WRITTEN BY ROBYN HUNT
Registered Counsellor &
Certified Car Seat Technician
Before becoming a mom, I was extremely sporty and spent most of my time in the gym, outside, and in the pool. I had national colours for swimming and staying fit and in shape was my top priority.
When my son was born, my priorities changed. Luckily I was still able to train but much less than before. Fast forward 3 and a half years, my daughter was born and my training days were over. I tried my best to get to the gym but finding someone to look after my daughter proved to be challenging.
So when I was offered the chance to review the Cybex Zeno Multisport Stroller, I accepted with much excitement. This meant I could start getting fit again WITH my daughter. It was a game changer, and I will explain why in this review.
The Zeno is a Multi-sport trailer that can be used in different sports. Its extremely versatile and an excellent addition to any Family who is sporty and active but also want to include their child in their active lifestyle. Its strong and robust with amazing features that make the experience just that much more enjoyable for both you and your child.
The Zeno can be used as a normal running pram, It can also be used as a trailer on the back of a bicycle with the bike connection adapter, it can be used with a “hands-free” kit where you run and pull it behind you, and it can also be used in snow when attaching the Zeno Ski attachments.
In this review, I will be focussing purely on using the Zeno as a normal running pram. My daughter is 3 and a half years old and she weighs 17kgs.
The arrival and unpacking
When the Zeno was delivered, I didn’t expect the box to be as big as it was but I was able to carry it by myself. I did have to put the seats down in my car to transport the box home. The box was strong and had simple yet stylish branding on it.
When I opened the box, the Zeno was packaged with care and I noticed straight away how stylish and slick the various parts of the Zeno were. The Wheels were packed in the box individually (not connected to the Zeno) and I was slightly intimidated by the various parts of the Zeno which I had to put together. However, the instruction manual was quite thorough and detailed which put my mind at ease.
Assembling the Zeno
I unpacked the various parts of the Zeno and laid them on the floor. Attaching the back two wheels was very easy as it was a simple push and click motion. The front wheel was slightly more complex as before attaching the front wheel you need to insert a metal rod through the middle of the wheel and secure it with springs and bolts. However, this is a once off as you will leave the rod there permanently.
Then the attachment of the front wheel was not as straight forward as the back wheels. After a few tries and minor adjustments, I managed to attach it and when I used the Zeno again after that, I could attach it with ease. However, it would have helped quite a bit to have another person to hold up the Zeno while attaching the front wheel instead of trying to attach it and hold it up by myself.
In hindsight, I should have watched the Cybex Youtube video (below) of the assembly beforehand as it is much easier to follow than the instruction manual (which I only discovered after assembling the entire Zeno). It would have saved me quite a bit of time as well.
Once the Zeno was assembled, I had to unfold it. This was quite simple, but not the usual one-movement release. The latch needed to be lifted and once you pull the handle upward to unfold it, you also have to lock it into place on either side of the frame at the back of the Zeno. It does have indicators that turn from red to green once the frame has been locked in place so you know you have done it correctly.
Before actually using the Zeno, I had to pump the tyres as they were flat. I used an ordinary bicycle pump but it probably would have been better (and it is actually recommended) to take the tyres to a petrol station to be filled as they must be filled to a certain pressure and their pumps have pressure gauges. With the bicycle pump, I had to guess when they were hard/full enough which isn’t ideal as if they are too hard, the ride will be bumpier for your child and if they are too soft, it will be more difficult to push for the parent.
All running prams have to have air-filled tyres which helps with the suspension on bumpy or uneven surfaces. The only downside to air-filled tyres is that you need to check them (and potentially pump them up) before each and every run to ensure they aren’t flat.
Overall aesthetics and comfort features
On the outside
The Zeno is very stylish and sleek. The tyre rims are reflective and there are reflective material panels on the side to make you more visible when running in the evening and early morning.
It also has mesh panels on the sides and the back of the cabinet to ensure maximum air flow for your child.
The Zeno contains 3 “peek-a-boo” windows- one on each side of the cabinet and one at the top made from clear PVC. The windows on the side are great for your child to see all of their surroundings while in the cabinet, and the window at the top is great for the parent to keep an eye on the child while running.
