Tippitoes are an established name within the nursery industry, supplying over 250 shops nationwide with everything from bouncers to potties. Their range includes a good choice of lightweight umbrella strollers, the latest being the Fuse that we are going to scrutinise today...
The umbrella stroller has very little room for substantial change due to the fold being so effective and compact; however each manufacturer seems to add their own unique twist that gives them a new edge to talk about. Where they really do battle is on price, extras and design and unlike most of our expenses, the price of strollers seems to be dropping!
The Tippitoes Fuse is one of the growing number of great value strollers that can be used from birth right up to the time when they no longer need a pushchair, eliminating the need to buy an exorbitant all-singing, all-dancing pushchair for your newborn. Of course, many parents end up using a stroller eventually, even if it’s just to scoop up tired legs on a longer adventure, so why not buy one right from the beginning!
What’s in the box
Front wheels (detached)
The RRP of the Tippitoes Fuse is £129
Sun umbrella RRP £9.99
Air flow cool mat RRP £9.99
Blankets from Baroo RRP £14.99
Essential footmuff RRP £19.99
The Fuse is available in Black with black frame, or Grey with silver frame.
The Tippitoes Fuse is a modern looking stroller with a square edged aluminium frame instead of the usual tubular design. The punch hold handles also give it an alternative twist as they are solid plastic and stick up vertically with no ergonomic bend or foam padding. This doesn’t mean they are uncomfortable to hold, in fact they give you a great feeling of control, however some people may find their 90 degree angle a little telling on the wrists after a while.
Another area where the Fuse steps away from the ‘norm’ is the way that the canopy and bumper bar attach to the frame. Instead of clamping over the frame, they both slot into small slots making a neat connection to the chassis that won’t scratch the aluminium.
The canopy is a decent size that is made rigid using the brackets on the sides. It has a large viewing window in the top that’s covered with a Velcro close flap and has two pockets in the rear canopy apron, one with a closure flap, the other made of net. They are both at the perfect height for your keys, mobile, purse or anything else that you may be tempted to balance on the top of your canopy, which we all know - ends in tears!!
Underneath the rear apron, on the back of the chair, are the controls for the recline. A large grey button, that says the word ‘press’ on the top, will lower the backrest down to around 20 degrees. A tag on the end of the tape at the top of the chair says ‘pull’, which will sit the seat upright again if you do as it says whilst pushing on the backrest. This is a sophisticated mechanism for a stroller and allows you to select any angle between upright and fully reclined instead of limiting you to a pre-ordained three or four positions.
The five point harness is padded at the shoulder and can be adjusted in height when you baby gets larger. Your initial setting is quite narrow and low in the seat – just what you’d need for a newborn, then the alternative position is wider and further up allowing for the increase in width of the back. Moving to the alternative slot is simply a matter of posting the rear strap brackets through their current hole and then rethreading them back through the hole at the new height – not rocket surgery!
I love the bumper bar on the Fuse, it seems so beautifully engineered using the same aluminium as the frame. It can be gate opened on either side for easy access, can be angled between 0 and 90 degrees and the stroller will fold with it still attached.
Moving down the seat, the calf rest is just enough to support the legs of a sleeping toddler. The angle can be changed by sliding the small buttons on the underside – straight out for sleep, or in line with the angle of the frame for sitting. The feet are then supported on the ubiquitous rubberised strip that spans the frame as a foot rest.
The plastic wheels are 15cm double units with EVA foam, moulded tyres. The front sets each have a rotational lock to allow you to stop the swivel on rougher terrain. The rear sets accommodate the linked brake that is relatively flip-flop friendly and easy to apply.
Beneath and behind the seat is the basket, which isn’t huge but enough for a few bits and bobs and like all strollers, completely inaccessible if the seat is reclined.
The Fuse has a grey handle in the centre of the frame at the rear, pull this up to break the tension in the frame, then step on the grey pedal to the right, to allow the handles to drop towards the front wheels. An auto-lock bracket will then engage and you can carry the stroller away with convenient handle on the side of the frame. At 8.8kg it isn’t the lightest stroller but the compact fold and the handle make it easier to manoeuvre.
To open the pushchair, simply release the lock and pull up the handles. Step on the small grey pedal on the centre back of the seat to re-tension the frame and you're ready to go!
The Tippitoes slogan is 'Affordable quality' and the Fuse is well summed up by this statement. Design details such as the aluminium frame being squared off and the tidy slots that hold the bumper bar and canopy, are a good illustration of the attention to quality. However, the plastic moulding is a little unpolished but thankfully there isn't an awful lot of plastic on this pushchair.
The bumper bar is my favourite element, it's robust and easy to open and the cup holder is an included accessory that I would definitely use. The pockets on the rear of the canopy are a convenient touch with enough room for all your essentials. I like the fact that the harness is height adjustable and the recline is easy and sophisticated. Plus, what's not to like about the price, it's a great deal if you are going to use this from birth.
Sitting the seat back upright again is a little more fiddly but not impossible. The basket is on the small side so luggage would have to be kept to a minimum. Aesthetically. I'm not keen on the handles, they are too vertical in the grip which some people might find uncomfortable. Lastly, the choice of colours are very sombre for a from-birth pushchair, I would have liked to see a more vibrant choice in the range to suit those with a more adventurous pallette.
The Tippitoes Fuse is a sturdy, mid-range stroller that has all the essentials plus some nice quirks.
We give the Tippitoes Fuse
3.5 out of 5 stars
Age: From birth
Open size: 106 x 54 x 60cms
Folded size: 39 x 27 x 106cms