Graco Symbio b: The Grandparent Challenge

This is the final challenge for the Graco Symbio b and one that I thought was extremely important. Think about it. How many times have you seen grandparents in town struggling to fold/ unfold a pram they have been left in charge of? There is always a crying child to accompany this scene too. My mum says that prams are too complicated these days and I know of one grandparent who has laminated instructions guiding her as to the logistics of going for a walk!

I find the Graco Symbio b to be one of the easiest prams to fold and unfold. I tested my sister and she found it relatively easy too. But grandparents are a whole different kettle of fish. How easy would Ghostwriternanny find it to ‘sort out’ the Symbio b?

Unfortunately, my mum declined to be filmed (it would’ve made for great viewing) but she did agree to allow me to write this post. After giving her the instruction manual she asked for a practical demonstration instead. I am in agreement that some parts of the instruction manual are a little difficult to understand unless you are actually performing the task in hand. I think my mum is a kinaesthetic learner like me.

Ghostwriternanny

So, practical demonstration over, I left mum to it. After all, that’s what you do. You drop the kids off and you give a quick demo, then you rush off for some much needed child-free time. So that’s what I did. And what was the verdict?

My mum managed to set up the pram all by herself and enjoyed a blustery walk with her granddaughter. Living over three hours away, this was a novelty for more than one reason. Once back home, my mum managed to fold the pram once more, although with a little soft swearing and muttering. Despite the handily placed diagrams on the bottom of the chassis (mum wasn’t wearing her glasses) she found the folding a little tricky. You are required to press one part whilst lifting another and then folding the pram; this takes practise to achieve.

 

Overall, mum says that the Symbio b was not as complicated as it looked as easily manageable. This is from the lady who once drove all the way home from town with a stroller fully erect and squashed into the car after trying for over an hour to fold it. So: success!

 

As this is the last challenge I will perform for the Symbio b, I decided to write an additional round up post later today, with the results from all the challenges posted there.

Graco Symbio b: what would yours look like?

With the testing period drawing to a close and the final challenge about to be reported on, I thought I would post something a little different. I’ve been thinking about the ultimate pram. The one that ticks all the boxes and makes the other mums on the school yard wish they had one too. The pram that caters to mum, dad, baby and more. The pram that is creative, innovative, fun and different. What would yours look like?

The Symbio b is a fantastic pram. It has many fabulous features that genuinely sets it apart from other prams that I’ve owned. It is stylish, light-weight, easy to use and reasonably priced. But if I was a pram designer, I think my ultimate Symbio b might be a combination of the following models:

The Roller Buggy. How cool is this? It’s like a buggy board for parents. Yes, Graco- take note. Its not only toddlers that want a faster ride. How about adding this feature to the Symbio to enable us to get where we want to be even faster and with a bigger smile on our faces? Scooters aren’t just for kids- us mums want to have fun too! 

Or how about the Babyoom? It’s a pram that converts to a bike then to a shopping cart. Or something like that. Its more than a pram. Its a lifestyle on wheels. It transports parents and helps them to shop. That’s good, right? But is it as good as the bike stroller? Forget the shopping cart bit. This is a bike with the stroller bit attached to the front. The Symbio could rock this look, no problem.

Sporty models aside, I think Graco could take a lot from this last pram. This was sold for a mere £6, 000 and has to be the most sparkly pram I have ever seen. Could the Symbio carry this off? You bet!

So in an ideal world, my ultimate Symbio b would have the following features:

  • a parent buggy board
  • a bike/ granny-shopping-cart converter
  • a separate bicycle attachment
  • a tonne of gold

What do you think? Perhaps I should leave the pram designing to Graco, they seem to know what they’re doing…

Other prams have tried to derail the Symbio b

Actually, I think that the Symbio b doesn’t really need any of these far out features at all. I’m all for creativity but there has to be a reason for it when it comes to prams. In fact, basic pram designs haven’t really changed all that much since they were first introduced way back when. And the things that parents look for in a pram don’t really differ all that much from family to family either.

According to Which, Graco are one of the best pram manufacturers around and “the first pushchair manufacturer to create a travel system pushchair, which allows parents to add a car seat to the pushchair frame”- which just goes to show that they have always been in touch with what parents actually need in a pram. Forget the scooter attachments and the bling. A pram needs to be practical and it needs to do its job efficiently.

