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Disappointed by the Baby Jogger Versa... Have I got it wrong?

(107 Posts)
Sunnysummer Sun 17-Feb-13 06:24:44

I was so sure we wanted a versa, as lots of my friends love their City Minis, and I liked the idea of the reversible seat... BUT when I finally got into the shop to compare them today, the Versa felt much heavier, really hard to imagine actually folding one handed, and a fair bit bigger. The city mini felt like an all round easier option...

However, the sales lady was a lot more experienced with the City Mini, and was also trying to upsell us to a Bugaboo (grr), so I thought maybe I didn't get a fair representation? What would you guys recommend?

Our needs are:
- Lots of walking in a hilly but urban and paved area, car journeys maybe once a week (so we're not too bothered about capsule compatibility), public transport journeys maybe twice a week (out of peak hour)
- *most challenging bit* 15 outdoor steps to get in and out of our building, so need to either take a bassinet in and out or be able to bump up/down
- usable from newborn (another feature that makes the mini more attractive, as it looks like we'd definitely have to buy a bassinet/capsule to use the versa early on)
- quite a bit of flying around to see family in year 1, so robust enough to withstand luggage handling!

Thank you for any help you can give us! :-)

Vivienne52 Sun 17-Feb-13 08:35:40

Ohhh no!!! Mine is arriving tomorrow. Nowhere round here stocks it so having to wait to try. I'll be gutted if I hate it. I'd have gone with the city mini but my 10 month old is a sensitive boy who hates facing out and prefers to see me so needed parent facing.

lagoonhaze Sun 17-Feb-13 08:45:39

Some people have been using the newborn insert you get with a britax first class to make it suitable from birth?

might negate the need for a carrycot?

BikeRunSki Brazil Sun 17-Feb-13 09:05:26

I used a Phil and Ted's Cocoon on my BJCM, in laid back position. It fitted perfectly. Assuming that the seats are similar on the City Mini and GT, then that might be an option. Dead easy to lift out and carry too. You can generally get Cocoons for a few pounds on eBay.

Sunnysummer Sun 17-Feb-13 09:16:01

Unfortunately, the seat on the Versa is very different from the ones on the City Mini/Mini GT - they have a virtually full recline, but the versa one is angled. I'd be happy to skip it with the other two, but given that LO would be in the stroller for hours at a time and on long walks, I'd want to use a bassinet to keep him flatter, I think sad

Badgerhoney Sun 17-Feb-13 10:36:45

I've ordered a versa too, and it's arrived at the shop to be collected, but am putting off picking it up until I'm sure. Have similar usage needs to you and the flight of stairs outside flat too. I found it lovely to push around the shop and easy to fold but heavy to lift when folded and long, so not sure it would be good on public transport or carrying down the stairs. Would have gone for the bjmc gt but really want parent facing as first baby. The bugaboo bee was my only other contender, but I ruled it out as thought the wheels and bassinet option on the versa seemed more study and better for bumpy pavements/park walks. It was alot lighter and easier that the versa to lift though. It's tricky this pram business, eh?

Sunnysummer Sun 17-Feb-13 11:04:17

SO tricky! I was exactly the same, looked at the Bee and the Cruz but both looked a little flimsy and were painful to fold, so at least I'm confident that baby jogger is the brand I like. Though I'm sure when I finally choose one, after all the agony it will turn out that the little blighter will only want to be in a sling anyway, or facing away! grin

Vivienne52 Sun 17-Feb-13 11:07:26

The bee was a no goer for me. I like it but we needit for occasional off road use, friend with bees say it is great in the city,crap elsewhere....

Badgerhoney Sun 17-Feb-13 11:33:05

That's what I thought too, but then have also read reviews of people saying they've been on walks in the woods and on the beach with the bee, so I don't know what to think. Quite a few friends of mine who go off roading use backpacks and carriers and leave the buggy behind anyway. Are you getting versa with gt wheels? I ordered the standard wheels to avoid the extra weight, but now wonder if maybe these wheels won't cope much better than the bee's off road, and the versa will just end up being a heavy city pram that I'll want to swap for a mclaren in a few months time. It does look lovely though!

