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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 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.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Mon 18-Feb-13 19:04:14

Oh I know what struck me - for the size and length/footprint of the chassis, the seat unit is pretty compact - in fact I am sure it's smaller in all than the seat unit on the city mini. The hood is definitely smaller imo.

It feels/looks like you could feasibly attach a second seat onto the front of the chassis - I suppose like the Select. That's a bit odd.

Vivienne52 Mon 18-Feb-13 19:56:22

I think it maybe all sounded too good to be true. Tbh 12kg seems so friggin heavy. I really am not sure I want something so massive! But what else is there in the category? Parent facing option, sturdier than an umbrella fold but not a hefty travel system type?

Ihateparties Mon 18-Feb-13 20:12:04

As per all previous discussions and threads- Bee!

But it's too light and flighty for a lot of situations, there is a real lack of more substantially engineered alternatives. Really the Versa IS a hefty travel system type in size and weight. There are lots of lighter smaller parent facers, shorter, narrower etc. Folding in one piece facing both ways in a sensible shape is in short supply. The Jane Muum does, I keep looking at those but it also has its light and flighty feel too, not sure how it would fare longer term (although my twone has been fine with pretty heavy use over 8 months). Hmmm.

Vivienne52 Mon 18-Feb-13 20:18:58

Yes I don't want flighty, the bee is definitely out for us. Dh really doesn't like them, too flighty for him and I want something quite substantial ( but 12kg is a bit daft!)

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 19-Feb-13 08:31:32

does the oyster fold with the seat each way?

fraktion Tue 19-Feb-13 08:45:48

As a very frequent flyer you cannot beat a city mini. GT wheels I've never tried but I think with steps or any prolonged experience on gravel they would be much better.

I would get a soft bassinet that fits on the seat anyway for the first few months. When we got ours they only had the hard carrycot which is lovely but now I'm not sure I would have spent the extra money... Although it was handy when travelling to be able to collapse the pram and put DS asleep in bassinet on a train table or similar.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 19-Feb-13 09:11:49

I've been comparing my bjcm and versa for a few days now - one ofthe main things I prefer in the versa is the fold, because I didn't realise before that you have to fiddle about with safety straps on the mini before folding it. they are such a faff and I can't do them with one hand, at all - though I guess you can undo those while the child is still in the buggy?
Is that how it works?
You don't have to undo anything on the versa - just fold down the seat back and pick it up by the handle.

So it's far more of a one hand job imo. Also realised the upward recline on the mini is really hard work - definitely two hand job to put the seat back UP, unless they have changed it since mine was built (2010 model apparently).

I've found all the reclines on the versa now and it's good. I like it. Ds3 likes it too. I think I'm going to sell my mini tbh and stick with a maclaren for lightweight stuff.

Vivienne52 Tue 19-Feb-13 09:25:29

I am beginning to wonder if i should just stick with the sola and hope ds grows into the maclaren (he went ballistic when I tried to take him out in it previously)..... My versa hasn't arrived yet. I am expecting to either love it or know straight way it isn't for me. Either way, I will get it out my system! My only issue with my maclaren (other than the fact he has hated it previously) is it is the lulu guiness limited edition and covered in butterflies - hahahahaha. poor wee ds.....

Badgerhoney Tue 19-Feb-13 09:45:32

I saw those red safety straps on the versa too. They're on the actual folding strap not the frame, so less noticeable,if that makes sense. Not sure how much anyone really bothers using these on either the versa or bjcm though. I looked at the oyster but it felt almost as heavy as the versa in the shop (11 something kg) and apparently not long lasting so ruled it out.

Badgerhoney Tue 19-Feb-13 10:01:51

Vivienne, good luck with the versa when it arrives. Be really interested to know what you think. I've got a versa and a bee waiting for me at the shop so am gonna have to decide which one one way or another. Only two weeks til I'm due, so a bit late for me to go back to the drawing board! Might have to toss a coin for it! confused A neighbour has an old 3 wheel air tyre beast for sale and dh says if I end up getting the bee, he might buy the other for off road stuff. I'm not convinced though as it's been in a shed for years and looks like a tractor!

Badgerhoney Tue 19-Feb-13 10:23:16

Think it's a quinny speedi btw.

Ihateparties Tue 19-Feb-13 10:28:22

I sorta get the feeling from this thread that lots of people are wanting the versa to be something other than what it is. We can't make it smaller or lighter by wishing campaigning to baby jogger on the other hand... badger it's so not too late, you can always swap later on grin Having just one pushchair inevitably involves compromises of one kind or another, you maybe really won't know until you actually start using a pushchair which compromise should be yours.

