UK company BabyStyle launched its affordable colour-customisable Oyster travel system back in 2009 to a raft of rave reviews (including us) and awards.
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Its successor, the Oyster 2 is said to boast improvements to the original design, such as a lie flat seat that’s suitable from birth and a more robust canopy.
I tested the BabyStyle Oyster 2 with my 4 month-old son Evan.
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How easy is it to build the Babystyle Oyster buggy?
Not easy at all I’m afraid. It took me 40 minutes from start to finish to build the pram (albeit with a crying baby in the room).
Unfolding the chassis and clicking the wheels on
Popping the seat unit in
Clipping the hood on – a 15 minute battle of brute force. I was convinced I was doing something wrong and that the plastic clips were going to snap. It just required a lot of strength
Fitting the coloured seat insert – fiddly. The colour pack instructions tell you to remove the strap pads. Don’t – follow the seat unit manual instead and pop the strap out through the seat unit.
Fitting the apron – took me a while to discover the fastenings are moulded to the plastic underside of the seat
Overall, the instructions aren’t good. There are 2 sets – 1 main set and a 2nd manual with the colour pack, which has conflicting advice. They’re often vague and the pictures aren’t always clear. Could do better.
What’s in the box?
Chassis and wheels
Seat unit (with integral mosquito net)
What’s not in the box?
‘Colour pack’ (available in five shades) which comprises of the hood, seat insert, apron and head-hugger, for an additional £70. This isn’t an optional accessory, you will need it.
It’s simple once you’ve practiced it, but I found it awkward at first. It took time to get the knack of the sliding button mechanism on the handles, and I trapped my fingers a couple of times when clicking the frame down! It also requires two hands to operate, so not good for public transport if you’re travelling on your own.
You have to remove the bumper bar and apron to fold the seat properly, so it’s not something you can do speedily. Shame there’s no clever place to store these bits.
It does fold with the seat in both positions, but when it’s facing forward, you have to extend the handle to fold it properly.
How about unfolding?
Unfolding is much easier. It’s a two-step but simple process. I found the tab for unfolding the seat to be stiff and noisy and a bit flimsy.
How compact was it when folded and stored?
Not very. Depending on which way the seat is facing, the folds are different in size and shape.
When front-facing, the pram folds smaller in height but is very bulky (I measured it at 62cm at the thickest part).
If rear-facing, it becomes thinner but much taller (I measured it at 106cm in height), and not easy to carry around with both hands, let alone one.
The slimmest option is to remove the seat from the chassis and fold both separately.
It is freestanding when folded, which is great. But it becomes quite difficult to manoeuvre as the handle is what it rests on at the bottom when it’s freestanding. The downside is that the plastic fitting on the handle gets scratched as it’s on the floor.
How light does the Oyster 2 feel?
At 11kg, it’s a fairly standard weight for a solid pushchair. But it’s not easy to carry around when folded, particularly when seat has been rear-facing. I wouldn’t want to carry it up and down the stairs every day.
What are the basket and storage pockets like?
The basket is fantastically roomy and the seat is situated high enough on the chassis to give you ample access to it. We piled it full of shopping and the buggy didn’t feel heavy or laborious to push. It also has a nifty storage pocket which was handy for keeping the rain cover tucked away neatly.
How is it to push around the city, on the bus and up stairs?
It’s very comfortable and easy to push. The handle has a lovely soft grip and you can adjust the height of the handlebar to three different positions, which my 6’4” husband (and his lower back) really appreciated.
We were impressed with the way the buggy handled on the pavement. When you’re pushing it around on a flat surface it doesn’t feel heavy, it handles responsively and turns quickly and smoothly with its swivel wheels.
But, for our baby, the suspension didn’t feel great over bumpy pavements – a bit bone-rattling at times.
And when pushing it uphill, even without anything extra in the basket, I started to feel its weight and felt tired after the climb – something I don’t find with my current buggy. And it felt weighty bumping up and down stairs.
