iCandy: Peach Blossom
Taking a closer look at our Tandem Group test winner, the iCandy Peach Blossom, we scrutinise it's capabilities in our technical review.
With our Tandem Group Test successfully completed, the time has come to take a closer look at the candidates we haven't scrutinised before, one of which is the tandem test winner, the iCandy Peach Blossom.
The iCandy immediately stands out from the other pushchairs because it will always look ‘shiny' thanks to the highly polished aluminium frame that surrounds the seat unit and forms the chassis. On the day of the test and among the samples in our office, it is prominent even though our test model is in black and grey!
So what's in the box...
Single: £595 includes raincover
Double converter: £190
Main carrycot: £195
Upper carrycot: £160
Lower carrycot: £160
Double twin: £1050 includes both carrycots and raincovers
Car seat adaptors £30
Changing bag £110
Travel bag £80
Upper footmuff £85
Lower footmuff £85
Cup holder £15
Parasol/cup holder clamp £5
The iCandy Peach Blossom is available in three colours: Black Jack, Tomato and Sweet Pea.
I love the names of the iCandy range, i.e. the Apple, Cherry, Strawberry and the Peach Blossom with a ‘pip' converter – it's poetry and names for new models could be infinite if they stick to fruit!
To explain the assets of this pushchair, we shall start with it configured in single mode so that you can see how it performs as a pushchair. Then we'll expand it to a tandem and take a look at its shape changing abilities.
Stripping it back to basics, let's start with the frame. The Peach frame is chunky with all the workings enclosed in bold black plastic. A large scooped basket sits neatly between the front and back axles. Within this basket lives the shoulder strap – not an optional extra, but an integral part of the fold. The large 25cm back wheels and the smaller 17cm front wheels are all EVA foam – so no puncture worries.
The brake, situated in the middle of the back axle is applied by foot and takes no effort. It can be released with ease and won't result in sore toes.
As I said, the whole frame feels chunky and this includes the foam covered handle. It gives you that invincible feeling you get when you are wearing snow boots or wellies – you are in control. Pressing the button in the centre, will lengthen or shorten the height of the handle from 105cm to 95cm for shorties like me!
This frame is a doddle to fold, simplified for speed and ease, you are never going to find yourself struggling in the rain to collapse your over complicated, rubix cube of a pushchair. Firstly, remove all the components (seats/carrycot or car seat), firmly push the handle into the frame to its lowest height setting. This will then release the handle allowing it to drop in between the back wheels, then simply pick up the shoulder strap from the basket and the two axles will come together as you lift, resulting in a very portable and compact frame. The closure latch is a manual affair that needs sliding into place to ensure it is locked closed.
The Peach frame is quite heavy at 10kgs, but it will stand vertically making it easier to stow in the car or store at home.
To open, undo the closure clip, swing the front axle out and lift the handle – now you are ready to add your choice of seats/carrycot or car seat.
Is one sitting comfortably?
Attaching the primary seat is self explanatory, the pegs on either side of the chair drop into the sockets on the frame. The back height is a maximum of 48cms with the canopy in place, however, the canopy can be unzipped from the frame and moved up to accommodate a taller child but their head will then rest on the metal frame of the chair.
The seat is a good size at 24cms deep and 30cm wide. For a smaller child, the padded liner can be zipped in to reduce the seating cavity to 21cms deep and 26cms wide.
The five-point harness can be adjusted to three shoulder heights relatively simply, accessing the back of the straps through the Velcro seal in the rear of the chair.
So let's assume your passenger has nodded off and you want to recline them. The recline control is a button in the centre of the chair release, a hub located each side of the seat. It can be performed from the rear of the pushchair but I found it easier from the front being a bit of a shortie. The footrest can be inverted to flatten the position of the legs, or adjusted in angle using the controls either side.
Supposing it is a sunny day (remember those?) and you need to shade your child from the glare. The canopy extends by 90 degrees to the frame giving ample cover, however it makes a clicking noise as you open it. Although I love this sound effect, which makes it feel extremely well made, it might wake a dozing infant by the time you have it at full stretch.
The bumper bar is foam covered and fixed in position. It is not gate opening but when in place, it does help manoeuvrability of the seat unit in terms of taking it on or off the frame.
Pressing the outer ring of the hub on the chair will release the seat from the chair. These buttons can be triggered independently so that you don't have to contort yourself to perform the click-click-lift procedure.
