Misc.kids FAQ on Jogging Strollers, Part 1/2



Archive-name: misc-kids/joggers/part1
Posting-frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1995/07/12
Version: 2.2


Please find the Misc.Kids Jogger FAQ attached. When I started on my quest for information a few
years ago, I didn't realize there were so many things to consider and so many different joggers
available. This is fairly long because a lot of the mail I got was anecdotal. (The mail included
came from people on the Dead Runners Society List, Misc.kids and rec.running). You will find in the
following text 1) A summary of the kinds of things you might want to consider when buying a jogger
2) An index of the joggers discussed 3) General opinion-type comments (these are also scattered
through the articles on various joggers 4) An article or two on when to put a baby in a jogger (tips
on carrying small children scattered throughout).

I now have two joggers: the huffy single, and the Baby Jogger Super Twinner. I'll comment on each of
those in the appropriate section.

Cindy Mitchell University of Maine System Computing and Data Processing Service
[email protected]

Things to Consider When Buying a Jogger
1) Construction
2) Weight (if you're planning to race, this may be a consideration) 3) safety (A few joggers don't
have "wheel wings" that will keep little hands away from the wheels) 4) brakes (Many don't have
any kind of brake other than to use one of the straps around a wheel) 5) price (there's a huge
variation in price) 6) collapsibility (Will it fit in your car?) 7) set up (Once collapsed will
it go back together without a tool box?)

Index of Models Discussed
Motiv Joggette/Jog'r Cycle Baby Jogger/Racing Strollers Inc. Burley bike trailer/jogger JC
Penney/Huffy Kidcart Runabout

(Cindy's note: A friend recently (3/95) bought a joggette at Sam's club. It's pretty chintzy looking
and has to be broken down with a wrench.)

Motiv Sports Inc. 14211 Yorba St. Suite 100 Tustin, CA 92680
(3) 731-6011

Following is the recommendation for the Motiv Joggette I saved from rec.running some time ago. I
called the company and they said they don't take credit cards, I had to mail them a personal check,
they waited a few days for it to clear, then they sent me the Joggette. I'd say I got it about 2 to
2 1/2 weeks after I mailed them my check, and it had to come from the West coast to the East Coast.
I've been quite pleased with it; it was certainly worth the
4.50 I paid. I believe the reason it's substantially cheaper than the real Baby Jogger brand is
because it's assembled in Mexico, so if you are really heavy into buying American, don't. Oh, yes,
and when I first called them they were out of stock at the time and they took my name and phone
number and after a few weeks they called me back and said to send the money.

Recommendation pulled from the net follows:
Motiv Joggette: This is the one you don't seem to have heard about. It's also the one we purchased.
It's main selling feature is that it is CHEAP ($79 - 100)! But, I really don't think it gives up
anything in performance. Mainly, it's just not painted as well, not widely marketed yet, etc.

I ran into one of these at a race in southern Arizona last fall. I asked the owners about it. They
(both the man and woman) said they loved it - ran in lots of races with it, etc. I tried it out for
a couple of minutes and thought it was great. In the West it's available at at least one chain store
- Price Club. There may be a few of these in the East now or at least I think there will be soon.
There aren't any in NY yet. (Also you need to be a state employee of fed. credit union member to
join Price Club.) In any case, in the West you can get Joggette's at Price Clubs and maybe some
other stores for about $100 (my sister-in-law got one at a Phoenix Price Club for $99).

I got ours by calling Motiv High Performance Bicycles(a little company in Calif.) directly. They
agreed to sell me one for $79 plus ~$13 UPS shipping. It came in about a week and we've used it
happily a few times since. A friend of mine here just ordered one for himself. He said he had to do
a little bit of convincing to get them to sell him one directly - they appear to be selling more now
through third party catalogs at jacked up prices or something. But, in the end, they did give him
the same deal they gave me. I was very wary of the price. Price wasn't a major concern to me - we'd
have been happy to pay $300 if I thought that I'd get something better. I couldn't believe that
something for $79 could compare favorably with the $279 ones. But, it really seems like the
differences are mainly cosmetic.

