I’ve never been convinced that the Bugaboo Bee is the right pushchair for me. It’s somewhere between a full on travel system and a stroller, a random middle of the roader – at least that’s what I thought.
Bugaboo offered me the chance to be proved wrong, and so we’ve been giving the Bee a go.
As travel systems go, for starters it definitely gets points for being lightweight. In comparison to other pushchairs it is easy to push, and the swivel front wheels happily handle the majority of urban ups and downs – although I have found that on occasion the front wheels will get caught on a kerb or a sticky up bit of pavement. That said, the Bugaboo Bee does have good ‘kerb pop’, and I don’t find that I need to put much pressure on the handle to get it up even on the high ones. Steering is also good and it is possible to push it one handed, thanks to the all in one handlebar. Bubby D is getting heavier by the day but the Bee still remains easy to steer and turn. I can’t fault it in terms of manoeuvrability.
For public transport, it’s a dream. The small footprint of the Bee means that it can fit through aisles with ease, and doesn’t take up too much room when parked up with a sleepy child inside. Getting on and off tubes, trains and buses is generally easy, although I have found it is best to back in as the front wheels can swivel a bit and send you off on a wonky tangent if you go in frontways! The brake works well and is easy to engage and disengage, and the handlebar can be pushed down to the lowest setting to take up less room.
Talking of the handlebar, it is a two handed extension system which personally I find a little annoying. The clips sometimes ‘unpop’ themselves, needing to be refastened, and it’s a definite area for improvement. That said, the range of handle extension is great and having the option to push comfortably whether you are 5’3” as I am, or 6’5” like the Other Half, is a big plus.
Folding can sometimes be a little tricky, but once it IS folded it is fairly slimline and easy to store. It’s definitely a good pushchair option if you’ve got a car with a boot on the smaller side! Unlike an umbrella fold stroller it folds down short and wide (although not THAT wide), rather than long and thin. Unfolding has again taken me a little time to master, but one thing I do like it that because there are handy indicators on either side, it’s easy to see that the Bee is correctly set up and ready to go. And the seat unit, which has the option to be forward or rearfacing on the frame (something that is easily accomplished in a matter of seconds) can be left in situ for folding whichever way it is on too. That’s something that you don’t find on a lot of parent facing pushchairs and is definitely useful.
And finally, in parent terms, it’s always important I think to consider shopping capacity! The basket on the Bee is reasonably large, but it is restricted access wise from the back by a large plastic bit that makes getting anything bigger than a sippy cup in and out a bit of a challenge. Front access is a lot easier, especially when your little one isn’t sitting in the pushchair, as the bottom of the seat can be lifted up. So, for short trips about town, there is definitely enough space available. For longer trips with a lot crammed in, things might (and do!) get a bit more fiddly.
And in terms of the little one in the Bee? Well, Bubby D really likes sitting in it!
The seat unit is large and she can easily sit with her knees stuck out sideways without them poking over the edge (her current favourite travelling position). The seat is also fairly exposed, with not much in the way of sides, meaning that she can see all around with ease. Luckily, the five point harness is very secure – meaning that even if she is craning her head round the side she still stays firmly in the seat – I’ve no worries of her falling out! I did wonder if she might find it harder to sleep, being that there is less to restrict her view when she lies back (something that is easily done using the recline mechanism which offers a variety of positions from upright to flat) but she has demonstrated that there are no concerns in that area – plenty of happy naps have been had as we are walking around. The hood (currently we are using the Breezy model in place of the standard hood) helps in this respect too – it has fantastic coverage, going all the way to her feet!
The seat is adjustable in terms of back height and seat length – something which I think is a great feature and really extends the useful life of the pushchair. Even the Wee Man, who at almost 4 is tall for his age, can sit in it comfortably.
There is no toy bar, and nothing to attach toys to really which might be a useful feature for future models – although it’s a nice to have rather than a necessity. There is the option to add a cup holder and a snack tray which I think would be good; and in fact the Bee has a whole range of accessories available including seat liners, cocoon, footmuffs and buggy board, all of which make it a lot more versatile.
So, have I been won over? Well, the Bee is definitely a lot better than I thought it would be. We’ve enjoyed walking around with it, and I can certainly see why it’s a city favourite – it’s fantastic for public transport, busy streets and apartment living. No pushchair is perfect, and the Bee definitely has some room for improvement but that said it does have a lot of great features that make it a good option and of course Bubby D enjoys being in it – which is perhaps the biggest recommendation of all 🙂