Introduction

The Valco Zee Spark has been a pleasant surprise to trial. The seat can face parent or the world, and also transforms into a traditional bassinet. It has a lovely large basket that is surprisingly deep, yet still accessible. Suspension, pump up rear tyres, generous expanding canopy and all on a quick-fold chassis – Valco have outdone themselves! The keyword with the Zee Spark is 'surprising' – everything about this stroller has surprised me and I'm thrilled to report that its been a winner!

Model Reviewed:Zee Spark 2012
Overall Rating:
(4.0 out of 5)
Edited By:Sally Marshall
Reviewed By:Ally

View Technical Data for this Pram

Seat design and function

The seat is cleverly designed to accommodate your baby in a whole range of positions. Beginning as a bassinet with an additional insert (that includes mattress and lining) the Zee Spark is perfect for those who want the function of a bassinet without the extra purchase. To convert the seat unit to a bassinet, simply unclip the buckles atop the seatback and the back of the footrest and unzip the footrest base, creating a flat backing. Slip the bassinet lining onto the edging of the seat and snap-clip in where appropriate, then place the included mattress on top. You now have an instant full-sized bassinet! And whats more - the bootcover can be used as a bassinet apron as well.

To use in seat mode remove the fabrics, zip up the footrest and do up the buckles behind the seatback and footrest. The seat can now face both parent and the world. To recline the seat press in the grey circle buttons on either side of the seat. The seat can be removed from the chassis by locating the black levers on either side of the seat – there are two levers on either side so four levers in total. It doesn't matter which lever you pull, the seat can be removed as long as you use one on either side of the seat – genius!

My only issue with the seat is that the footrest is quite short – whilst this is okay for a baby and toddler, it doesn't seem to match up with how tall the seatback is so isn't quite so good for an older pram-rider.

The fabrics are an easy wipe-clean design and the seat back is extremely generous – my 3.5yo sat in it with room to spare!

Seat Back 48cm
Clearance to Hood 63cm
Width 29cm
Seat Depth 21cm
Footwell 13cm
Seat Weight Limits 20kg

Seat Fully Reclined Rear Facing

Seat In Bassinet Mode

Buckles To Convert Seat To Bassinet

Adding Bassinet Fabrics

Levers To Remove Seat

Seat Partially Reclined Rear Facing

Seat Upright Rear Facing

Seat Fully Reclined Forward Facing

Seat Partially Reclined Forward Facing

Seat Fully Upright Forward Facing

Child safety harness

The Zee Spark harness is a clever 5 point design that requires each of the waist and shoulder strap buckles to be connected together before being inserted into to the buckle of the crotch strap. The harness height can be adjusted by threading the shoulder adjuster clip back into the seat back and out whichever height section is required.

Hood or Canopy

As has already been mentioned, the canopy is generous with an additional zip out section. There isn't any peekaboo window but I didn't find this to be an issue at all. The best thing about the canopy (aside from how huge it is) is that its silent, so will not wake a sleeping baby if you open or close it.

Hood Partally Open

Hood Fully Closed

Hood Fully Extended

Handle design and function

The Zee Spark handle is static and is not height adjustable. It is covered by a comfortable grippy foam that I found quite pleasant to use.

Handle Height 105cm

Storage

The basket of the Vee Spark is again, generous! Whilst it can be somewhat difficultt o access when forward facing, this is more than made up for when the seat is rear facing. The basket is angled so the rear of the basket is very deep, and the front is rather shallow. This is fantastic as it means none of your little bits and pieces will fall out of the front of the basket, but collect at the back. I easily squeezed three bags of groceries into the basket and then was able to hang another two off the bag hook on the right side of the chassis.

Basket From Front

Under Seat Basket

Wheels

The front wheels can be locked to push straight or set to swivel. The pump up rear wheels are the real winner here, taking the weight of a heavy child yet still allowing the pram to perform at its best.

Rear Air Wheels

Front Swivel Wheel

Front Wheel Swivel Lock

Brakes

The brake is simple, easy to use and again, responsive. I had no problems with the brake whatsoever.

Brake Engaged

Brake Disengaged

Fold mechanism

The fold of the Zee Spark is simple. The pram can fold with the seat facing in either direction, however I found it best to fold it in two pieces as this creates a much more compact fold. Then to fold the chassis, pull the two grey levers on either side of the chassis. Push the handle over top of the chassis so it now sits atop the front wheels. Once the handle can go no further, the rest of the chassis can simply be pushed down onto the back wheels. Done! To unfold, open the auto-locking clip on the right side of the chassis and simply lift up the handle and flick the chassis out – it will automatically open into place, ready to put the seat on top of it.

Chassis Fully Folded

Folded With Seat Unit

Chassis With Seat Removed

Chassis Partially Folded

Manoeuvrability

Let me preface this by saying that I have never liked the way Valcos push. My only other experience with a Valco was disastrous at best so I will admit I was apprehensive about trialing one again. Keeping this in mind, how can I explain how thrilled I was with how well the Zee Spark performs! An easy one handed push, with all of my children (including the 20kg 5yo!) The front wheels are responsive, yet don't go off track. The rear pump up wheels take the weight and are exceptional!

Size

Whilst at 60cm wide the Zee Spark isn't the narrowest single pram on the market this must be balanced with how well the pram performs and its longevity of use. You may not be able to get the pram through a standard checkout, but there are always wheel-chair accessible checkouts to use. I took the Zee Spark to Ikea, and to other shops and didn't have any problems with the width at all.

Folded Dimensions
95 x 60 x 56

Unfolded Dimensions
90 x 60 x 105

Weight
11kg

Toddler Seat

The Zee Spark does not have a toddler seat option, but does come in a side-by-side version called the Zee Spark Duo.

Accessories

Included:

  • Boot Cover
  • Mattress

  • Bassinet lining




Available separately:

  • Rain cover
  • BabyLove Snap'n Go capsule adaptor

  • Maxi Cosi capsule adaptor

  • Safe'n Sound Unity capsule adaptor

  • Sk8 Board
  • 
Stroller Caddy

  • Bevi Buddy bottle holder
  • EZ Rider
  • Hitch Hiker CB
  • AllSorts Head Hugger and Seat Liner
  • AllSorts Snug

Conclusion

Overall I have got to say how thrilled I was with the Zee Spark. It pushed amazingly well with all weights of children, it has the option to be a travel system with various capsule adaptors available and can be used from infant converting to a bassinet. The generous canopy and swingaway bumper bar really are just the cherries on top of this amazing pram! Valco – you have outdone yourself!

The Pros

  • Pushes amazingly well

  • Pump up rear tyres can take a little extra weight of a child

  • 5 piece buckle harness set make it easy to move a sleeping baby

  • Generous canopy

  • Generous basket

The Cons

  • Wide wheel base

  • Short footrest

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