At the back of the cabinet, below the handlebar, there is a large pocket where you can store your phone, keys, money, water bottle, etc which is very useful when running as you don’t have to take a bag or store your items in your pockets where they can easily fall out or get stolen. The pocket opens and closes using an elastic drawstring. Although this kept my items contained, a pocket with a zip would have been more practical. After reading the manual, I discovered that this pocket is made to hold up to 2kgs so it can hold quite a bit.
The handle bar is lined with a soft foam that seems quite durable. This foam ensures that you have a proper grip so it won’t slip out of your hands, especially when your hands start getting sweaty while you are running. The handlebar is also easily height adjustable with quite a few different height positions to choose from which is great for people of all heights. I am very tall, so I had it on one of the highest positions. There is a hand brake at the top on the handle bar and there is also a foot brake pedal at the bottom of the Zeno.
On the inside
Inside the Zeno cabinet there’s a soft comfortable seat insert for your child which can be removed for cleaning. The Zeno has a 5-point harness for optimal safety as well as soft, stylish harness covers to ensure your child is as comfortable as possible. Inside the Zeno cabinet there are built-in pockets on either side of your child. This is super useful if you have a child like mine who likes to take her water bottle and random objects wherever she goes. You can also use these pockets to store wipes, nappies, and even a change of clothes. As with before, after reading the manual, I found out that these pockets have a weight limit too so you cannot store anything over 500 grams in each pocket.
At the top of the inside of the Cabinet is a large pocket. To my surprise, when putting my hand into this pocket, I found a mesh insect cover and a sun cover attached to the inside of the pocket. You can use the sun cover on its own and the insect cover on its own. You can also use them simultaneously. And if you don’t want to use either of them, they tuck away perfectly in that top pocket
The sun cover only covers the top half of the opening of the cabinet, but I found that was more than sufficient and the sun was completely blocked out of my daughter’s face. It has Velcro strips on either side that attach to the inside edge of the Zeno so it stays in place. The mesh insect cover is thin but tightly woven to ensure your child can still see out of the cabinet easily but also to ensure no insects can get into the cabinet. The mesh insect cover zips onto the inside of the cabinet with ease.
The only downside of the cabinet is that the base of the cabinet, where your child’s feet rest, has reinforced corrugated cardboard. It is quite strong, but this does, in my opinion, lower the aesthetics level and I do think that over time that cardboard will get damaged. However, in the few months I had the Zeno, the cardboard held strong and was still perfectly intact when I was finished with it.
Getting ready for the road
So now that everything was assembled and ready to go, it was time to put it to the test. I am not sure who was more excited, my daughter or myself.
The Zeno has two height settings. The lowest height setting is for use as a trailer when cycling or using the pram with the hands-free running kit. The highest setting is purely for use as a regular running pram. Therefore, I used the highest height setting. Adjusting the height is done with your foot by sliding the adjuster that is placed at the bottom of the frame by the brake pedal.
My daughter climbed in, and I strapped her in with the 5-point harness. It was very easy to adjust the harness to the correct height for her as well as tighten it adequately. This is very important, not just with the Zeno, but with all prams as if your child isn’t secured properly, they could be injured if you fall, brake suddenly, run into something, or the pram accidently tips over.
It is important to note that my daughter is 108cm tall (above average for her age) and the harness was used on the highest setting. The harness must be in line with their shoulders for optimal safety and not dipping below their shoulders. Therefore, she would probably be too tall for the harness to fit her properly and safely by her fourth birthday. However, an average sized child should fit for a bit longer.
Before running, I made sure to place the safety strap around my wrist. This is to ensure that if I fall or accidently let go of the pram while running, the pram won’t run away with my daughter without me. There is also a hand brake on the handlebar which is essential if you need to brake quickly but also to control the pram’s speed to match your own speed especially when running downhill.
Putting the Zeno to the test
The Zeno has been advertised as only suitable for running on smooth, even surfaces. So I ran mostly on the road around my neighbourhood. The Zeno was a dream to run with. It was easy to push and I didn’t feel like I was pushing a 17kg child at all. I observed my daughter while I was running and even when we went over some bumps and uneven surfaces, the amazing suspension ensured my daughter didn’t shift around inside the cabinet.
