I USE THIS 06: The Ironman BOB Stroller

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Little Henry is less than 10 weeks old, but we've had him in his stroller since he was 10 days old. Here are some photos you may had already seen on my blog:

On his first walk with Momma to Whole Foods.

First walk: 2.5 miles down Summit Ave.

A walk around Lake Nokomis at age 3.5 weeks.

Sleeping after my first run with him in the stroller at about 6 weeks of age.

Walking in a gentle rain a few days later

Passed out a few weeks ago.

Henry's "content face" out on a run with Mom last week.

Note 2 things in those photos:

1. Henry's in his car seat which is in the stroller. This way, even the smallest babies can be put in the stroller because they can go in their car seats pretty much as soon as they're born. (Yes, you need to make sure it's a smooth ride when babies are this small, but it IS possible.)

2. We've placed burp clothes behind his head on either side to help keep his head in place. This has kept him nice and snug in his car seat in the stroller.

The FIRST THING that Pharmie went out to purchase when we found she was pregnant was this stroller. We bought the 2010 Ironman BOB because it was on clearance at REI because the new 2011 model was out. (We bought ours for around $250 new, and spent $45 on the car seat adapter bar and $25 on the cup holder accessory sling. The 2011 model is over $400 without any accessories.) There ARE some sweet upgrades in the 2011 model, but I can't comment too much about those because we don't have that stroller; I can just mention what I like and don't like about this 2010 BOB.

PRO: Everyone loves these strollers, so they have a good resale value once your little one is too big for a stroller.

CON: The 2011 model has an MSRP of $409. And that's BEFORE any accessories are added on. Ouch.

PRO: The big wheels roll nicely over the trails!!

CON: The big wheels are great, but they're not magic "sidewalk leveling discs." Your little one will still feel the bumps. If you want to RUN, you've got to find a good trail. Curbs take a little work.

PRO: We chose a stroller with a "fixed" front wheel, and that's GREAT for running. There's no "pivoting" front wheel that could come down at an angle and cause you to sharply veer to the side.

CON: Steering it is a little more work because of the fixed front wheel. I've mastered the "front wheel slide" while running - I just "scooch" the front to the left or the right when I'm running to turn a little. (If I'm making a sharp turn, then I need to slow way down and push down on the handlebar to lift up the front wheel.) I've found that using a different hand position has helped me gently turn the stroller. Instead of having my hands here...

... I often times put my hands more "up the sides" of the stroller and run (and steer) with them here:

PRO: There is a TON of storage! There's a big "shelf" under the seat, and we can easily fit our FULL SIZE diaper bag in that (and there's room for more). And there's a "cargo net" on the back of the stroller, and we've been known to throw extra blankets in there if we had them along but ended up not needing them. We added on a "cup holder" accessory that fits between the handlebars that you can see in some of the photos above. That's a nice add-on: we can have a bottle of milk for Cranky Hank, a bottle of water for whoever's pushing, and a place to store cash / phones / cameras / gels in between the 2 bottle holders.

CON: It's big and bulky as hell (but it doesn't actually weigh a lot - less than most other strollers). Pharmie has a hatch-back "5-door" car, and even when the stroller is "collapsed," it takes up her ENTIRE hatch-back-area and still rubs against the back window. When we bring it into the house after a walk or run, we generally keep it "set up," and we have to wiggle it around the corner to get down the steps into the basement.

PRO: When you lock the brakes, THEY ARE LOCKED! We have another, smaller, more "normal" stroller for at the mall etc, and those brakes can easily come unlocked. The BOB locks and is NOT going ANYWHERE. And it's easier to lock and unlock with your foot than the more "normal" stroller.

CON: There's no "con" here.

PRO: The car seat just snaps right in to the car seat adapter, which is easy. If we get home and Henry is passed out, we can just pull the car seat off the stroller, and set him in the house without ever waking him up.

CON: We have to use an "optional" piece of loose styrofoam to get the car seat to fit tightly in the stroller. (This isn't an issue with the 2011 model, or so I've heard.) This has just annoyed me from the start. When you go out and buy one of the nicest and most heavy-duty strollers on the market, there shouldn't be an issue like this. It's like saying "Here's your Mercedes. Now if you want to listen to the radio, you have to clamp this large, ugly, metal pipe to your spoiler in order to get better reception." Talk about janky. Here's the stroller with the big block of styrofoam sitting in it, ready to receive the car seat:

Big ass styrofoam block.

Car seat locked in, resting on janky piece of styrofoam.

