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  1. #1
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    Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements UPDATED: kid pics

    So i received the Signo today. DOM 09-10-07. If this unit shipped from China to Recaro in Michigan, then to RightStart.com in California (from where I purchased it), with a final destination of 2 miles from the Atlantic ocean, then whatever boat it was on must have been full-steam ahead. It's only 17 days old. There is a slight smell that I noticed upon removing it from its packaging, but it's not the "fish" smell that some have described for the Como. It is a synthetic smell, not much different from the "new car" smell. I'm pretty certain it's from the manufacture of the cover. mmmmm..... outgassing chemicals...

    Complete pictures with comments summarizing everything I mention below can be found here. Click on each preview pic for a full-size pic.

    I'm going to rush somewhat through this since it's getting late and I know people are anxiously awaiting the intial word on this beast. Anything I don't mention here, just ask. Also, none of my kiddos were willing subjects tonight, so a full evaluation of how they fit in the seat will have to wait at least until morning. So for now are only initial observations and a ton of measurements.

    First up: What everyone has been curious about. The SIP wings. They aren't much smaller than the Como's pillows, but they are for sure much better supported and don't flop around. They angle outward and are kept pretty tight against the side wall of the shell. They are super cushy, but they don't compress completely like a pillow. There is something compressible inside that feels like low density EPP, but it would require a lot of effort to actually pinch the pillow completely between your fingers. Interestingly, there is NO EPS foam lining the shell, unlike the Como. This makes the seat much like the BV, which has no foam except in the sidewings. I honestly don't know what's in the side wings. Whatever it is, it's built into the wing covers and not the plastic frame that supports them. This is unlike the BV, which has EPS foam attached to the plastic support. A lot of people have complained about the Como's pillows being too restrictive. I hope this isn't the case with the Signo. I suspect that without the EPS foam lining the inside of the shell, the headwing pillows are pushed farther out to the sides. Full measurements can be found with pics by following the link above.

    Next up: harness slot heights. Bottom-most position with the infinite adjust is about 10". Highest is about 18". This is measured without the toddler pillow. I could eek out another 0.5" inch on the top height if I compressed the seat padding all the way and also the actual slot opening is about 0.25" above the cover slot. So I can at least safely say that the minimum top height is a full 18". The infinite adjust works by the identical mechanism to the BV. The knob rotates easily and it takes many turns to go all the way from bottom to top settings. Recaro obviously copied Britax directly with this feature.

    Harness twisties: there was a lot of concern about the Como's twisty straps, especially around the buckle tongues. This seems to afflict the RYS and Radian as well. The first thing I noticed about the Signo is that it has a different crotch buckle. It appears identical to the ones supplied on Dorel seats. I don't know who makes them... whether it is IMMI or someone else. I actually like this buckle on the Scenera, but on the Signo it appears as though they went with the long version. I am a little concerned that the tongues may jab into DD's belly, but I will have to wait and see tomorrow. One thing that is glaringly obvious is that Recaro made a last-minute change regarding this buckle, and didn't make a new crotch pad to properly fit it. The crotch pad is clearly designed to work with a shorter, smaller buckle. It is the same pad as the Como's. The pad is basically unuseable with this buckle, as it will do no good. But as far as twisties, I think that just possibly, this buckle will do the trick. So far, getting DD1 buckled in for a quick moment (without time to grab the camera) revealed nice flat straps. The very first time I buckled her into a Como, the straps were already twisted. So, we'll see more in the nect couple of days whether the Dorel-style buckle is a good thing or a bad thing.

    LATCH bar: Recaro copied Britax again. Admittedly, I haven't looked too closely at Britax's version to compare directly. Recaro's is one continuous bar that runs from one side through the seat to the other. Switching the LATCH connectors from FF to RF couldn't possibly be easier-- just slide across from one side of the seat to the other, and the orientation of the connector is automatically changed. Of course this means feeding one connector through the other as they cross paths, but the whole process took me about 10 seconds. It also appears that the LATCH bar does double duty as an anti-reboudn bar when used RF. I may be wrong and I'm no CPS engineer, but it appears that much of the force applied to the LATCH bar will be distributed along the carseat from front to back, i.e., there is some tension pushing the seat downward not only at the belt path, but along the entire bar distance. I don't know if this has any effect on rebound after a frontal impact, but my instinct tells me it might. Maybe some others here can comment on that. Also, the connector holders built into the base are a nice touch. One minor comment: the connectors were oriented out of the box for a FF install, unlike the Britax which are oreinted for an RF install. Also, the top tether was not stowed in its pouch. Only the take-up strap was stowed; the connector was freely hanging-- another suggestion that the seat was prepped from the factory for a FF install. No biggie, just an observation.

