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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baby Jogger City Elite Stroller - An Unsolicited Review

I really, really like our stroller. I wasn't asked by anyone to do a review, but when I really like something I tell anyone and everyone I can.

Our stroller is the Baby Jogger City Elite. When I was expecting the little man, we went a little Craigslist crazy and bought as much stuff as we could on there. We really liked the Peg Perego strollers, and found a decent (we thought) one on Craigslist for a fairly good deal that came with the matching car seat and base.

What we didn't think about was any future babes that might come along. For such a planner this was very unlike me, but I was a little obsessed and have been known to make the constant occasional impulse purchase. When we were pregnant with the little miss, we realized that the stroller we had was not going to cut it with two kids. The little man was showing no signs of being done with the stroller so we needed to find a solution.

We started to investigate double strollers. Man, those things are WIDE. And now please allow me to go off on a brief rant... Why is it that stores that are designed specifically to cater to parents of young children (i.e. toy stores, kids clothing stores, etc) have the NARROWEST aisles on the planet? It is guaranteed that 95% of the people shopping in these stores will be wielding some sort of stroller, and at the best of times the space between racks is barely enough for one person to walk through. I cannot even imagine trying to get through one of those stores with a double-wide, and I'm not really okay with leaving my kiddies unprotected at the front of a store while I peruse the merchandise. While they try to increase sales by stuffing as much product into their stores as possible, they are in fact losing my business because I CAN'T GET AROUND THEIR STORE! Rant complete.

Obviously I was not leaning towards a double-wide. Some inline double strollers are so long it's like wheeling three stacked shopping carts around. The one that did initially catch my eye was the Phil & Teds Sport. You see them EVERYWHERE in Vancouver, and they offer a jumpseat option that doesn't add too much size to the profile of the original stroller. It also had beefy inflatable wheels which is something we were looking for (because apparently I think I'm going to go for long sporty walks over bumpy terrain).

For us, the drawbacks with the Phil & Teds were a) once the jumpseat is in place, the child in the back effectively takes up all the basket storage as foot space, or steps on anything you might be carrying in there and b) at 6'5", Mr. Awesome kept banging his knees on the jumpseat. This was the deal breaker. Bye bye Phil. Check ya later Ted.

Here is what we were looking for in our dream stroller:
  • some sort of jumpseat
  • an adjustable handle so Mr. Awesome could push it without being hunched over
  • easy set-up and collapse
  • inflatable tires
  • a seat that can recline to almost flat
  • Something that didn't cost $700+
Really, our list wasn't unreasonable, but we were having trouble finding what we wanted. My friend Michelle was expecting and told me about the Baby Jogger. It was only just starting to sell in Canada, but the woman had done her research and discovered this somewhat hidden gem. It sounded good and they had just picked theirs up so we went over to check it out. SOLD! It had everything on our list and it even had things we didn't KNOW we wanted!

Here are my favourite things about our stroller:
  • The jumpseat (pictured on the right, on a different stroller). It sits in front of the main seat and holds up to 33lbs. Once your baby is 6 months old, they then move up to the jump seat and the older child moves to the main seat. It clicks in to the "universal mounting bracket" that can also accommodate a car seat adapter bar, a snack tray, etc etc etc.
  • The quick-fold action. You literally grab the fabric handle in the seat and the whole thing collapses and folds in half to a surprising small size.
  • The inflatable tires. They are 12", beefy and release very easily. While we were in Hawaii we couldn't get through a smaller-than-average door on a train and Mr. Awesome just whipped off one of the wheels, drove through and popped it back on again. (He kind of looked like a superhero in that moment, but maybe that's just to me.)
  • The giant canopy. This wasn't something I realized I needed, but it is fantastic. It's huge and requires no creative draping of receiving blankets to ensure your little darling is protected from the elements.
  • The adjustable handle. There are so many positions on the handle that I swear this stroller can be pushed by anyone 4ft - 7ft tall. Andre the Giant could have pushed this thing comfortably.
  • The details. There are peekaboo flaps and storage pockets that I am still discovering. They're everywhere!
The things I don't love (yes, there are a couple) are:
  • The main storage compartment. The basket itself is a decent size, but it's kind of difficult to access. Not difficult enough to be a deal breaker, just kind of a pain sometimes.
  • The drink holder that you can buy to clip on. There is one reason I haven't bought it. It's grey and blue. My stroller is black. All the City Elite strollers have black handles and no component of them is grey. So WHY did they design an add-on that doesn't "go?" Just a pet peeve.
  • While writing this review, I checked on the Baby Jogger website for the jumpseat and couldn't find it. Maybe I wasn't looking in the right place, but did eventually find it on Amazon. I'm hoping it hasn't been discontinued - that would definitely fall under "don't love."
  • That's it. Everything else is awesome.
As for price, it really depends on where you look. It's way cheaper in the US, but that's a fact of life for us Canadians most of the time. I just checked on Amazon and it ranges from $329 to around $400 ($450-500 in Canada). Where it gets a bit pricier is with the add-ons, but it's still way cheaper than some other options out there when you add it all together. The jump seat will run you around $80-90, the car seat adapter around $60-70, not to mention all the other goodies you could possibly want. We lucked out and found ours on www.leftoversstore.com for just over $300US and had it shipped to a friend's PO Box. My forward thinking, good friend Michelle, while pregnant with Baby #1, purchased the jumpseat with their second child in mind. They were kind enough (thank you, thank you, thank you) to loan us the jumpseat until they need it, but it is absolutely worth the price if you don't have a Michelle like I do.

There you go, that's my review. It's a great stroller and I recommend it whole-heartedly.


14 comments:

  1. Phil & Teds is a NZ company :) I didn't buy one as I'm more of a baby carrier and wanted to spend the extra money on a good sling, wrap & backpack... But the people I know that have them love them.

    I totally agree with the shops needing wider spaces to move in!!! That's why I like carying instead - it's also way easier than trying to get a buggy on a bus or train!

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  2. Hi, I LOVE my Baby Jogger too, which I got from Craig's list from a mom that never used it!
    Following from MBC, happy Friday.
    ~Emily @RandomRecycling

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  3. I have always wanted one of these but am too cheap:)

    I'm following you from MBC:)
    www.momstheglue.blogspot.com

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  4. Question - have you actually run with it? Searching for a good double stroller for running and would love your thoughts if you're using it for that. thanks!

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  5. I've only just started jogging. Yes, I've jogged with it and it was great, but I'm afraid I have nothing to compare it to!

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. There is a larger sized storage basket underneath the seat just like any full-size strollers now, but it also includes extra storage in the back seat and smaller storage compartments built into the handlebars.
    baby trend double jogging strollers

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  8. hi there! have used a car seat with your city elite? I have difficulty installing my car seat onto this stroller. I never know if I have pushed the adaptor in far enough, or if the seat is secure or not. Any tips???

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  9. I just received a reply from Baby Jogger that they are not manufacturing the Elite jumpseats to Canada or the US because the market wasn't there. I am really upset about this because these strollers are not exactly cheap and we chose the Baby Jogger because we were shown that a jump seat could be added to accommodate a second child. We preferred how the Baby Jogger jump seat was in the front. At the time, I was pregnant with my first so that option was certainly a ways away.

    With a measly apology, they suggested that I sell my current stroller and buy another of their great products. I would have preferred a way to order one and get it shipped. Why would I want to take a couple hundred dollar loss, followed by a minimum $500 new purchase (never mind the price of the add ons) when I should be able to buy the original jump seat for under $150?

    The demand is here! People on Craigslist are WTB this product. All the websites are "out of stock".
    Yes, the product is great. But the customer service is not.
    I have a very sour taste in my mouth. I feel as if I have been mislead and duped into buying an expensive stroller TWICE!

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  10. In regards to the jump seat, we have been told over here in Australia, that they were recalled and they are still waiting for them to be available again - nothing to do with 'demand'! Very annoying when we bought the pram largely because it had the toddler seat option.

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  11. I have been looking all month for the jump seat as well. It is very frustrating I got the same response as Noah's mom when I called them. If any body finds how to get one let me know!

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  12. Same here Kendra. I was going to wait until I was pregnant with #2, but I want to make sure I can get one and it would be nice to have it for when I watch other kids. Please let me know where to get it.

    thank!

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  13. As far as I know, the jump seats were discontinued AND there was a safety recall on the seats. IMO the jump seat wasn't all that it was made out to be. There was not a lot of clearance for the rear passenger when the jump seat was installed. I was constantly checking to make sure that my toddler's legs weren't getting pinched or his foot stuck. He was only 2 years old.

    Also, when a toddler was sitting in the jump seat, there was a significant weight shift. I was always fearful that the stroller would tip over.

    Finally, with the jump seat in use, the stroller did not maneuver quite as smoothly as you'd like. It was often difficult to push and turn.

    I love my City Elite but the jump seat was not the ideal double stroller. I also had a double City Elite --- bad idea! Like you said, there's very little room in the stores for a single stroller let alone a double wide. I mean seriously, forget ever trying to go into GAP or Children's Place. Those stores have ridiculously narrow aisles!

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  14. Baby stroller gives a baby much pleasure.So,it is very important in every baby.Before buying baby stroller everyone should be focus on baby products service.

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