I got on and off a London bus by myself with no dramas. The pram was slim enough to slip down the narrow aisle, though I did find when I parked it and put the brakes on, the front wheels moved a little, so the pram slid a couple of inches when the bus turned corners.
How durable does it seem?
My biggest concern about the Oyster 2 is its construction. Despite its weight and seemingly solid appearance, the chassis feels a bit flimsy and flexes from side-to-side if you give it a shake, especially when the handle is extended. Regularly using this buggy on a challenging terrain would age it quickly.
The mirror finish looks great at first but scratches easily and you can see the moulding marks on some of the plastic components, which makes it feel cheap.
The back wheels didn’t feel securely attached and jiggled a bit, even though they were installed properly.
Although the footbrake is big and easy to operate, when applied, I noticed that there was still a couple of inches of movement in the wheels if you gave it a nudge on smooth surfaces.
As you need to unfasten the apron every time your baby goes in or out of the pram, the plastic doesn’t seem solid enough to withstand repeated use.
In the boot of my brother’s estate car (see the pics above), it took up a lot of room. Folded in the rear-facing mode, it was very long, if front-facing it was high.
If you have a saloon or hatchback, it would almost fill the entire space. If you don’t want it occupying the entire boot, you’re best off removing the seat from the chassis.
How comfortable is your baby in the pram?
The first time I put Evan in the pram, he fell straight asleep. On another trip, I managed to get him in to the harness asleep without waking him, which was good going.
Fully reclined in the lie-flat position, he seemed comfortable enough, though for a newborn I’d recommend the plushness of the carrycot.
The raincover worked excellently and everything underneath stayed dry.
What did you think about the ‘silent hood’?
The ‘silent hood’ is exactly that: our baby didn’t wake up when we extended it or folded it. There is a zip that extends the canopy out further and a little peep-through window on the hood that’s fastened by velcro, neither of which are quiet. Most mums I’ve spoken to have said that the hoods on their buggies aren’t particularly noisy though.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?
I would have liked to be made aware of how bulky the fold is when the seat is attached – it’s advertised as being compact, but that’s only if you remove the seat before folding.
Is the BabyStyle Oyster 2 good value for money?
The chassis, seat, rain cover and bumper bar cost £299, but the essential colour pack retails at £70 and brings the real price to £369.
However, if you want to buy a car seat and carrycot, the total figure will rise to around £650.
While that’s a fairly standard mid-price for a travel system, in my hands, it didn’t always feel that sturdy. I’m not sure about how well it would last over several years with rigorous use.
Carrycot – £115
Height adaptors for carry cot – £10
Oyster car seat adaptors (for Maxi Cosi Cabriofix & Pebble, Be Safe & Cybex car seats) – £19
Foot muff – £40
Changing bag – £40
Ride-on board – £40
Who would the product be most useful for?
This buggy is best for town-dwellers who want the option of a rear facing pram and the ability to change the colour (no doubt more colour packs with exciting patterns will eventually emerge).
If you’re a fan of rear-facing prams, live somewhere with even, flat roads and you’re looking for a neat, mid-priced travel system for strolls and shopping trips, then consider the Oyster 2. But it’s not suitable if you face stairs or rough terrain on a daily basis, are short on space or need to be carrying your buggy around a lot.
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Oyster 2 Pushchair Review
Child age (approx)
Birth to 3 years
Up to 15kg
Dimensions & Weight
H:106cm W:55cm L:94cm
H:52cm W:55cm L:70cm
Travel system compatible
Seat facing direction
Forward facing and parent facing
Folds with the seat on in either direction
Apron, changing bag, parasol, snack tray, black out shade, pull out insect net underneath the seat
Carrycot - £115
Height adaptors for carry cot - £10
Oyster car seat adaptors (for Maxi Cosi Cabriofix & Pbble, Be safe & cybex car seats) - £19