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Indoors micralite

Published on December 16th, 2010 | by Greg

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Micralite: Setting A New Standard For Strollers

Prospec­tive and re­cent par­ents of­ten balk when look­ing at all of the var­i­ous gear that they’ll need. From ba­by mon­i­tors and bot­tles to cribs and playpens, it can be a bit over­whelm­ing. And one of the most dif­fi­cult pur­chas­es is a stroller, since they’re a bit hard to re­al­ly try out, and a short term run through isn’t like­ly to serve as a good re­al-world stress test. Be­lieve us, a stroller is cer­tain­ly an item that will be tak­ing some knocks, as it’s ex­pect­ed to hold a fair bit of weight un­der some pret­ty strain­ing cir­cum­stances, in­clud­ing a child who like­ly isn’t in­clined to­wards sit­ting peace­ful­ly.

It’s easy to give in­to the temp­ta­tion, when brows­ing the aisles or see­ing pic­tures on­line, to sim­ply pick the cheap­est de­cent mod­el… or even the most ex­pen­sive one. The for­mer will like­ly be torn to pieces, if you can even get it as­sem­bled; the for­mer will like­ly be more than you need. And there are as many op­tions in strollers to­day as bi­cy­cles, mak­ing it even hard­er to choose when you aren’t sure ex­act­ly what to ex­pect. Our ad­vice: con­sid­er your needs care­ful­ly, as well as your bud­get, but don’t skimp- cheap wheels are abun­dant­ly aw­ful, and smelly plas­tics and in­con­ve­nient straps and han­dles make for un­hap­py kids and par­ents.

The Mi­cralite Toro is a stroller you might not have heard of, even if you browse the shops pret­ty care­ful­ly. It’s not car­ried com­mon­ly, though you can use their dis­trib­u­tor’s site to find a lo­cal deal­er. But, if you can find one or are will­ing to buy on­line, you’ll be hap­pi­ly sur­prised- the Toro is the best stroller sys­tem we’ve seen. It’s a bit ex­pen­sive, but comes with a five-year war­ran­ty, and is avail­able in a va­ri­ety of col­ors (ours was a nice, neu­tral emer­ald green). And if can’t take our word, maybe Con­sumer Re­ports rat­ings car­ry some weight- it was their top-ranked lux­u­ry stroller.

To start with, it’s not dif­fi­cult to as­sem­ble. We’ve seen some strollers that re­quired some re­al work, but the Toro took about 10 min­utes to un­wrap and put to­geth­er. Ev­ery­thing is nice­ly pack­aged, the in­struc­tions are ex­cel­lent, and it’s im­me­di­ate­ly ob­vi­ous that ma­te­ri­als are high-qual­i­ty. Pieces fit snug­ly, but­tons are stur­dy, and fab­rics are durable. The bas­ket on the bot­tom of the stroller wasn’t im­pres­sive, but the wheels were- ex­tra-large in­flat­ed ones in the back of­fer a nice de­gree of shock ab­sorben­cy, two pairs in the front make it ex­treme­ly ma­neu­ver­able. The han­dle is ro­tat­able to some ex­tent, though Dad may want it to reach a bit high­er if he’s tall- but the good news is that it’s com­plete­ly ad­justable and the han­dle­bars are eas­i­ly re­place­able and upgrad­able. Steer­ing is a dream, whether up hills or over curbs, and the brakes work well.

One of the nifti­est things about the stroller was the sim­ple “one-hand­ed” fold­ing, where it re­mains up­right in­stead of mak­ing you bend over to pick it up. Ba­si­cal­ly, you’re go­ing to be spend­ing a lot of time col­laps­ing and re-open­ing a stroller, stow­ing it away when trav­el­ing and even at home or when not in use. And some strollers aren’t fold­able; many of the ones that are end up catch­ing your fin­gers or then be­ing very dif­fi­cult to get set­up again. The Toro did take two hands for us, though we could hold on­to bags or a ba­by and han­dle it. It takes on­ly a few sec­onds, folds flat, and re-opens safe­ly and sim­ply. You don’t need to lock the wheels or do any­thing ex­tra- it just works, and is a ver­i­ta­ble en­gi­neer­ing won­der. And it’s lightweight at 18 pounds, so it isn’t dif­fi­cult for Mom to put in the van.

On the oth­er hand, you’ll al­so be spend­ing a lot of time car­ry­ing things, and here the Toro does leave quite a bit to be de­sired. The afore­men­tioned bas­ket of­fers lit­tle space be­low, and due to the bal­ance of the stroller, hang­ing any­thing from the han­dles is not a good idea. It works OK while in mo­tion, but if you let go, the stroller might tip back­wards- not a good thing. There aren’t any ac­ces­si­ble pock­ets, re­al­ly, nor cuphold­ers- per­haps not an is­sue for ev­ery­one, but we of­ten stroll around the city and would’ve like a handy place for a cup of cof­fee. Larg­er kids might find the bas­ket a bit snug- it will work great for younger tots, but the stat­ed lim­it is 18kg (or about 3-4 years). The slight­ly-awk­ward bar over the ac­tu­al bas­ket can be handy and al­so serves to keep your child a bit safer, but it can al­so get in the way a bit.

We al­so end­ed up crack­ing our han­dle­bars dur­ing a lit­tle bit of high-im­pact test­ing (don’t wor­ry, no chil­dren were harmed in the mak­ing of this ar­ti­cle). Luck­i­ly, their war­ran­ty ser­vice was ex­cel­lent, and shipped us pre­cise­ly the right part we need­ed with a min­i­mum of fuss. Mi­cralite al­so of­fers many op­tions for the sys­tem as well, which we didn’t have a chance to try- ac­ces­sories like a car­rycot for new­borns, a car seat, and fun win­ter warm­ers and an­i­mal print lin­ers. In­clud­ed, though, are the flip-up sun cov­er, a foot muff, and a de­cent rain cov­er which zips on. We haven’t even got­ten to the po­si­tion­ing sys­tem, which al­lows you to ad­just the tilt of the main bas­ket- handy for in­ter­act­ing with the lit­tle one or for feed­ing and snack­ing. All in all, we wish that we could go back and ride in one of these- kids to­day have all the luck! At near­ly $500, it’s def­i­nite­ly an in­vest­ment, but one which should last quite a while and make life much eas­i­er… and par­ent­hood just a bit more joy­ful.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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