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Misc.kids FAQ on Jogging Strollers, Part 1/2

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Archive-name: misc-kids/joggers/part1
Posting-frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1995/07/12
Version: 2.2

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
*******************************	
*JOGGING STROLLERS FAQ PART 1 *
*******************************

Please find the Misc.Kids Jogger FAQ attached. When I started on my quest
for information a few years ago, I didn't realize there were so many things
to consider and so many different joggers available. This is fairly long
because a lot of the mail I got was anecdotal. (The mail included came
from people on the Dead Runners Society List, Misc.kids and rec.running).
You will find in the following text 1) A summary of the kinds of things you
might want to consider when buying a jogger 2) An index of the joggers
discussed 3) General opinion-type comments (these are also scattered
through the articles on various joggers 4) An article or two on when to put
a baby in a jogger (tips on carrying small children scattered throughout).

I now have two joggers: the huffy single, and the Baby Jogger Super 
Twinner. I'll comment on each of those in the appropriate section.


Cindy Mitchell
University of Maine System
Computing and Data Processing Service
cindy@saturn.caps.maine.edu

****************************************************** 
Things to Consider When Buying a Jogger
---------------------------------------------------- 
1) Construction
2) Weight (if you're planning to race, this may be a consideration) 3)
safety (A few joggers don't have "wheel wings" that will keep little hands
away from the wheels) 4) brakes (Many don't have any kind of brake other
than to use one of the straps around a wheel) 5) price (there's a huge
variation in price) 6) collapsibility (Will it fit in your car?) 7) set up
(Once collapsed will it go back together without a tool box?) 

****************************************
**************************************** 
Index of Models Discussed
-------------------
Motiv Joggette/Jog'r Cycle
Baby Jogger/Racing Strollers Inc.
Burley bike trailer/jogger
JC Penney/Huffy
Kidcart
Runabout

MOTIV JOGGETTE/JOG'R CYCLE
----------------------
(Cindy's note: A friend recently (3/95) bought a joggette at Sam's club.  
It's pretty chintzy looking and has to be broken down with a wrench.)

Motiv Sports Inc.
14211 Yorba St. Suite 100
Tustin, CA 92680
(714) 731-6011


*****************************************
Following is the recommendation for the Motiv Joggette I saved from 
rec.running some
time ago. I called the company and they said they don't take credit cards, I
had to mail them a personal check, they waited a few days for it to clear,
then they sent me the Joggette. I'd say I got it about 2 to 2 1/2 weeks
after I mailed them my check, and it had to come from the West coast to
the East Coast. I've been quite pleased with it; it was certainly worth the
89.50 I paid. I believe the reason it's substantially cheaper than the real
Baby Jogger brand is because it's assembled in Mexico, so if you are really
heavy into buying American, don't. Oh, yes, and when I first called them
they were out of stock at the time and they took my name and phone
number and after a few weeks they called me back and said to send the
money.

Recommendation pulled from the net follows: 
---------------------------------------------------- 
Motiv Joggette: This is the one you don't seem to have heard about. It's
also the one we purchased. It's main selling feature is that it is CHEAP
($79 - 100)! But, I really don't think it gives up anything in performance.
Mainly, it's just not painted as well, not widely marketed yet, etc.

I ran into one of these at a race in southern Arizona last fall. I asked the
owners about it. They (both the man and woman) said they loved it - ran in
lots of races with it, etc. I tried it out for a couple of minutes and thought
it was great. In the West it's available at at least one chain store - Price
Club. There may be a few of these in the East now or at least I think there
will be soon. There aren't any in NY yet. (Also you need to be a state
employee of fed. credit union member to join Price Club.) In any case, in
the West you can get Joggette's at Price Clubs and maybe some other
stores for about $100 (my sister-in-law got one at a Phoenix Price Club
for $99).

I got ours by calling Motiv High Performance Bicycles(a little company in
Calif.) directly. They agreed to sell me one for $79 plus ~$13 UPS shipping.
It came in about a week and we've used it happily a few times since. A
friend of mine here just ordered one for himself. He said he had to do a
little bit of convincing to get them to sell him one directly - they appear
to be selling more now through third party catalogs at jacked up prices or
something. But, in the end, they did give him the same deal they gave me.
I was very wary of the price. Price wasn't a major concern to me - we'd
have been happy to pay $300 if I thought that I'd get something better. I
couldn't believe that something for $79 could compare favorably with the
$279 ones. But, it really seems like the differences are mainly cosmetic.

