About the Micralite FastFold
Age suitability: 6 months to 22kg (approximately 4years plus)
Dimensions: 105x45x69cm (unfolded), 105x45x45cm (folded)
Features: Easy, standalone fold, all-terrain large back wheels, lightweight, adjustable handle bar
Micralite is a British brand with two USPs – a ‘fast fold’ mechanism and patented hammock seat – and some of our reviewers have referred to the previous version of the FastFold – the FastFold Super-lite – as the sports car of the buggy world.
Having been testing the latest updated version of the compact stroller (now simply called FastFold), I can see the truth in this analogy. It glides around corners, and the steering wheel-style handle bar feels great, has good grip and can be controlled one-handed.
A lot of thought has gone into designing and engineering this pram, and the attention to detail is great, but I have a few gripes – namely the lack of recline options, how chunky it is when folded and the fact that the basket is difficult to use.
The new FastFold is a high-end pram, sitting at the expensive end of the market with its RRP of £375. It is in a similar league to the Baby Jogger City Mini GT (£359.99), the souped up version of the Baby Jogger City Mini or the Phil and Teds Sport, although the latter is a bit pricier.
The FastFold’s large back wheels certainly give it an edge – Micralite’s claim that this is an ‘all terrain’ product is accurate.
You can buy the Micralite FastFold from Micralite, Über Kids, Natural Baby Shower or Kiddies Kingdom.
What were your first impressions of the Micralite FastFold?
I was surprised at how big the Micralite FastFold was – the back wheels dominate the design. I’m used to a well-worn Bugaboo Bee which has served me and my toddler very well, and I always thought a lightweight stroller would be smaller than the Bee, but the FastFold is actually tall and imposing (although I had no issues snaking it into my small flat). The materials felt good quality, and clearly a lot of thought has gone into creating a design that stands out from the buggy crowd.
How does it compare to other buggies you’ve used?
My Bugaboo Bee is like a pair of old slippers, the things I like most about it being the compact shape, horizontal recline option and general ease of use. However the small wheels are a big downfall, so the bumper wheels of the Micralite were a welcome change. The ‘power steering’ was a step-change too – my battered Bugaboo requires a firm two-hand grip. The light touch navigation of the Micralite was like upgrading from an old banger.
What age is it suitable for?
The Micralite is suitable for 6 months and is tested up to 22kg, which is great for a lightweight buggy. However, the ‘floating’ hammock seat does feel more suited for toddlers, especially since it’s only world-facing. The seat felt a little exposed, especially for a smaller baby, but I think for 1 year and above, it’s ideal.
How does the Micralite FastFold fold?
There’s no denying that once you master the two-step folding latches, the FastFold is indeed a speedy collapse. But I found it took me a few days to really get the hang of it, so it wasn’t super intuitive (see folding mechanism below).
- You have to press on the Nr1 button
- Then pull a lever just below the button which ‘unlocks’ the pram
- Push down on the Nr2 button
- Now the mechanism slides up the frame, automatically folding the chassis together
- You slide it all the way to complete the collapse, then use the v-shaped stand to let it sit independently
- To unfold it you release the safety latch and push the mechanism down again until it clicks open
The pram is quite back-heavy because of the wheels so I needed to steady the pram when folding it otherwise it tips, and I never managed to pull off a one-handed fold. It’s also quite tall when collapsed, so I found it a bit tricky to wedge into the buggy shed at nursery and it looked huge compared to the other prams and buggies. But I did really love the freestanding element.
One final gripe – and this is personal as I like to haul a lot of random stuff in the bottom of my pram – you can’t fold the pram if it has anything in the storage basket in the bottom. For me, this is a negative as I like to permanently store a rain cover and sling in the base.
How compact is it when folded and unfolded?
Ironically, the FastFold looks more compact when unfolded – it measures a compact footprint of 105x45x69cm. When we took the Micralite FastFold out for a day in London, it easily slotted into the vestibule of the train, plus we took it on and off the Tube and it occupied minimal room. The pram is relatively boxy so can be tucked into a corner, plus it has a small footprint. When folded, it stands very tall – it’s still 105cm high, and only the length is less at 45cm. This is great for small flats with not much square metrage, not so great for sheds or under the stairs.
Does it fit in the boot of your car?
I don’t have a car, so I didn’t manage to test this. However, I would think some some compact cars might struggle, as the FastFold is still quite bulky once folded.
How lightweight is the Micralite FastFold?