Actually, I must say that I do believe that the Baby Jogger is a little bit better made than the
Joggette. But it seems to me to be a bit of wasted quality. The thing doesn't have to last 50,000
miles. I figure 20- 30 miles a week for a few years at most. I'm pretty sure the Joggette can handle
that. It's got a good sturdy frame. Basic 20" bicycle wheels. Rolls very smoothly, turns well, etc.
Being in frigid Ithaca, NY, with a very young baby (3 mo.) we've only taken it out about 5 times so
far. But, it's been all I could ask for. It's quite easy to push and you can even run fairly fast
with it (I did a couple of 5:45 miles with it without much trouble, though I don't think it'd be a
good idea to go much faster. It felt like it might get a little unstable - say if you hit a small
rock or something you might have a hard time keeping it under control).

In any case, I'd recommend the Joggette. I can't say that I'm sure the others aren't better, but
they really don't seem like it to me.

The Joggette comes with a canopy and a pouch/pocket for holding a water bottle or hat or shirt
or whatever.

Low and behold my Jog R` Cycle (JRC) arrived last night. Shortly after sending you a message I
called Motiv and they called the warehouse. Seems my order fell through the cracks.

The warehouse is ~20 minutes from my home so they had someone hand deliver it. I tipped the delivery
guy a couple bucks so it cost me exactly $120.00.

The instructions were not included! Assembly was pretty much straight forward but there are 2 parts
left over (no kidding). One may be a rubber stopper only used for packing and the other is a pair of
straps hooked to the lower brace just above the rear axle. I'll call Motiv latter today.

Two negatives come quickly to mind. There is no brake and the maximum recommended speed is 10 miles
per hour. I will not exceed the speed limit while jogging but as a bike trailer 10 mi/hr is rather
slow. The maximum weight is 40 lbs but I should get quite a bit of use before Max (now 13 months)
exceeds that.

If you plan to drive to a jogging path you should know that you will need a Phillips head
screwdriver, a small wrench, most of your trunk space and a good 10 minutes to break the JRC down
(another 10 to put it back together).

As I was leaving work last night I ran into a guy that had a bike trailer/jogger combination that he
paid ~$450.00 for. It looked like a tent on wheels. It weighs 16 lbs empty (the JRC weighs 30) and
he had two kids in it weighing ~30 lbs each. He said it broke down in 5 minutes. [Cindy's
note: see section on Burley bike trailer/jogger for more info on this]

The technology of the $450 model was impressive (aircraft aluminum frame, quick release hubs,
graphite components etc..). The technology of the JRC reminds me of a 1969 Huffy. For the money the
JRC is a good deal. I think it will serve me well as a jogger and even as a trailer for an
occasional "cruise" on the bike path. If money were not an issue....


My wife and I have the Motiv version that we bought at Price Club for $120 or $130 or something. Not
being sure how much we would like or use such a thing, we went for the least expensive one. And
probably the cheapest one, as well. It has various rust spots after a year. I actually did some
minor disassembly and got it into the back of our small station, but I'm not sure if I could repeat
the activity.

Gee, I'm afraid I may not be much help. You'll probably have to ask those difficult questions like
What do I want this for? How much do I think I will use it? How much am I willing to pay? What
features (canopy, compactness, foldability, etc.) are important? etc.


Baby Jogger Racing Strollers, Inc. 1-800-241-1848 (for orders) Baby Jogger offers factory seconds. I
think this is advertized on the back of a parenting magazine. The deals are pretty good. A price
list from June '95 follows. These are the prices if you order the first rate strollers. Factory
seconds are cheaper. I paid $375 for the Super Twinner in May of '95. The Twinner was going for $300
and the Baby Jogger II-16 (I think) was going for $177. Factory seconds come with the canopy. So the
$375 I paid included the canopy.

Baby Jogger II-12 (12 inch wheels) $200 + $18 shipping Baby Jogger II-16 (16 inch wheels) $249 + $18
shipping Baby Jogger II-20 (20 inch wheels) $299 + $18 shipping Super Jogger $387 + $18 Little
Zipper (only factory seconds)$99 + $18 Big Zipper $155 + $18 Twinner $439 + $21 Super Twinner $525 +
$21 Special Needs $497 + $21

The various canopies are $39.95. There are rain canopies ranging from $39.95 to $62.95, depending on
the size jogger you buy. There are also baskets you can buy (nets actually) that attach underneath
for cargo.