Actually, I must say that I do believe that the Baby Jogger is a little bit
better made than the Joggette. But it seems to me to be a bit of wasted
quality. The thing doesn't have to last 50,000 miles. I figure 20- 30 miles
a week for a few years at most. I'm pretty sure the Joggette can handle
that. It's got a good sturdy frame. Basic 20" bicycle wheels. Rolls very
smoothly, turns well, etc. Being in frigid Ithaca, NY, with a very young
baby (3 mo.) we've only taken it out about 5 times so far. But, it's been all
I could ask for. It's quite easy to push and you can even run fairly fast
with it (I did a couple of 5:45 miles with it without much trouble, though I
don't think it'd be a good idea to go much faster. It felt like it might get a
little unstable - say if you hit a small rock or something you might have a
hard time keeping it under control). 

In any case, I'd recommend the Joggette. I can't say that I'm sure the
others aren't better, but they really don't seem like it to me. 

The Joggette comes with a canopy and a pouch/pocket for holding a water
bottle or hat or shirt or whatever.

*************************************************
Low   and behold my Jog R` Cycle (JRC) arrived last night. 
Shortly after sending you a message I called Motiv and they 
called the warehouse. Seems my order fell through the cracks. 

The warehouse is ~20 minutes from my home so they had someone hand
deliver it. I tipped the delivery guy a couple bucks so it cost me exactly
$120.00.

The instructions were not included! Assembly was pretty much straight
forward but there are 2 parts left over (no kidding). One may be a rubber
stopper only used for packing and the other is a pair of straps hooked to
the lower brace just above the rear axle. I'll call Motiv latter today.

Two negatives come quickly to mind. There is no brake and the maximum
recommended speed is 10 miles per hour. I will not exceed the speed limit
while jogging but as a bike trailer 10 mi/hr is rather slow. The maximum
weight is 40 lbs but I should get quite a bit of use before Max (now 13
months) exceeds that. 

If you plan to drive to a jogging path you should know that you will need a
Phillips head screwdriver, a small wrench, most of your trunk space and a
good 10 minutes to break the JRC down (another 10 to put it back
together).

As I was leaving work last night I ran into a guy that had a bike
trailer/jogger combination that he paid ~$450.00 for. It looked like a tent
on wheels. It weighs 16 lbs empty (the JRC weighs 30) and he had two kids
in it weighing ~30 lbs each. He said it broke down in 5 minutes. [Cindy's
note: see section on Burley bike trailer/jogger for more info on this]

The technology of the $450 model was impressive (aircraft aluminum
frame, quick release hubs, graphite components etc..). The technology of
the JRC reminds me of a 1969 Huffy. For the money the JRC is a good deal.
I think it will serve me well as a jogger and even as a trailer for an
occasional "cruise" on the bike path. If money were not an issue....

************************************************** 

My wife and I have the Motiv version that we bought at Price Club for $120
or $130 or something. Not being sure how much we would like or use such
a thing, we went for the least expensive one. And probably the cheapest
one, as well. It has various rust spots after a year. I actually did some
minor disassembly and got it into the back of our small station, but I'm
not sure if I could repeat the activity. 

Gee, I'm afraid I may not be much help. You'll probably have to ask those
difficult questions like What do I want this for? How much do I think I
will use it? How much am I willing to pay? What features (canopy,
compactness, foldability, etc.) are important? etc. 

***************************************************
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

BABY JOGGER/RACING STROLLERS inc
----------
Baby Jogger	Racing Strollers, Inc. 1-800-241-1848 (for orders)
Baby Jogger offers factory seconds. I think this is advertized on the 
back of a parenting magazine.  The deals are pretty good.  A price list 
from June '95 follows. These are the prices if you order the first rate 
strollers. Factory seconds are cheaper. I paid $375 for the Super Twinner 
in May of '95. The Twinner was going for $300 and the Baby Jogger II-16 
(I think) was going for $177. Factory seconds come with the canopy. So 
the $375 I paid included the canopy.


Baby Jogger II-12 (12 inch wheels)  $200 + $18 shipping
Baby Jogger II-16 (16 inch wheels)  $249 + $18 shipping
Baby Jogger II-20 (20 inch wheels)  $299 + $18 shipping
Super Jogger                        $387 + $18
Little Zipper (only factory seconds)$99  + $18
Big Zipper                          $155 + $18
Twinner                             $439 + $21
Super Twinner                       $525 + $21
Special Needs                       $497 + $21

The various canopies are $39.95. There are rain canopies ranging from 
$39.95 to $62.95, depending on the size jogger you buy. There are also 
baskets you can buy (nets actually) that attach underneath for cargo.