Vivienne52 Sun 17-Feb-13 11:47:58

Badger, that's exactly what I dont want either. I really need something forward facing. The bee is also very pricey and I have an older child who will need a nursery and school run done on foot so want larger seat I case ds is dawdling when he learns to walk. So a bigger seat ideal and I believe the bee is a smaller seat. The bee isn't really an option for me as dh hates bugaboos and wouldnt have one.

Sunnysummer Sun 17-Feb-13 12:20:44

Having just I tried them all out today up and down the staircase in the shop, I definitely think that the city mini / versa wheels are WAY nicer than the Bee wheels, and the GT wheels are nicer again! When we bounced it up and down stairs we all agreed that the GTs were the only models we could imagine keeping the baby in while going up and down more than a few steps (though with a newborn I'm not sure I'll have the guts to do this at the start).

The Versa GT felt a lot heavier than the standard GT, not just because of the weight but also the two step fold and bulkier folded form - for me it would be fine for me in and out of a boot but definitely not easy to fold and carry onto a bus, for example, especially with a baby in a sling/arm. The city mini feels like an umbrella stroller on steroids, whereas I think the versa felt like a bugaboo cameleon/other travel system on a major diet grin. The Bee just felt flimsy, DH hated it immediately, I liked it for longer but then realised it was tricky to unfold but also a bit too heavy to actually lift up and down stairs intact, so we both gave up on that one completely!

Badgerhoney Sun 17-Feb-13 12:24:59

Yeah, totally agree the bee is too expensive. I'm not massively keen on joining the bugaboo brigade either, although there aren't too many about where I live. I only considered the bee because they had a really good deal on at my local pram shop with quite a few £££ off so it was actually a bit cheaper with accessories than the babyjogger and uppa baby. Not sure about other options really. The only other thing i saw that seemed fairly light, folded both front/rear facing and reasonably priced was the babystyle oyster, but heard that it can break quite easily. I guess none of them are perfect...

ZolaBuddleia Sun 17-Feb-13 12:28:40

Have you thought of a Sola? We had one, v light and small when collapsed, suitable from newborn, good sun hood, four wheels so sturdy for bumping up and down stairs, rear and forward facing very easily. Good amount of handle length for taller parents, large basket. The only reason we got rid of ours was because we wanted something for off-road.

Badgerhoney Sun 17-Feb-13 12:30:47

Sunny - that's cool you've checked them all out again. Umbrella on steroids, love it smile. So, which do you think you'd go for, gt versa or gt city mini?

Sunnysummer Sun 17-Feb-13 13:05:46

Versa GT is definitely out for us - I'd consider it if we didn't have the stairs, but it just felt way too unwieldy to have to face the stairs 4+ times a day, and think I'd end up with a maclaren /sling for everyday, which defeats the purpose a bit! Also, the standard version has suspension on all wheels, which I seemed fine for urban walks + the park, you might need more in the country or lots of mud.

Still open to the idea of the standard versa, because I feel like we missed something today, so many people rave about it and maybe I just didn't see it it the right light - which is why I posted here! Otherwise we think we'll go for the city mini gt, as it's tough but easy to steer and use but also so easy to fold, pack and generally manage around town and when travelling. If we really want rear facing at the beginning, there is also the option of the bassinet for the first few months - but when I spoke with my mum today she pointed out that all of the kids in our family fell asleep the moment any stroller started moving, so rear facing isnt always necessary, depending on the child. I wish there was some way to knowin advance how our baby is going feel about all this confused

@zolaBuddleia - actually, I hadn't looked at the Sola much because none of my local places stocked it, but now I see it does look like a really good fit! I'm in the city tomorrow for work, so might sneak out at lunch to have a look.

Vivienne52 Sun 17-Feb-13 17:56:37

I have a sola just now and will be selling it. It pushes nicely but it is only 3 months old and squeaks like mad. Also the straps are too small for my ds already, he is only 10 months and hardly massive. The footmuff is awful on it too. Sooooo we have the versa on order as an alternative. Although some love their solar so definitely worth trying. I soooo wish the versa was as light as the city mini. I love it. If only our wee man was a bit more brave and could face outwards! It would save me cash too!

