phil&teds: Verve (double mode)
The phil&teds Verve is a sleek and sophisticated inline that is extremely attractive. It’s the arrogant but good looking member of the phil&teds family – you know the sort, loved by women, envied by men and good at everything! With the Verve under the microscope, we shall find out if this charmer has an Achilles heel!
There’s no escaping the fact that phil&teds know their stuff when it comes to inline pushchairs. Having been the pioneers of the genre, they have really refined their art to make something to fit every taste or whim.
The Verve is one of those pushchairs that has a price bracket that keeps it just out of reach of the masses, one of those pushchairs you don’t see on every street corner. Capitalising on that desirability, all the accessories are sold separately so that your status can climb depending on the add-ons you’ve been able to afford.
What’s in the box
Available in black/black or red/black
The RRP of the phil&teds Verve is £640.93
Peanut Carrycot RRP £149.95
Double UV sun cover RRP £28.54
Single UV sun cover RRP £23.54
Single storm cover RRP £17.10
Peanut cover set (storm/sun) RRP £32.05
Cocoon RRP £80.26
Double kit RRP £109.00
Travel bag RRP £61.90
Car seat adaptors RRP £24.95
Cup holder RRP £11.42
Obviously, a great personality and an ability to turn your hand to anything are commendable traits but you can’t help but gaze at the phil&teds Verve without sensing automatic attraction.
It is aesthetically stunning with its long scooped frame, angular supports, wide back axle and jaunty canopy. It’s the sort of pushchair that gives you a sense of elegance whilst still being ready to off-road – appealing qualities!
Working our way around this disarming pushchair, it’s hard to know where to start. The handle should be the first port of call, and even here there is functionality to discuss. The angle of the handle can be adjusted into six positions by pressing the buttons on the inside of the handle, allowing the height to span 78cms to 109cms.
A safety hand strap comes as standard on the phil&teds range, a useful attachment to make sure your pushchair doesn’t take off without you. Not a prospect worth thinking about with two children on board!
Centrally located on the handle is the brake. The small red button applies the ‘full-stop’ and the longer black button releases it. I love its location and the ease of use. In terms of safety it’s the best possible place to deliver an immediate response when required.
The canopy lies comfortably against the frame, but is not attached in any way. On one hand, this does pose a problem as soon as your child discovers that they can pull the canopy forward onto their lap, a battle of wills is bound to ensure. On the other hand, it can follow-the-sun to provide shade to your passenger regardless of the direction in which your journey takes you (however it’s more likely to act as a wind-break in the UK!). The canopy itself comprises of two segments of slightly textured black nylon and it includes a pop-out UV mesh bill that offers a slight extension.
Moving down the frame to the 34cm generously wide seat it can easily accommodate a three or four year old with the 58cm back height with a further 10cms head clearance in the canopy.
The soft, washable seat pad sits against the contoured and ventilated plastic panel that forms the back of the chair. The five point harness attaches through the pad and through holes in the back panel. Phil&teds offer by far the easiest solution to altering the shoulder height of your harness. Concealed under the shoulder pads on each strap is a pinch clip. Simply undo the clip and unthread it from your seat pad. Twist and slide the lugs on the end of the strap to allow it to slide freely up or down runners on the back panel which are punctuated by 3 possible stopping positions. Twisting the lug back to horizontal locks it into its new position, then it’s simply a matter of pushing the strap back through the seat pad and reattaching it to the rest of the harness.
The seat is reclined using the nylon straps and a toggle on the rear of the back panel. Squeezing the clip and running it down the straps will recline the back rest. As with all reclines that use this method, going down is not a problem, it's going back up that might test your patience. When the seat is weighted with a child, you would be inclined to push the back rest up and hold it in place while you slide the toggle up the straps however, you need two hands to do this!
The bumper bar is a non-poisable foam covered handle, it slides into place on top of the frame but does not have a gate opening mechanism to make loading and off-loading easier. You either have to slide your child in behind it or remove it completely leaving you one hand less to aid your child’s ascent or decent.
The passenger’s feet come to rest on the plastic step that sits in the curve at the bottom of the frame. There is an ample drop from the seat (24cms) to make this a comfortable seating position.
Below and behind the seat is a huge basket, that is wide (41cms), deep (17cms) and cavernous (49cms long), providing plenty of room for shopping, toys and just about anything you may need.
Supporting all of this are the large wheels. Two 30cm air filled tyres sit astride the wide back axle while the front has two 24cm EVA foam tyres that reduce the overall weight of the Verve and minimise the potential of a flat. Exposed suspension on the front, and mud guards on the rear give it that ‘ready-for-anything’ look. On rough ground it would be advisable to lock off the front wheels, prohibiting them from swivelling. The levers on the hubs perform this trick; flicked up to constrain, down to release.
