France may be famous for its wine and cheese . . . but strollers? Not so much. BabyZen ‘s designer, Jean-Michel Chaudeurge, hopes to change that with a couple of stylish strollers that aim to complete with that other European designer stroller megabrand, Bugaboo.
Chaudeurge worked at Fiat before joining his son Julien and launching various baby gear ventures (Chaudeurge’s design credits also include the Beaba Babycook food processor). BabyZen has basically one model in the US: the Yoyo. (BabyZen’s other stroller, the Zen, bombed in the US and is no longer sold as of this writing).
The models: The Yoyo+ ($495, 13.6 lbs.) is a very pricey lightweight stroller with one-hand fold and a “soft drive” system, which BabyZen says doesn’t require you to lock the front wheels when you roll over rough terrain (the Yoyo also has four wheel suspension).
The Yoyo’s claim to fame: the compact fold (see picture and video) lets you store it in an overhead bin for travel—that is, if airlines let you take a stroller on board, which most do not. And gate checking a nearly $500 stroller is only for the brave (and/or foolish). But color us skeptical here. Not that it won’t fit, but that the airlines won’t let you take it onboard. Believe us when we say, they make up rules so you never know if you’ll get to take the Yoyo+ on board or you’ll have to check it. And if you have to check it, there is no knowing if this $470 stroller will survive the trip.
The Yoyo+ comes with a flat carry cot configuration with foot cover and headrest that allows baby to sleep facing the parent. Once baby hits six months, you’ll need to buy the 6+ fabrics (an extra $75 or more) so your baby can sit up in the stroller.
FYI: The Yoyo is designed for babies six months and up, even though it does recline.
Our View. The Yoyo has very limited retail distribution, so most folks have to buy it sight unseen online. The few brave souls who’ve laid down $500 for this stroller like it, based on our reader feedback. Fans love the light weight, which is great for traversing subway stairs. The included rain cover and carry bag are a nice touch, although we are bummed you’ll have to buy a separate set of soft goods for kids older than six months of age.
The French design has its drawbacks, unfortunately. There is no parent cup holder and despite the French pedigree, this stroller is actually made in China. We also found the storage basket to be undersized for the American market. The weight limit for the Yoyo+ is just 33 lbs.—that means your child may outgrow the Yoyo+ long before she is ready to give up riding in a stroller. Overall, it’s a very niche stroller for people who travel a lot. But it’s expensive and there’s no guarantee airlines will let you store it in a bin–they could make you check it. Rating: C