There are some answers to specific questions about Baby Joggers in the Q&A section at the end of the
second part of the jogger file.
Cindy's comments on the Super Twinner

Well, they say you get what you pay for. There is no question about the quality difference between
the Super Twinner and the Huffy single I bought. It's lighter, has better fittings, better
materials, and it folds to fit into the trunk of my Toyota Camry. This is the big difference
between the Twinner and Super Twinner. The Super Twinner has locking pins that come and allow the
jogger to fold up really nicely. The Twinner doesn't. I have kind of ditched the Huffy single even
when I only have one child with me. In fact, I've found the twinner great for grocery shopping! The
other seat holds a 20 pound bag of charcoal perfectly! ;-) The two cargo pockets on the back of the
seats are great, and the sun canopy is really nice because it attaches down the sides too. It isn't
just a top.
I have used only the Baby Jogger and not tried the others. I have had both the single and twinner
versions. Stability and ease of use were excellent. I have also tried running with an ordinary
stroller (Aprica) before I got the jogging stroller. This worked OK for me but my husband couldn't
get used to running between the wheels. The Baby Jogger is far superior in this regard. Both my
husband and I found it comfortable to run with. It negotiates curbs, corners, and rough terrain very
well. Although I haven't tried riding in it myself, the kids seem to love it. My son started at
about 3 months old and did just fine. I put him in a felt seat made for shopping cart use that
worked great for keeping him in one place. My version did not have a canopy but I think its possible
to get one now. I think this is important to have. Also, mine do not collapse and are impossible to
get into a car. We strapped ours to our bicycle rack when necessary but this was a real pain. Its
quite heavy and rather ungainly to handle. GET ONE THAT COLLAPSES!!!

We have only the twinner now and use it primarily for long neighborhood walks. The kids are 3 and 5
now and still love it. We don't run with it because we live in a very hilly area and the children
together now weigh about 70 pounds not to mention the weight of a stroller. It would still work fine
if we had a flat place to run.

Except for the portability issue, we were very satisfied. The strollers are very expensive new but
seem to have good resale. We easily sold our original one child model.

I examined brochures for 4 different running strollers and tried out 2 of 'em. Here in Ithaca
though, there aren't many around.

-- Baby Jogger - the most well known, seems to be the one I see most often. But, at $280, seems a
bit expensive for what you get. My feeling is that part of what you pay for with the Baby Jogger is
the nice chrome finish, lots of ads, etc. I've tried it and it's very nice. But it really didn't
seem any better than the Joggette below in performance. It's shinier and maybe a bit prettier but
has even fewer basic features - no handle height adjustment, no included canopy or basket or pouch.

-- Runabout - After looking at the brochure for the Runabout, I think I'd have chosen it over the
Baby Jogger - mainly since it has an adjustable height handle (my wife runs also) and since it
collapses a bit smaller than the Baby Jogger, I think. I thought it was fairly ugly compared to the
Baby Jogger but it seemed like it might be a bit better. (it's about the same price as the Baby
Jogger - $289 or so or more for fancier versions)

-- 3 Wheel Wonder: This one is a bit mysterious. When I sent for their brochure they sent me a
regular snapshot print (no glossy brochure) of the stroller and a page listing its features.

What's mysterious is that the Wonder looks VERY much like the Joggette listed below. The seat and
frame look identical. The listed features, I think, were slightly different, but it really looks to
me like they at least share some major parts. Maybe the 3 Wheel Wonder people buy the main pieces
from Motiv and put together their own configuration. But, at ~ $159-
189 (Iforget - the info is at home), they charge a lot more than Motiv.

We have a Baby Jogger and love it. Around here, the Baby Jogger is the only one you EVER see being
used (both for training and large 10Ks with 10,000+ runners). Its easy to use, comfortable (I
suppose, I don't fit in it to try it out :)) and stable. In fact, I mounted a Vetta bicycle
computer on it.

Unfortunately, It doesn't fold down real small unless you remove the wheels which requires an
oddball sized wrench - the one that came with the trailer didn't fit. I'm an ex-mechanic with over
$15k of tools and I STILL don't have anything but a crescent wrench that fits correctly. Other than
that, the quality is superb.