Folding the Verve is a doddle and the finished product is slim and stands vertically. Pull up the paddles either side of the seat, then press the rocking aluminium lever that acts as a safety catch. The frame breaks at the hinge to fold in half, ending with the front wheels tucked neatly against the basket. An auto-lock keeps the frame together plus closing the paddles will keep this fold tidy.
Opening it back up is not a mystery. Open the paddles, undo the auto-lock bracket and pull up the handle. Once the frame is erect, close the paddles (which can be a little stiff) to restore the rigidity in the frame.
As a single pushchair the Verve is manoeuvrable, spacious, good looking and uncomplicated. It’s the sort of solution that all ‘wannabe’ outdoorsy types should choose because at the same time as being a great urban pushchair for nipping to the shops or gliding seamlessly round a mall, it has all the necessary equipment for the occasions you may go for a walk on the beach or for a crisp winter ramble after Sunday lunch.
Not only that, it has ‘to-be-seen-with’ status. There’s no denying that phil&teds has a desirability factor that only really applies to the top echelon of the pushchair world. Some of this comes from the price and some from the very ‘cool’ marketing. Whatever gives a pushchair that ‘X’ factor, the Verve has it. If it wasn’t for the unrestrained canopy, the strap recline and the non-poisable bumper bar, this pushchair would be near perfect.
We give the phil&teds Verve in single mode
4.5 out of 5 stars
Double the trouble
So life moves on, and you have expanded to become a nuclear family; 2 adults – 2 children. Now, you can get full use out of your ‘family’ car, you can also qualify for a ‘family’ pass at the zoo, ‘family’ deals in restaurants and even ‘family’ holidays. But to get access to all of these places you need to double up on space in your pushchair. Luckily, if you bought the Verve as a single, the double kit steps in to transform your nippy single into a tandem child carrier.
There are two possible positions for the second seat to be located; on the front, sliding into the sockets previously occupied by the bumper bar, or at the back, making use of the enormous basket for leg room.
When your smallest child is an infant it is preferable to locate the double kit on the front of the pushchair with the standard seat fully reclined. Your baby can then lay in the darkened rear, protected from the elements. However, once your infant is around 46cms tall, this configuration is no longer applicable as their feet can be compromised by the passenger in front.
The double kit seat is an adequate size at 34.5cms wide and 20cms deep. The seat height of 47cms has a further 9cms head clearance under the canopy. Once again, the 5 point harness is easily adjustable and the removable seat pad is washable.
Positioning the seat at the rear is effortless; just dropping it into the brackets is met with an audible click to confirm it is located correctly.
The lever on the top of the double kit frame controls the recline in 3 positions, and can only be reclined when it’s located at the rear of the pushchair. Unfortunately, the straps that control the recline of the main seat dangle in the face of the rear passenger and even if tethered out of the way could provide ample fuel for a less than harmonious adventure.
A canopy is provided with the second seat for use when the seat is mounted at the back of the pushchair. It has two small segments that deliver some shelter from the elements. The gap between the front and rear passenger is not vast, approximately 30cms which diminishes to around 18cms when the depth of the head is taking into consideration.
There is enough room for your toddler’s legs, although your rear passenger would not fit with great comfort much past two years old.
Saving the best until last, amazingly, the Verve folds with the second seat in place! A lever near the left attachment bracket allows the rear seat to be folded forward, from which the fold is exactly the same as that of the single and beneficially it creates exactly the same size footprint as the single. A definite plus point, as most other tandems require an element of disassembly before they can be stored or transported.
The double kit is uncomplicated to remove; the sliders above the brackets retract them so that you can simply lift it off. The seat is compact and squashes flat for storage.
The expansion to a double on the Verve is a fantastic facility to have in a pushchair and the added advantage of being able to fold it up with it in place is genius, however it is not perfect.
Fitting the seat is easy but when mounted in the rear position it’s a touch too close to the primary seat to be completely comfortable. It almost needs an extender bracket to position it a little further away. When on the front of the pushchair, if the older child is heavy, he or she will have a tendency to squash the feet of the younger child in the rear. This was one of the discoveries from our tandem group test held last September.
The double seat has been designed in such a way that it only compliments the Verve’s good looks. If it wasn’t for the lack of distance between the two seats this pushchair ticks all the boxes in style and usability. Although it’s expensive, you don’t get attractive functionality without a cost incurred, a pushchair that works well and looks good are aspirational concerns of many first-time and many-time parents; phil&teds delivers both to your expanding family.
We give the phil&teds Verve in double mode
4 out of 5 stars.
Age: Newborn - 6 years
Folded size: 84 x 54 x 24 (wheels off)
Folded size: (wheels on)
Open size: 66 x 92 x 78-109cms