There are some answers to specific questions about Baby Joggers in the 
Q&A section at the end of the second part of the jogger file.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cindy's comments on the Super Twinner

Well, they say you get what you pay for. There is no question about the
quality difference between the Super Twinner and the Huffy single I
bought.  It's lighter, has better fittings, better materials, and it folds
to fit into the trunk of my Toyota Camry. This is the big difference
between the Twinner and Super Twinner. The Super Twinner has locking pins
that come and allow the jogger to fold up really nicely. The Twinner
doesn't. I have kind of ditched the Huffy single even when I only have one
child with me. In fact, I've found the twinner great for grocery shopping!
The other seat holds a 20 pound bag of charcoal perfectly! ;-) The two
cargo pockets on the back of the seats are great, and the sun canopy is
really nice because it attaches down the sides too. It isn't just a top.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------	
I have used only the Baby Jogger and not tried the others. I have had both
the single and twinner versions. Stability and ease of use were excellent. I
have also tried running with an ordinary stroller (Aprica) before I got the
jogging stroller. This worked OK for me but my husband couldn't get used
to running between the wheels. The Baby Jogger is far superior in this
regard. Both my husband and I found it comfortable to run with. It
negotiates curbs, corners, and rough terrain very well. Although I haven't
tried riding in it myself, the kids seem to love it. My son started at about
3 months old and did just fine. I put him in a felt seat made for shopping
cart use that worked great for keeping him in one place. My version did not
have a canopy but I think its possible to get one now. I think this is
important to have. Also, mine do not collapse and are impossible to get
into a car. We strapped ours to our bicycle rack when necessary but this
was a real pain. Its quite heavy and rather ungainly to handle. GET ONE
THAT COLLAPSES!!! 

We have only the twinner now and use it primarily for long neighborhood
walks. The kids are 3 and 5 now and still love it. We don't run with it
because we live in a very hilly area and the children together now weigh
about 70 pounds not to mention the weight of a stroller. It would still
work fine if we had a flat place to run. 

Except for the portability issue, we were very satisfied. The strollers are
very expensive new but seem to have good resale. We easily sold our
original one child model.

***********************************************
I examined brochures for 4 different running strollers and tried out 2 of
'em. Here in Ithaca though, there aren't many around. 

-- Baby Jogger - the most well known, seems to be the one 
I see most often. But, at $280, seems a bit expensive for what you get. My
feeling is that part of what you pay for with the Baby Jogger is the nice
chrome finish, lots of ads, etc. I've tried it and it's very nice. But it really
didn't seem any better than the Joggette below in performance. It's shinier
and maybe a bit prettier but has even fewer basic features - no handle
height adjustment, no included canopy or basket or pouch. 

-- Runabout - After looking at the brochure for the Runabout, 
I think I'd have chosen it over the Baby Jogger - mainly since it has an
adjustable height handle (my wife runs also) and since it collapses a bit
smaller than the Baby Jogger, I think. I thought it was fairly ugly
compared to the Baby Jogger but it seemed like it might be a bit better.
(it's about the same price as the Baby Jogger - $289 or so or more for
fancier versions) 

-- 3 Wheel Wonder: This one is a bit mysterious. When I 
sent for their brochure they sent me a regular snapshot print (no glossy
brochure) of the stroller and a page listing its features.

What's mysterious is that the Wonder looks VERY much like the Joggette
listed below. The seat and frame look identical. The listed features, I
think, were slightly different, but it really looks to me like they at least
share some major parts. Maybe the 3 Wheel Wonder people buy the main
pieces from Motiv and put together their own configuration. But, at ~ $159-
189 (I forget - the info is at home), they charge a lot more than Motiv. 

***************************************************
We have a Baby Jogger and love it. Around here, the Baby Jogger is the
only one you EVER see being used (both for training and large 10Ks with
10,000+ runners). Its easy to use, comfortable (I suppose, I don't fit in
it to try it out :-)) and stable. In fact, I mounted a Vetta bicycle
computer on it. 

Unfortunately, It doesn't fold down real small unless you remove the
wheels which requires an oddball sized wrench - the one that came with
the trailer didn't fit. I'm an ex-mechanic with over $15k of tools and I
STILL don't have anything but a crescent wrench that fits correctly. Other
than that, the quality is superb.

