Buying a Baby Jogger Stroller: City Mini or Bob Revolution?
Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the BOB....
The amount of time I spent in various stages of not-buying a BOB were ridiculous. First it was the months leading up to my baby shower when everyone told me to register for one, but I resisted and thought I wouldn't be one of those people who spent hundreds of dollars on a stroller. Then, it was the months after having the baby that I made do with various other strollers - small umbrella strollers, a super huge Baby Jogger performance type stroller with a fixed front wheel, and everything in between. During these same months, we saw people with BOBs everywhere we went and felt extreme jealousy. I think even my three month old son sensed that those children and parents were having a better time - let's face it, a better life - than we were.
This lead me to the precarious position of finally deciding to buy one and then not having the patience to wait for a used one to come up on Craigslist (not to mention, I didn't have the ability to monitor new listings 24/7 - those things move fast!). Once we were ready, we did have one final pause where we very seriously considered buying a City Mini (by Baby Jogger).
Although there are many other comparisons people might make, the people at the store said that often people considering buying a BOB also consider the City Mini. Given that, I figured I might as well share what I learned from this process. And though we did end up with a BOB, I will try to present a balanced view of the factors you might want to consider when deciding what is right for your family.
Are You Sure You Want One of These Strollers?
This may seem like too obvious of a question, but I think it's worth taking the time to do a brief self-assessment of how you plan to use your stroller. This will allow you to go into the decision making process with some framework for how to decide which stroller to buy.
First, you want to make sure that you're in the right place here - these are larger, more expensive strollers. Even if you find a quality used one (and I certainly recommend that you try!), you are shelling out significantly more money than you would with a standard umbrella stroller. And even of the more expensive ones, these are some of the larger ones.
If you can't answer yes to any of the following questions, you may want to reconsider buying this type of stroller:
- Do you plan to ever take your stroller off the sidewalk?
- Do you have enough money to spend at least $200 on a stroller?
- Do you have any interest in ever being able to push your stroller faster than a basic walking pace (even if not a full jog) while still feeling safe and stable?
- Do you want a stroller that you can use for many years?
- Do you have enough room in your car for a larger stroller (even though it does fold down)?
Poll - Stroller Use
Where do you primarily use your stroller?
How and Where Will You Use Your Stroller?
Assuming you have answered yes to one or (hopefully) more of the above, now you want to think about how and where you want to use the stroller. I think answering the following questions will help you make your ultimate decision.
- Where will you spend the majority of the time using your stroller?
- Will you mostly be using the stroller directly from your house, and do you have space to store it such that you won't always have to collapse it down?
- Will you be traveling on various modes of public transportation (including airplanes) with the stroller?
- Do you plan to go jogging with your stroller?
Now that you've thought about the above, you can use this information to help you decide between the City Mini and the BOB Revolution.
For each stroller, I'll list the basic information about it, and then some extra factors you might want to take into consideration before buying.
I'll be talking about the BOB Revolution SE because it does seem more common at least in my area (San Francisco Bay Area) and more importantly, because it's the one that I have, but there is also a CE model. I find all their names confusing and overwhelming, so here's what I know about the difference: SE stands for Sports Experience, and CE is City Experience. The SE has larger and somewhat different wheels than the CE.
- Price: Currently $449, but on sale at REI for 15% off over Labor Day.
- Availability: There are often sales on the BOBs, but they do sell incredibly fast. At the time we were ready to buy ours they were out at many stores in our area. They also go very fast on Craigslist (within minutes is not an exaggeration), and people seem to list them in the $200-300 price range, depending on condition.
- Weight: 24 lbs
- Size: (With wheels on) 37.6 x 23 x 16.9 inches
- Folding: two step folding system (double handle grip, and then pull the handle in the seam of the seat)
- Capacity: 70 lbs
- Price: Currently $239. This seems to have held fairly stable over the last few years (2011 and 2012). But I keep waiting for them to increase the price to the level of the BOB - hopefully that doesn't happen!
- Availability: They seem to be generally available, though REI does not carry them. There are also more available on Craigslist than the BOB, and people seem to list them in the $100-200 price range, depending on condition.
- Weight: 16.8 lbs
- Size: (folded with wheels) 31 x 24 x 9.75
- Wheels: 8 inch wheels made of molded polymer
- Folding: one step folding system (pull the handle in the seam of the seat)
- Capacity: 50 lbs
Comparing the BOB Revolution SE and the City Mini
If you've thought about how you want to use the stroller, hopefully making this comparison will be easier and your choice will become clear. I'll also add some additional factors we took into consideration that may or may not apply to others.
- Overall size - obviously, the City Mini is smaller, though both are larger strollers. This didn't factor in for us very much because we knew we had room for either in our car and our house and the City Mini in person didn't feel significantly smaller.
- Wheel size and materials - I can't overstate how nice and secure it feels to have your kid in the BOB Revolution. The wheels are significantly bigger and the shock absorption is really top notch. We don't do much running with the BOB, but we do a bit and our son is comfortable the whole time. Also, even just taking it on and off public transportation (BART - the subway system in our area) it feels really secure going over gaps. Both have a locking front wheel, so either one works for jogging, but the BOB's bigger wheels I think give it an advantage if you ever do want to pick up the pace.
- Folding up or portability - The City Mini has an advantage here, and if you are going to be constantly taking the stroller in and out of your car, you do want to consider if it's important to be able to fold it up with one hand. The BOB needs both of your hands in order to fold it up, while the City Mini does not.
- Weight capacity - the BOB goes 20 lbs higher than the City Mini, and that can be a difference of a few years. Extrapolating from data from the CDC, the average weight for a 5.5 year old boy would be around 50 lbs (the max for the City Mini). If you don't think you'll want to be pushing your 6 year old (or older) child around anyway, than this doesn't matter. But if you have a larger child, or you think you will want to continue using the stroller as long as possible (if not to drop them off at prom, maybe at least to haul them around Disneyland when they are 7), the weight capacity might push you in favor of the BOB.
- Overall look - I do think the BOB looks nicer, but that's probably personal taste, as well as the fact that they are everywhere in our area. My husband was also into the fact that the BOB's wheels look like real bike wheels (and they are filled with air, unlike the City Mini - though this also means that they can pop on a nail).