The FastFold feels extremely lightweight. At 7.5kg it’s not the lightest you can find, but it’s pretty impressive for such a sturdy product. One of its most striking features is how it’s simultaneously featherweight and robust. There’s absolutely no sense of this being a flimsy buggy – the frame has obviously been expertly constructed to be incredibly sturdy. I could lift this with one arm (just about, and with no baby inside!), yet it felt like it could take on a gravel path with ease – impressive stuff.
How easy is it to push?
The Micralite FastFold moves like a pram ninja – nimble, agile and fluid. It took a short amount of time to get used to the unusual-shaped handles (rather than a bar, it’s a steering wheel shape that you can click into various positions) but once I did, I absolutely loved the navigation as is was so smooth. The back wheels are bouncy and strong, and the front wheels pivot easily – the buggy can do a full 360 degrees. After the steering limitations of the Bugaboo Bee, this was easily my favourite feature of the Micralite FastFold.
How did it cope on different surfaces?
We put the pram through its paces – it came with us across London, on day trips, out to the country and on the daily journey to nursery. It cruised the pavements of the city, was bumped up and down stairs, taken onto trains, escalators, the Tube, into the park and on a country walk in a muddy forest, including going off-trail across uneven, autumnal grassland. It handled everything with utter ease.
This pram would be a good choice for city families with small flats who like to go on day trips. But ultimately to get the most use out of those brilliant wheels, this is one for parents who take their kids on lots of country walks.
Explore the best all terrain buggies
How is it on public transport?
As it’s easy to steer, compact and deft, I had no issues taking it on London public transport and it has a small footprint so can be tucked into tight spaces. It’s handy that the steering wheel folds inwards to save room, too.
One slight negative is that it’s not immediately obvious where to hold on to the pram if you’re taking it up and down stairs. With the Bugaboo Bee, the two of us carry it side by side using the curved bars – with the Micralite there’s no obvious place to get a good grip because of the floating seat and where the bars sit, but we did manage. Overall, it was great for nipping on and off public transport, and as we don’t have a car this is a big priority for us.
What do you think about the wheels?
I loved the wheels – here’s where the Micralite FastFold stands out from other buggies. The large, pneumatic back wheels are the lynchpin of the whole product, making it feel strong and lofty. The front wheels have good suspension – both parents and baby have a smooth ride with no jolting or vibration.
Is the frame strong, durable?
The matte black metal frame looks and feels expensive and sturdy, as though it’s been reinforced. I have no complaints at all about the frame and would say it’s a big selling point of the Micralite FastFold.
What did you think of the handlebar?
I really liked it. The steering wheel shape made for a more enjoyable navigational experience as it felt like driving a car. The foam of the handlebar is tactile and the grip feels ergonomic and firm. For me, a good old-fashioned bar or two-handle design is sufficient, but the steering wheel does really give you the feeling of being in control. The steering quality is excellent and the pram is a joy to push.
One handy extra would be safety strap for the wrist. I have this on my Bugaboo and find it’s reassuring to use when going down hills or escalators (not great pram practice I admit, but a reality for a lot of parents who have to get around city transport networks). The handlebar has the added bonus of being suitable for tall and short parents alike thanks to the adjustable positions, plus you can steer one handed if you need to.
What do you think of the hammock seat?
I was very sceptical of the hammock at first, I have to admit. The ‘floating’ design felt very exposed, but once the liner was in it felt cosier. We supplemented it with our own muff, although Micralite sells its own version that comes in chic colours and prints, in keeping with their cool, minimalist, modern branding.
My toddler clearly found it comfy as he fell asleep in it several times when out and about. The hammock is a good height from the ground and is made from an aerated mesh, which would help keep the child cool in summer. Overall, the hammock is a smart design, but I’m not sure whether this feature alone warrants choosing the FastFold over another pram. One gripe I do have is with the harness – the central buckle pad is loose and comes away when you take your child out. In my household, this is liable to get lost!
How many recline positions?
The Micralite FastFold and has one recline option, which wasn’t as horizontal as I would have liked. I found this disappointing, especially when other lightweight strollers like the Baby Jogger City Mini have a toggle system to allow for numerous recline options. The hood is short and doesn’t cover the child when they’re asleep in a reclined position, but is adequate when upright, plus you can upgrade to a full sun shade for £30. Despite my misgivings about the horizontal recline, once tipped back and bundled in winter clothes, my toddler was cocooned – almost swaddled – and snoozed happily for 45 minutes.
How comfortable does it feel for your little one?
Like many toddlers, my son struggles and wriggles when the fun ends and he has to get in the pram, but once buckled into the Micralite FastFold he was happy, babbling away and bouncing his legs. The pads for the harness were generously stuffed and added to the comfort.
How is it interacting with your little one when in the buggy?
