GaGaGear

Bugaboo Doubles Down on Donkey

Posted on: January 17, 2011


The rumor mill continues to swirl around Bugaboo’s vaunted new double stroller, The Donkey.  In September, Fast Company’s Design staff gave it an info-packed preview but held off on any real judgment.  Read Co.Design’s article here, then return to GaGaGear for our thoughts, which continue below.

Bugaboo Donkey: Single + Storage

Our Take:

Before getting into it, you should know how heavily we at GaGaGear are anticipating Bugaboo’s double stroller.  We’re big fans of the Bee (own it), which really delivers for urban strolling in addition to turning heads with its elegant design.  So let’s just say expectations are high.  Now for the (p)review…

Frankly, from what we’re seeing, it’s hard to judge whether Donkey’s really got kick.  First of all, the name is terrible – why pick a moniker so loaded on the back end?  (But then Bugaboo’s names have never really made any sense to us, other than the Bee.)  Better make sure it performs, or the recall headlines won’t be pretty.

Second, the would-be-iconic design proposition of a “stretch” conversion seems in itself a stretch.  Sure, it might be clever for adding that double, but forcing a single into a wide and unbalanced stance in the name of storage just doesn’t make sense to this mom.  (Not to mention two kids is two times the gear – and how much storage?  Wondering how the basket area underneath will be affected by the expansion mechanism.)  Pushing a Maclaren Twin Techno for just a month with 30 pounds on one side and 15 on the other was so sketchy, we just threw our baby in the Ergo and continued to push our toddler in the Bee.  Donkey’s horizontal push bar would make a difference over Maclaren’s two handles, but it’s hard to see how this is going to ride smoothly as a single stroller, especially one-handed (latte-handed?).

Bugaboo Donkey: Expanded

Maybe it’s really a smooth and simple operation as advertised…but any solution that requires parents to assemble, disassemble or otherwise configure their stroller instead of just popping it open or shut could be missing the point.  The more kids you have, the simpler you need this stuff to be!  One-step fold was Bugaboo’s weak spot with both the Frog and Cameleon, but they solved it brilliantly with the Bee.  Seems like they’re back to a series of steps with Donkey, which is a shame.  Not to mention the simple truth: more moving parts means more potential points of failure.  Donkey’s designers do a good job disguising the complexity here – we’ll need to get hands-on to know for sure…  But we wonder whether expanding – which was certainly the harder solution to design – is ultimately preferable to snapping on along the lines of Baby Jogger’s City Select, which we profiled in 2010.  (Or maybe Baby Jogger just protected the heck out of that IP?)

Here’s our theory on why baby gear purchasing drops off so dramatically as families grow.  Moms aren’t magically sprouting more hands so they can do more with less.  The more kids we have, the simpler gear has to be to hold our attention.  And there simply isn’t simple gear for twins and multiple young children in a family.

For years, the double stroller world has been wide open for innovation.  And with the debut of the Donkey, it still is…?

NEW PHOTO 3/8: Bugaboo Donkey, showing two bassinets installed rear-facing…

Bugaboo Donkey all configurations

Bugaboo Donkey | Photo Credit: bugaboo.com

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8 Responses to "Bugaboo Doubles Down on Donkey"

Good review! Bugaboo is unjustifiably expensive for our household, but with only one kid I haven’t had too much time to become disenchanted with the dearth of breakthroughs in stroller technology.

What I find amusing about these single-to-double stroller conversions is the direct pitch to couples who are “planners” – – people who know in advance they are very likely to have two kids within two years of each other – otherwise, you don’t really need a double except in very specific circumstances (and then you really could just borrow from a friend or buy something cheap on Craigslist to get by).

The double buyer is the most over the barrel, because they didn’t consider or buy a convertible, and then they’re stuck buying another one at equal or greater cost OR buying something cheap and frustrating and just living with it for that short period where they really need it. There are definitely some great doubles out there – the Bumbleride Indie Twin is quite plush, and the Bob Double seems to be the overwhelming favorite here in Portland – but they are of course MORE expensive than singles.

An option I theoretically like in place of a double is a buggyboard. Of course, I bought the Bugaboo buggy board for the Bee and haven’t even opened it. So maybe I should, finally, and see what that does for us – I can see loving it at the Zoo or somewhere our 3 year old can *almost* manage by foot, but could use a lift every now and then.

I love it and think it’s so great for twins. I longed for a Bugaboo double when I had my twins. I would often go out with just one baby, and we therefore had to have a double stroller and two singles. Where do you store all those strollers? I have owned the Uppa Baby Vista, Uppa Baby G-Luxe (x2), the Baby Jogger City Mini double and City Elite Double, the Bugaboo, and others. The Bugaboo is still my all-time favorite, and my only complaint is the fold is tough. (I mean come on, I had to watch a video to learn how to fold the thing!) Nothing compares to the Bugaboo push. If my kids were a little younger (or a little lighter) I would buy this without a doubt. I might fly to El Segundo in April and buy one anyway. I guess that’s why they call it a cult following, I’m hooked!!!!! I hope it’s as great as I imagine it to be. The only bummer is you can’t leave this $1,700 stroller unattended at the zoo or Disneyland…

Hi Hilary,
I am also a fan of the Bugaboo push, but without a second bassinet or second toddler seat option, I’m not sure I agree Donkey would be great for twins. What mom wants to choose which of her two babies gets the coveted coochicoos while strolling? I’m in contact with Bugaboo’s marketing team, and will try and get an answer quickly. It seems logical you could go double on each (at additional cost), but I don’t see evidence in any of their photos or preview material.
Thanks for reading!

Good point about the second bassinet and toddler seat, but I never used the bassinet on my Uppababy or my Bugaboo. I don’t know many people who use the bassinet, because they use the carseat adapter when the babies are young, and the toddler seat when they are a little older. My friend is having twins in June, so I’ll tell her to keep an eye on your reviews…how about the Baby Jogger City Select?

Update: I’ve been told by marketing that you can have 2 bassinets (rear-facing) *or* 2 toddler seats (forward-facing, presumably). Also, that they will be releasing more info shortly as they prepare to launch in stores. They’ve also asked me to review again once product is available – and of course I’ve agreed. Eager to get my hands on the real deal.

Hilary, I guess I wouldn’t go for a convertible for twins…unless I was also specifically planning on a single baby afterward and didn’t want to trade out later. I’d look at either a double BOB or the Bumbleride Indie Twin, which accommodate two “as a rule” instead of as an expansion or special configuration. I know one set of twins in the Bumbleride who loooove it, and have used it since day 1. I never used a bassinet OR a car seat adaptor with my Bugaboo Bee, since the seat reclined almost completely flat. I believe that’s also true of the Indie Twin if not the BOB. Those two are pretty much interchangeable in my opinion – Bumbleride being a bit more “stylish” and BOB more obviously “rugged.”

Hope that helps – Thanks for reading and commenting!

[…] talked a bit on GaGaGear about single-to-double convertible strollers (from BabyJogger and Bugaboo) – but if your toddlers are spaced so a double just isn’t practical, consider adding […]

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  • JHeff: I have read a good number of comments about most users of the boba not really ever using the foot rests. Looking at the videos I've seen, the back on
  • Mama GaGa: Oh, boo! Thanks for the manufacturing update - I will make note in the post. Cheers - MG
  • Cathy: I know this is a couple years old but I ran across this post and was so excited when you said the Boba was made in America - a big selling point for m

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