Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finding the Perfect Stroller.... a Journey

Posted by Ask Chavi at 10:31 AM
Okay, I know this blog is supposed to be dedicated to sheitels/wigs BUT I spent so much time researching and testing strollers that I feel inclined to write a thorough review of the stroller I decided to buy.  

Things I wanted:
  • A stroller for MOST uses (I'll probably get a $30 umbrella at some point for travel)
  • Tall enough for me 5 foot 8 inches and my husband, just under 6 foot
  • Ability to work from infancy to childhood
  • As light as possible
  • Ability to fit in my car
  • All terrain wheels to make long walks more pleasant and for occasional dirt trails and grass
  • Possible ability to convert into a double
Combi Cosmo 2010 Lightweight Stroller, SandMy stroller quest started while I was pregnant.  My husband and I went to Babies R Us to try out strollers.  Babies R Us mostly stocks Graco and Chicco travel systems.  We pretty much hated ALL of them.  I hated that they were plastic, bulky and heavy.  They had the City Mini, which I was VERY impressed with (mainly the lightness, the fold and the maneuverability).   But our favorite stroller from that day was the Combi Cosmo, which is actually an umbrella stroller.  It can become a travel system with a Combi car seat and it is also one of the only umbrella stories with a recline-able seat which can be used for an infant.  However, I quickly learned that an umbrella would not be suitable for heavy use or walking long distances so I realized it would not work as my "main" stroller.

Graco SnugRider Infant Car Seat Stroller FrameWith the due date approaching my husband and I decided to order the Graco "snap and go" snugrider so we would at least have something.  We were buying a Graco car seat anyway so it made sense.   It only took me about a month of using the Snugrider to really dislike it.  The stroller functioned fine in stores such as Target which has a very smooth floor, but was not satisfactory for long walks on the sidewalk.  Bumps seemed to disrupt it.  However, I will say that its MAJOR benefit is that it folds REALLY compactly, it is pretty light and it is really easy to fold.  So it is great if you need to get in and out of the car A LOT and do not want to remove your infant from their car seat.  The Snugrider was also very convenient for grocery shopping because it has a rather large basket which I used instead of a shopping cart.  But, having only the Snugrider was keeping me inside because I was dreading taking a walk around the neighborhood with it.  One of the main problems was that I was too tall for it.  The baby was below the level of my hips, rather than being at my waist....

Then the stroller search began ONLINE.  I started watching a lot of video reviews.  I found Baby Gizmo's video reviews the most helpful.  I watched everything from Peg Perego to Bugaboo, UppaBaby, Baby Jogger, BOB, Phil and Teds and Chicco.

I got tempted by the Baby Jogger City Select and the UppaBaby Vista because they had the option to become double strollers.  Even though I only have one baby, I hope to have more children and I thought it might be a good idea to buy one that becomes a double, if needed.  However, once I actually saw it in doubles mode at the store I realized how frustrating it would be to have a 28 lb stroller (in single mode) and 34 lbs in double mode when not yet needed.  Also, while the telescoping handle was great for tall people, it also made the front of the stroller seem really far away and not so easy to navigate through store aisles.  However, if I had twins or already had two babies I would definitely consider these strollers as one of the best tandem double options.

phil&teds Inline Sport Buggy w/ DOUBLES KIT (Red)I tried the Phil and Teds stroller, but when the second seat is added you basically have to lean forward to push it.  Very uncomfortable.  Then I moved over to the Baby Jogger section.  I tried the City Mini and the Summit XC Jogger.  The Summit XC Jogger has a weight capacity of 75 pounds... BIG DEAL, I don't think I would let my kid ride in a stroller if he/she was 75 pounds.  The salesperson tried to use that to sell me the Summit XC.  It had the easy one handed fold but the stroller itself was heavy from the large wheels.

Then there's the City Mini, the VERY popular lightweight stroller that has a sleek three-wheel design.  It weighs only 16.8 lbs and folds with one hand.  Overall, I think it is a fantastic stroller.  It makes great turns and can maneuver through small aisles in a store.  The seat reclines and thus is suitable for an infant.  It has a great canopy too.  There is also a car seat adapter as well as other accessories available.  The best thing about the City Mini is the $229 price tag, but in the end there were a few factors that made me desire a different stroller.  First, the wheels are not all-terrain.  Second, the synthetic fabric, albeit light, is very thin and seems the type that could tear if accidentally snagged on something.  However, I wanted to only need ONE stroller, aside from a cheap umbrella eventually.  And I really wanted something that would feel amazing to push on long walks and be able to handle uneven sidewalks with ease.  The other disadvantage of the City Mini is that all the accessories are sold separately.  When you start adding them up: Rain cover, car seat adapter, bumper bar, cup holder, snack trayBumbleride.

