Combi Helio Stroller: A Compact Fold For Easy Carrying

06/16/2009 at 10:00 AM ET

Combi’s Helio Stroller ($150) is a lightweight, compact and useful stroller for anyone who has to carry their wheels onto a train, into the car or onto an airplane.

I love the Carbon fashion that we tested — it has a cute, polka-dot design in gray and black.

Assembly and Fold
The Helio assembled in no time with easy-to-understand instructions. Just snap on the wheels, the sun shade and the toddler bar.

The fold is unusual on the helio. It folds forward first, then the sides fold in, making it extremely compact. It’d be ideal for a small car’s trunk and we carried it easily onto a commuter train and stashed it in the storage bin. A wide shoulder strap makes it easy to carry when folded and really does not get in the way when you’re pushing.

Storage
Compact size often comes with drawbacks and for the Helio, this means that the basket is sacrificed. The basket is cut by a horizontal bar that’s part of the frame. It made it too small to fit my large diaper bag inside the basket but you can slide smaller items underneath easily. It has a parent organizer with several pockets for sunglasses or mobile phones and a cup holder and snack bowl for the passenger.

Seat and Recline
The fabrics are washable, wipeable, ripstop nylon and nylon mesh and the seat is well-padded.  It reclines with a strap to infinite positions including fully reclined. The 5-point safety harness is easy to work. Of course the seat is compatible with the Combi Shuttle infant car seat.

Ride and Maneuverability
With no suspension, hard plastic tires and a very lightweight frame, the ride isn’t anything to sing about, but it isn’t horrible, either. Cushy tires and suspension and such just add to the weight and price of models like this one. It also has a bit of flex in the frame, which I don’t love, when you’ve rocked back onto the back wheels to go up a curb or step. The cushiness of the seat and the high side panels on the cushion make the seat seem pretty comfy, so 1-year-old Egan slept through all the obstacles without issue. Separate locks secure each of the pairs of back wheels and the front wheels can swivel or lock straight.

Sun Coverage
The sun shade on the Helio isn’t big enough for me. If I had to choose one improvement, it would probably be that. It does have a mesh window for peeking in on the baby without slowing down.

Pros: Lightweight and compact fold with a nice shoulder strap for carrying. It’s compatible with the Combi Shuttle car seat.

Cons: Hard tires and no suspension keep the stroller light, but you’ll feel the bumps in the road. I wish the sun shade was 50% bigger for more coverage.

The Final Verdict: If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you don’t get a Rolls Royce ride for $150, but this stroller offers a decent ride plus cup holders, hidey holes for my stuff and snack compartments for the kids. I would recommend it for travelers or those who have to fit their stroller in the trunk of a small car.

— Kristen

CBB Deal: Save 10% on all Combi products and geta free set of Combi Chopsticks at www.goores.com when you use coupon code CBBCOMBI (expires 8/16/09).

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Showing 2 comments

Laurie on

I have a Combi and I love it.🙂

angelika05 on

I’ve had a Combi since the beginning and I LOVE it. I love how light it is and it has been everywhere with us…LOVE IT!

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