March 9, 2011

Britax B-Ready (singles mode) Review


***UPDATE***
Britax apparently read my review because they have come out with foam-filled rubber replacement tires! They're $89.99 (currently) and you can only buy them from Britax. I'm looking forward to buying them soon!
*****


The new Britax stroller/car seat arrived last night and I was excited to give it a whirl today so I took the boy to the park.

First off, I have to say that my son is more than old enough to walk the two blocks to the park (obviously not alone...thought I should mention that before some troll responds) but why walk when there's a cool new stroller. He loves the stroller-which is great because sometimes it's just nice to have the ability to strap the child down. We went with the Britax B-Ready because it's one of few strollers which can be both a single and a double. When we started really thinking about what we would need to buy and do when the time came that we would have a second child and since most of our "baby gear" is gender neutral, the stroller was the biggest concern. Initially I expected our children to only be about two years apart but we had a miscarriage and then the Army took some time away so now our kids will be almost (possibly) exactly three years apart. As a result, my assumption that we would NEED a double stroller has changed a bit. I still want to have the double option for the deployment and vacations but otherwise, I don't really want the trouble of a double. Here's my theory on doubles: tandems suck. I know so many women who get excited in the store because "it was so easy to maneuver" and then six months and 40 lbs of kids and bags later, it's just a pain...side by sides also kinda suck because unless you spend about $700 (aka Bumbleride Indie Twin) it's impossible to find one that  is both narrow enough to fit through a door but also enough of a stroller that a sleeping toddler can lay back. I was prepared to go the financially painful route and get the Bumbleride but then I saw the Britax in the store and fell in love. I waited for an awesome sale which included a new infant carrier and now that I've used it, I still love it, but there are some caveats.

Here's my thoughts on the pros and cons of the Britax B-Ready in singles mode...once the Princess arrives and I take both kids out, I'll post a doubles mode review too.

Pros
- SO EASY to push! I was on the phone with Joshua and pushed the stroller over grass with the other hand
- The handle adjusts for short parents like me-I'm 5'2" (and actually low enough for my 2 and a half year old to be able to push) but it also goes almost straight up so parents like my 6' 2" husband won't have to bend down to push
- The included rain cover, parent console and cup holder...it's not a big thing but it is nice to have that all included
- The main toddler seat is up way higher than most in order to accomodate either the 2nd toddler seat or the infant carrier below so in the single mode, you're not going to be bending way down to wipe a nose or buckle the kid (and if your kid is like mine, he loved being up high in his little "rocket ship")
- It looks great...I know it's not hugely important but it is nice pushing something around that doesn't look like every other stroller
- The brake is the best brake I've ever seen (this is officially stroller #4 for us and as a nanny I used at least a dozen others before the boy came along). It's a one touch brake but it's better than the ones you see on a lot of jogger style strollers that have a bar which goes across the bottom and locks both back wheels. It's just on one side and if you're in flip flops, have no fears, you lock it with one step down (a little indicator goes red) and then you unlock it by stepping down on the brake again (indicator goes green)
- The basket is HUGE. I have NO concerns about putting kid #2 down there and still having space and accessibility because there are zippers on the front and both sides to help with access
- The snack cups (sold seperately) are literally just two cups...one snaps into each side of where the bumper bar normally goes. Some parents don't like that there isn't a tray but I love it because it means that when we're at the zoo and the boy has a sippy in one cup and crackers in the other and he has to go to the bathroom or wants a closer look at something, I don't have to worry about the tray and the crackers and the juice all going flying
- Compared to the Baby Jogger City Select, it's not as long...almost an entire foot shorter while in doubles mode (which doesn't give you the maneuveribility troubles of most tandums but it does pose problems for shorter parent like myself when we come to a door that isn't automatic...with the B-Ready, it's short enough that I can still reach any door)
- So many options. There are 14 configurations including the doubles mode but just as a singe, it's great. I'll be able to use an infant car seat after removing the main toddler seat which is great for two reasons A-it's less weight with just the infant carrier (most times they snap into the toddler seat instead of removing it) and B-the toddler seat gets less wear and tear before it's necessary. Once you are using the main toddler seat, baby can face out or face you.
- The recline feature is super convenient. No more stupid rope to sinch up or down. It is a simple pull of a handle on the top of the seat. The feet also come up so if you have an itty bitty in the seat, they can sleep really comfortably.


Cons
- It's heavier than most singles so if you know you won't need a double at all, there's probably better options
- The wheels are my biggest complaint. They're hard plastic instead of the air-filled jogger style. I had sworn NEVER to use anything but the air-filled tires but the B-Ready really surprised me. It isn't as smooth as a jogger would be but because I've never used a jogger stroller for actually jogging, it works. I do wonder how long the tires will last and am kinda hoping Britax comes out with air-filled replacement tires because we have a cobblestone walkway in front of our house. Also, the rubber air-filled tires grip the road better so it feels like you have to do less work with them than with the hard wheels the B-Ready has for now.
- The center of gravity is much higher because the main toddler seat is so high. The good news is that it doesn't really affect the stability (my son got into the bottom and was hanging on the side and it never rocked or looked the slightest unstable). The downside is that tipping it up a curb or down a couple stairs in front of the house takes some work especially for shorter, not so big people like myself.




In conclusion:

If our kids were closer together and I'd use a double for longer, I'd go with the Bumbleride Indie Twin.

If our kids were further apart I'd stick to a dedicated single stroller and maybe just buy a buggy board for the boy to hop on from time to time when his legs got tired.

If I wasn't so small and was willing to spend another $200, I might have gone with the Baby Jogger City Select because of the air-filled tires.

If we had twins, I'd cry. And then probably buy a snap and go frame that holds two car seats for the first 4-6 months that the kiddos would be in infant carriers and then also get the Bumbleride Indie Twin.


UPDATE: I now have a Doubles Mode Review posted

2 comments:

Milwife Mama of One said...

Thanks for the great review! These are some of the exact questions and models we'll be considering when #2 arrives, whenever that is. I'm somewhat kicking myself for not going ahead and getting a doubles options with #1, but at the same time we thought it would be jumping the gun a bit. I guess time will tell :).

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