February 8, 2010

the silver cross eclipse fizz = my new favorite umbrella stroller!

the silver cross fizz stroller is one spiffy lightweight!

for reference, i have tried just about every model maclaren has made since 2004 and have owned five volos, a ryder, two vogues, two quests, an MX3, a twin techno, a techno classic and a techno XLR. i have never really considered purchasing a triumph, though i've played around with them plenty.

at one point i had a silver cross pop but i was so used to maclarens that i couldn't get past the fact that it didn't steer quite as well. so, going into this rave about the new eclipse fizz, i do have some previous experience with silver cross umbrella strollers and can say that the steerability of the fizz is much improved!

i will also say that it is most like a maclaren triumph, though it is often compared to the volo. there are enough similarities between the fizz and volo but it is like a more fully-featured triumph, in my opinion, and if someone was considering even a maclaren quest, i'd suggest they consider the fizz first.

so first off, let's discuss the appearance.

the fizz is sharp!

it's sleek!

it is, dare i say, sexy!

i still have yet to take photos of the stroller without the seat liner (or with it reversed to silver) so for now these will have to do :)

notice the nice, rounded "won't cut off your kid's fingers" hinges. ingenious and classy! then notice the thick padded seat liner with the cute lightly quilted bubble pattern. love it! also note that without the use of an extendable leg rest, my ten month old's legs don't dangle off the edge and the seat is sturdy enough so that he can sit cross-legged in comfort. love this feature, as well!

for full review:

the solid hubcaps, cupholder, and silvery mesh underbasket are all features that add to the overall A+ in the appearance department. i'm not sure how much i'll appreciate the foam handles after a while, since they are a very light colored grey, but they're comfortable and also add to the charm of the stroller. i think black foam would have produced a different, overall feel. to protect the handles from unsightly discoloration, i may invest in another stroller bag to keep this baby in, once i start towing it around in my trunk.

the cupholder is awesome. it's not huge, though, and a kleen kanteen only *just* fits. also, it says that it shouldn't be used to carry anything more than six ounces which i found so amusing, i took a picture of the warning:

seriously? what is six ounces? a child-sized frosty comes to mind.

photo source: dosomething.org
i can get past that. i'm sure the cup holder would safely hold a 16 oz. bottle of water or even a 22 oz. cup of soda or tea. it does stick out to the side, rather than towards the back, but it folds up when not in use or when you need to squeeze through a tight space.

the harness buckle also appeals to my senses with it's rounded appearance and clear connector pieces. my logical side wonders if this clear plastic connector won't break with repeated use, but i'm pretty careful with my things and will be just slightly more gentle than i normally would when buckling and unbuckling my little ones.

also worth mentioning is that the shoulder harness connects to the belt by sliding on the top of the clear buckle. as you can see there is nothing to keep it connected once you slide it on, so it does slide off rather easy and may have to be reattached every time you buckle up. this may be considered a drawback but another thing i like about the harness system, overall, is that it's super easy to use and adjust. there are only two positions and without the seat liner, you just slide the harness out of a loop that keeps it in the lowest position, which is attached to the front of the seat itself. not having to thread the shoulder harness through the back of the seat is nice.

now, one of the best things about the silver cross fizz is that the seat height is a whopping and impressive 21" tall from the seat bottom to the top. the shoulder harness does not take full advantage of this height and it is not long enough to use the five-point system with my tall four year old, but he is an experienced enough rider that i'm comfortable with just using the belt's three-point system, or even *gasp* not buckling him at all.

here, you can see how comfortable a 41.5" tall child sits in the fizz:

his head does not, i repeat it DOES NOT touch the top of the canopy and it just barely touches the top of the seat back. i wish i had a volo to compare seat back heights but from memory, it's at least 2" shorter than the fizz seat and my four year old's head has definitely been above the backs of all maclarens for at least a year - of course the stroller seats still provide support, but i love love love the fact that the top of his head is not only fully supported by the fizz, but that it doesn't brush up against the canopy hood, whether it's closed or not.

here, you can see that his head is right at (or maybe even slightly below, but i think he was leaning forward a bit) the top of the seat back. also, the canopy is closed in this picture, though you can't really tell, but you can see that the fabric is not touching his head.