Choosing the Bumbleride Indie:
I was initially attracted to the beautiful canvas that came in gorgeous bright colors.  The canopy is HUGE.  When set in a toddler position the canvas goes all the way down to the bar. The wheels are 12 inch air filled tires, coming off with the pull of a lever for a more compact fold.  The handle gets high enough for both my husband and I to push with ease and not fear kicking the stroller. The brake is fabulous and breaks both back wheels at the same time.  5-point harness with pads.  The stroller comes with an infant head rest.  It pushes like a dream and the front wheel can either swivel 360 degrees or be locked into an inline position for light jogging.  When reclined all the way for infant position, the footrest goes all the way up to create almost a little bassinet, complete with fabric that snaps to the main part of the seat.  The stroller also has a nice zippered pocket behind the canopy for my cell phone and keys or other accessories.

The stroller is expensive.  It retails for $469.  However it COMES with a number of accessories:
1. Car seat adapter which also has a cover to become a nice padded bumper bar
2. Rain Cover
3. Cup holder
4. Infant Head Rest
4. Jogging strap
5. Air pump for the tires

BumbleRide Indie Stroller
I am so happy with my stroller.  I feel really happy when I push it and I love that I can either use it as a travel system with my car seat if my infant is sleeping, or just place my baby directly into the stroller.  I find the folding really easy and the stroller only weighs 20 lbs which is light for an all-terrain full size stroller.  The canvas is removable and washable for easy Pesach cleaning!!!  When one factors in all the accessories that are included I think the stroller is a good value.  Bumbleride offers a 1-year warranty and I hear they have amazing customer service.  I will let you know how it is holding up after a few months of use.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent review. It gives a balanced presentation of the pros/cons for each model, and the pictures helped me to better understand the features and maneuverability. I will definitely be referring to this post in the future!

-- F

Anonymous said...

I am interested in hearing an updated review on this stroller. I think you captured the difficulties of purchasing strollers, with so many choices and options it's really overwhelming. I am due soon and I still have no idea what I want! Thanks for the review, the Bumbleride is def on my list of possible strollers.

-L

Chavi on October 4, 2010 at 8:55 AM said...

Well, I still love my Bumbleride Indie but I will discuss some of the cons here:

It is VERY large: it takes up a lot of room in my house if not folded and is rather bulky folded as well.

Additionally when folded it takes up 2/3rds of my entire trunk space, so if it is going to be your only stroller it might be more practical for someone with a SUV or large sedan.

It is not easy to navigate through narrow store aisles because it is large. It is not very fun to lift in and out of the car either because even though it claims to be 20 pounds, it is awkward to lift.

The only other con is that its a little harder to fold then some other strollers. It requires 2 hands to fold, and 1 hand to unfold. It has not been a big deal for me since I leave it in my house not folded in general.

Favorite Pros: The large wheels allow me to roll it down my 8 stairs one step at a time and I can still get it up the stairs with my baby seated when I get home by going up backwards one step at a time.

It has one of the most amazing pushes ever. It essentially GLIDES on the sidewalk. I took it to Macys once and was in heaven skating on their floors. It made me want to invent an Olympic sport called "Stroller Dance"

The Canopy is AMAZING. It goes almost all the way down when the seat is inclined and can block all the sun from my child's face.

In conclusion: Because I have an awesome and light umbrella stroller I use to get in and out of my car, the size and weight of the Bumbleride does not bother me. If I was set on only having one stroller and I did not need an all-terrain stroller for rough terrain or jogging I could probably get away with just having the City Mini instead of having a Jogger & Britax Blink. However, the City Mini CANNOT handle mountainous hikes and my Bumbleride Indie can... so... I guess it depends on budget.

I noticed in LA that a lot of people have the City Mini because it works great on city sidewalks and easily folds and compact folds which is convenient for someone who is in and out of their car all day. But, I also saw a lot of BOB Revolutions, so I guess it depends on how much of a jogger/all terrain a person is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! My husband are expecting our first this summer, and at the store the City MIni seemed like the best option...and since I don't do any jogging and barely any walking (and certainly no hiking!), I think it still is after reading your review.

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