• Comfortable ride for baby
• Seat can be adjusted to face you
• Full-coverage sun canopy
• Sleek design
• Non-swivel front wheel
• Wide profile
• Difficult to transport
If you have the means, live in the suburbs and are looking for a single-purpose jogger, look no further than the Runner, Bugaboo’s newest addition to its family of strollers.
Rating: 3.5 stars
I’m not one to get caught up in brand names, but I have to admit I felt pretty hip running around town with the Bugaboo. The design is modern, minimalist and sleek, and I definitely noticed people checking it out while I waited at stoplights—a different but fun experience for someone who usually runs with a BOB stroller.
What’s more important is that my almost-6-month-old son, Porter, loved it! Every time my husband or I put him in this jogger he would start giggling. With its large frame, roomy seat and wide tires, it reminded me of an old-school Cadillac. Porter just leaned back, smiled and enjoyed the ride—on any surface we encountered. ( Ed Note: Bugaboo does not recommend using the jogger with children under 9 months.)
The five-point harness is also a breeze to use and doesn’t require a child to put his or her arms through straps as most other strollers do. This is a remarkably convenient feature if your child is prone to falling asleep on long runs like mine, since it allowed us to easily lift him out of the jogger without waking him.
Apparently this is the first jogger with a seat that can be adjusted to face in or out, which is great for younger children ( Ed Note: Released in 2015, the Bugaboo Runner is still the only jogger currently on the market with a reversible seat). You reverse the seat by releasing a button on the side and lifting it off the frame, and then you click it back onto the frame in your preferred direction. Reclining the seat is just as easy by pulling up on the large latch at the back of the stroller with one hand. If you already own another Bugaboo stroller like the Bee, Cameleon, Donkey or Buffalo, you have the option to purchase just the jogger chassis (at about half the cost) and then attach the seat from your current stroller using an adapter.
As a protective mom with a family history of skin cancer, I loved the far-reaching extendable sun canopy. If you unzip it and extend it all the way down, you can keep those strong rays off baby on even the sunniest days. ( Ed Note: The canopy is made of fabric that has a UPF rating of 50+, which means it blocks between 97.5 and 98 percent of UV rays—but you’ll still want to take precaution and use sunscreen on baby when you’re out and about). The basket at the bottom is a decent size for a water bottle and small diaper bag. It’s not as big as the BOB’s but it works, especially if you’re using it primarily to go for runs and then just come home so you won’t need a ton of stuff with you. There are also handy straps that keep your stuff from bouncing around as you run. But there’s no cup holder or any other kind of storage anywhere on the stroller, so you’ll likely want to purchase the holder ($25) for your water bottle. It does, however, come with an air pump for the tires, which I thought was a smart little extra. So if you ever find yourself out on the road with a flat, you can just reach into the basket where it’s stored and quickly take care of the problem.
Since we’re both tall, my husband and I appreciated the tall frame; the handlebar can also be adjusted depending on your size. It’s a pivoting handlebar, so it adjusts by moving up and down from a fixed point on the frame, unlike a telescoping handlebar, which slides in and out of the frame. To adjust it, you simply press up on and hold two buttons on the inside of either side of the handlebar—you’ll need both hands to do this—and then you can drop it down or push it forward. There are three positions to pick from so you can find what’s most comfortable for your reach.
When you’re primarily running in a straight line on a wide road or path, the Bugaboo is fantastic and handles like a dream. Jogging with the Bugaboo after using a BOB was a bit like test driving an Audi after owning a Subaru—it felt sturdy but effortless. Thanks to the large, air-filled tires and a suspension system that’s built into the frame, it absorbs bumps, giving a smooth ride for both baby and driver. And braking on a dime was easy thanks to the handbrake located directly under the top of the handlebar. Unlike many other joggers, the brake spans the entire width of the handle so you can quickly grab it no matter where your hands happen to be positioned and whether you’re left-handed or right-handed. Just a squeeze anywhere on the brake and you can immediately control your speed.
But because this stroller is designed purely for jogging and the front wheel is fixed (a feature that adds more stability and keeps you running in a straight line, and is recommended for faster paces), it’s not so easy to maneuver through crowded, urban streets. Most jogging strollers allow you to lock or swivel the front wheel, making navigation easier when you’re not using it to run. Since I live in New York City, steering was quite challenging and the lack of a swivel wheel forced me to literally tilt the jogger on its back wheels in order to turn it. Not at all easy considering its weight (see more on that below).
The wide profile of the stroller (it’s 28-inches wide when unfolded) also compounded the maneuverability issue. As someone who likes to make a mental grocery list during a run and swing by Whole Foods on my way home, this was a rude awakening. The Bugaboo Runner and grocery crowds did not mix well, and I found myself apologizing my way through the aisles. Our building’s elevators, while larger than most, were also a challenge.
I don’t think many parents would rank transportability high on the requirements list for joggers, but in case that’s something you’re wondering about, I must include that this model is not easy to break down and toss in the car. The seat and frame come apart, but breaking it down is challenging at best. It also weighs nearly 28 pounds, which is on the heavier side since most joggers clock in between 22 and 25 pounds so it takes a bit of effort to throw it into your trunk, especially with a baby in your other arm.
There’s no denying this jogger is major eye candy. It comes in two bright colors (petrol blue or red) and has that simple yet sleek functional profile that Dutch and Scandinavian products are known for. I personally find it quite appealing and really enjoyed the experience of running around with it.
I so want to love the Bugaboo Runner, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t suit my personal lifestyle. If you live in the suburbs and are looking for a single-purpose use, or if you already have a different Bugaboo model and plan to use your existing seat on the Runner chassis, this sleek-looking, smartly designed jogger may very well be for you, and I’m pretty sure baby will love you for it. However, if you live in an urban area, you may want to consider a more versatile jogger with a smaller profile and more maneuverability.