Pros: Fantastic to Steer, Smooth Ride for Child, Lots of Adjustable Features, Unusual Fabric
Cons: Expensive, Heavy, Small Storage Basket
This review is a bit lengthy - but there are so many features to discuss I couldn't leave any out - so bear with me.
I hate to admit it, but my husband actually discovered the M5 Shuttle.
When it came to deciding on a stroller my husband and I both knew what we didn't want; a stroller that was flimsy and difficult to steer. What we did want was something that would be able to handle the wear and tear of 2 or 3 children, as well as being able to provide a smooth ride over rough terrain. Specifically we wanted rubber tires, not plastic ones, as we take a lot of walks on unpaved paths. And were willing to pay top dollar for a fantastic top of the line model if that is what it took.
In the beginning, I was convinced we needed a stroller that was part of a "travel system". These are the ones that include an infant seat that can be attached to the stroller as well as a base in your car. All of my friends had them, and the convenience of not having to take your infant out of the car seat and into the stroller (especially when they were sleeping) was a very appealing feature.
I talked to friends and family about their strollers but none of them seemed to be what we were looking for. Most had plastic wheels, that rattled when you went too fast and were difficult to steer especially in small store isles. And they just didn't look like they would last more than 1 or 2 years. That is when my husband came accross the Bertini M5 Shuttle while doing research on the Internet. He showed me the stroller and all the features it offered but, I wasn't keen on it at first - as it was just a stroller and wasn't part of a "Travel System".
I told him I would go and take a look at it first before making a decision. It was a little difficult to find a store here in Vancouver who carried the Bertini Line - but after emailing the manufacturer we found that there were 2 local stores that carried Bertini strollers. So, we headed out to take a look at this stroller in person to see if it was what we wanted.
Here is a run down of the M5 Shuttle's features as listed on their website. www.bertinistollers.com/m5.htm, and as described to us by the store owner.
Lightweight aluminum frame
Suitable from birth to 17 kg (37 lbs)
Upright and five lay back positions, can accommodate bunting
Large pneumatic wheels, 12" diameter & hand pump
Removable bumper bar
5 point adjustable safety harness
Adjustable footrest with plastic cover
Hood with viewing window and large rear pocket
Generous shopping basket holds up to 5 kg
Easy to fold
Removable seat pad
Extra storage pockets in the hood
Compact folding with a convenient carry handle built into the chassis
Steering or Fixed Wheel options
Weight:12 kgs/26 lbs (wheels attached)
Width: 25" (wheels attached)
Seat Width: 13"
Handle Height: 45"(max. height)
Folded Dimensions: 39" x 25" x 16"
I ended up changing my opinion about certain features that I thought I couldn't live without and so we ended up purchasing the M5 Shuttle. Here are a few reasons why:
1. First, what I love most about this stroller (and why it is so unique that there is no other stroller that has it - that I am aware of)is the 4 wheel steering system.
With the Bertini M5 Shuttle all 4 wheels swivel when you steer, thus creating a very fluid and smooth turning system. It practically drives itself! You can use one hand very easily, it turns on a dime and you have the option of using the 4 wheel steering system (which is a God send in store isles!) or you can step on a leaver which locks the wheels and it turns into fixed steering mode. This option is good if you are trying to back up or just walking on a straight path where you don't need to make many turns.
2. Very Smooth Ride :The Bertini M5 actually has shock absorbers which is great when you are traveling on rough terrain. You might think, "I never take my baby for a walk on rocky trails", but even in the concrete jungle there is rough terrain everywhere. The large 12"rubber tires also help to provide a very smooth and sturdy ride for this stroller.
3. Adjustable and Removable Parts: The Bertini M5 Shuttle comes with practically everything adjustable. The handlebar is adjustable - so both you and your tall husband can push the stroller without having to hunch over. The footrest is adjustable. You can keep it up when your child is young and in more of a recline position. Or you can put the footrest down, if your child is a toddler and is sitting up. The bumperbar is removable, as well as the seatpad for cleaning. All these features make it a dream to customize.
4. There are several recline positions on the Bertini M5 Shuttle, as well as a complete incline position. A great feature is that you can adjust the seat position with one hand! No more stopping and locking the breaks while you use both hands to release the latches and adjust the seat. You can do this and continue walking at the same time.
5. There are several storage compartments on this stroller - the first being the main basket underneath, and the second being the pockets found at the back of the hood. There are two tall pockets on either side (great for holding bottled water) and one large pocket in the middle. This is where I keep things I need to grab quickly, cell phone, keys, wallet and wipes. It is also nice to have these things close at hand without being too obvious. Other strollers have an open tray for you to put your items on - which I consider too risky.
6. Great Fabric I wasn't too keen on the fabric at first as it looked a little too "space-suit-ish" with the black and sliver accents, and the puffy seat pad and hood. But I have grown to love the unique look of my stroller, and the way it is so easy to clean and wipe down. The fabric does not show stains and can be cleaned easily with just a wet cloth. Even after 7 months it still looks brand new.
