'Do-All' Sport Utility Stroller

By JOHN PEACOCK

No longer would we be buying a jogging stroller just for running. High-end and athletic/outdoors-minded strollers like the Sport Utility Stroller model from BOB Trailers Inc. have graduated for many parents from niche item to the utilitarian world. Our “one stroller to rule them all” would have knobby tires and suspension for off-road bumps. We’d use it hiking with our new baby boy, for jogging paved paths and sidewalks, as well as for everyday use around town.

The criteria was simple: As long as the stroller would compact nicely for transport, adjust easily, and steer manageably indoors when needed, then why wouldn’t we use it every day?

BOB Sport Utility Stroller.jpg

BOB Sport Utility Stroller

Coming to the market this year with a revised color scheme and a few tweaks to the suspension system, the Sport Utility Stroller represents the top-of-the-line when it comes to jogging strollers. It has three fixed (non-turning) wheels for tracking straight with inflatable tires and knobby tread. A hand brake, a suspension system to dampen bumps, a retractable canopy, and a seat with a five-point padded harness for safety round out the package.

At $379, the stroller is also among the pricier you might buy in this genre. But with its multifunctional nature, my wife and I made the choice to put down the money.

BOB Stroller.jpg

Knobby tires and a suspension system make the BOB stand out

We’ve hardly been disappointed. We tested out the Sport Utility Stroller model with the Infant Car Seat Adaptor product for a few weeks when our son was just born. Then, as he grew (roughly at 8 weeks by manufacturer recommendations), we ditched the car seat and strapped our son right into the BOB stroller seat.

The company makes infant car-seat adaptor kits to fit many models of car seats on the market. Installation was simple: Two metal bars slid into the BOB stroller seat area, and you can then click the baby car seat right in place.

Using the infant adaptor with a car seat places most of the weight toward the front of the stroller so that your baby faces you while you push. Certainly, it’s a design consideration made for safety reasons. But since the Sport Utility has a fixed front wheel, having all of that weight on the front makes the stroller difficult to steer. It’s a compromise, though one that you won’t have to live with for long since your baby will soon outgrow his or her infant seat.

Once we moved our son into the main stroller seat after a few weeks the balance was much better. Turning is significantly easier without the weight being forced forward. We can now maneuver tight turns, push and run with the kid. Hikes on dirt trails are easy. The stroller is built well, and it remains solid while pushing over rocks or through rough terrain.

bob stroller with infant seat.jpg

Infant car-seat adaptor kit

Folding the Sport Utility up for transport is a breeze. You grasp two levers off of the main handle of the stroller, push the top forward, then grab a cable near the storage basket and pull toward you. It folds up reasonably small considering its initial large size, though fitting it in some cars can still be tight.

Overall, the Sport Utility has met nearly every need that we had for a stroller. It is lightweight, easy to assemble, durable and provides a smooth ride. All of the hardware has great build quality, with buckles snapping securely, the brake stopping assuredly, and the user-adjustable pieces being simple to figure out.

With a price tag of $379 for the stroller and $59 for the infant adaptor, the Sport Utility is an investment. But if you are looking for a stroller that will last for years, this stout kid-pusher from BOB will meet that mark.

—John Peacock is assistant editor, tech lead, and a founding partner with GearJunkie.com

Posted by Josh - 06/28/2011 12:16 PM

I think the Chariot series gets my vote for the most versatile.

Posted by John Peacock - 06/28/2011 01:40 PM

I see your point, but you’re also paying $410-$950 for Chariot’s line of products. I just can’t stomach that for a stroller…

Posted by Veronica - 07/06/2011 02:12 PM

I agree with Josh. The Chariot is definitely more versatile, and for that, worth every cent. However, after almost 3 years of constant use, I am disappointed to say it is falling apart. Chariot has sent a new axle for the jogging attachment after ours broke, but they are not doing anything about the worn-out cover. There are also several rust spots. At that price, I would have expected a more durable product. It would be more interesting to know how well the Bob, or other sport strollers, hold up after 3 years of use.

Posted by jpea - 07/06/2011 02:48 PM

Stephen, the main editor, did a review of the Bob Ironman in 2007 – I’ll see if he can chime into this thread with a durability take on that model: http://gearjunkie.com/bob-ironman-sport-utility-stroller-review

Posted by Stephen Regenold - 07/06/2011 02:55 PM

Our BOB stroller has seen a ton of use for 4+ years — including running, off-trail hikes, and some wintertime use — with our three kids. It has zero rust and zero rips. Holding up great. The one cheapie part seems to be the hand brake. It does not work great, and we need to re-adjust it to brake strong enough on the wheel at least every few months. Overall, very happy with the BOB though.

Posted by Mark Ritchie - 07/06/2011 05:07 PM

Giving up a little off roadness to go with the BoB Revolution gets you a stroller that is amazingly mobile for its size and with a locking front wheel it is a stable platform for running. Also saw one in Lance Armstrong’s garage on a Youtube video.

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