    Tomorrow morning I will try to get my kiddos to model the seat for me (DD2 actually kept climbing into the seat...when she wasn't climbing the "step"...but it was on HER terms and wouldn't let me buckle her she was naked anyway ). I will also install it in the car and note how that goes.

    UPDATE: Here's another link with pictures of both DDs in the seat.

    Both kids fit pretty well in the seat, and I am happy to report that there is plenty of room inside the headwings, even for older kids (this kid is 38yo, and his head even fits with room to spare ). There is one overhead picture which shows this quite clearly with DD2. My only real concern is the crotch buckle. Take a look at DD2. Does it appear that the buckle is too high, along with the placement of the thigh straps? All Recaros have the thigh straps coming from the far back of the seat, unlike the Britaxes, and in the RYS this creates a very nice fit for DD1, but with the high crotch strap on the Signo, I'm not too sure. Maybe some techs can comment on this. Is it okay? I also worry that the buckle tongues push into DD2's belly slightly, and I hope this doesn't cause discomfort. We are taking a one-hour trip on Sunday, so that will be the test I suppose. On the positive side, no twisty straps through the buckle tongues!!! They seem to lie nice and flat, just like in the Scenera. I think the fit of each child is otherwise fantastic in the Signo, and neither kid seemed to have any fitment problems in the seat. I didn't even bother to fit them with the toddler pillow. Both of them would fit so snugly inside that I worry they'd sweat in this weather. Maybe it will be a nice addition for DD2 in the winter, but not now.

    Provided that the buckle is not a problem for DD2, the seat is a keeper. I am a little disappointed at the lack of EPS foam on the shell, but I suppose they are following Britax's lead on this (BV). And I can understand that by omitting the foam, it creates more space for the infinite adjust headwings without causing ergonomic/posture problems, and whatever cushy material there is in the headwings, it must be adequate for the SIP claim. I also should note that there is NONE of the pushing forward of the head by the headwings like there is with the BV (the one defect that killed the deal for me regarding the BV). Each kiddo could easily sink their heads back into the seat. That's what i was keeping my fingers crossed for.

    FINAL UPDATE 10/01/07:

    I have added several web pages with pics and comments on the installation and fit in my Mazda, and DD's first long ride in it. I've already posted these in other threads, but thought I would consolidate them in this review:

    Signo installed in a Mazda3 5-door

    Signo as assessed by a 15-month old's first ride

    and the original web links already mentioned in this review:

    Signo complete dimensions and measurements

    Signo tested fitted with a 15-mo and a 33-mo
    Last edited by southpawboston; 10-01-2007 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Consolidate links to web pages with pictures and comments
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Thank you!!!!!

    interesting about the longer crotch strap and too small belly pad. weird that they would release it like that. i like that it may have fixed the twisty strap problem, but DS has very very strong feelings about the belly pad on his Roundabout (he doesn't call it a "belly" pad and often worries aloud what will happen to his man parts if we were to misplace his belly pad)

    looking forward to pics of your girls in it tomorrow

    aaaaahhhh, now i can go to bed

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy jdchic3's Avatar
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Very interesting. I can't wait to see your girls in it!!
    DD 04-05 66 lbs/4' 6"
    DS1 03-07 66 lbs/4' 3"
    DS2 04-09 49 lbs/3' 9"

  5. #4
    CPS Fanatic sb518's Avatar
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyRee View Post
    Thank you!!!!!

    DS has very very strong feelings about the belly pad on his Roundabout (he doesn't call it a "belly" pad and often worries aloud what will happen to his man parts if we were to misplace his belly pad)



    aaaaahhhh, now i can go to bed
    that's so cute

  6. #5
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Thank you so much for the initial review! Can't wait to see more pics tomorrow. I have a 26# 18 month old so I'm anxious to see DD2 in it! I know it's silly but can you do the head test like lovinwaves did?

  7. #6
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Quote Originally Posted by dluciew View Post
    Thank you so much for the initial review! Can't wait to see more pics tomorrow. I have a 26# 18 month old so I'm anxious to see DD2 in it! I know it's silly but can you do the head test like lovinwaves did?
    Tee hee...If he doesn't I will...
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  8. #7
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    what's the head test? use my own head???
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy jdchic3's Avatar
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    what's the head test? use my own head???
    Yes!
    DD 04-05 66 lbs/4' 6"
    DS1 03-07 66 lbs/4' 3"
    DS2 04-09 49 lbs/3' 9"

  10. #9
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    what's the head test? use my own head???
    lol! you totally have to!!
    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes...
    That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away AND you have their shoes.”