As this is a forward-facing pram, interaction is always going to be limited, but the ‘sunroof’ was a really useful bonus. As the steering is so seamless, you can quickly spin the pram around if you want to comfort or talk to your child, and the helpful pockets in the hood mean you can stuff them with small toys or snacks if you want to keep a grumbling baby at bay.
How does the buggy fare in bad weather? Are you able to protect your little one from the elements properly?
The bamboo-based hood material is waterproof and dries very quickly after rain. The tyres have excellent grip and there was no slippage on a rainy autumn day, even when it was pushed through puddles and soggy leaves. It’s clear that the design team paid a lot of attention to detail, and one example of this is the rain cover.
It fits like a glove – no faffing, no wondering what bit goes where. It hooks over neatly and zips up around the back, the material is thick and stiff and stands up to wind (indeed, Micralite call it a ‘storm cover’), plus it all folds down into a flat circle for storage – no bulky folding and shoving into bags required. Not the most glamorous selling point, but having dealt with various mediocre rain covers that easily rip, this gets a resounding thumbs-up.
Tell us about the brakes. How do they engage and how secure do they feel?
The brakes are very impressive. The pedal itself is a long bar rather than a small latch, giving plenty of area to place your foot, and there’s a very definitive click when it engages. The brake needed to stand up to the robust frame and wheels, and it more than delivered – they feel incredibly secure.
How easily can you access the basket and is it big enough to store everything you need?
I loved the look of the basket at first as it seemed huge, then I realised there’s a strap across the top that you have to wedge things under. I presume this is to keep things in place, but I found it a frustrating design as a lot of things I store in the bottom of the pram couldn’t easily be slotted under the strap – my bulky changing bag, for instance. Because I had to wedge the bag in place, it fell out a few times. All told, not a great basket for parents who need to use their pram to carry around essentials.
Is it car seat compatible?
The Micralite FastFold is not yet compatible with car seats, however the brand tells us its working on it and is hoping to have some adaptors available to use the chassis with an infant car seat later in December.
What’s in the box?
- 6m+ hammock seat and chassis
- Hood and liner
- Storm cover
- Pump for pneumatic tyres
- Foot muff £90
- Sun shade £30
- Extra liner £40
- Winter seat £120
Is it easy/hard to build the product?
I’m pretty rubbish with instruction manuals and practical set-ups, but even I found the Micralite FastFold easy to build. It involved little more than screwing on the wheels and setting up the harness and seat liner. It was ready to roll in about 15 minutes (useful note – it took me a while to realise the adaptor for inflating the tyres was in the lid of the pump. As the instruction manual is pictures-only it does take some interpretation)
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?
Photos of the pram make it look slender and petite, but it’s actually quite a large piece of kit, so this should be taken into consideration. If you’re a low-maintenance parent, do take into account the pumping up of the types. If you rely on your child napping in the pram, think about the fact the recline position isn’t as horizontal as other buggies.
Who would the product be most useful for?
Families in a hurry who need to get from A to B in busy cities, but who also have one foot in the countryside.
What was your favourite feature of the FastFold – its USP?
I absolutely loved the steering and navigation. The wheel design is smart and I loved how in control I felt. The one-handed element gets a big tick – yes, ideally we’d all push prams with two hands, but with other kids, groceries, multiple bags, phone calls and various other factors to take into account, this can’t always be the case. This kind of detail suggests that the team behind the pram are parents themselves.
What is the price? Does the FastFold live up to its price tag?
The Micralite FastFold is expensive with an RRP of £375, so it is a big investment. This is a statement buggy that will turn heads, and there’s substance behind the style – the steering, wheels and folding mechanism are all excellent. But I can’t overlook the poor storage basket design and the fact there’s only one recline option, and the ‘snooze’ position isn’t quite horizontal. If these aren’t important factors to you then I would recommend it.
The Micralite FastFold is stylish, sturdy and well-engineered. The excellent steering wheel design, navigational benefits and robust wheels are the big plus points. However from a practical perspective, the storage basket is badly designed and the collapsed pram is bulky. I would recommend it to parents but suggest they bare in mind the shortcomings before investing.
How we tested the Micralite FastFold
Natalie lives with her husband and toddler in London and as they don’t have a car, a buggy is their sole mode of transport for their son. They regularly get around using all forms of public transport and are buggy ‘super users’ who value ease of use, practicality and price over style and fancy functions.
Read on, if you want to explore some more products…
MadeForMums product reviews are independent, honest and provide advice you can have confidence in. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links. However we never allow this to influence our coverage. Our reviews and articles are written by parents who are professional journalists, and we also include feedback from our parent community and industry experts.