Mutsy 4Rider and 4Rider Light: Customize Your Baby Mobility System

Mutsy is no newcomer to the stroller scene. The Dutch company (pronounced like ‘footsie’) has been making “pushchairs” or “kinderwagens” since 1937.

We reviewed their best-selling 4Rider ($575) and 4Rider Light ($545) strollers, which are identical except for the wheels.

The 4-Rider (23 lbs with the seat) has air-filled tires (always heavier) and the 4-Rider Light (19 lbs) has rigid rubber tires and spoke wheels. The weight difference is just 4 pounds, and at 19 lbs, “light” is a misnomer. While it is lighter, it’s not a light stroller. We can enthusiastically recommend this high-quality stroller, but only if you’re not folding and lifting it in and out of the car several times a day. For a city dweller with room to store it or for a walk-to-the-playground-every-day type, it’s a sweet ride.

The Looks
The 4-Rider is really nice looking. The frame is quite upright and doesn’t sprawl out in front of you the way many strollers do. The “College” fabrics are sleek and sophisticated but they have “Team College 01” embroidered on it in several places. I couldn’t help but think of John Belushi’s “COLLEGE” shirt from Animal House. This was my first indication that Mutsy isn’t an American company. The push handle is very adjustable and would accommodate very tall or very short parents. It’s also nice to push it all the way in to make it fit in a coffee shop where there’s no high chair in sight.

Accessories
4-Rider comes standard with the frame, seat, sunshade and a small basket for $575. The comprehensive system of accessories makes it easy to extend the life of the stroller from newborn with the bassinet ($225) to toddlerhood with the Funseat ($110), but optional equipment adds up fast.

One cool accessory we played with is the Babysitter Chassis ($40). The Babysitter is a simple aluminum frame that holds the stroller’s seat and turns it into a bouncer for your living room. You can even use the sun shade with it. I’m not sure of the practicality of it, knowing that I would probably forget to bring it out to my car and leave it in the house, but it is sturdy and it works great. Even at 10 months old, my son Egan liked sitting in it and watching his brother build tall towers with blocks. That’s an activity best viewed from a distance anyway.

The Funseat ($110) is just the strangest stroller accessory I’ve ever seen, and my 3 ½-year-old son Finn loves it. It’s a bright orange, plastic seat with a “steering” bar (it doesn’t really steer) for bigger kids. It also has a huge basket underneath for all the goodies that go along with him. It has a 5-point safety harness and tall, padded bar that serves as a headrest, but this is not a comfy seat for napping. It does totally change the configuration of the stroller and makes it a new vehicle entirely.

The optional Shopping Basket ($60) is a must-have item, in my opinion. It’s a gigantic basket that easily detaches from the stroller and can be carried by its large, padded handle. The handle doesn’t sit comfortably on your shoulder and there’s no way to lock the handle in place when you’re carrying it, so the contents may shift, but even if you never take it off the stroller it’s nice to have such a big basket. When I installed the basket the first time, I futzed around with the brackets a bit, but it wasn’t difficult once I got them in the right position. I like it for bringing stuff from the stroller into the house or shopping at a farmers’ market.

Assembly and Fold
The frame came in one large box and the seat and canopy came in another, but it wasn’t difficult to assemble. Just snap on the wheels, the seat and the sunshade. The instructions come in many languages so the booklet is designed with all the diagrams in front and the text on the following pages, so sometimes it’s difficult to identify which “push button” the text is indicating. It’s also not written by native English speakers but it is easy enough to figure out when you take a minute. Better diagrams would help a lot.

I did have a problem getting the stroller to fold but quickly figured out that I didn’t have the seat locked in properly. Two large, C-shaped hooks have to go below the frame’s horizontal bars in order for the seat and the fold to work properly. Mutsy’s customer service can help if you’re having trouble figuring that out. Now that I know what I did wrong, it’s easy to manage.

It does stand up when it’s folded but I wish the latch mechanism held it more tightly closed. Even when it’s folded and latched, the frame has about six inches of play. That could pinch a parent who is lifting it into the car.

Seat and Recline
The seat on the 4-Rider is reversible, which makes possible to interact with your baby as she faces you, though the seat must be facing forward (or off entirely) to fold the stroller. The fabric is tough and wipeable, which we were glad to discover when my son Egan smeared banana all over the padded toddler bar.

The inside of the seat is barely 12″ wide, which is narrower than many strollers. I measured Finn on the floor and he’s about 13″ wide with his arms at his sides. He would be unlikely to nap in the narrow seat if he had to have his hands in his lap. Even my ultra-compact umbrella stroller (by another manufacturer) has nearly an inch more width in the seat. The seat is rated for kids up to 55 lbs and Finn’s only 35, so the width could be a problem for a big kid.

I spent an entire day pushing Egan sitting bolt upright in the 4-Rider because I couldn’t figure out the recline for the life of me and I’d left the instructions at home. Once I found the recline button between the seat and the frame, I discovered that the seat lies completely flat and adjusts to five positions, but the button is not as accessible as I’d like. It would accommodate a newborn nicely without the expensive bassinet. The seat can also be pulled up without pushing the button. The six inches or so at the bottom of the seat (the “kicker”) also pivots so it’s comfy for toddlers. The foot rest is part of the frame and it’s not adjustable, but it is nice and wide and perfectly positioned beneath the seat.

Ride and Maneuverability
The 4-Rider turns on a dime and maneuvers beautifully. The four wheels turn easily and even the harder rubber tires on the 4-Rider Light handle really well. The wheels are large enough to handle city walking easily. For parents who don’t have to lift the stroller frequently, I’d suggest going for the inflatable tires. They really make a world of difference on curbs and bumpy surfaces. One simple brake pedal stops the two back wheels simultaneously and worked smoothly. The version with inflatable tires comes with a tire pump.

Sun Coverage

I’m a real stickler about sun coverage and I’d call this sunshade adequate. It comes up pretty high, but I’m not gushing with love the way I would be if it pulled all the way down over the baby’s feet. It can be reversed, which may be useful if you’re walking toward the sun for a long time, but I’d be more inclined to flip the seat around instead.

Storage
Once again, keep in mind that this stroller comes from Europe when you look at the basket – they’re not schleppers like us Americans. The basket that comes with the 4-Rider isn’t all that impressive, but adding the optional shopping basket solves that problem in a heartbeat. (But remember it’s $60.) There are no nifty compartments on the handle or the toddler bar for water bottles, sippy cups or mobile phones, and there are no pockets in the seat back. Those would be really nice to have.

Pros: Exceptional maneuverability. Sturdy frame and tough fabric. Extensive selection of accessories.

Cons: Narrow seat. No cup holders or secret spots for hiding your stuff. Should lock flat when folded.

The Bottom Line: The Mutsy 4-Rider is costly but it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to quality, accessories, ride and durability.

— Kristen

CBB Deal: Save 10% off of any Mutsy order at www.goores.com/mutsy with coupon code CBBMU.

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