Our son is now 9 months. We started him at about 6 months also. He still
kind of slumps down and ALWAYS falls asleep. Its GREAT :-O 

Seems no one wants to sell one used. I also ran into this when I wanted a
Burley trailer for biking (I ride, the SO runs). 

***************************************************
I can't answer about the others, but I have a Baby Jogger and it works
very well. My son liked it when he didn't like a regular stroller - I
guess because we went fast. I saw someone with the 3 wheel wonder at a
race and she had logged a lot of miles with it and liked it, but it was
heavier. Possibly more stable because the child sat lower. We have had no
spills, but we always use a bicycle helmet. I would recommend you purchase
one with the stroller. 

We didn't get ours till my son was almost 1. I regret this because we could
have had much more flexibility earlier on (running together, not needing
the other spouse to be home, etc.) But the niece of a friend of mine had her
baby in one at about 6 weeks and I have seen many children in them
younger than 6 months. But, I'd say choose your courses more carefully till
the child reaches the age of loving the bumps. And, again, buy a helmet and
use it. 

Oh, check the discount baby stores and some bike stores...they are often
cheaper than mail order. I paid $228 for mine new at a discount baby store. 

I find it a major hassle that is doesn't collapse. It doesn't even fit in the
back of my small blazer with the back wheels on. But, the hot tip is to get
good at taking the back wheels off, too. I know a couple who cheerfully do
this and put it in the trunk of their compact car. We have a bike lock for it
that allows us to lock down the back of my Blazer or lock it up outside a
coffee house in running distance. Of course, these have to be moderately
safe places. I believe there is some new, lightweight collapsible jogging
stroller available, but I think it costs more than the BJ. I know folks who
put them on the racks on top of their cars, but you might want to cover the
stuff on the handle to make sure it doesn't abrade away. If you are ALWAYS
driving to run, I'd recommend spending extra for collapsibility. If you own
a minivan or will just be transporting to weekend races or runs "away
from it all" (our situation), I'd say it's probably no worse than getting used
to traveling with all the stuff you want for a baby anyway. Oh, yes,
remember that you will need warmer clothes for the baby than for you! I'd
consider one of those nifty "polar" suits in a large size to go over
everything for a little baby. (This is probably the sort of a nag you'll get
from your parents anyway, sorry.) You can just pop it over whatever the
kid has on at the time. We have a special "skinny" hat we put on under the
helmet for morning runs (to keep ears warm). 

*************************************************
I have been using a Baby Jogger for 6 years now. My 6yr old still
occasionally takes a ride, and my 2 year old loves it. The one I have is
borrowed, and we are moving, so I faced the prospect of buying one. The
model I have been been using is the "Walkabout" from Racing Strollers. It
is the same as the original Baby Jogger, except it has smaller wheels. I
have been extremely satisfied. I have probably put over 1000 miles on it,
a good bit of it with a kid over 50 lbs, and it is as good as new. It will
last through several more children (not mine). 

I compared the Huffy, one by Gerry, and another couple of less expensive
models, hoping that I could get away with $149 instead of $249 (I have not
been able to look at a 3 Wheel Wonder so I can't comment on it.) In my
opinion, I would be sorry if I got anything other than a real Baby Jogger.
Just compare how it is put together, what holds the wheels on, how strong
the fabric of the seat is, etc. Many of the ones I looked at in stores already
had the fabric torn from shelf wear, and the front wheel already wobbled.
Given that these things are like gold on the resale market (how many
times to we see postings about "anyone have one for sale?", and we never
see "anybody want to buy my jogger?") I think scrimping here would be a
false savings.

***********************************************
I have one. The brand of mine is "Baby Jogger". I like it quite a lot. I
dare say it's made my wife a fan of running (because I can take Matthew
when I go :-)). 

Mine has a capacity of 40-50 pounds... I haven't heard of ones with a higher
capacity than that, but that doesn't mean they aren't out there.

Anyway, I don't know if this is much help... but I really do like mine, and
Matthew enjoy's it a lot. It seems very durable... I got it at a cut rate from
a bike shop that rented them over the summer and wanted to get rid of
them in the fall. So before you buy one new you might consider looking
around to see if someone has a used one.

