Top positive review
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Honest Review of an Excellent Stroller: Updated
on September 27, 2011
Before purchasing this stroller, I read several reviews online and tried it out in a store. I found that using the stroller on a daily basis was an entirely different experience and wanted to share that so that you can make an informed decision.
Background: I own two other double strollers, a Graco Quattro Tour Duo (that's a tandem) and a Maclaren Twin Techno (that's a side by side umbrella). I have two children, age 18 months and age 1 month.
First, I would like to address those who are looking for a jogging stroller. This stroller is not a jogging stroller, and is not intended to be per the company, so it's not fair to review the stroller based on it's jogging abilities. However, since so many people seem to want to jog with this stroller, I will note that I have tried both jogging and running with this stroller for review purposes and it is an excellent stroller when used as intended but if you want to jog or run buy one of the jogging strollers in their line.
Ok, for those of you looking for a great everyday stroller, this is it!
Storage: In terms of weight, this stroller isn't a feather, but no double stroller is. In comparison to others, it is light and reasonable to lift in and out of a trunk. It also folds flat, so while you need a bit of space width wise, it can go flat in a trunk and leave room for other items (I fit it in the trunk of my Chevy Cavalier with room for diapers, groceries, and other things) or fit inside easily (we store ours in the hall closet). Folding the stroller is easy- just pull up on the two straps located on the seats and the stroller folds right in half- though I will say there are a few times I went to fold it and I needed to shake it a bit to get it to fold all of the way. What's great is that it can also fold flat with the belly bar attached, so you don't have to remove and reattach it every time. Also, the wheels do pop off easily to fold it even flatter, but I haven't needed to do so and I wouldn't imagine it would be necessary as it really doesn't make much of a space difference. [Note: Put the seats up and fold the hoods back before folding.] Overall Storage: the stroller is light, easy to fold, and can fit in even a small trunk with plenty of room to spare.
Quality: The stroller is sturdy and well-made. The handlebar is has a nice rubber grip, not those cheap foam handle grips that come on a lot of strollers. The actual frame of the stroller is of high quality and the material is durable, which is necessary since the stroller folds out so it has to be durable to avoid rips. I find the black easy to clean, though I haven't taken it off to wash yet and also I store it indoors so sun fading isn't an issue for me. The snaps and velcro parts are well secured and function appropriately, and the moving parts (seat, hood, folding mechanism, wheels) all work smoothly. [Note: I did notice a squeak in the front wheel, but it resolved on its own]. Overall Quality: Built to last with excellent construction, fabric, and working mechanisms.
Features: Starting from the top, the handlebar has a great grip, but it is not adjustable. At 5'5" to 5'9" we have found it to be a perfect height, although if your arms aren't extended enough you may find your feet hit the stroller or your knees hit the seat when the child is reclined back all of the way. There are no accessories with this stroller like a cup holder or child trays- you can buy accessories for it but for the price it would be nice for the stroller to come with at least a cup holder; however, keep in mind that sometimes those accessories add weight or make it more difficult to fold. I don't miss the kid trays at all, as it means I'm just not feeding them in the stroller and in turn keeps the stroller cleaner. I did purchase the belly bar accessory which I personally consider a great accessory, but I will review that separately. The seats recline easily, and because they secure with a strap, they are able to be adjusted to any recline, not set reclines like some, and the movement is very smooth, as opposed to the jerkey movements of strollers with set reclines, so that the child can be reclined if they fall asleep sitting up and the motion won't wake them up. The seats also have a mesh opening when reclined all of the way to allow for airflow and a flap which can cover that opening in colder or windy weather. Unfortunately, the openings in the mesh is too large to keep mosquitos and other bugs out, so you will need a bug screen that goes around the entire stroller if you decide to purchase one. The seats have a supportive back (new for the 2011 model) and comfortably fit most children up to age 4. My son is old enough to communicate to me when he is comfortable and when he isn't, and at 18 months he is very comfortable in this stroller for long, extended walks as long as I sit him up all of the way and use the provided straps to secure his seat in the upmost position. The reclines also are individual so the children don't have to be at the same recline, and because the seats are separated in the middle, the children can't really touch each other, so it is possible to have one child sitting up awake and one lying flat sleeping without being disturbed by the awake child. My other son at a month old however is too small for the seats on this stroller because of the position of the harnesses. The stroller is not intended for children under 6 months old without purchasing and using either the bassinet or car seat accessories, but I actually put my son in it anyhow. I won't downgrade it's rating for not fitting him properly because it's not intended for his age, but I do want to add that I have adjusted it so that I feel that he is indeed safe and I can use it for him even at a month old, so it can be done. The harnesses are ok in this stroller, just ok. They are difficult to adjust, but once they are adjusted properly they work fine. I don't think it's safe to put the child in the stroller without the harness on (some strollers have a child tray that functions in such a way that an older child doesn't really need to be strapped in) as there is nothing stopping the child from falling out, so follow the instructions and properly secure your children. The footrests are also just ok- functional but I'd imagine that in time they will see a lot of wear being that they are just the same cloth material as the seats, but they work find and actually my 18 month old is able to use them to get himself into the stroller (which I want to note he can do without tipping it over, so it's more stable than I thought it would be). As far as the brake, it is a simple footbrake that keeps the stroller from rolling, and the front wheels can lock or swivel, both simple features found on most strollers these days. The hoods are not typical however, they are exceptional. They fold down to three different heights and can completely block out the sun [disclaimer: there have been a few angles of sun which I couldn't block out from time to time, but these hoods did a better job than either of the other two strollers I own]. The hoods have two windows which allow you to see the baby, but also have velcro which keeps those windows covered when you want them covered or holds back the little flap when you want them open- not something you'd think about ahead of time, but I'm glad they thought of it because those little details make this an excellent stroller. Overall features: great features, could have some included accessories for the price but the stroller has everything needed without being excessive. I would rather have the stroller be priced where it is and pick out my own accessories rather than have it cost more and be fitted with things I don't want/need. The features are comparable to other high end umbrella strollers, like the Maclaren Twin Techno I own, in similar price categories.
Storage: This gets it's own category because I think it's important to discuss for any parent, especially with two little ones. There is a basket underneath the stroller, but don't think that you'll be using it often- it is very difficult to get into compared with other strollers and there really is no way to get a large diaper bag in there. However, I use a smaller bag with just diapers and wipes in there. If I bring a larger diaper bag, I hang it off the stroller. You can purchase one that snaps onto the side, but I was ok with just hanging mine when needed. There are also two mesh pockets on the back of the seats which can be used to store items, but of course when the seats are reclined all of the way this becomes difficult, plus the pockets are a bit deep for storing things like a cell phone that you want to get to easily. This is the one area where this stroller lacks in comparison to other strollers; however, if comparing it to other high-end umbrella strollers, none of them have great storage. I believe that using hooks to hang things has solved this for me and honestly, I've just learned to travel with what I need, not tons of other things, and I wouldn't trade how great this stroller is for the storage of another stroller because the rest of this stroller is just too good to pass up. I suppose it depends on how often you need to load it up, but if you think you need a lot of storage, try it out at a store near you first to see if this is a deal-breaker for you; it wasn't a problem for me.
Use: It flips open easily and with a quick fasten of four safety snaps you're ready to roll. You have to unfasten those four little safety snaps before folding the stroller, but it takes a second once your used to it and it's well worth it for how easily flat it folds compared to other double strollers. Once the kids are bucked in and you're strolling, you will notice that if a child is fully reclined your knees may hit the back of the seat if you walk too close to the stroller, but that has only happened once to one of us and all of the other times we've used it (always with at least one seat reclined for the baby) it hasn't been an issue. Your feet may also kick the bottom if you are walking too close to the stroller (which usually happens when trying to job with it, which again it's not intended for). From personal experience, this hasn't been an issue for us. The brake can hold the stroller from rolling even when the kids are in it and it's on a hill. As far as movement, this stroller has an extremely smooth ride- when we first pushed it after using the other strollers we own, we felt like we were pushing air in comparison. The front wheels can be locked, although we haven't had to lock them and the ride has still been very smooth, which may be in part due to the shock absorbing front end. The wheels are big enough to be very smooth over pavement and dirt, although they aren't air filled so don't expect this to function as an all-terrain stroller- it doesn't and it isn't supposed to. Even over grass the stroller protests a bit when loaded with the kids, but I still find it much more manageable even over grass than the other two strollers we owned. Though I missed not being able to snap the car seat in and go, I actually am really glad now that this stroller doesn't have that feature because my baby seems to like being in the stroller more than the car seat and most kids are out of the baby car seats by 6 months or so, and remember this stroller isn't intended for kids under 6 months old anyhow. Now for the amazing part: weight distribution. One of my children weighs 30 pounds and the other weighs 10 pounds; I can easily push the stroller without it pulling to one side. In fact, when in the store I loaded one side up with a pack n play and put my son in the other side to see how it would push loaded with two large children and it pushed just as easily. I've also used it with just my older son in it and had no issues pushing it easily- it didn't pull to one side. This stroller handles children of different weights easily and perhaps is for me the best feature of the stroller. I have also hung things off of it despite the manufacturer recommending not to and haven't had any issues with weight distribution there or with tipping- again, this is a very well-made stroller that functions awesome. In fact, it is so easy to push that fully loaded I can turn it with one hand and I have also been able to push it with one hand while walking on the side of the stroller (yes, the side) without an issue! I also want to note that even though it's side by side, this stroller fits through average doorways- I have fit in many stores and down most isles- if a wheelchair can fit, this stroller can fit, which is a great feature when shopping. Overall use: User friendly, extremely easy to push, and great for kids of different weights/ages- plus it fits!
In short, this stroller is amazing. It may not have all of the accessories, but you get a higher-quality, well-made stroller than functions very well as intended and is able to maneuver easily, even when loaded unevenly, and can fit through doorways and isles. This is a great buy and even at the price is worth the investment as it's a stroller you will actually enjoy pushing. Five stars!
UPDATE: I have noticed a few things about this stroller that are important to note. 1) You really can't hang things off of the handlebar. I hung some heavy grocery bags and while it didn't tip, I noticed it put a lot of strain on the stroller and think over time that would ruin it. So, it may be ok to hang some light things, but nothing too heavy, which is too bad since the under-the-seat storage is not that useable while shopping. On the bright side, I forgot about the stroller one day last week and left it out in the rain! I was devastated and thought it was destroyed because a lot of strollers get a mildew smell and have trouble drying out. However, this stroller has an umbrella-like material and the rain literally just shook off of it! Again, I still think this is a terrific stroller and now I'm glad to see that it can "survive" the elements as well!