Our son is now 9 months. We started him at about 6 months also. He still kind of slumps down and
ALWAYS falls asleep. Its GREAT :-O

Seems no one wants to sell one used. I also ran into this when I wanted a Burley trailer for biking
(I ride, the SO runs).

I can't answer about the others, but I have a Baby Jogger and it works very well. My son liked it
when he didn't like a regular stroller - I guess because we went fast. I saw someone with the 3
wheel wonder at a race and she had logged a lot of miles with it and liked it, but it was heavier.
Possibly more stable because the child sat lower. We have had no spills, but we always use a bicycle
helmet. I would recommend you purchase one with the stroller.

We didn't get ours till my son was almost 1. I regret this because we could have had much more
flexibility earlier on (running together, not needing the other spouse to be home, etc.) But the
niece of a friend of mine had her baby in one at about 6 weeks and I have seen many children in them
younger than 6 months. But, I'd say choose your courses more carefully till the child reaches the
age of loving the bumps. And, again, buy a helmet and use it.

Oh, check the discount baby stores and some bike stores...they are often cheaper than mail order. I
paid $228 for mine new at a discount baby store.

I find it a major hassle that is doesn't collapse. It doesn't even fit in the back of my small
blazer with the back wheels on. But, the hot tip is to get good at taking the back wheels off, too.
I know a couple who cheerfully do this and put it in the trunk of their compact car. We have a bike
lock for it that allows us to lock down the back of my Blazer or lock it up outside a coffee house
in running distance. Of course, these have to be moderately safe places. I believe there is some
new, lightweight collapsible jogging stroller available, but I think it costs more than the BJ. I
know folks who put them on the racks on top of their cars, but you might want to cover the stuff on
the handle to make sure it doesn't abrade away. If you are ALWAYS driving to run, I'd recommend
spending extra for collapsibility. If you own a minivan or will just be transporting to weekend
races or runs "away from it all" (our situation), I'd say it's probably no worse than getting used
to traveling with all the stuff you want for a baby anyway. Oh, yes, remember that you will need
warmer clothes for the baby than for you! I'd consider one of those nifty "polar" suits in a large
size to go over everything for a little baby. (This is probably the sort of a nag you'll get from
your parents anyway, sorry.) You can just pop it over whatever the kid has on at the time. We have a
special "skinny" hat we put on under the helmet for morning runs (to keep ears warm).

I have been using a Baby Jogger for 6 years now. My 6yr old still occasionally takes a ride, and my
2 year old loves it. The one I have is borrowed, and we are moving, so I faced the prospect of
buying one. The model I have been been using is the "Walkabout" from Racing Strollers. It is the
same as the original Baby Jogger, except it has smaller wheels. I have been extremely satisfied. I
have probably put over 1000 miles on it, a good bit of it with a kid over 50 lbs, and it is as good
as new. It will last through several more children (not mine).

I compared the Huffy, one by Gerry, and another couple of less expensive models, hoping that I could
get away with $149 instead of $249 (I have not been able to look at a 3 Wheel Wonder so I can't
comment on it.) In my opinion, I would be sorry if I got anything other than a real Baby Jogger.
Just compare how it is put together, what holds the wheels on, how strong the fabric of the seat is,
etc. Many of the ones I looked at in stores already had the fabric torn from shelf wear, and the
front wheel already wobbled. Given that these things are like gold on the resale market (how many
times to we see postings about "anyone have one for sale?", and we never see "anybody want to buy my
jogger?") I think scrimping here would be a false savings.

I have one. The brand of mine is "Baby Jogger". I like it quite a lot. I dare say it's made my wife
a fan of running (because I can take Matthew when I go :)).

Mine has a capacity of 40-50 pounds... I haven't heard of ones with a higher capacity than that, but
that doesn't mean they aren't out there.

Anyway, I don't know if this is much help... but I really do like mine, and Matthew enjoy's it a
lot. It seems very durable... I got it at a cut rate from a bike shop that rented them over the
summer and wanted to get rid of them in the fall. So before you buy one new you might consider
looking around to see if someone has a used one.

