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

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by cindy, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. cindy

    cindy Guest

    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.


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