Pros: Weather Shield and arm bar; Used for 5 months?
Cons: Read the review; too many to list here
With the birth of our third son, my wife and I knew that if we wanted to maintain our walking regimen, we were going to have to invest in a triple jogging stroller. We have a double jogging stroller, but the boys are so close in age that the eldest is not ready to walk long distances, and he doesnt know how to ride a bike yet. There is always the possibility of one of us walking with the double and invest in a single jogging stroller for the third, but my wife likes to walk while I am at work, making this ineffective. We began our search for the Triple Jogging Stroller, and lo and behold we found one on EBay for a great price!
Being somewhat skeptical by nature, I went and reviewed the sellers ratings for the sales of the stroller, and at the time everyone had reported very good ratings for the product and seller I guess that they didnt give it enough time, but I am getting ahead of myself here.
The stroller in question can be found at other various points on the internet; it is apparently manufactured by Safetech and sold by Sylvan on the web as well as a few vendors on EBay.
What is it?
This is a Triple Jogging Stroller by Safetech, which reports to have the following features, per the Sylvan Website:
Folds easily for storage and transportation
5-Point safety harness with removable padded arm bar
Adjustable canopy with peek in window
Three large stow baskets underneath stroller
convenient pocket in back of stroller
Removable padded arm bar in front (very important safety feature)
12" Quick release alloy wheels with ball bearings and pneumatic tires for easy rolling over any terrain
Convenient braking system with rear wheel lock
Hand brakes for both sides on front wheels
Very sturdy aluminum alloy frame
Front foot rest for a comfortable ride for all passengers
Accommodates three children up to 190 lbs
Weighs only 39 lbs
Manufacturer suggested retail $689 (without weather shield)
A few positives about the unit would be the arm bar and the weather shield. The arm bar is at a very good height for our three boys, and they love to use it for pulling themselves up and to lean on. We have hung toys off of this for the youngest to play with while walking as well.
The adjustable canopy can be pulled over the boys and the peek-in window allows the parents to see what is happening beneath. A few times while walking my wife and I have been caught in the rain. Quick installation of the weather screen via Velcro patches keeps the little ones dry. It is a see-through plastic material that allows the kids to see out, so it is ideal for use in the rain.
The unit dimensions are given below, both in extended configuration and folded, or stowed configuration. These are not exact, but approximations with my eye and tape measure. To fold the stroller, you simply pull up on two plastic latches along the side support bars that extend from the handle that the parent pushes to the front wheels. The latch breaks the bar and allows the rear and front tired to fold in, pushing the seats up and folding the stroller in half.
Note for the terminally dumb: Do not fold the stroller while children are in the seats This may result in injury the child and removal of children from your home. Also, do not fold while breakable items are stowed in the compartment below the seats, as they will be broken...
42 high at rear bar
42 deep from front tire to rear tire outside tread
43 wide from rear tire to rear tire
Folded, or stowed, dimensions
42 high from tire to top
43 wide rear tire to rear tire
20 deep, front to back
As you can see, it does fold up nicely and fit well behind the third seat in our Chrysler Town and Country. Once this is in place, however, you will have virtually no room for groceries, toys, etc. as it is quite large.
Here we go!
Hopefully the above with a quick glance at the picture supplied by Epinions above (yes, it is the correct picture) will allow you to follow along with the details that follow, explaining our frustrations with the stroller.
When the box arrived, my wife was very excited to be getting the stroller as son #3 was getting too heavy and moving way too much to carry around in the baby carrier we had been using along with the double jog stroller. This would allow her to put all three boys in one stroller and walk or jog to her hearts content.
We opened the box to find assembly very easy. The main stroller and four tires were separate along with the removable padded arm bar. The rear two tires were bolted onto the rear axle and the front tires were quick-connected using a typical bike tire quick-connect compression clamp. The arm bar was attached and we were ready to air up the tires!
PROBLEM #1: Inner tubes are not standard US air fittings
The tubes for the tires had a non-standard air fitting, and thus we had to change out the tubes. The connection was a European design, requiring us to buy the adapter fitting which the vendor explained was very cheap We could not find one nor did we want the hassle, so we swapped out the tubes at $6 a pop.
Once we had the new tubes, we were off and walking!
Problem #2: Cheap Aluminum frame and rear brake bar
If you scan back above, you will see that the website boasts a sturdy aluminum frame capable of holding 190 lbs of kids between the three seats. We have three boys weighing in at 42, 37 and 25 lbs., respectively. This should pose no problem to the stroller capable of much more weight, right? Wrong
After a few walks, we noticed that the rear axle was deforming with the center dropping towards the ground. This was causing the tires to orient out on the bottom and in on the top, increasing wear and tear. Additionally, the rear brake (an integral safety feature that latches into slots on the hub of each rear wheel to inhibit movement) was no longer usable as it could not push down into the slots. After another week or so my wife noticed that the brake bar was gouging into the rear tires, rubbing through the tires and into the inner tubes. We had to change out the tires, tubes and all. The rear brake bar had to be removed completely to allow us to use the stroller at all, which displeased my wife immensely.
Problem #3: Cheap initial tires
We didnt notice the reduced life of the rear wheels nor the shoddy construction, as the rear brake destroyed them early on. However, the front tires that came with the stroller required replacement within three months due to the poor quality. The tires were thread bare and worn through by this time, partially due to the additional strain from riding out of vertical alignment and partially due to the poor quality
Problem #4: Poor quality braking assembly for front tires
We had to eliminate the brake bar on the rear axle to allow us to continue to use the stroller, but at least we had the front brakes, right? These are operated by individual locking levers attached to the push bar, easy for the parent to manipulate. The poor quality of the wheels and frame caused difficulty to vertically align the wheels with any load whatsoever, and this rendered these brakes essentially useless. I was able to tighten them up to where they would work somewhat, but the poor quality and softness of the pads caused them to ineffective at best. Not particularly a strong selling feature for a stroller, to have no brakes
Problem #5: Poor quality stitching and fabric
The stroller does have three seats, each approximately 13 inches wide with a 5 point restraining harness for each child. The seats do not recline at all, so younger children may be setting too vertical for your tastes. Our three, however, had no problems sitting up. The fabric utilized for the seats appears to be nylon similar to that used in soft-sided luggage, although definitely not ballistic!
In any case, the left seat in which our oldest son sits ripped the seams open and dumped him on the ground (head first) just a few days ago. Inspection of the two remaining seats shows that the fabric at the seams is fraying and the threads are stretching, making the seats unusable for any of the children.
This appeared to be a very good stroller based on the feedback on EBay, the looks and the information presented in the website. After using this less than 5 months, however, we are completely at a loss. We have invested in new tubes, wheels and lots of time to figure out how to make it work The stroller is now useless and dangerous, and we would have been better off buying into a better quality stroller from the beginning. I know the old adage that you get what you pay for, but we tried to cheat. Please, dont make the same mistake we did!
We are currently writing to the vendor we bought it from to see if we cant get our money back, but the fact that it was sold through EBay with the Warranty card curiously left out of the package leads me to believe that we will have no satisfaction through this route. If something does arise, however, I will be sure to update this review.