here you can see that the canopy is fully extended and there is at least 4" of clearance between his head and the top of the fabric. i read somewhere online that the distance between the inner top of the canopy and the seat bottom in the maclaren volo is 26" - i have no idea how this was measured since there are all sorts of angles one can take such measurement but from the seat bottom on the fizz, straight up to the front of the canopy, the clearance is 28".

so how does the silver cross fizz really compare to maclarens?
let's look at the volo and fizz first...

the maclaren volo has a mesh seat and the fizz has a mesh seat with a padded center and a removable, reversible quilted seat liner made of soft canvas-like material. if you're familiar with the silver cross pop you will appreciate the difference in material that shows both an improvement in overall quality and feel in this silver cross product. the seat back, as mentioned earlier, is also taller than maclaren seats by at least two inches. the volo weighs a few pounds less than the fizz but has far less to offer.

so why do i compare the fizz to the triumph? the seat recline and the seat liner, mostly. while the recline on the triumph is slightly more of an actual recline and the feature on the fizz is really just a wee bit of variability, it does provide a better napping experience for the sleeping child (in the volo, my toddler's head would often flop forward and i'd have to push the stroller on the back two wheels to keep him breathing comfortably). the triumph may recline more than the fizz and it might even sit more upright but i really like the fizz seat, overall. it is made to cradle the child and reminds me of a hammock, even though it doesn't incline to a fully upright position, it is supportive and comfortable. the recline only adjusts two or three inches and the total degree of recline is probably not suitable for newborns (neither is the triumphs) but it is a smooth operation with a pull toggle on the seat back (similar to the triumph) so it will not wake your napping child.

the seat liner is more substantial on the fizz than the triumph and offers more comfortable padding so that your toddler won't complain that the backside of their knees are hurting, which may happen in both a volo or triumph. because of this, i might stretch a comparison to the quest. the canopy on the fizz also reminds of the shape and size of the canopy on the quest and because the fizz is slightly more "featured" with the cupholder i'd suggest it as an important consideration for people looking into this category of umbrella strollers. i am not a fan of putting newborns in umbrella strollers, no matter the recline, but the quest is suggested for babies 6 months and up, same as the fizz. i have put both of my younger children in a quest before they were six months old because they could both sit up unassisted before then and i think the recline is similar enough to a carseat that even a baby of two or three months can safely spend some time in it, if reclined fully. i would say the same is true for the fizz, especially with the hammock-effect the seat has.

compared to the latest MSRP of volos at $130 and full-price quests running $245, the fizz is the best value at $139. if you can find a deal on ebay or shnoop that should be considered a bonus because the fizz is so great that it is one of the few things i wouldn't regret paying full price for.


  1. thanks for the review..i wasnt going to get the stroller based on how small the seat looked on youtube..but your review won me over :)

  2. awesome! i finally started using the fizz as our full-time lightweight stroller outside of the house and it's great! it strolls really well, even with my four year old in it - i hope you like yours :)

  3. We got the silver cross fizz instead of the Triumph due to price and it is really doing everything I need it to. I am going to take the cupholder off. EVERYTIME I put a cup in there, I have to fight with it to get it out. Very annoying. And hanging out to the side is annoyng. I'll use my $10 Sunshine Kids Beverage and stuff holder and have 2 cup holders and a bit more space, and it all hangs between the handles. and I'll be happier.

  4. you know, i've grown increasingly tired of the cupholder, too (this is blessedmama in her new disguise, btw)...i don't struggle to get anything in or out of it but it does stick out too much and makes it difficult to steer the stroller in tight spaces (like the handbag section at my favorite department store!) this will be true of any attachment on an umbrella stroller that extends outward, though.

    we also have the sunshine kids bag, of which you speak (and i have meant to do a review on it, in terms of how well it rocks on the babyjogger city micro) but i can vouch for how well it will also work on the fizz (so does the single BOB console, surpisingly)!

  5. I realize this was posted a while ago but I would like to purchase a Fizz. Where did you all buy this? I'd obviously rather buy it in the US than have it shipped from the UK.

    Thank you in advance!


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