I ran with one hand pushing the Zeno most of the time and the Zeno always stayed on track and never swerved to the opposite side. This is one thing I really didn’t like about my normal pram; the way I had to push and steer it with two hands all the time if I didn’t want to wind up walking into something. The Zeno was quite easy to manoeuvre while running but it isn’t so easy to manoeuvre while walking as the speed helps with the weight and steering of the Zeno.
I also tried out the Zeno on grass, sand, and gravel just to get an idea of how it would perform on surfaces that weren’t flat. Pushing the Zeno on these surfaces wasn’t as smooth and lightweight as it was on the road. It was definitely heavier to push and manoeuvre, especially on the grass, unless I was running quite fast. Although it will manage on these surfaces, this isn’t really a pram that can be used off road unless you are running at constant a fast pace, which isn’t very doable. My daughter also shifted around quite a bit and she did mention it was bumpy.
The Zeno’s front wheel is permanently locked into position (opposed to regular prams where the wheels can swivel). This is an extremely important feature in all running prams. The locked wheel ensures the tyre doesn’t get caught on anything while you are running. If the unlocked wheel does, for example get caught horizontally on a loose rock, it will cause the pram to either stop extremely suddenly, tip over, or swerve off track. This can cause quite bad injuries to you and your child.
Although the locked front wheel is very important for safety, it isn’t convenient when you have to turn sharp corners or change your direction. Unlike other prams, the wheels do not turn when you turn so you have to push down on the handle bar to raise the front wheel off the ground and simultaneously turn the Zeno to the direction you want to go and then lower the front wheel onto the ground again. This is why the Zeno should be used purely as a running pram as when running, you would most likely not be turning sharp corners.
Folding, storing, and transporting the Zeno
The Zeno is definitely bigger than normal prams but it needs to be to fulfil its purpose. I couldn’t just fold it up and store it anywhere as it would have been in the way. So when it wasn’t in use, I had to store it in the garage. Practically, the wheels needed to be removed when stored otherwise it was just too wide and took up too much space. Luckily the wheels are easy to attach and remove so this wasn’t really an issue.
Folding it is just the opposite of unfolding it. You need to first lower the cabinet to the lowest height setting. Then push the buttons on either side of the cabinet so they turned red and then folded the frame inward from those two points. The latch automatically attaches when the Zeno is folded down properly. The cabinet itself folded down much flatter than I expected.
Once it was folded, I removed the wheels and stored them on top of the folded Zeno cabinet. The only downside to this is the wheels get dirty when running and then putting them on the material of the Zeno does make it quite dirty. However, after a couple weeks, I started giving the wheels a quick wipe down after each run to prevent the pram getting dirtier.
When transporting the Zeno, the wheels needed to be removed and the Zeno needed to be folded down as flat as possible for it to fit in my boot. I drive a Kia Rio hatchback, so the boot isn’t very big. I did need to do some manoeuvring to get it in the boot as it is quite long, but it fitted perfectly. Admittedly, there wasn’t space for anything else in my boot as it filled the whole boot, but I was quite surprised at how compact it was in my boot as I assumed it wouldn’t fit. I could also keep the boot cover on which is really important as in an accident; the pram can become a projectile without the boot cover containing it.
I also tried fitting the Zeno into my father’s Hyundai Creta boot. It fitted with ease and there was still some space for anything else you may need to put into the boot. Therefore, the Zeno would be better suited for bigger cars such as SUV’s but it can also fit into smaller cars if needed which makes it quite a versatile option.
I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the Zeno. My daughter and I really loved our runs together and the Zeno is definitely amongst the top of my list in terms of running prams. My daughter said that the Zeno had quite a lot of space inside and she liked it better than her normal pram. Its not practical as a normal day-to-day pram and is strictly a running pram. The Zeno is also very well priced compared to other running cabinets on the market.
Overall, the Zeno is definitely a ‘must-buy’ for parents who are active and sporty and want the option to choose which sport they want to involve their child in. Whether its running, cycling, or skiing, the Zeno can do it all.