I will start with a short blurb about just how great my desire for this pushchair was!
We purchased the original Jané (pronounced Han-ay) Slalom Pro when Spud was about 5 months old and we both loved almost everything about it. As with most pushchairs there were a few things that were slightly annoying but on the whole it has to have been our favourite pushchair. The only thing that was initially putting me off buying it was that it was a world facing pushchair and I wanted him to be parent facing for a bit longer. However Spud started leaning out of his parent facing pushchair to see the world and it no longer became a problem. About 4 months later Jané announced the Slalom Reverse. Everything that I loved about my pushchair but with the option to parent face! As Spud was getting bigger we added the pushchair to our “want” list for our second baby.
I fell pregnant with Spike a lot earlier than anticipated. With only a 21 month age gap we couldn’t escape the need for a double, especially as Spike was a winter baby. The desire for the Slalom Reverse lingered at the back of my mind and I eyed them up longingly in shops and in town.
Spud turned 2 and I started to get annoyed pushing a double pushchair around half empty when he was at crèche or decided that he wanted to walk somewhere so we decided to purchase a single pushchair for Spike to use as I didn’t want him in the stroller that was sat in our garage because he is much clingier than his older brother and wants to look at mummy all the time rather than explore the world. After purchasing a few other parent facing pushchairs the desire for the Slalom Reverse could no longer be contained!
Now for the review –
The day that it arrived was one of the most exciting days (as you will have read in my blog!) I unpacked it quickly and soon discovered that it was extremely similar to it’s predecessor so I had no problems putting it together and having a play. Even the new features didn’t leave me reaching for the instruction manual, everything is very easy and pretty much self-explanatory. On investigating the pushchair I found that every criticism that we had for the Slalom Pro had been rectified.
The new inverted C shape rear axle now means that we no longer kick it when we walk and the STOP/GO break is fantastic. It is so easy to apply and release and it’s very strong. We did our usual hill test and it didn’t even hint at budging.
The basket is slightly on the small side. A nice feature is that it has elasticated hoops for a wheel pump, which is included with the pushchair. With other air-filled pushchairs I have had to purchase a bike pump separately and then find somewhere to store it on the pushchair just in case we have a puncture when we are away from home.
The shock absorbing wheels are all air-filled tyres and contain ball bearings making it extremely easy to push. The front wheel has a lockable 360° swivel allowing for great manoeuvrability and all 3 are easily removed with just the push of a button. The front wheel is a little bit stiffer due to the powerful disc brake which is controlled by a hand lever on the handle bar. The disc brake has to be one of the hubby’s most used features on pushchairs and I have certainly felt like other pushchairs have lacked one. The rear axle has adjustable spring suspension and coupled with the air-filled tyres it makes for a very comfortable ride.
Moving up we get to the fully reversible seat with a gate opening, easy release bumper bar and fully removable hood and infant insert. The thing that impressed me most was that it is very well anchored onto the chassis. One of my biggest hates on rear facing pushchairs is the seat wobble that you get because it’s attached to the chassis by two small holes on the side. Jané could have done this with a bigger seat unit into the Pro Fixing holes but chose to lose some space for a more secure fit. It is extremely easy to remove the seat from the chassis. Like most 2 part pushchairs it does require two hands but it isn’t at all fiddly. You simply push two buttons and it lifts easily off. A brilliant safety feature is that when it is correctly installed you can see a green sticker either side where as if it is not on the chassis properly you can see two red stickers.
The recline is a one-handed lever which is very easy to use and the seat goes down nicely rather than shooting down making the child judder! There are 3 recline positions in both rear and forward facing modes, all of which have impressed me. Upright means upright and even Spud didn’t feel the need to pull himself forward when he was testing it. Spike usually has it on the middle setting which is nicely propped up for a 5 month old without being too high for a non sitter to cope with. Fully reclined isn’t totally flat and it means the pushchair seat is recommended for use from 6 months rather than from birth but Jané do stock a lot of options to make it a travel system for newborns.