I strongly recommend you consider nothing but the line made by Racing Strollers. They advertise in
the back of most running magazines so you can easily get their catalog, and Road Runner Sports sells
one of their models (the one I have). Nothing else is made anywhere near as sturdily, which is
critical when carrying a heavier child. I used a borrowed one for 4 years (it was on its fourth
child), and when I had to return that one, I bought one ($225 from RRS). I still regularly carry my
35 lbs 3 year old, and still occasionally take my 65 lbs 6 year old. The stuff made by other
companies (like Huffy or Gerry, etc. that you might see in a Toys R Us or a bike store just do not
compare. I think at least one of the models of Racing Strollers goes to 75 lbs (I think mine does).
The difference in price is negligible when you ammortize it over the number of times you will use
it, and the life time of a good running stroller will exceed the childhood of several kids.

We have 2 of the brand name "Baby Jogger" and have been quite happy. We bought the first nearly 7
years ago when they were the only ones on the market. My older daughter "participated" in her first
race at 2 months old (my husband pushed her and we ran together). With the birth of the second
daughter 2 2/3 years later, we purchased a "Baby Jogger Twinner" which holds 2 children. My husband
pushed both of them in a race when the second child was 2 months old. Although he started at the
rear of the lineup as that race required, he passed me at 1 1/2 mile. Now that our children are
nearly 7 and 4, and they weigh a combined 80 pounds (plus clothes and snacks), we seldom push them
both on the hilly terrain we have here in Monument, CO. We do occasionally push them if we drive to
a relatively flat trail or are doing a rather long walk when the younger one needs a nap. I'll
sometimes still take the 4yo along for a run for extra strength training. Those things go anywhere
and are quite easy to handle. Our single one has been great everywhere from beaches to steep
mountain trails (that are wide enough to accommodate it). One time when I was away on business, my
husband pushed the older daughter (then 1) most of the way up Pikes' Peak in it.

Sorry that I can't compare and contrast it with other models. I suggest looking at the
advertisements in the back of Runners' WOrld. The companies all have 800 nos and offer to send free
info and price lists.

The nice ones -- the originals, made by a company in Yakima, Washington, and actually called "Baby
Jogger" -- are probably the best, but are expensive (around $300). The newest of their line , the
"Baby Jogger II," is very light and has quick release wheels. The quick release wheels is probably
the feature that best differentiates the good ones from the rest; lacking this, one needs a crescent
wrench to get the wheels off for transporting the thing in the trunk of a car. Another good thing to
look for is ball bearings in the wheels.

One thing that the original baby jogger company offers is "factory seconds" -- joggers with some
minor blemish but no structural problems. I believe the Baby Jogger II factory second was around
$170, plus shipping. The downside to this was the long waiting list (at least 6 weeks, I believe).

Gerry also makes some decent-looking joggers. I've seen some by Huffy, which seemed okay but a
little heavy. The other possibility is any of the many cheap imitations around. I saw one built buy
a company called Motiv that was okay; it was selling at a local Schwinn shop for $129, and at a
"members only" club -- Sam's Club -- here in Ohio for $75. This thing would not be convenient for
lugging around in your trunk a lot, and is heavier than the nice ones, but is actually surprisingly
decent for the money.

I have looked for quite a while for a used baby jogger, to no avail. I don't know what happens to
them when a kid outgrows it -- you'd think people would like to unload them -- but I've tried via
the net and thru newspaper classifieds with no luck. Hope some of this was helpful....

I have the original Baby Jogger; we got ours through Road Runner Sports running equipment mail order
house. If you are a member of their preferred customer club (~$20 to join, I think) you get 5% off.
Also, for every dollar you spend, you get scrip to buy items from the catalog.

My advice would be to try one before you buy to make sure that Michael will ride in it. I have heard
stories of children who started at > 1 yr and didn't like it. We have a friend who wanted to use
ours, and their kid (1 yr) wouldn't sit in it. It may have been a lack of trying enough on their
part, but something you might want to be aware of before spending several hundred dollars.

I started Matthew in it at about three months. He usually really likes riding and sitting in it.
And, he is quiet too. We get great smiles from all kinds of people who see us jogging around the
neighborhood. Especially the mothers who are walking their kids in a conventional stroller with
tiny wheels.

Even when it is warm, I put a stocking cap on his head and cover up as much skin as possible,
including mittens if it is below even 50 degrees F or so or windy, otherwise his hands get
pretty cold.