There are actually three carrycots that are compatible with the frame of the iCandy Peach; a main carrycot for use in single mode, then an upper and lower for use in tandem mode. They are all similar in design; a compact, rigid cocoon with a similar canopy and bumper bar to those on the seat unit. Also, like the seat unit they are neatly framed with a polished aluminium edge. They are sealed with a tailored, zip-in apron that extend vertically to make a wind shield near the face. The carrycots affix to the frame in exactly the same way as the seat unit.
Transforming your single Peach in to a Peach Blossom when you are ready to transport two children is childsplay – no really, they could do it themselves..well, virtually!
The Pip converters slide into the slots on the frame making two new sockets each side. Now you need to choose from one of the 9 configurations:
Single – car seat
Single – carrycot
Single – toddler seat forward facing
Single – toddler seat parent facing
Double – two car seats
Double – two carrycots
Double – two toddler seats
Double – Car seat parent facing/Toddler seat front facing
Double – Front facing carrycot and toddler seat.
The Pip converters are ‘L' shaped and clearly marked in yellow to indicate the lowest socket, leaving you in no doubt as to which converter slides into which slot. The lower socket snaps onto the rim of the rear of the basket for extra support.
Each conversion leaves ample room for each child; however, this is about to get even better as iCandy have been working on a new pip converter that increases the distance between the two units even further without compromising the balance of the pushchair.
The two seat units, although very similar are easily identifiable because the primary seat is larger with a curved footrest while the secondary seat is smaller (21cms deep / 26cms wide) with a narrower, more pointed footrest. The second seat is also marked in yellow in the same way as the converter, to indicate that this is the unit that clips into the lower sockets. A liner can be inserted to decrease the size of the second chair even further (21cms deep / 21cms wide) to make it even cosier for a smaller child.
The primary seat cannot be fully reclined when the second seat is in place so it comes with two screws that need to be inserted into the recline mechanism. Although this sounds like a fiddle, it's easy to do and still allows an ample recline.
The second seat has nearly all the attributes of the primary, the only thing that is missing is an adjustable leg rest otherwise it mirrors the larger seat with a large canopy, 5 point harness, fixed bumper bar and a full recline. However, the seat sits at an angle of around 45 degrees in its most upright position, and when reclined doesn't leave a lot of legroom for the lower occupant.
I love this pushchair and I can now appreciate why our group testers scored it highly in the tandem group test, making it the ultimate winner.
Tandems are often a compromise of one child over the other, so they are never perfect, however the iCandy provides a great balance that keeps everyone happy – Mum, child 1 and child 2.
Mum benefits because the manoeuvrability of the short wheel base gives it a nippy freedom not found in many more cumbersome alternatives. Plus it's easy to remove the seats and the fold is ideal for anyone in a hurry (does this sound like you – definitely sounds like me!) so I imagine most parents would enjoy its refined simplicity as I doubt I am unique.
Child 1 benefits from a great seating position in a comfortable, well proportioned chair.
Child 2 is snug and well protected in the lower, smaller seat making this the ideal tandem for siblings but more inconvenient for twins, as one of the children is more disadvantaged by the smaller chair and the fact that the chair is never properly upright.
The only elements I don't like are the recline buttons – both must be pressed to tilt the chair, which is a tricky procedure when they are located either side of the seat and don't leave you a hand free to actually adjust the angle. The fact that the bumper bar is not gate opening or adjustable is more of a disappointment than a problem, in a pushchair of this quality it's just something that you imagine would come as standard. I am sure the noisy hood is something that your passenger would soon get used to and to be honest, I like the noise!
The minor gripes with the iCandy Peach Blossom should not detract from the overall quality that is evident in every element and should definitely not deter you from taking a closer look at this compact tandem with a great fold, great manoeuvrability and stunning looks.
We give the iCandy Peach Blossom
4.5 out of 5 stars
Chassis with wheels 72 x 60 x 95-105 cms
Main carrycot 84 x 43 x 39.4 cms
Upper carrycot 75.4 x 43 x 37 cms
Lower Carrycot 77.5 x 40 x 37 cms
Main Seat Unit 87 x 41 x 50 cms
Lower seat unit 76 x 39 x 53 cms
Chassis with wheels 70 x 60 x 28.5 cms
Chassis without wheels 70.6 x 51.5 x 25.5 cms
Main carrycot 84 x 43 x 21.5 cms
Upper carrycot 75.4 x 43 x 18cms
Lower Carrycot 77.5 x 40 x 18 cms
Main carrycot 5.2kgs
Upper carrycot 4.5kgs
Lower carrycot 4.4kgs
Main seat unit 4.2kgs
Lower seat unit 3.6kgs