy the BabyStyle Oyster was not available, and I was blinded at the time, like the majority of new parents, by the promise of the Bugaboo. And the Oyster and the Bugaboo are not dissimilar – forward and rear-facing travel, adjustable handle height, easy to fold, roomy shopping basket, car-seat compatible, suitable for newborns - but there’s one whopping major difference: price.
The Oyster stroller - including chassis, seat unit, fitted apron and raincover - is £249. You then add the optional-but-really-useful colour pack (containing the hood, seat liner and car seat head hugger) for £50, the Oyster car seat for £74 and the Oyster car seat adapter for £15. That's a total of £388 for a travel system.
Weight wise, the Oyster as a buggy is 10.5kg. Using the Oyster as a travel system with the 3.5kg Oyster car seat is 10.25kg.
The Oyster is quite simply an absolute bargain – it's roughly one-third the price of the Bugaboo as a travel system, yet it outstrips systems of a similar price in its design. It has a brilliant sun canopy, which cleverly zips out to extend and the neat addition of an integral shade/mosquito net, which is cleverly tucked away under the front of the seat in a zipped pocket. Strolling in sunshine even with some of the best canopies still leaves Jack squinting into the distance like John Wayne, but the canopy on the Oyster comes down a long way, shading him in all sun angles we encountered.The shopping basket at the bottom is very accessible, without the need to grovel in the dirt to get to your stuff.The ride in the Oyster is cosy, but baby Jack was not squashed, and while the seat doesn’t recline to horizontal, it didn’t stop him having a good snooze while out on our walks. I also borrowed baby Minnie May, who is 4 months and tiny, from a friend and gave her a ride in the optional carrycot (which would add £115 to the total price). Unlike other models I have used, Minnie didn’t rattle around like a pea, and was kept cool by the vent at one end of the unit. Tackling the car with Jack's current buggy involves much swearing (from me) and laughter (from Jack and my husband) as I wrestle the thing to the ground before hoisting it into the boot. This is not the case with the Oyster, which really is easy to fold down (just two buttons to press), and fairly lightweight. Better still, it folds with the seat still attached. If you fold it with wheels on, it'll be 56cm (w), 40cm (d) and 75cm (h). If you take them off, it's more compact at 50cm (w), 31cm (d) and 70cm (h).In addition the Oyster is a doddle to put together and fold – even when sporting one of those special Sunday morning heads that only adults should have, I managed to work it out virtually without the manual. The Oyster is also compatible with two other brands of car seat, Maxi-Cosi and Britax. Britax has even designed a specific Oyster car seat that has integrated adaptors.
Both my husband and I felt that Jack had a fairly hard ride suspension-wise, although fair we did take him off road and over some fairly bumpy ground. I think the Oyster is best for urban paths only as the suspension is not really up to rough country lanes - although in all fairness it’s not really designed with this country activity in mind.The rain canopy seems like an afterthought – it tore on a seam the first time I stretched it into place. It’s flimsy and thin and would struggle with some of the storms we experience after a period of hot weather in Britain.
Style-savvy and budget-conscious urban parents with a newborn.
Unbelievably good value for money, the Oyster is a travel system that looks fantastic. It’s especially easy to fold and lift into the boot of a car because it is lightweight and compact. However, if you live in the country, it’s not great for those bumpy lanes.
First reviewed 20/07/2009. Updated 23/02/2012.
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