Now, onto the CONS - I actually wouldn't really call these CONS as they are features that I felt I could learn to live without or that ended up not being as important as I thought they were.
1. No cupholder for mom: I really don't miss this feature. I thought I just had to have a cupholder for my Soy Lattes while I strolled the mall. I don't mind carrying my drink in one hand now - simply because I can steer this stroller so easily with my other hand I guess the other strollers need the cupholder as you need both hands to steer them. Also for safety reasons, I learned you are not supposed to put any hot drinks in those holders anyways. The pockets on the hood work just fine for my bottled water/drinks.
2. No Babytray/Cupholder: Since there is only the bumper bar at the front of the stroller - there is no cupholder for your child to put his 'sippycup' or a tray for him to eat his Cheerios from. Since my daughter is only 7 months old and not quite into that stage yet - I don't really need this feature. However, as she gets older this could be the one thing that might bother me. Although, if your child is old enough to eat and drink on the run, they must be able to hold those items by themselves, without relying on a tray or holder. We will have to see how I feel about this later on . . .
3. Not Infant Seat Adaptable : The Bertini M5 Shuttle is not part of a 'travel system' and is not meant to carry an infant seat. This was the one thing that I felt I could not live without!! What would I do if my baby fell asleep in her car seat and we had just arrived at the mall? I couldn't take her out to put her in the stroller and wake her up! My husband and I discussed this scenario and I was willing to let this feature (or lack of) go as we both agreed, that it would be better for our baby to get used to being moved when she was asleep. If we woke her up, then she would have to learn to fall back asleep on her own. And I can honestly say, that she has been really great about it. But every child is different, and if this doesn't seem like an option for you - then just be aware that this stroller won't hold infant seats.
4. Heavy: Contrary to what their website states, this stroller is quite heavy. At 12 kgs (26 lbs) it is probably one of the heaviest strollers around. HOWEVER - this is due to the fact that this is a sturdy product and not made of plastic. I guess considering it's craftsmanship you would think it would be a lot heavier. But the aluminum frame has managed to lighten the load. Since I was only going to be taking it in and out of the trunk of our car (and not hauling it to the North Pole) I didn't mind the weight, besides, I need to work out my biceps a bit more.
Things that I would redesign on the Bertini M5 Shuttle:
1.Difficult to collapse: This is probably my only major irk with the M5. Collapsing this stroller does take practice. You have to use 2 hands and press the leavers in a certain order to collapse it. They say this is due to a safety feature to prevent the stroller from collapsing accidentally. Having small hands doesn't help either. Most of the guys I know don't have much of a problem. It doesn't frustrate me much nowadays as I have learned the technique - don't just drop this stroller off with the grandparents without a thorough demonstration and practice run first!
2. Storage Basket Too Small:I guess nothing will ever be big enough - but this basket is too small and awkward to access. It was one of the first things I noticed about the stroller - but I thought, "It will do, how much crap can I carry anyways?" The first diaperbag I had wouldn't even fit in the basket - the basket is square and my diaper bag was more rectangular. There is also a zippered pouch at the back of the stroller (closest to you) which I think is meant to keep things you want to get a hold of quickly. All this pouch has done is make it more awkward to put anything in the basket and take up room that I would have preferred to use for holding shopping bags. It is especially difficult to put a bag in the basket when the seat is in the fully reclined position. There isn't enough clearance and I usually have to lift the seat up at least one adjustment to get a large bag in. The basket can be clipped on and off - so I actually just unclipped it and turned it around so the pouch was facing away from me, which has helped.
3. 5 Point Harness: While I am very glad to see a 5 point harness in this car seat, it seems that the tightest setting on the harness is still not as tight as I would like it. The company says that this seat is good from birth to 17 kg (37 lbs). For newborns or small children the harness is still quite sloppy. I think only now my daughter is fitting well into the harness, and she is 7 months and 18 lbs. It is still safe - but I think they could have made the adjustment on the harness tighter.
One thing I have noticed is that after opening up the stroller from it's folded position, on occasion the bumper bar comes detatched on the right side. It isn't a major problem but a bit annoyoing since it is a little difficult to re-thread into the slot correctly.
I have only had the Bertini M5 Stroller for 7 months, but I am extremely pleased with the overall product so far. The steering system alone is well worth purchasing this stroller. It still looks brand new even after hauling it in and out of my dirty truck, driving it through mud and rain, and having many a spilt bottle on it. None of the fabric or the parts are showing any bit of wear.
It is unique -I get stopped constantly by people asking me what kind of stroller it is and wanting to try it out.
It is one of the more expensive strollers on the market - which for some might not be an option - but if you are willing to pay the money I believe you will be getting an excellent product.
A little FYI - The name Bertini sounds Italian, so my husband and I thought that this stroller was Italian made -but actually it is an Australian product!