  11. #10
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    thank you for the review!
    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes...
    That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away AND you have their shoes.”

  12. #11
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Thank you so much for your review and all those detailed pictures.

    As a mom to a 21 lb 15 month old DD, I can't wait to see pics of your DD2.

    Amy

  13. #12
    CPS Technician tl01's Avatar
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Thanks for the review. That buckle does look different than the Como's. I'm interested to see if it helps b/c we are having a small problem with the Como's twisty straps. Does the headwing apparatus on the Signo push a child's head foward as it does on the Blvd? I wonder if I need to convince DH to let me see our Como and get a Signo.
    DS 7.5 years 71 lbs FFing in:
    a Frontier90, PWSGL 2013
    DS2 3.5 years 35 lbs FFing in:
    Foonf, Frontier 85, SureRide

  14. #13
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Quote Originally Posted by tl01 View Post
    Does the headwing apparatus on the Signo push a child's head foward as it does on the Blvd?
    NO!!!! that was the one thing that killed the BV for me. the ONE thing. any kid can sink their heads right back in and settle down for a nap in these things
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  15. #14
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    a couple more measurements:

    in the upright mode, floor to top of front seat edge is 10". floor to rear of seating area (where the side straps come out of the seat) is 7".

    the seat passes my own personal head test with room on either side (but there's no way in hell you're going to see the pics ).
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  16. #15
    CPS Technician tl01's Avatar
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    NO!!!! that was the one thing that killed the BV for me. the ONE thing. any kid can sink their heads right back in and settle down for a nap in these things
    Really!! Even in the fully extended position? How exciting! I just might need to start convincing DH that we need one! He's going to think I'm nuts. If the headwings are great and the straps are better then it is virtually the perfect seat for me (well... DS).
    DS 7.5 years 71 lbs FFing in:
    a Frontier90, PWSGL 2013
    DS2 3.5 years 35 lbs FFing in:
    Foonf, Frontier 85, SureRide

  17. #16
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    i'm tentative on those straps and buckle. the buckle just seems too long, but i will have to wait and see for real.
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  18. #17
    Carseat Crazy laurenrachey's Avatar
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    i'm tentative on those straps and buckle. the buckle just seems too long, but i will have to wait and see for real.
    This seems like one of those things that be an easy switch if enough people complained though right? If they switched it last minute, and they had a lot of complaints, it seems they may send a different one or redesign a longer/larger belly pad.

    We've used a EB 3in1 from September 05 until last week, and while of course it has no pad, I've never had a problem with the buckle. Not sure if it has the long one you're talking about or not, but it looks pretty close (it is sitting here beside me on the floor)

    I am so and upset that I wasn't able to order one. I feel I have really earned that dern carseat...the wait continues.
    Rachel & Caleb 3.31.05 37 lbs FF in an FPSVD and/or a Regent

    http://www.crumbsinmycouch.com

  19. #18
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Quote Originally Posted by laurenrachey View Post
    I am so and upset that I wasn't able to order one. I feel I have really earned that dern carseat...the wait continues.
    well if DD2 throws a bloody fit tomorrow and over the weekend (taking a long drive on sunday... the litmus test!), you may be in luck . but i suspect she'll be fine.

    broken4u: rightstart.com got the first 16 units from recaro, special shipment ahead of the others. don't know why... zephryblue found this out from the CS rep at recaro and relayed it here.
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  20. #19
    Senior Community Member broken4u05's Avatar
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    so there are no more to ship for a little while? that is not good for me
    Kristina- Nanny to Jack and Drew now 3 years old Not a mother yet.

  21. #20
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    Re: Recaro Signo: Initial Review & Measurements

    Wow, that is some detailed information...thank you.


    I think this pretty much confirms my feelings, though. When we get a minivan, I will be sticking with Britax. I'd like to see Recaro work out the kinks before I use them on my kids. There have been enough oddities that I would currently be uncomfortable making my spawn the test subjects.

    It's too bad because that blush Signo (which you really should have gotten btw ) is quite lovely

    If they can address some of their issues, I may rethink. Of course by the time they're all addressed, my kids will practically be ready for boosters anyway

    Your little climber is adorable

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