Ihateparties Sun 17-Feb-13 19:31:00

I think that looking at the versa as a direct alternative to a bee or a city mini might be why you're not finding what you were looking for in it. It's a full size, full weight pram... but it is a very good one. I must admit having had the standard versa that I would have liked suspension AND gt wheels, not having that option meant I didn't replace mine after it went back with the initial recall.

For the OP with the steps, people vary a lot on how they handle the steps in their lives... Given you're feeling the baby jogger love I think my head would say city mini gt and buy a bassinet. I know you don't have to but for the bumping up and down the steps that's what I would do. A fixed forward facing pushchair always feels more solid to me than any reversible one, I almost wish that someone would make a permanently parent facing pushchair with the same feeling of solidity. I'd buy one.

Tiggywunkle Mon 18-Feb-13 02:22:01

I think to be fair you have summed up the issues with the Versa ie heavy and long to lift and carry. I wouldn't want to be bumping it up and down stairs every day, and I think that may well be a bigger issue here than anything else? As ihateparties says its a full sized pushchair rather than a stroller and that gives it the solidity of a great push unlike the flimsy Bee.

The Sola is just awful - it rusts quickly, had poor quality fabric, is long open and big when folded. And thats the shortened version.

I agree with your mum summer - I think parent facing for a baby is over-rated for the needs of the baby. Its more for the parent! My son would fall asleep within 5 mins of leaving the house as a small baby, but even as he got bigger, I bet he was at least 18 months old before he didn't fall asleep fairly instantly, and after that he would fall asleep at some point!! Unless you walk all day every day, I also dont get the arguments for interaction / speech development etc because in reality you spend more time at home interacting! Enjoy the peace of a walk whilst your baby watches the world (until like me your children decide aged 2 and 3 respectively that they would prefer to see Mummy instead!!) LOL

Sunnysummer Mon 18-Feb-13 08:22:47

Thank you ihateparties and tiggywunkle, you sound very knowledgeable and your advice is excellent! smile

DH and I chatted last night and think you're absolutely right, our issue with the versa was that we were expecting basically a reversible city mini, but it's actually more like a lightweight travel system, and not really what we need.

So... do you think we could get away with the standard city mini (nicer colours, cheaper, a bit lighter and smaller), or will the gt version definitely be worth it for stairs or other reasons?

forevergreek Mon 18-Feb-13 10:06:01

What about the Phil and teds smart? Light weight/ takes carrycot/ reversible seat with adapter/ takes car seat. Less than £200

forevergreek Mon 18-Feb-13 10:09:03

There is also a new smart v2 chassis which is longer than the original

Vivienne52 Mon 18-Feb-13 16:41:52

Why is it so bloody heavy?

Badgerhoney Mon 18-Feb-13 17:07:29

Vivienne - has your versa arrived?

Vivienne52 Mon 18-Feb-13 18:49:01

Tomorrow apparently! I'm now having second thoughts. My ds was hollering in his buggy today so I thought I'd experiment and face him outwards......and he fell asleep!!!!! So I'm now wondering if I've done the right thing ordering the versa.....

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Mon 18-Feb-13 19:00:40

I've been trying out the versa in the house again. I'm still cross about the seat unit - the hood is so blooming feeble, it's either fully up or flattish/collapsed, no in between. And still hating the fabric.

But they've finally sent me a replacement frame - because the other one was chipped - and so I've put ds3 in it and he went to sleep.

I haven't padded the seat at all, and he is six weeks old but it seems a nice sort of fit, actually, for his little bottom - I don't think he was uncomfortable as he slept for a good 40 minutes. (unheard of!) I felt the angle was low enough, and he wasn't squashed at all.

OTOH I tried several footmuffs and only one was suitable for the strap placement really, on its smallest setting. I'm sure there are others that will fit though.
I'd not want to bump it up steps at all - it is massive. Also when the seat is flattish, or RF, the visibility into the basket is very odd - you can see everything that's in there, with a massive opening at the front. So your shopping/luggage would be very exposed.

It's a strange buggy. I'm hoping they bring out an improved seat unit after a while, that fits onto the same chassis because the divide in the quality of the two sections is noticeable.

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