For serious runners, this thing is awesome!
Before we delve into the incredible performance of the BOB Ironman sport utility stroller, let’s start with assembly. There is a bit of assembly, but it is well worth it. The manual is very easy to follow with good pictures laying out the assembly process. It took about 40 minutes to completely assemble (though I was watching football at the same time, so that could probably go a bit faster if necessary).
Once assembled, you must also inflate the tires, which can be done with a simple bicycle pump. The tires were actually fairly inflated on arrival and probably could have gotten by without inflating for at least a little while if absolutely necessary, if you didn’t have much weight in it. Next, there are instructions concerning the alignment of the stroller, if necessary. If you push the stroller and let it go 10 to 20 feet, you can see if it rolls straight or not. Of course, when running, the straighter it rolls, the easier it is to run. It was very straight upon assembly for me, so I didn’t need to worry about it, but the directions made it seem fairly simple to correct when necessary.
The stroller folds and unfolds easily. It fits well in the back of an SUV or crossover vehicle, but it may be a little tight in a small trunk. If that’s the case, you’ll want to use the front wheel’s quick-release function. If you’re familiar with a quick-release front wheel on a bicycle, this works the same way. It will take a minute or two, but it is easy to take the front wheel off and on. With that wheel off, it should fit well even into a small trunk.
Overall, the stroller appears to be very high quality. I run 40 to 50 miles per week, and it seems durable enough to last several years. As far as “aesthetic appeal,” I actually received several compliments from others on the bike path, as well as jealous remarks, like, “I wish I had that one!” (I wanted to reply, “Yes, you do!”)
My passenger was plenty relaxed during our ride. He seemed to be very content to sit in the comfy seat and let me do all the running. He weighs about 30 pounds, which brings me to another great aspect of the jogger: It allows plenty of room for growth into the toddler years. (The maximum capacity for the jogger, include cargo, is 70 pounds.) The seat has a 5-point restraint, which was more than safe enough for my 7 to 8 mph pace. It is enough to keep the little one from wiggling out, but still comfortable. The straps are easily adjustable too.
The manual indicates there is a car seat adapter available for purchase also, which would allow for use during brisk walks with infants. (Otherwise, BOB recommends children are at least 8 months old before tagging along for any heavy-duty off-roading.) The seat reclines about six inches, which may not sound like much, but makes a huge difference—it’s actually nearly in a lying position at that point. When I tried reclining it, my boy kept trying to sit up, so I didn’t keep it there long. I did notice that I had to really watch my stride to keep my knees from bumping the seat it was all the way down, but I can’t imagine often running with it in that position. The near-flat recline is certainly a nice feature to have, in case you’re parked somewhere and your child wanted to nap, for example.
As far as storage, there was plenty for me. There are two pockets in the seating area that the child can access. There is a large storage area underneath, that could fit a backpack or small diaper bag, and a mesh pocket on the back side of the seat which is about 15” x 15”. If you're interested in cupholders, BOB makes a handlebar console with two cup holders and a zippered pocket, which would probably be the safest place to keep keys or a mobile phone.
The canopy is easily adjustable from no cover, down to covering all but the child’s feet. There is also a clear plastic peekaboo window on top to see the little one with a flap to cover it up if you want to keep the sun off. It’s so nice to be able to check in on my child while maintaining my stride, instead of having to run around the front to see that he’s still happy. It also allows my son to daydream or sightsee without being interrupted or distracted by his dad poking his head up there every five minutes.
Finally, my biggest concern was how well I could run and keep my usual pace while using the stroller. I was very impressed that I was able to accomplish that with ease! I really didn’t believe it would be so easy to push and have it roll in truly straight with little effort all while allowing me to keep a good upright posture. I was proven wrong: This stroller is amazing! There is a wrist strap which I found I could hold onto and keep my arms pumping while just nudging the stroller forward every few steps. There is also a hand brake that I should mention “just in case.” It comes in handy coming down a steep hill, etc., and can also help stop the stroller quickly when needed. The parking brake is simple to use with a kick of your foot and is very stable, completely freezing the stroller in place when engaged.
The stroller retails at $409 and is very well worth it if you are concerned with your running performance while having a little companion with you. It allows you to continue to run as fast as you want with ease.
Although, I must say, it’s a little discouraging when I’m huffing and puffing and the little guy looks up at me and giggles as if he’s lounging there relaxing and thinking “Sucker!” Oh well, maybe in 40 or 50 years, he’ll be pushing me—ha!
To buy: amazon.com