*************************************************
I strongly recommend you consider nothing but the line made by Racing
Strollers. They advertise in the back of most running magazines so you can
easily get their catalog, and Road Runner Sports sells one of their models
(the one I have). Nothing else is made anywhere near as sturdily, which is
critical when carrying a heavier child. I used a borrowed one for 4 years
(it was on its fourth child), and when I had to return that one, I bought
one ($225 from RRS). I still regularly carry my 35 lbs 3 year old, and
still occasionally take my 65 lbs 6 year old. The stuff made by other
companies (like Huffy or Gerry, etc. that you might see in a Toys R Us or
a bike store just do not compare. I think at least one of the models of
Racing Strollers goes to 75 lbs (I think mine does). The difference in
price is negligible when you ammortize it over the number of times you
will use it, and the life time of a good running stroller will exceed the
childhood of several kids. 

***********************************************
We have 2 of the brand name "Baby Jogger" and have been quite happy. We
bought the first nearly 7 years ago when they were the only ones on the
market. My older daughter "participated" in her first race at 2 months old
(my husband pushed her and we ran together). With the birth of the second
daughter 2 2/3 years later, we purchased a "Baby Jogger Twinner" which
holds 2 children. My husband pushed both of them in a race when the second
child was 2 months old. Although he started at the rear of the lineup as
that race required, he passed me at 1 1/2 mile. Now that our children are
nearly 7 and 4, and they weigh a combined 80 pounds (plus clothes and
snacks), we seldom push them both on the hilly terrain we have here in
Monument, CO. We do occasionally push them if we drive to a relatively
flat trail or are doing a rather long walk when the younger one needs a
nap. I'll sometimes still take the 4yo along for a run for extra strength
training. Those things go anywhere and are quite easy to handle. Our
single one has been great everywhere from beaches to steep mountain trails
(that are wide enough to accommodate it). One time when I was away on
business, my husband pushed the older daughter (then 1) most of the way up
Pikes' Peak in it. 

Sorry that I can't compare and contrast it with other models. I suggest
looking at the advertisements in the back of Runners' WOrld. The
companies all have 800 nos and offer to send free info and price lists. 

************************************************** 
The nice ones -- the originals, made by a company in Yakima, Washington,
and actually called "Baby Jogger" -- are probably the best, but are
expensive (around $300). The newest of their line , the "Baby Jogger II," is
very light and has quick release wheels. The quick release wheels is
probably the feature that best differentiates the good ones from the rest;
lacking this, one needs a crescent wrench to get the wheels off for
transporting the thing in the trunk of a car. Another good thing to look for
is ball bearings in the wheels. 

One thing that the original baby jogger company offers is "factory
seconds" -- joggers with some minor blemish but no structural problems. I
believe the Baby Jogger II factory second was around $170, plus shipping.
The downside to this was the long waiting list (at least 6 weeks, I
believe). 

Gerry also makes some decent-looking joggers. I've seen some by Huffy,
which seemed okay but a little heavy. The other possibility is any of the
many cheap imitations around. I saw one built buy a company called Motiv
that was okay; it was selling at a local Schwinn shop for $129, and at a
"members only" club -- Sam's Club -- here in Ohio for $75. This thing
would not be convenient for lugging around in your trunk a lot, and is
heavier than the nice ones, but is actually surprisingly decent for the
money. 

I have looked for quite a while for a used baby jogger, to no avail. I don't
know what happens to them when a kid outgrows it -- you'd think people
would like to unload them -- but I've tried via the net and thru newspaper
classifieds with no luck. Hope some of this was helpful....
********************************************** 

I have the original Baby Jogger; we got ours through Road Runner Sports
running equipment mail order house. If you are a member of their preferred
customer club (~$20 to join, I think) you get 5% off. Also, for every
dollar you spend, you get scrip to buy items from the catalog. 

My advice would be to try one before you buy to make sure that Michael
will ride in it. I have heard stories of children who started at > 1 yr and
didn't like it. We have a friend who wanted to use ours, and their kid (1 yr)
wouldn't sit in it. It may have been a lack of trying enough on their part,
but something you might want to be aware of before spending several
hundred dollars.

I started Matthew in it at about three months. He usually really likes
riding and sitting in it. And, he is quiet too. We get great smiles from all
kinds of people who see us jogging around the neighborhood. Especially the
mothers who are walking their kids in a conventional stroller with tiny
wheels.

Even when it is warm, I put a stocking cap on his head and cover up as
much skin as possible, including mittens if it is below even 50 degrees F
or so or windy, otherwise his hands get pretty cold.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Continued....
 






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