BOTTOM LINE: We are super happy with this stroller! Sometimes, it's the only thing that will calm down our Cranky Hank. In fact, last Thursday Henry logged over 18.5 miles in the BOB! (I took him for a 9+ mile run and nearly a 1.5 mile walk in the morning. Then Pharmie took him on a 4+ mile run with a friend followed by a nearly 4 mile run to get some groceries.) There's lots of storage in it for baby stuff, or you can use it as space to bring things home when you run errands. It's VERY well made and feels very safe for your little one. I've safely ran 6:30 / minute miles on the River Road trail with Henry along, and while it might alter my stride a bit, it's BARELY any harder to run with the stroller than to run without it. Sure, it's a bit big and I don't care for that piece of styrofoam, but I really can NOT picture our life with Henry right now WITHOUT this stroller.

- Click here to see lots of photos of Henry from a "BOB run" 2 weeks ago.
- Click here to see more in the "I USE THIS" series of mini-reviews.


Chad 11:26 AM, August 17, 2011  

Your BOB will have a great resale value on CraigsList. That's a HUGE pro.

X-Country2 12:51 PM, August 17, 2011  

I have the BOB Sport Utility Duallie, and I LOVE it. It was my first baby purchase too! It's a total beast, but I run with that thing every single day with my boys. Anything that gets them to nap is worth every single penny to me.

Alecia 2:33 PM, August 17, 2011  

I have a Tike Tech double jogger. At first I wasn't familiar with the fixed from wheel and cursed myself for not paying better attention when I bought it (craigslist), but now I love it! Curbs, trails, and sandy beaches are not match for that stroller.

Kimberly 4:12 PM, August 17, 2011  

We just got the adapter for our 2011 BOB Ironman and no Styrofoam needed. We're hoping our lil guy likes it as much as Henry!

Suzy 4:25 PM, August 17, 2011  

BOB is the best there is for running. You will use it for a long time and you'll get great resale when the time comes. We just sold our BOB duallie after 7 years.

MCM Mama 7:17 PM, August 17, 2011  

These are awesome strollers. We just borrowed one for a race and my dad ran a 10k pushing my almost 6 year old! You'll get a lot of use out of that thing!

Cara 7:49 PM, August 17, 2011  

When Jonah was born we got a new Baby Trend jog stroller at a garage sale for $25. Can't complain for the price, but now that we have the double BOB for both kids, I think I was missing out! With the snuggler for her head and a couple rolled up blankets, we could run with Lorien in that thing at 9 weeks (which is when we got it), and we don't have the carseat adapter. I don't know if there are any differences (other than the size) between the single and double -- but the double will not fit in my trunk at ALL. Something to think about for if/when #2 comes around! :)

Mel 6:13 AM, August 18, 2011  

This is great info, thanks. Just need to wait for the 2011 model to go on sale!

Nitsirk 12:46 PM, August 18, 2011  

We have the BOB as well, either the 2008 or 2009 model. I think something to keep in mind is where you plan to use it. We live in a hilly rural area and the roads are all rutted and cracked (no sidewalks). The stroller is not great for us because it is too hard to steer in those conditions. It is also very heavy to push up any kind of hill. We have used it on crushed gravel paths and it was great but we rarely get a chance to run on such nice paths. The hand brake has come in handy on the downhills though!

Jess 4:14 PM, August 18, 2011  

I have the BOB Revolution and have always lvoed it! One of the best baby purchases I made.

Interestingly, with two now, I didn't chose to go with the dualie. The price just gets to be ridiculous, and I have learned that 2 year olds do NOT like to go for runs anymore. They want to be the ones running!

Melissa C 7:44 AM, August 19, 2011  

Great review. It looks like they have made some major changes since the 2005 model that I got for Keira (our first baby purchase, even before the crib, due to REI dividend/sale, we got ours for $100 in 2006). We did not need the styrofoam block at all for ours, but we also didn't have some of the other nicer storage features. One word of caution, while the stroller can be used immediately with the car seat, they warn you with the higher center of gravity, you shouldn't actually run with it. Now, I didn't listen to that either, and ran with mine after getting the OK from my pediatrician (and OB) for running. I never had a tipping issue from running with either stroller. I did tip my duallie revolution being stupid with it going across (not up or down) a steep incline and then tried to cross a huge rut that ran up and down it. My son slept through it, whereas my 4 year old thought she was going to die, since she had unbuckled herself. She was not harmed whatsoever, and just dramatic. I didn't like the styrofoam block thing either that we had to use with our 2008 duallie. I was also appalled at the prices for the 2011s. Also, don't sell your single stroller until all of your children are too old for it. I use the double on the weekends and the single during the week while Keira is at school. Amazingly, I can fit my duallie AND a $80 combi stroller in my hatchback of my Mazda6. That is kinda a huge small car, though. Its longer than our SUV, even though it feels/looks tiny.

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