Bugaboo Donkey: Believe the hype?

Posted by Daisy on Saturday Dec 8, 2012 Under Baby Activities, Baby Travel, Newborn

It’s fair to say that here at Babyreview.com.au we like a good pram. So, as you can imagine, we have been looking forward to test-driving the Bugaboo Donkey. So the all-important question…  does it live up to everyone’s high expectations?

Since receiving the gorgeous blue and black Bugaboo Donkey, it has tirelessly served us on all kinds of expeditions – all the while patiently carrying gaggles of kids, sleeping babies, piles of shopping, stacks of dry-cleaning and mounds of miscellaneous children’s things.

What is it?

The Bugaboo Donkey is a convertible/extendable single/double stroller. With three easy clicks, it goes from a single (The Mono which is 60cms wide, which is the same as the Bugaboo Cameleon) to a full-sized double (The Duo which is 74cms wide).

Both side-by-side seating positions have independently interchangeable bassinets and seats (making it suitable for twins and different aged children from birth to 17kgs) – both of which positions are reversible and reclinable. This makes it possible to put child/s in any desired position such as facing you, the world or each other.

Being a side-by-side seating setup, the Bugaboo Donkey caters for you being able to see both children face-to-face at once increasing socialisation between you and the children and between the children themselves.

The overall operational feel and movement of the Bugaboo Donkey is excellent. It does indeed have all the things you would expect from Dutch designed Bugaboo, such as refined design, top quality, easy to use, super versatile and comfortable as anything for your precious cargo.



How it works

As a picture says a thousand words, I certainly can’t compete with the great little Bugaboo clip that explains how it works. It is made in sections and covers the following sections – which I have also commented on:

  • Mono duo mono convertibility – very well designed to be easy to use and stress free. Remove seat, three clicks, add basket, done. Remove basket, three clicks, add seat done. Simple as pie.
  • Suitable from birth – bassinets  are soft, spacious, sturdy and secure. Very easy to remove whilst Baby continues to sleep soundly.
  • Reversible and reclinable seats – fantastic feature. Increased surveillance and socialisation, but also ability for child to look out and see the world. I find my toddler usually wants to look out (and chatters away to me), whilst I feel much more comfortable being able to see Baby (especially whilst they are sleeping). Also worth mentioning that the toddler seat is easy to climb in and out of. The harness system is the best I have used: It is adult friendly and child safe and easily adjustable.
  • Multi-terrain – It has been able to go wherever I have wanted to go so far, including several off-road conditions (even at a slow jog!).
  • Two-wheel position – This would be fabulous for the beach using the larger wheels only (see the cool clip).
  • One-piece fold and self-standing – Once you have the knack of the fold it is quick and easy. It seems to fold in on itself once and then again.
  • Compact fold – compact fold… well I suppose this is relevant right?! Obviously it is considerably larger than my Maclaren umbrella pusher, but then again that is comparing apples and oranges. It is a double stroller and folds very compactly for what it is. You can always change it into single before folding it, which makes it even more compact.
  • Car seat adaptability – this is a great feature for a newborn, so as to not wake them when transferring from the car.
  • Brake and height adjustable handle bar – No surprise that this is yet another perfectly designed feature. Easy, simple, practical and a must if you want comfort for both pushers of differing vertical needs. There is also a safety strap located in the centre of the handlebar which can reach to either hand position. The handle bar itself has a great hand feel and is super sturdy.

You can also explore all the chassis details (such as the swivel wheels, brake block, suspension etc.) at http://www.bugaboo.com/learn/bugaboo-design, which is a cool little interactive map showing how all the parts are work.

