There’s not much German company ABC Design doesn’t make. With a large collection of car seats, pushchairs, high chairs and accessories, the brand is one of the most recognisable on the market.
Distributed in the UK by Obaby, which also sells a huge range of other baby products, the ABC Design Zoom tandem is probably one of the most identifiable buggies around due to its unusual shape.
Looking a bit like a curved see-saw on wheels, the travel system compatible buggy is an interesting product because one seat or carry cot sits directly in front of the other at almost the same height, which means neither child is sat underneath or next to the other.
What that means is that the pushchair has a huge range seating options, but both children are in similar positions and there isn’t one ‘designated seat.’
At 18.7kg it’s the heaviest double pushchair I have encountered, even heavier than the iCandy Peach Blossom 3 at 14.2kg and certainly heavier than the Baby Jogger City Mini Twin (12 kg.)
And because it isn’t tandem or side-by-side, it’s also the longest at 150cm long, compared to the iCandy Peach Blossom 3 at 72cm.
Tell us more about the seating options.
The seats can also be configured in whichever way you prefer – facing inwards, outwards, forwards or backwards, which is great for me, my newborn son Rafferty and two-and-a-half-year-old son Fergus.
As a tandem the Zoom is ideal for newborn twins as they can sit inline, rather than with one on top of the other. That’s great because you have eyes on both babies at the same time, there’s no bending or reaching around to check both babies are ok.
But probably the best thing about this seating position is that a newborn doesn’t have to be close to ground, underneath the main seat. I’ve always been a bit worried about my young baby being so close to the floor when sitting in other tandems, but that’s not a problem with the Zoom.
And it’s not just infants, I know many of my friends whose toddlers don’t like to go in tandem buggies because they don’t want to sit underneath.
Another problem highlighted with that style of buggy is that the newborn can quickly grow out of the part of the pram where they lay.
This isn’t an issue with the Zoom Tandem – both children are at the same height and both have plenty of room.
Is the Zoom as long as it looks?
It is! My husband describes it as a bendy bus, rather than a double decker.
It’s the sort of product that would divide opinion – if you have the space and it suits your needs you may feel it is ideal – as its many awards show.
But you’d ideally have to have a large entrance hall or garage to store it in, as it’s long and also large when folded down – 82 x 54 x 41cm, not including the seat or carrycot.
And you would also need a car with a large boot to transport it in.
However, if you have a small flat, rely on public transport or have steps to your front door, it probably wouldn’t be a great option.
Does the length effect how the Zoom can be used?
Sadly yes, I found the length of the buggy a problem. It made it difficult when running errands locally because I found it hard to negotiate my way around the aisles in local shops.
Also, it’s length made it more difficult when crossing the road because it reduced visibility when waiting to cross.
And as London roads are so busy it made me reluctant to cross the road at anywhere other than a zebra or pelican crossing because it’s so long.
Its length also made it hard to lift the front of the pushchair when mounting a kerb, especially when my toddler Fergus was sat at the front.
Saying that, one of the buggy’s strong points is its durability. The chassis feels extremely robust and it seems like it would easily withstand a lot of wear and tear. It should easily last the recommended 4 year life span.
How is it to push?
I found the Zoom Tandem quite difficult to push on anything other than a pretty smooth surface.
As long as I was going in a straight line I could manage fine on pavements or in the park, but as soon as I hard to switch direction I found it more difficult to use than other pushchairs. I did struggle with it on rougher ground.
You can lock the wheels which gives it a bit more stability but it’s not easy and I certainly would struggle pushing it with just one hand – for example if Fergus wanted to get out and hold my hand instead.
As I mentioned earlier mounting a kerb is very hard, and when Fergus was sat at the front it pushed the weight so far forward it was hard to push. I’m reasonably strong but I did struggle with it.
What’s like on public transport?
I was too nervous to attempt to get it onto the bus because firstly I don’t think I could fit it down the aisle but mainly I was worried about getting it off the bus by myself because of the gap.
Likewise with the train, getting on would be hard as there is quite a height to get onto my local train and there is a pretty large gap at London Bridge where I would get off.
