I spent some time in Kentucky reviewing the Cybex product line that will be coming soon from Regal-Lager. Here’s what I learned.
Cybex is a fairly young company. They released their first product in 2005, a belt-positioning booster that has received multiple prestigious awards for the safety technology and engineering incorpoated into the design. All the products are German-designed and manufactured in China. Regal-Lager plans to eventually bring over their entire line of strollers, car seats and baby carriers.
The four strollers are umbrella-fold strollers, similar to Maclaren, but with some innovations. The Ruby is the entry-level stroller. It is very similar to a Volo, but has a very simple recline. It will include a rain cover, and weighs nearly 12 lbs.
The Ruby is the only stroller that is not compatible with the Cybex infant car seat. The other three, the Onyx, Topaz and Callisto, can all be used as travel system strollers. These three strollers share some other nice features. They all feature a smooth, easy one-hand fold, and – the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while – a strap adjustment system that borrows its design from a car seat – you push a button to loosen the straps, and pull a strap to tighten. It’s SO easy – I don’t know why no one else has thought of it.
The Onyx stroller weighs around 15 lbs and is suitable from birth. The Topaz weighs a little over 16 lbs and has a four-wheel suspension system and a bumper bar. The Callisto is the newest and most different stroller, with a single bar instead of umbrella-style handlebars for pushing. I didn’t get the weight for it, but the Cybex website says it has a “lightweight aluminum frame.” Sounds promising.
For car seats, they have the LATCH/ISOFIX-enabled version of their award-winning booster seat, the Solution X-fix. This is an impressive looking seat that has just been awarded the prestigious red dot design award in Europe and should attract some attention here. It has a patented reclining headrest that optimally positions a sleeping child’s head to protect it in case of a collision. There’s also an advanced linear side impact protection system. The seat can be used in cars with or without LATCH.
The infant car seat, the Aton, is similarly impressive. The fabrics are lovely, and the unique design of the sun canopy is both intelligent and elegant. But this product has the longest road to travel before it is ready for the US. The model they are showing here has no base (European safety standards do not require a base, and most infant car seats do not have them) and has a three-point harness. So Cybex will need to develop a base and redesign the harness before the Aton is ready for this side of the pond.
The schedule for these products is varied. The strollers and belt-positioning booster are expected to arrive late in the 3rd quarter. The infant car seat may come as early as the 4th quarter, but I’m not holding my breath. In general, I was impressed with the Cybex car seats, and I think the strollers are on the right track. I didn’t love the feel of the hard, plastic handlebars, but my tourguide at Regal Lager pointed out the enhanced durability of the material. Otherwise, I think there’s a lot to like here, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they are received by parents in the US and Canada.
Take a look at the video footage I took in the Regal Lager booth: