At first, I balked at spending over $500 for a stroller, but my husband really wanted the Bee (it had just come out, and he loves new gadgets). I'm glad he convinced me to get it, because a year and a half later, I still love it. We got the Bee when my son was almost two months old (he's now 18 months), and he fit comfortably in it with a u-shaped head support. We didn't need the infant nest you can buy for the Bee.
Recommend this product?
Unfortunately, the first one we bought was defective. The handlebar adjustment and folding mechanism were very difficult to operate. At the time, I thought this was a problem with all the Bees, but then the adjusting mechanism on one side of the handle completely broke, so that one side of the handlebar was loose all the time. That's when we knew it was just our Bee that had the problem. First we called the store that we purchased it from, but they said we would have to bring it in, and they might or might not be able to exchange it for another one depending on whether they deemed it defective or not, so we contacted Bugaboo. They sent us a whole new chassey free of charge, and we didn't even have to send them the old one. We have had no problems with it since.
What I like most about this stroller is its maneuverability. Unlike most strollers, it has single wheels instead of double wheels on all four sides. This makes it so easy to steer even one handed. I can easily open doors with one hand and push the stroller through with the other. It truly turns on a dime. It is great for getting around in my Brooklyn neighborhood. It isn't as wide as the other Bugaboos, so it easily fits in tight spaces. For example, I can push it right through the gates at the exit to the grocery store. I don't have to wait for someone to open them for me. They put the gates there so you won't steel their carts, but they can also prevent you from getting through if you have a big stroller.
I also love the adjustable handlebar. It makes the stroller comfortable for both short and tall people. It is also easy to shorten it on the go to bring it in to small spaces like elevators.
The brake is very easy to operate, but can be a little hard to get to when the seat is fully reclined (if you have the seat facing out). The big basket is also a plus. It was easier to access when we had the seat facing the handlebar. Now with the seat facing out, I have to lift my son's legs up to get things in and out, but overall, I'm just happy to have such a nice big basket. When the baby isn't in the stroller, the seat is very easy to lift up to access the basket.
The shoulder straps are super easy to tighten and lengthen for getting my son in and out. A few months ago, I was afraid he was outgrowing the shoulder straps already since I had them as long as they would go, but when I looked at the manual, I realized that there was an easy adjustment I could make to lengthen the straps. The seat bottom is also easy to shorten and lengthen so it will grow with your child. The backrest is very easy to recline without disturbing a sleeping baby.
The Bee has a nice big sunshade that offers great coverage from the sun and wind, but we were afraid that the dark heavy canvas would be too hot in the summer, so we bought the Breezy Sun Canopy. It is light silver, so it reflects the sun and it has vents in the side to increase airflow. The problem is, it is shorter than the original sunshade, so it left more of my son's legs exposed to the sun. I guess they did that to increase the airflow, but I would rather have a longer canopy. The other problem is that the reflective cover reflects the sun right into my face.
The Bee is not prone to tipping like some other strollers. I can put a heavy bag over the handlebar without a problem. I can even hang heavy grocery bags from a hook I have attached to the center of the handlebar.
While the Bee feels very light while you are pushing it, it is still rather heavy to lift, and it is virtually impossible to fold while holding a baby in one arm since you have to pull levers on either side of the handlebar. I suppose you could do one side at a time, but it wouldn't be easy. Even when folded it is not quite compact or light enough to easily carry it onto a city bus. The subway is a bit more doable since you can just roll it into the subway car without collapsing it (space permitting). It's not too bad to carry up and down the subway stairs. We did, however, get a Maclaren Volo to use for travel since it is so much lighter and folds more compactly. I use the Bee almost every day for getting around in my neighborhood, but I rarely take it on public transportation. It's great that the seat on the Bee can face you or face out, but be warned that it is much more difficult to fold when the seat faces you. It also does not fold as compactly that way.
One thing that could be a problem as my son grows are the flaps on the side of the backrest. In the winter with our stroller sack and my son's heavy jacket, his shoulders are scrunched by the flaps on the side of the stroller. I was happy to have them when he was small. It made the stroller seem more secure, but I am afraid that as he gets bigger it will make the seat too tight for him. We don't have the official Bugaboo Bee footmuff. Maybe that isn't as bulky as the one we have and would prevent the scrunched shoulders.
Overall, I love the Bee. It is very easy to push, steer, and adjust. It has a few minor drawbacks, but what stroller doesn't?
Update. April 13, 2009
Since I first wrote this review, I saw a new model in a store window. I noticed that the wings on the side were much skinnier than the ones on my stroller. I called Bugaboo customer service (800-460-2922) and explained the problem with my son's scrunched shoulders and told them that I saw the newer model with the skinnier wings. The representative didn't sound surprised. I guess I'm not the first one with this complaint. He asked for the serial number and my address, and he sent out a new seat cover (The wings are attached to the removable seat cover). I called on a friday, and I had the new cover the following monday. The new cover makes a big difference. My son's shoulders are no longer scrunched even with his jacket and the footmuff. Thank you Bugaboo for your excellent customer service.
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Amount Paid (US$): 529.99
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months