The seat is very well padded and has a removable infant insert and although Spike looks very comfortable Spud looks a little squished. The seat unit also has an adjustable footrest which is very easy to operate using the two buttons on the sides.
The hood is large and pulls forward enough to block out the sun even when the seat is fully reclined. It has a peep-hole in the back for a parent to see in when it’s in world facing mode and a visor on the front to block out more sun but without restricting the child’s view.
The raincover is strong and can be folded down quite small and flat which is a bonus considering the lack of space in the basket. It has a peep-hole so that the child can see out which can be velcroed down or tied up out the way.
The chassis is made of lightweight tubular aluminium which makes it extremely sturdy but also lightweight. The pushchair can be folded in both rear and forward facing modes which is a huge benefit as my previous rear facing pushchairs used to really annoy me when I had to either fold them in two parts or turn the seat around before folding. At the moment Spike is rear facing on the middle recline and that seems to be the perfect position for folding. If the pushchair is in forward facing mode you do need to push the seat forward before attempting to collapse the pushchair. It has an easy two-handed fold, you pull the two switches up and push the handle towards the front wheel. I have found that then applying the disc brake and walking forward makes the whole process a lot easier. It has a clip to hold the pushchair in the folded position and is self standing. I am yet to find the right balance for it to stand with the seat on in forward facing mode but find it very easy with the seat rear facing.
There are two types of fold. The normal; wheels on, seat on, front wheel up fold and the compact fold. For the compact fold I remove the seat and wheels, fold the handle down and release the lever on the footplate which folds down into the chassis. This takes up a lot less room and even fits into the boot of a Ford KA.
As an owner of an estate car I do tend to use the easier “normal” fold and the pushchair takes up less than half of my boot. Even though it is easier to fold in rear facing mode I don’t like that you either have to fold down the front wheel or rest it on the seat unit. I don’t want to fiddle about with the wheel but I also don’t want to put the seat unit face down.
The handle bar is adjustable from 82-104cm and is made of soft foam. It is nice to the hands but also extremely hard-wearing. It is one of the first pushchairs that I have owned that hasn’t ended up with a ripped handlebar.
Jané are famous for their patented Pro Fixing system. It enables the pushchair to be one of the easiest to use travel systems about. There is no need for adapters to add carrycots or car seats. Every Jané pushchair with Pro Fixing are compatible with the full range of carrycots and car seats including the Strata, Matrix Light, Transporter and Micro Carrycot. Each one just slots into the Pro Fixing holes and can be released at the touch of the button. You can also attach a “Surfer 4” buggy board onto the rear axle which we are hoping to try out in the next few months.
I purchased the Slalom Reverse in the Green Valley colour way. It is available in many other colours but the most eye-catching have to be the colours released for 2011. Depending on where you purchase the Slalom Reverse from depends on what you get with it. Usually the rain cover comes as standard but I also received a coordinating pram bag. Usually I’m not a fan of the bags that come with pushchairs but this one is spacious and I love the zip around the changing mat that makes it into a handy little carrycase for the nappies and wipes. When out in town I simply take this out of the bag and carry it to a changing room without having to take the whole bag and then spend an age digging around for the things I need. I do think that the bag is lacking a zip pocket for valuables and the bottle holder on the side could have benefited from being insulated. The Velcro straps that enable you to put in on the handle car are very good and it sits nicely on the frame rather than dangling around getting in the way.
The Jané Slalom Reverse has an RRP of £409.99 for the pushchair and then a RRP range of £584.99-£759.99 depending on which car seat/carrycot combination you choose.
Overall I love it. I would love Spud to be able to fit in the seat properly so I think that is my only major criticism of the system. My other criticism being that when folded in rear facing mode you can’t really just use the normal fold unless you are happy to put it in the car with the seat unit face down. For me it probably wouldn’t be a birth to solely walking pushchair as my sons tend to be on the taller side but statistically most parents buy lightweight pushchairs or strollers when children enter toddler-hood anyway.