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The Gesslein F4 is designed to combine the rugged sturdiness of the Gesslein brand with a smaller chassis suited to urban use. It’s an unusual brand sold by just one UK retailer, so buying one requires a leap of faith – and a roomy car boot – but your newborn will enjoy the ride of his or her young life.
You might not have heard of Gesslein, but think of them as the German equivalent of Silver Cross – a longstanding family company with a reputation for quality at a price. Gesslein’s buggies are sold by Eric Snook’s The Golden Cot in Bath, whose product knowledge is second to none. This expertise removes the fear factor of going with an unfamiliar brand.
Gesslein’s pushchairs are reassuringly expensive, but for £680 (ouch!), the F4 is a luxury baby vehicle with great suspension and an unbelievably cosy-looking soft carrycot that will take your newborn through to 5 or 6 months, when they’ll move onto the pushchair body, and then a lighter, foldable canvas stroller. The chassis is 6kg, and with pushchair body it’s 11.9kg or 8.7kg with the canvas stroller body.
The F4 is also travel system compatible with the Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix car seat.
The F4 can take on the toughest of terrain as well as getting around tight corners, but because it doesn’t clip together when folded, getting it into the car boot is a bit of a heave-ho.
What we love
I tested this buggy with my 16-month-old son, Franklin. He’s way past the carrycot stage, but when he was a tiny little thing I would have been very happy to tuck him into the soft lay-flat carrycot. It’s luxuriously padded, and the excess is removable in summer. It clips easily into place inside the pushchair body. The suspension of the F4 is so smooth I know he would have slept well in the carrycot. Its compatibility with Maxi-Cosi car seats is great, too – you just need to buy adaptors.
The Gesslein F4 takes rough terrain and high kerbs in its stride, so it offers a lot of off-road freedom.
The handle is adjustable, from 81cm to 107cm, which makes the buggy comfortable for everyone in the family to push.
The buggy seat is roomy and Frank could either face me or look around.
The raincover is strong but thin and flexible, so it packs away into a tiny pouch – why can’t they all be like this?!
When I was out with Franklin, the F4 turned heads – it’s unusual for the UK, and I could see other mums checking it out even though the design is more sturdy than striking.
What to watch out for
Although the F4 is smaller than others in the range, and turns beautifully, it’s still fairly big. As it can’t be secured in a folding position the chassis is a little awkward to stow and store. It won’t fit in every car, though you can whip the wheels off very easily for ultra-flat storage.
The basket is on the small side and not very easy to access.
When Frank and I first hit the streets with the Gesslein F4 in pushchair mode, he kept slumping down and it took quite a bit of adjustment to get him sitting properly. And although the pushchair seat does lie flat, when Frank sat up, the seat rose up with him, making it difficult to settle him to sleep.
The instructions are in German (supplemented by clear diagrams) so you’ll need to pay attention when you assemble it for the first time.
Who is the Gesslein F4 buggy best for?
Mums who need a sturdy, adaptable buggy and have room in the car for it.
The Gesslein F4 has great suspension and works well for newborns, as well as being roomy enough for older children. It’s pricy but built to last and is neat enough to work in town, though it can be awkward to get in the boot.
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|Child age (approx)||Birth to 3 years|
Dimensions & Weight
|Dimensions||H:107cm W:56cm L:75cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:64cm W:56cm L:44cm|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Compatible car seats||Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix|
|Seat facing direction||Forward facing and parent facing|
|Front wheels||Lockable swivel|
|Recline positions||Multi-position – 4 positions with pushchair body and strap recline mechanism canvas stroller body|
|Accessories included||Raincover, zippable carrycot that turns into a footmuff, hood, basket, insect net in canopy, travel bag|