And the thought of struggling to lift and push the Zoom on the train in the 10 seconds before the door closes was more than enough to scare me out of it.
How does it fold?
Folding down the Zoom Tandem is trickier than other double buggies as it’s not a one-hand fold.
It requires both hands to push the handlebar down and forward, you then push a red lever with your foot and it collapses down.
When folded it’s not compact (as mentioned above) so it’s not particularly easy to store because firstly the chassis is big and you can’t stand the wheels upright on their own like the iCandy Peach Blossom 3.
You can however take the wheels off to make it easier to store though, and it’s worth noting the carrycot is rigid so it also takes up quite a bit of room as well.
Does it fit in the boot of your car?
It did fit into our car – just. We have an estate and the boot only just closed; it’s by far the largest pushchair we have tried.
How comfortable does it feel for your little ones?
It’s great! In terms of comfort, the carrycot particularly impressed me. It’s large and roomy so my son Rafferty looked very comfortable in it and there is lots of room to grow.
Likewise, the seat is a good size so my toddler Fergus also looked very comfy in it.
How is interacting with your sons when in the buggy?
Interacting with both children was made very easy with the Zoom Tandem.
It’s very easy to switch the position of the seat and carrycot so you an have one facing you when you want to sing or speak to them and you can turn them away if they need to sleep or want to look out.
How does it compare to other double buggies you’ve used?
I regularly use the iCandy Peach Blossom 3, which I prefer because it’s more compact, easier to store and easier to steer.
However, it is a much more costly, at £1180 for the complete double it’s £444 more expensive than the Zoom.
I’ve also used the Baby Jogger City Mini (£649.89) however I found the side-by-side width – 76cm – too restrictive.
Speaking of price, is the ABC Design Zoom value for money?
At £500 for a double that can sit two toddlers, I think it’s good value. If you buy the twin configuration (two carrycots, two seat units, the chassis and the rain cover) it’ll set you back £735.89, which seems quite good value for a double buggy.
But I was surprised to learn the Zoom Tandem doesn’t appear to hold its value particularly well and I found several for sale on eBay for £200-£250 for units that also included a carrycot.
What’s the basket like?
The basket is huge! It’s a definite selling point of the Zoom Tandem. Sometimes don’t you wish you had an Undetectable Extension Charm? Well, as I didn’t have a magic want to hand, the Zoom basket filled in quite nicely. You can fit a lot in it, and with carrycot in place it can be a bit harder to access the basket, but it’s so roomy there are still lots of space.
Which is great considering you have to carry around more provision than a small army when travelling with two children.
Does the weather have a bearing on how you use it?
The raincover looks great! For once it hasn’t actually been raining, but I’ve no reason to think it wouldn’t work.
The seat unit comes with a sunshade, which would be useful in the summer, although it’s quite flimsy and would be blown about in a light wind. However, it does have 50+ UPF sun protection.
The carrycot’s hood also has 50+ UPF protection and it comes with an inbuilt mosquito net for if you are travelling abroad.
It would be easy to protect your infant in the carrycot in cold weather as it’s substantial and you can purchase a footmuff for your toddler when using the seat.
Is it travel system compatible?
Yes it is. It is very easy to use with the ABC Design Risus Car Seat (£120.00) or Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus and Cabrio Fix car seats.
The adaptors snap on very easily and it’s very simple to put the car seat on and off the pushchair.
What’s in the box?
- Chassis X 1
- Wheels X 4
- Seats X 2
- Hoods X 2
- Bumper bars X 2
- Seat Liners X 2
- Set Of Shoulder Pads X 2
- Crotch Pads X 2
- Rain cover X 1
Any additional extras?
- Carrycot – £117.95
- Car seat adaptors – £25
Is it easy to put the Zoom together?
Actually it was quite fiddly to make and the instructions weren’t too easy to follow.
It’s the first time I have ever had to use a screwdriver when putting together a travel system and it was a bit annoying to have to put the hoods together.
It took about an hour in total to make.
If you want a double pushchair where both children are at the same height, have ample room and with lots of options in terms of which way they face then this could be a great option for you.
However, you’ll need space in your home and car to store it though. You may struggle on public transport and it might be tricky to use if you live in a small flat or rural areas.