Product review: Baby Jogger City Mini Double Stroller.

While I was pregnant and we were considering stroller options, I swore that I would never get a side-by-side nor would I spend more than $100 or $150 for a double stroller. Justin wanted a Revolution Bob and I thought it was ridiculous to spend $600 on a stroller (I still think so.) I just thought the side-by-sides were too inconsiderate — I have been the victim of a sidewalk hogging side-by-side stroller before and it is not pleasant. But the more we shopped the more I realized that the tandems just weren’t going work. First of all, the kid in the front is WAY in front of you and impossible to monitor — I think that’s probably not such a big deal when you’ve got a toddler (who needs less monitoring and can go in the front) and a newborn, but when you’ve got two infants, you want both of them to be equally accessible. Secondly, they’re harder to navigate — at least for me they were. They don’t turn as easily and getting into doorways is really difficult since the front of the stroller arrives about fifteen minutes before you, the pusher of the stroller, does. When you’re by yourself, it’s really hard getting a door open and getting the tandem through it. So the first thing to go was my resolution to get a tandem. After pushing the babies around in the double snap and go I knew I needed something with decent cushioning, because they acted as if they had been shot in the head by a member of the Gangster Disciples every time we hit a bump. So I started thinking about jogging strollers, with their big fluffy wheels. I was sure I could find a used jogging stroller on Craigslist for a reasonable cost — WRONG. Are people really getting $200, $250 for a used stroller? I did find some for around $100 but they were always either in a way far away suburb or had something wrong with them. OR they had originally cost $150 and I was expected to pay $100 after the stroller had been used for two or three years. If I’m going to spend that much on a used one, I’m going to buy a new one. A couple of weeks ago, Tot Bargains featured a special on Amazon for the Double City Mini, which had been my favorite when we first started looking for strollers, but at $400, way too much for us to spend. Amazon’s special had the stroller for $299. I bit the bullet and ordered it, because in doing research, I had read so many times about people buying a cheaper stroller and then ending up buying the more expensive one anyway because the cheaper one sucked.

We’ve had it for a couple of weeks now and I’ve used it almost every day for trips around the neighborhood. I have to say that so far, I am VERY pleased with it. I didn’t read closely enough to realize that the wheels are not air-filled (even though it’s made by Baby Jogger, it’s not actually a jogging stroller) but are, instead, conventional plastic wheels. Though I was bummed at first about this, I changed my mind pretty quickly when I realized that this thing moves like a tricked-out Caddy over the ridiculously pock-marked sidewalks of my neighborhood. If there’s a crack that’s too daunting to roll over it’s really easy to tip it up and over without getting the dramatic reaction from my kids that the Snap and Go elicited. Very smooth ride.

One of the selling points of this stroller is its ease of navigation, and it does not disappoint. It feels so light and easy to push. The front wheels swivel and make for easy turning in very tight quarters, which is important when you’re pushing such a large stroller. I’m very self-conscious about not getting in the way of other people, be it on the sidewalk or in a store, and the way this stroller turns and moves makes that easy to do. It will be interesting to see if it gets less maneuverable as the twins get heavier (right now they weigh about 28 pounds together) but right now, it’s a dream.

Folding it is a snap — you just pull on the two straps that are located in the stroller seat — and unfolding it is equally easy. It’s pretty heavy and can’t be carried in one hand, but then again, I would imagine that no double stroller can. It lacks a latch to keep it folded when carrying it — which is a big negative, and quite puzzling to me. It seems so logical, easy to engineer, and inexpensive to add — why wouldn’t they have a latch? Lack of one makes it pretty awkward when carrying it any distance longer than five feet or so. I haven’t had to swing it up into the car yet but I imagine that’s going to be rough with it falling open as I do so. It does fold quite flat, which is nice.

I didn’t realize before buying it that the twins wouldn’t be able to see each other when seated — the material in between them obscures them from each other. When they get older they’ll be able to lean forward and peer over at their sibling but right now, they might as well be the only baby in the stroller. (Maybe, from Jack’s perspective, that’s a good thing.) I really don’t like that, but I wonder if it would be any different in any other double stroller — obviously, in a tandem wouldn’t be able to see each other, and other than having a bench-like seat, I guess it’s impossible to avoid that obstruction in the middle.

The only other thing I don’t like about it is the absolute lack of support for babies that are younger than six months. The description of the stroller says from birth up, but I guess I’m supposed to realize that that means you have to purchase some kind of supportive insert separately. Mine are just barely old enough to ride in it without an insert — if their heads were any less stable, it wouldn’t be safe for them. I didn’t realize this was the case. We’re not all baby experts, Baby Jogger! You should put that in the stroller description!

All in all, I don’t regret the decision to purchase, despite the high price tag. I think this is going to be a stroller we’ll use on a regular basis for two or three years, making it well worth the cost.

Justin - January 14, 2012 - 3:28 pm

Looking back on this six months later, I thought I’d add a couple of notes from my perspective:

• The latch thing is *really* annoying. It is probably my number one biggest regret about buying the Baby Jogger. Without a latch, the stroller all too easily starts to unfold if you release your grip on the folding handles. Back in the day, I thought we could use a bungee cord as a makeshift latch, but that soon proved unworkable. Even folded, the Baby Jogger is a little too thick for the average bungee cord (i.e. ones that you don’t jump off a bridge with). Cumbersome, cumbersome, cumbersome.

• Then there’s the issue if trying to get it to fold all the way in the first place. Unless you pull the handles straight up with a tremendous amount of force, the front wheels don’t adjust to their flattest position. I have less of a problem with this than Lara, but it’s often a pain in the ass (and back and legs, as the heavy-ish stroller swings forward to clobber your shins). As a result, the stroller is twice as bulky as it needs to be. And I can’t imagine how this would be affected if some of the various attachments (sold separately, natch) were attached.

• It really does handle like a dream. The Baby Jogger turns on a dime and weaves in and out of foot traffic very smoothly. This is certainly one place where we’re satisfied.

• Pro-Tip: Don’t spend an hour trying to figure out how you can remove the material to be dried after accidentally being left out in the rain. At the very end is where you’ll find the tag that says “Do not remove material from frame to dry.” Presumably, because the manufacturer is afraid it will shrink.

Lisa - March 21, 2012 - 3:39 pm

Hey guys-
Believe it or not I am JUST NOW getting around to reading your blog. from the beginning. in order. cuz that’s how I roll. We have the single citymini and I agree, handles like a dream! We used the car seat in the snap-n-go until she was 11 months old (which, really, was about 2 months too long), then a used maclaren for about a month until I realized that was not going to fly living downtown with incredibly uneven sidewalks (and we do a LOT of walking). So after the impossible to manuever Maclaren (it also had a ripped under basket and stuck wheel)the city mini is a dream come true. Only complaint is the lack of storage room underneath and that they gauge you on the accessories- which didn’t stop me from buying the parent console (gotta have my cup holder) and the belly bar (as V had grown accustomed to throwing herself back and forth in the Maclaren- which you would too if you had been strapped into the car seat snap-n-go combo like Hannibal Lecter until you were almost a year old!). Overall- I’m a big fan of the city mini (which is all the rage in downtown LA). I got the single fuschia/black (which is really red and not fuschia) for $150.00 total-no shipping. spent another $50.00 on the accessories. never looked back.

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