Statistics… and how they rated

  • Suitable from birth to 17 kg / 37.5 Lbs – As well as this suitability, it also can accommodate different ages at the same time and also grow as your family does. I think this is a key feature.  
  • Dimension one-piece fold into Duo: 52 x 74 x 93 cm / 20.5 X 29 x 36.6″ – As a Duo it does fit through most doorways and does fit on all paths that cater for wheelchair access. Just remember, it is a double pram so just use common sense.
  • Dimension compact fold: 91 x 60 x 40 / 34.3 X 23.6 X 15.7″ – As mentioned above this is really about the same as a full sized single.
  • Weight stroller with 2 seats: 15 kg / 33.4 Lbs – You can feel the difference between a single stroller and packed double stroller, but that is to be expected. Also, if you are carrying children of different weights side-by-side (e.g. newborn and toddler) you can feel that the pram requires a little extra effort on the heavier side. So, if you are worried about overdeveloping the muscles on one arm you can always change the bassinet and seat positions between outings 😉
  • Width in duo: 74 cm / 29″ (width in mono: 60 cm / 23,6″) – As above
  • Width with one car seat: 84 cm / 33.1″ –  This is a little wider that the full Duo width, so just watch those doorways.
  • Storage: under seat basket 28 lbs – So much storage you can easily do a decent shop at the grocery store whether you have one or two kids in tow.
  • 10″ Swivel wheels & 12″ rear wheels with air filled tyres – This larger wheel size means that the Bugaboo Donkey easily takes on the great outdoors and also enjoys a suburban jog. Remember to check the pressure in the tires to ensure maximum comfort for passengers. The swivel wheels also mean the pusher is very easy to direct, even with one hand in the centre of the handlebar.

After test-driving the Bugaboo Donkey it is evident that all the details have been thoughtfully engineered and well made. It is like a high precision piece of kit but also super easy to operate. Like they say the ‘vision comes from a distinct Dutch point of view that informs design at Bugaboo: reduce complexity to the essence to create harmonious form and function that endures.’

So, does it live up to our high expectations?

Well that would be an unequivocal yes. The Bugaboo Donkey promises to do a lot and it delivers on it all. Exceptionally well.

If you have two children of pram ages (i.e. twins or different ages) this pram offers an excellent transport solution. Here at Babayreview.com.au we continue to be impressed with Bugaboo and are excited to see what they get up to next!

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Newborn Mum: the big buggy dilemma

Posted by Lyndal on Friday Apr 1, 2011 Under Baby Travel, Newborn
The big buggy shopping spree.

NewbornMum looking to solve the 'big buggy dilemma' at Baby Kingdom

Now here’s a topic that people have evangelical opinions on: the big buggy purchase.

For the record, feel free to interchange ‘buggy’ with: pram, stroller, travel system, babymobile…and the list goes on. In general, I’m referring to something with wheels and a small body-containing compartment that people push their very young children around in.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not scorning the close-to-religious attachment parents have to their buggy of choice: particularly if it’s a good choice. These contraptions can be the deciding factor that will have you rating your experience of stepping out with Baby along a spectrum of ‘blood curdling nightmare’ through to ‘piece of cake’.

I found shopping for one to be one of the most difficult purchasing decisions I have ever made in my life. I’m not kidding. It outstretched my wedding gown, car and various rental property choices for pure stress value. Sounds insane, I know, but I’m not alone.

Firstly, everyone has an opinion – and they’re all valid because they come from experience. Secondly, there’s just so much choice and so many variables involved.


Buggy considerations

There is a lovely lady at Baby Kingdom in Castle Hill, Sydney, who put it to Hubby and me like this:

  • What’s your budget?
  • What’s your lifestyle? Indoorsy, outdoorsy, jogging, shopping, urban, rural, car drivers or using public transport?
  • How much can you handle lifting? Including if you fall pregnant while you’re still in ‘pram mode’ with your first (or second, or third)?
  • What car do you drive and how big is the boot?
  • What sort of space do you have for storing it at home?
  • How many kids do you plan on having?

Then she got to work with us. And she was terrific.


Buggy rationale

We like to go for walks, sometimes in parks and certainly along the beach or at least along roads that run alongside the ocean. So we need weather protection for Baby – in the cold and in the heat, as well as good suspension on the wheels and tyres for various terrain. We also need storage compartments to carry around the 8,000 varieties of paraphernalia you need to get you from A to B.

Three-wheeler options also seemed to be easier to maneuver, so we decided on that configuration.

We’re not millionaires, so something middle-of-the-range, and a really good deal at that, was really what we were looking for. We don’t drive a massive car. We got ourselves a Subaru Forester, which is pretty generous on size, but then, we also don’t have much space at home for storage when the buggy isn’t in active service.

