The mountain buggy duet is advertised as the narrowest side-by-side twin buggy on the market (only 25” wide!).
While the size necessitates some sacrifices in roominess and perhaps child comfort, these are traded for outstanding maneuverability. It will be great for general use by any parents, but will be especially valuable for parents who will use the stroller in crowded and/or indoor spaces.
The buggy arrives in a few pieces, but assembles quickly and easily without any tools. The instructions are presented graphically without any text. For assembly, this is fine, but the owner’s manual leaves a lot to be desired because it’s difficult to know where to find information about a particular feature and sometimes hard to understand that information even when you find it. The main body of the stroller comes preassembled, so all that must be attached are the wheels, canopies, and restraint bar. All of these attached very easily on ours, in a really intuitive way.
The seats, though rated for kids up to 40 pounds (which means a total combined weight of 80 pounds for 2 kids), are only 11” wide. For our 24 pound son, it was a bit of a tight fit, but he seemed perfectly comfortable in the seat in both upright and reclined positions. However, for larger kids, it could be uncomfortable, and the proximity of the seat material in reclined position (the child is basically laying in a deep nylon canvas hammock) might cause issues with some kids. The seats recline independently by releasing straps on the back. There are two points on each seat (one on each side of the back) that must be released in order to recline, so it’s a two-handed operation. Pulling on the straps sits the seat back upright, but it’s difficult to do both at once, so it can be tricky to do while a child is in the seat. However, the seats lay down quite far (not horizontal, but far enough to make sleeping comfortable), and can be adjusted independently. The material also wipes clean with a wet rag really easily, which is always a nice thing with kids.
The 5-point harnesses seem quite secure and include padding for the should/neck area, which is helpful. They tighten by pulling on the straps over the shoulders, and this can take a bit of work if you don’t want to jostle the child too much. The harness also adjusts easily to one of three heights by twisting the plastic ends (to vertical position) and sliding them up and down. They lock into place by twisting back to horizontal. Each seat has its own canopy, which provides nice flexibility, and both have plastic windows that allow you to peek at the kids (these have covers that can be open or shut with Velcro) and mesh sun shades that extend even beyond the canopies. The canopies extend far enough to completely cover the passengers in anything except a low-on-the-horizon sun shining right at them or a blowing rain. In what is undoubtedly a sacrifice for size considerations, there is only a bottle holder that velcros to the frame (meaning it’s angled and not incredibly useful), but the space isn’t really roomy enough for toddlers to do a lot of snacking, anyway.
We’ve tried the stroller out in a few environments, and it performs well. The real strength is its size and maneuverability, which are absolutely fantastic. It moves through tight corners in our house with ease, turning really easily and fitting nicely through doorways. It performs equally well in stores with tight aisles and other limited-space environments. As parents, we get used to being the ones having trouble getting on the elevator or forcing people to move in a store. While that will still be the case to some extent with the duet (it is a side-by-side double stroller, after all), it moves and maneuvers better than our single-rider jogging stroller. The duet is great for in-town strolls and does well off the pavement, too. We’ve taken it up and down our (fairly steep and bumpy) gravel driveway and through grass (even fairly tall grass) without any real problems, so the 10” rubber, air-filled tires handle rougher conditions just fine. It’s easy to get over curbs as well.
It’s not recommended for jogging, but can handle a very brisk walk or occasional jog on pavement without any problem. The front wheels can be locked with a really simple twist of a knob if desired. The brake is foot-operated and engages and disengages very smoothly. We’ve used other strollers where the brake could accidentally re-engage if you neglected to push it all the way up, but this one pops all the way up automatically to avoid this problem. The push bar is adjustable and comfortable. There is a good-sized basket underneath for diaper bags or other necessities. Overall, the buggy is nice and easy to push and the maneuverability is top-notch.
To fold up, the wheels basically fold underneath to make it flat. You have to hit the release button on both sides of the footrest, so it’s a two-handed operation. It’s not exactly small, but it’s also a side-by-side stroller, so small isn’t really an option. It takes up almost the entire back of our Subaru when lying down, and is too tall to stand up in the back. It could fit easily into the trunk of most sedans, though. It also doesn’t seem to lock in place while folded, so it can be difficult to carry in a folded position. The fact is, however, that the purpose of this thing is to carry two kids, so it’s going to take up space no matter what. It would be nice if it were as easy to handle folded as it is when it’s rolling, however.
We also got the car seat adapter so we could use it with a new baby. It fits our Graco SnugRide car seat very well (Ed. note:Maxi-Cosi car seat is shown in photo above), and attaches with a couple of clips (the clips mount to the carseat adapter with a couple of hex-head bolts, but a wrench is included). It jiggles a bit, but seems very secure. The regular seat must be removed, which is just a matter of finding all the snaps. Having the car seat attached increases the width a bit, and also interferes with the canopy of the remaining seat. We are unable to lower the canopy fully while the carseat is attached without detaching one side of the canopy frame. The duet can also be used with two car seats, though we haven’t used this configuration. Other accessories that can be purchased separately include a complete storm cover, carrycots for infants (if you don’t want to use a carseat), a travel bag, cup holders, and the freerider attachable scooter, which an older child can stand on and ride.
The functionality of the buggy is very good, overall. The main attraction is size—again, only 25” wide for a side-by-side—and absolutely outstanding maneuverability in a variety of environments. However, this is achieved at the expense of some space for kids, even though it remains comfortable for most, and amenities like food trays, cup holders, and easy adjustment. If you need to move two kids in tight spaces, this is highly recommended. If not, you may be able to find more bang for your buck elsewhere.