The Jané Rider Matrix Light Travel System is a user-friendly option with lots of handy features. While the shopping basket’s small and there’s a couple of niggles, there’s much to love about this system.
Jané has been producing pushchairs since 1932 and with over 75 years’ experience it hasn’t stopped coming up with new designs. Jané’s car seats especially are held in high esteem, with Jané even having its own Crash Test Research Centre.
The Jané Rider Matrix Light Travel System has urban styling, a compact size and nifty handling. It can be used as a parent or rear facing buggy, too. While it’s not cheap – £699 including the car seat – I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for. Plus, it’s still less costly than many of the alternatives from brands positioning themselves as ‘high-end’.
The Rider is a completely new pushchair for 2010. It can be teamed with four different Jané travel options: the Jané Matrix Lite car seat that I tested; the Jané Strata car seat; the Jané Transporter carrycot; or the Jané Micro carrycot.
The Jané Matrix Light car seat is based on the award-winning Matrix. It’s larger than most car seats on the market and weighs 5.2kg, but gives you the flexibility of having a lie-flat and upright rear-facing option in one.
The Jané Matrix Light fully reclines to be used as a carrycot for your baby’s first few months, which is highly recommended when travelling long journeys with a young baby. It also double as a Moses basket. The car seat handle is integrated with the hood and has two different positions depending on whether your baby is lying down or sitting up. It’s also compatible with any Jané pushchair.
What we love
The first thing I noticed when I took the Jané Rider out of the box was how easy it was to unfold – with one hand! There are several pushchairs for sale at the moment that claim to have this feature, but unless you have the muscle of Alex Reid, it’s not something the average person can ever accomplish.
Instead of having a footbrake, Jané has included a simple lever mechanism to one side of the handle. This is handbrake is a simple idea and much easier to operate than a footbrake.
My baby, Nathaniel, found the Jané Rider extremely comfortable. While he usually doesn’t like getting ready for a walk in a pushchair, he actually fell asleep in the Jané Rider before we had even left the house!
Out and about, the Jané Rider handled bumps in the pavement very well. It was quite a smooth ride generally.
Its urban-street styling got me more than few glances from other mums and one mum actually stopped me and asked where she could buy it!
On a busy public transport, the Jané Rider folds easily. It also has retractable wheels, which means the folded size is reduced by 30% compared with other pushchairs. Another bonus is you don’t have to remove the pushchair seat to fold it.
Travelling for five hours one weekend, Nathaniel spent most of the time asleep in the Jané Matrix Light car seat. He definitely looked very comfortable and had much more room than the car seat I usually use.
What to watch out for
All the assembly diagrams are at the front, but there aren’t any instructions written underneath – these are written separately at the back of the book, which can get frustrating.
While it looks quite modern and funky, the suspension spring doesn’t really add anything to the design. I think I wasn’t pushing the Jané Rider fast enough around corners to need it.
I found it difficult to get the Jané Rider up kerbs. Because of the C-shape construction underneath there’s nowhere to put your foot for leverage. While the curved chassis is great for not tripping you up as you walk along, I did find the lack of suspension bar a bit annoying.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find the basket beneath the Jané Rider too small to be of any significant use. However, because of the C-shape chassis there isn’t really any way it could be made bigger. To access it I also had to go around to the front of the Jané Rider, which wasn’t ideal.
The Jané Rider seat doesn’t lie flat and there’s no support around the sides, so you really do need the Jané Matrix Light car seat to create a pram for your newborn. While the car seat is roomy, it’s very heavy and I mostly left it in the car. However, you won’t be able to do this if you want to use the Jané Rider from birth. On a technical point, it’s worth knowing that under the British standards, as a buggy the Rider is said to be suitable from birth, but under the European standards, it’s from 6 months.
The seat belt was also quite fiddly to attach to the around the sides of the Jané Matrix Light, which would take time if you were in a hurry.
Who is the Jané Rider Matrix Light Travel System best for?
First-time mums after a multi-faceted, easy-to-fold travel system from a reputable name.
The Jané Rider Matrix Light Travel System is a pretty ingenious design encompassing all the easy-to-use features you want to see on one travel system. It’s easy to fold, offers a smooth ride and has a versatile, but heavy, car seat. However, a bigger shopping basket underneath would be one very welcome addition.