We also would use this contraption for shopping, and ideally (in my dreamland utopia of parenthood) provide our darling little bundle with the comfort of somewhere to sleep. They do sleep occasionally, right?

I’m not the strongest woman in the world. In fact I have no upper body strength to speak of. Now, I’m told that will change, but in the immediate future my wimpy self needs a pram she can actually haul into the car.

We are planning on possibly having more than one little bundle of joy, but rather than get ahead of ourselves, a dear friend advised me that she often pops the newer of her children in a sling whilst older sibling either sits in the pram or, more recently, walks alongside. Sounded reasonable to me. So I stopped looking at tandem arrangements – not that I don’t think they’re quite a nifty solution.


Buggy of choice

I don’t know why, but there was just something about the Valco Matrix Dart style that appealed on sight. But I also had very reliable and sensible friends chanting the mantra of Mountain Buggy, Quinny and Bugaboo. So investigation was required.

Phil & Ted’s Explorer seemed like quite a good option. Neat little bassinet attachment and, of course, it has the adaptability of a toddler seat or inline options made this a good choice to accommodate the as yet unmade Baby Number 2. I loved the easy access shopping cart and that it folded down so magically. I just wanted a bit more in the way of canopy cover and an easier mechanism on the brakes.

We wandered over to Mothercare at Castle Hill, where they had a great package on their My Choice three-wheeler. The package pretty much gave you everything – rain cover, bassinet: the whole deal. It was very modular, so you just removed or replaced the components as you needed them and it has to be said, the design is lovely. Again, I’d like a little more in the way of a canopy (personal preference). But this was definitely a contender.

Big in the way of a canopy is the Baby Jogger City Elite. Their three-wheeler was terrific. Good storage space for shopping. Oh – and the one click fold is a dream. Really. Not to mention that the brake is on the handle and out of reach of little fingers – so easy for you, and safe for Baby. Just fab. The seat folded down for a newborn, which is great, but I wanted a bassinet (again, just a personal preference from a novice – scoff if you will), and that was in addition to the package at the time. I would recommend this stroller if you’re not married to the idea of a bassinet. Really good buy.

Back to Baby Kingdom, where I ogled the Quinny, Bugaboo, Emmaljunga and Stokke ranges. They are all utterly gorgeous, but I have to confess I didn’t really try them out to their full potential because they were out of our price range. What did occur to me – particularly with the Emmaljunga range – is that if I lived somewhere with a really cold climate they would definitely be the buggy of choice. They all just had beautiful design features, high-quality fabric, and I loved that the Quinny handle allowed you to have the baby facing you or looking outwards.

Baby Kingdom also had a great deal on the Mountain Buggy Swift at the time, which was going for $AUD599 with the bassinet thrown in. The Mountain Buggies look great and their colour spectrum is really funky and vibrant. I loved the fact that it weighed 9.5kg and can take up to 35kg in weight, and the fold-down procedure was really easy. Great brakes too. Our only hesitation here was that it folds down flat and compact – which is terrific – but the length took up the entire boot floor of our car. I loved it though, and we really very nearly bought this. It was our number 2 choice.

The Valco range includes the very neat and compact Ion and Ion Plus. The Ion Plus would have been our choice as it includes the bassinet. If we were only looking to be just indoors or sticking to paved surfaces, this was just the ticket. So incredibly lightweight (8.6kg) and folded down to next to nothing: great for those of us who are sans muscles. Hubby just wanted a bigger handle, and the wheels may not have coped with our walks. So went a bit bigger… and encountered the Valco Matrix Dart Plus.

Loved it. The hood expands, pretty much entirely sheltering your little one in a safe little cocoon and it can take up to 22kg in weight. The brake is really easy to use. Great storage pocket at parent height, and a generously sized shopping compartment underneath baby. It does weigh 11.5kg, but I guess I’m just going to have to harden up. It folds down in two steps so that it’s sort of compact in a boxy way, which suited our car boot as it left room for shopping and other bags alongside it. The bassinet is currently included in a deal at Baby Kingdom – a nice price at $AUD499.

I allowed Hubby to select the colour choice, given I’ve chosen everything else. He went with taupe. See, I would have gone with the grey…but you’ve got to let the boy have some say. Or do you?

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