The Bebecar Vector Duo is a versatile tandem that’s travel system compatible. With many different configurations, it’s suitable for twins and children of different ages. But both its size and price tag may put many parents off. European company Bebecar has been designing and manufacturing high-end pushchairs for 45 years. It aims to provide safety, functionality and quality, combining sleek design with performance. The Vector Duo is one of two tandem pushchairs in its range. Suitable from birth to toddlerhood, it features two lie-flat seat units, each one reversible to face either way, and the option of adding one carrycot (rear facing), or one or two Bebecar Easymaxi car seats (reversible to face either way).
The range of seat positions is truly impressive with the Bebecar Vector Duo. You can have both seats facing you, for that all-important eye contact – and you can see both children, not just the one nearest you, as is the case with many of the ‘staggered’ tandem styles around.Other seating options include facing forwards, for when your children are a little older and want to see the world; facing inwards, so they can interact; and even back to back, if you need to stop toddlers bickering!All these positions work with the optional car seats, too, so the Vector Duo really is a versatile system.There’s also the option of adding one carrycot, so you could have a newborn in that, facing you, and a toddler riding up front and enjoying the view. I thought my twins would love the inwards-facing option, so they could chat. In fact there’s not quite enough legroom for two toddlers, so they instead spent all their time kicking and fighting for space. However, it’s quick and easy to switch the seat positions around, so I simply took the front twin out, turned the seat around, put him back in facing me, and continued the journey! This mode, with both seats parent facing, was my favourite of the configurations, as it’s rare to have a twin toddler buggy where they can see you. I enjoyed interacting with my boys as I pushed them around – much to the amusement of passers-by as we sang and pulled faces at each other.The seats are a generous size, padded and plush and cleverly convert from a cosy carrycot-style lie-flat position to fully upright. My toddlers loved this position, which was more upright than most other buggies we’ve tried.The seat height is higher than normal and gave my twin toddlers a good lookout on the world. They enjoyed waving to everyone they passed, like royalty!The handle bar is adjustable for people of different heights, and there’s a large and accessible shopping basket. The brake works across both back wheels and is easy to flip on and off with your foot.There’s a button on the handlebar, which can lock or unlock the swivel wheels, so no crouching or fumbling at floor level. I did find myself needing to use this feature more often than with other buggies, so the button is a useful touch.Although you have to remove the seats first, it’s easy to fold and unfold, thanks to the unique ‘rolling system’ mechanism.The wheels feature Bebecar’s ball bearing system for a smooth ride and prolonged tyre life.The Vector Duo manages kerbs well and is easy to steer and manoeuvre with only one child or two small ones onboard, though much less so with two toddlers.
My main issue with the Vector Duo is it’s just so large. I felt very conspicuous walking around with it, as if I were pushing a train carriage. I had to put such thoughts aside though - when my twins caught sight of it they couldn’t wait to board!Yes, it’s narrow (at 64cm wide), but it’s also very long. It wasn’t easy to manoeuvre around shops. I wasn’t confident to attempt getting on a bus or train (I suspect the bus driver would have laughed me off) and because you need to take off the seats to fold it, I rarely bothered taking it in the car. This is a buggy for people with the room to store it upright at home, or with a large car boot and the patience to dismantle and reassemble it.My twins aren’t yet 2 years old so while they’re big for their age, they’re still going to need a buggy for another year or so. However, I feel they’ve already outgrown the Vector Duo in many ways. It didn’t cope well with their combined weight and steering became a real effort. On any surface that was even slightly sloped (so most pavements) it would pull or even tip to one side. I ended up with aching wrists and forearms from the effort of keeping it straight. When my mother used it to take the boys out for a walk, she came back exhausted and said she wouldn’t be doing that again! Hot tip: flick the switch to fix the wheels when the ground’s in any way uneven, and it’s easier to manage.The Vector Duo didn’t cope at all well with a heavy load combined with bumpy surfaces. When pushing it over the sloping grass around my local pond (a journey all other pushchairs I know cope with), it actually tipped over and I had to let go of the handlebar, leap round the side and use my weight to stop it toppling over completely.The Bebecar website says it weighs 10.5kg, which I found hard to believe as it can feel heavy and unstable. It turns out this is only for the chassis – the seats weigh an additional 6kg each! All up, that’s 22.5kg.It may be better suited to smaller twins, especially since the hoods and aprons were a little too short for my boys. The hoods are thick and padded and while they’re probably very warm and weatherproof in carrycot mode, they completely obscured my boys’ views or touched the tops of their heads, so I ended up taking them off and hoping it wouldn’t rain. There’s also so much material in the hoods that they touch your hands as you push the buggy, which doesn’t sound like much of a problem, but it is annoying and a bit of a design fault. The harness is nicely padded but the shoulder positioning is low and there’s no way of moving it higher. This meant both my boys quickly worked out how to wriggle their arms free and starting twisting and turning around in the seats – just what you don’t need in the supermarket!Pricewise, at £856 the Vector Duo is up there with the most expensive double buggies. It doesn’t come with raincovers (an extra £21 each) or footmuffs (£39 each). To create a travel system, you’re looking at £135 per car seat. The optional carrycot is an additional £178, though I wouldn’t bother with this as the lie-flat seats do the trick perfectly well. With a price tag so high, I want a buggy that will see me from birth to preschool, in all situations. Unfortunately, the Vector Duo doesn’t do that, so I find its use is too limited to justify the cost. Pick up a second-hand one though, and you’re laughing.
Parents of newborns with large cars who aren’t reliant on public transport or keen on off-roading.
The Bebecar Vector Duo looks and feels like a high-quality product. If it’s important you have a tandem rather than a side-by-side buggy, and for your children to have equal space and position, then this fits the bill. It’s probably at it’s best with parents of newborns, who want a plush, cosy, comfortable ride over flat surfaces. However, as your babies become toddlers, you may find you want to change to a more practical, lighter side-by-side as this just isn’t ideal for transporting two larger toddlers.
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk