Before we become parents, it seems we all have long lists of things we’ll never do. “I’ll never yell at my kid in public;” “I’ll never put my 2-year-old in daycare;” “I’ll never buy a mini-van;” and for goodness sakes, “I’ll never, EVER buy one of them 3-wheelin’, ridiculous looking’ jogging strollers.”
Recommend this product?
One by one, we cross each item off the list, like some sort of torturous surrender into adulthood.
Over the last year, I’ve become quite obsessed with jogging strollers. As most of my fellow Epinionators know, I’m a serious runner and I have a 2 ˝ year old son, who keeps me busy and likes to spend as much precious time with me as possible.
Ultimately, I was looking for a sturdy, dependable stroller, which I could cart around for a variety of purposes. Most importantly, it had to be lightweight and comfortable. But also, it had to have the uncanny ability to go from open road to neighborhood mall to treacherous trails to the sandy beaches of the Jersey shore.
After approximately 3 months of nitty-gritty research, I made a decision to purchase The Baby Jogger II. Of course, I hemmed and hawed before laying down the cash, because (as you probably know by now), this is the Cadillac of all jogging strollers, and that, my friends, comes at a price.
So let’s get my credit card bill out of the way first:
What’s It Gonna Cost?
The Baby Jogger II (Single) retails somewhere around $270. For that, you get the sturdy aluminum frame (with lifetime warranty), the water repellent canvas seat (in your choice of a wide variety of colors), the matching retractable sunroof (with peek-a-boo window), the under-the-seat stroller basket, and the behind-the-seat mesh pouch.
Of course, you’d be a fool to pay retail. I searched a wide variety of stores, Internet sites, and auction houses before finding the lowest price for a new Baby Jogger II at $239. I ordered mine from a Virginia-based bicycle company called Agees.com. They delivered it to my door just one day after I completed an on-line order form, and they threw in the Retractable Wind/Rain Canopy free of charge. And oh yeah, they didn’t charge me for shipping. I thought that was pretty good.
Why Is It Worth $239?
If you are just beginning your research, you are probably learning that jogging strollers range in price from $50 to $300 (Single). Originally, I was hoping to get away with a $100 purchase. After I tried a few, though, I quickly realized that there is a huge difference in the quality, workmanship, comfort, and durability of cheaper strollers compared to more expensive ones. After talking to some running pals and doing a good bit of online investigation, I learned that The Baby Jogger II is the envied, chosen vehicle for babies and their active-lifestyle parents. Why? Because it’s that good.
In a nutshell, this is a very lightweight stroller. (Mine weighs exactly 16.5 pounds). In fact, easing it around your neighborhood on a sunny afternoon, you’ll almost wonder how a company can supply a lifetime warranty on a frame that is so minimal, it’s almost flimsy.
The Baby Jogger II is a stroller for serious runners. Period. It lacks all the bells and whistles of its name-brand competition. The canvas seat mimics an umbrella stroller, with zero padding and the inability to recline. You won’t find fancy plastic footpads here. Feeding trays, juice cup holders, and baby play bars are also non-existent. Why on Earth, then, would I lay down two months savings on a simple, humble piece of metal?
Because it’s fast. That’s why.
And, oh yeah, it’s safe.
OK, So What DO I Get?
The Baby Jogger II (Single) comes in three sizes: 12” wheels, 16” wheels, and 20” wheels. Most runners prefer the 16” wheels, because they are versatile and rugged, yet they will easily fit into any standard car trunk or otherwise small compartment. The 12” wheels are ideal for walkers and casual joggers, and the 20” wheels are best for distance runners or those who enjoy the road less traveled. When purchasing 20” wheels, you also have the option for rust-resistant wheel hubs, which are great for those who live near water. I chose 16”, because it takes up less room, and I use this stroller for purposes other than running, as well.
The wheels themselves are inflatable, bicycle-style wheels. They are puncture resistant and come with a one-year warranty. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that these wheels will conquer almost any terrain. I use mine on the beach, the boardwalk, gravel roads, grass, and (of course) blacktop.
The stroller also comes standard with a retractable sun canopy, which is heads and tails above the competition. The reason for this is so simple, it's almost laughable. It covers the entire upper area of the stroller. In other words, when you are trying to keep the sun out of your baby’s eyes, you will be very, very successful. This generous, water-resistant, canvas canopy has a peek-a-boo window, so you can watch your baby while you are jogging, without having to keep flipping the canopy up. Admittedly, many jogging strollers are now offering this feature, but still… You will find generous open areas behind and adjacent to your baby’s head. With the Baby Jogger II, this canopy has your kid covered.
OH, and one more thing, the Baby Jogger II holds kids up to 75 pounds. That's 25 pounds more than the average jogging stroller. In fact, the company claims you can push a child up to 5-years-old in The Baby Jogger, although at 5, they may not like it very much. In additon, Baby Jogger makes a "Special Needs" jogging stroller which accommodates kids and adults up to 150 pounds.
Is It Safe?
Acoording to the federal government, The Baby Jogger II meets or exceeds all stroller safety requirements. According to its makers, it far exceeds them.
The aluminum frame is so sturdy, in fact, that it comes with a lifetime warranty. Now, someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I have not found any other jogging stroller in my research that would even THINK of offering such a ridiculous warranty. If you find a problem with your frame, EVER, simply return it for repairs or trade it in for a new one.
Of course, the stroller also has a hand break (which doubles as a parking brake) and a tether strap, so your baby can never get away from you. Personally, these two items alone were the biggest determining factors in my quest for the ultimate jogging stroller. In reading other Epinions on the Baby Jogger II, I did notice a few which claimed it does not have a parking break. However, it does. Unfortunately, the parking brakes are not found at the wheels, as we are normally accustomed to. Rather, when you hold the hand brake, you will then flip a switch, which locks it into place. To unlock it, simply tug the hand brake again.
The Baby Jogger II also has a sturdy 5-point-harness system, so your little monkey can’t wiggle away. The belts are adjustable to fit your growing child, and there are 3 belt holes in the seat, so that as your baby gets taller, you can move the harness system up higher in the stroller (kind of like a really good car seat).
Do I Need a Garage to Store It?
Absolutely not. In fact, even if you never fold it, the Baby Jogger II (Single) is quite small. I keep mine in my foyer. With that said, however, the Baby Jogger II is very easy to fold and stow. You simply pull one pin at its base, and the entire contraption folds up in a snap. It fits easily into the trunk of my sedan. There is even an optional carrying case that you can purchase separately, for those who do a bit of travel.
Who Makes The Baby Jogger II?
Baby Jogger is a Washington-based company, owned and operated by its original founders and inventors, who needed a jogging stroller when their son was small. When passers-by noticed the funny-looking, 3-wheeled contraption, they asked questions, and a simple invention became a gold mine.
Baby Jogger specializes in jogging strollers. It is their main source of income, and a passion about which every employee feels strongly. How do I know this? Because I called them and asked a slew of technical questions. Not one stone went unturned. The people who work for this establishment are extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and above all, friendly. Customer service is of obvious importance to them, and it makes me feel better to know that I purchased an American-made product that is manufactured with care and pride.
THE BIG QUESTION – Does It Work?
No doubt about it, the Baby Jogger II is a piece of cake to operate. For serious runners, you will become accustomed to it within 2 or 3 days. Really, the most cumbersome thing for me is the inability to swing my arms, as I am now glued to the handlebars. Considering that it has a tether strap, however, it is plausible that you could give it a good push and then run full-swing-ahead. Seriously, this thing almost runs itself. I never feel like I am exerting more energy than I do when I am baby-free. In fact, I compete in organized races several times every month. I often see serious runners (competing) with their kid just ahead of them in The Baby Jogger. Rarely do I see another brand on Race Day. If your kid has a bib number, chances are… he’s in a Baby Jogger.
What Would I Fix?
Nothing. Seriously, nothing.
If you are looking for a mall stroller (You know, the kind that will keep your baby occupied while you browse the aisles of Nieman Marcus), this is NOT your stroller. Bells and whistles just don’t come into play.
The Baby Jogger II is made exclusively for active parents, whose love for the open road comes close to the love for their children. Come on, guys and gals, you know who you are. You live for exercise and the great outdoors, and you hope your children will learn from your example. Do yourself (and them) a favor. Don’t invest in a cheap jogging stroller. Get the one that wins races. The Baby Jogger II may be the best fitness investment I have ever made.
BONUS ADVICE From Shazzle99
I highly recommend purchasing the optional Rain/Wind Canopy. (Of course, Agees.com will throw it in for free). The canopy is made of clear plastic (with small vent holes near the base), and it secures itself easily to the stroller. It will truly, TRULY block all wind and rain. Just yesterday, I took my son for a wicked run in the pouring down rain, and he was as dry and warm as the Sahara Desert when we finally returned home. I stow the canopy in the bottom basket (just in case), and I’ve found it really comes in handy on long days, when you never know what the weather will do. If you are a boardwalk dweller (like me), you’ll be so glad you have it!
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Amount Paid (US$): 239.00
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months