So with this in mind, the Symbio b doesn’t need re-designing all that much.

symbio b toddler side view

Graco Symbio b: the challenges

We’ve been having some family fun with the Symbio b this weekend. As part of my testing, I decided to set a few challenges which involved the whole family. They are a bit of fun, but they also serve a purpose too. Each challenge has been filmed so for the first time ever I can introduce

Ghostwriterdaddy

Ghostwritermummy

Ghostwriteraunty

Ghostwritertoddler (briefly)

Ghostwriterbaby (even more briefly)

So what are the challenges?

First we have the Blindfold Challenge. This is where I put Ghostwriterdadddy to the test, to see whether or not he could set up the Symbio b with a blindfold. The aim of this challenge is to show how easy (or not) the pram is to set up.

The next challenge is the Instruction Manual Challenge, starring Ghostwriteraunty. Being young and carefree, she does not have kids herself and has only limited knowledge of prams and setting them up. The test here was to see whether or not the instruction manual that comes with the Symbio actually makes sense or not.

Ghostwriteraunty’s second test was the Toddler Seat Challenge, to see how long it takes to convert the Symbio b from newborn mode to toddler mode. I followed the instructions for this and found it a little tricky, so I wanted to see how a ‘complete beginner’ would find it too.

Lastly, we have the Race Challenge. Ghostwriterdaddy and I are both well practised in setting up the Symbio b but I wanted to see how quickly we could do it. This would give an indication as to whether or not the pram can be set up in a rush, such as when its raining or when you need to make a sharp exit… Anyway, we were given two minutes to see how many time we could unfold and set up, then fold the pram back up again.

We had lots of fun making these videos but I think they are quite informative too. They aren’t supposed to be instructional, more a chance for you to see how the pram works and how easy it is to use. Enjoy!

Graco Symbio b: a road well travelled- wear and tear report

The Symbio b and I have clocked up some miles so far. I’ve estimated that we’ve done almost 80 miles since it arrived last month. That’s walking to and from school, strolling around town and my beloved power walks. I love pram walking, almost as much as I love prams themselves. So I thought I would blog about wear and tear when a pram is well-travelled (well-loved).

For me, how a pram copes with daily use is a really important factor when I’m choosing. Did I tell you about the pram I had that kept losing a wheel? Prams need to be able to cope with being used a lot in my opinion- I walk every single day with the Symbio b and I’m not about to change that just so that it can stay in pristine condition. BUT I don’t expect a pram to fall apart or to look shabby after six weeks. So… how does the Symbio look now?

Wheels:

Back wheel

Front wheel

You can tell they’ve been used. They aren’t worn by any respect but they have been used. The silver parts are still clean looking and the tyres themselves are still fully inflated and sturdy. The front wheels are the same- the mud guards are a little dirty but I’ve been wheeling through mud!

Handle bar:

I’ve noticed that when I fold the pram (see this video for a demonstration of how to fold) I sometimes catch the handle on the floor. There are some scuffs as a result, but they are nothing to worry about and I’m not sure they even came out on the photo really well. It certainly doesn’t spoil the look of the pram.

Chassis:

When I collect the big one from school I take her scooter with me. To do this, I position the scooter across the top of the pram close to the handle bar and secure it with a strap. I also hold it so that it doesn’t slip. The other day, I knocked the scooter and it slipped down, leaving a small scratch on the chassis. Again, its not much of a mark and you can only see it if you really look.

Fabrics:

There are no marks or stains on the fabrics at all, and the apron has been accidentally dropped a few times. It’s made of really durable fabric and washes easily anyway.

Folding mechanism:

Being at the bottom of the pram, this part is prone to mud splashes. There is also a scratch there, again caused by scraping on the floor during folding.

Shopping basket:

Usually I need to detach and wash the shopping basket on prams regularly but so far I haven’t needed to. Again, its made of durable fabric and any mud splashes have wiped off easily.

Verdict:

You can tell my pram has been down a road well travelled so far. You can tell it has been loved. You can tell it’s part of the family. So what? A pristine pram tells me that it’s owner doesn’t enjoy walks like we do. I take good care of the pram but certain small signs of wear and tear are inevitable. The main thing is that the Symbio b is in as perfect working condition as when we first received it, and that’s after 80 miles worth of use.

For me, a pram is more than just a vehicle to move my child from A to B. Pram walks have saved my sanity; they give me time to unwind, to think, to listen to music, to enjoy being outside, to finally get the baby to sleep. A pram is a cherished possession and I like to see them well-loved.