Sunnysummer Tue 19-Feb-13 10:47:27

Yay for campaigning to baby jogger! :-) I agree with ihateparties that the versa and the bee are actually far more different than how they are sometimes portrayed. badgerhoney - I remember seeing on another thread that you have stairs, did you actually try out the versa on a full set of stairs in the shop? I did, and for me (possibly because I'm a weakling) it was too heavy to easily bump up and down even without a baby, and too cumbersome to fold and unfold every time hmm

So looks like we'll be heading for the mini for now...In the meantime, do any of you lovely ladies have advice on whether we can go with the standard city mini or need the gt wheels?

Vivienne52 Tue 19-Feb-13 10:56:17

My heart is sinking a little...... I really wish the mini city hada reversible seat!!!!!!

Badgerhoney Tue 19-Feb-13 10:59:18

Parties- You're totally right. I thought the versa would be a reversible mini city, but really I guess it's more like a full sizer but with a more compact fold.
Maybe the bee for the shops/bus/cafe trips parent facing option and the second hand quinny speedi for day trips to parkland/woods/beach/snow forward facing only combo isn't such a bad idea. At least I had have a parent facing option for daily use and a proper off roader for back up when needed. Will check how much neighbour wants for it first though.

Ihateparties Tue 19-Feb-13 11:04:19

Sunnysummer For longevity i would get the gt wheels, long term they would be worth it. The normal ones will be okay, maybe it depends how much you walk? If it was me I could see myself regretting not having spent a bit extra at the beginning.

Badgerhoney Tue 19-Feb-13 11:12:33

Vivienne-me too!
Summer-I bumped the versa up and down the stairs in shop and it was manageable empty but defo way heavier than just picking the whole bee up and carrying it up the stairs. If it wasn't for the fact I can't seem to let go of the parent facing option I'd go for mini city GT. It felt a bit heavier to lift when folded in the shop than the standard mini city, but worth it for the wheels and adjustable handle bar, and it's 10kg so still lightish. If only I could talk myself into it, the endless pram saga could be over. Am more worried about the pram than the birth! wink

Vivienne52 Tue 19-Feb-13 11:15:18

Badger I feel the same.... I can't let go of parent facing...

Sunnysummer Tue 19-Feb-13 11:23:23

Vivienne and badgerhoney - me three!

I think that we've successfully talked ourselves into the mini now, maybe with the soft bassinet so we still have parent facing at the beginning... Given our travelling and need for stairs at home and with trains the bee is probably not robust or foldable enough for us, but would otherwise be a pretty good option too.

Was really hung up on parent facing at the beginning, but then I see how many of my friends have vistas and cameleons but end up using face-away Maclarens all the time after a few months, as is it so much lighter and more convenient. We also think that we always have the option for slings and baby carrying, and can invest all our extra cash from the mini into the ergo performance. I hope we'll be fine!

Vivienne52 Tue 19-Feb-13 11:37:14

I feel the same sunny. For the last few months ds has really needed parent facing but yesterday he fell asleep front facing! God knows. I still want the option. It was the fold and parent facing option that attracted me to the versa but it sounds a bit bulky tbh. I like the maclaren but too one rattley for our walk to nursery

Ihateparties Tue 19-Feb-13 11:41:08

The other thing you could do is track down a cheap ebay parent facer down the line if you really feel you're missing something. Also i saw some pics of a hauck 2 in 1 soft cot in a nipper double, they're about thirty quid and looked really good. Not sure how you'd fix it to the buggy but i bet you could. The petite star zia cocoon is good as it has a harness inside it. Also wedged up at the head end, i don't know if the city mini needs this to make the baby flat or not though.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 19-Feb-13 13:02:11

That was me being inordinately stupid, Badger! Yes, quite right - I hadn't noticed the red safety straps on the versa, just thought Oh what a pretty red and black strap hmm so yes it does have them too.

Only it seems more worth doing them, with the versa, as it's a more substantial pushchair iyswim? and I don't find them so fiddly as on the BJCM somehow.

eh up. I'm sure there has to be an answer somewhere. Probably it lies in having more than one buggy tbh.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 19-Feb-13 13:03:20

and I'm back to the old Frog frame in the boot of our car as nothing else seems to fit - and struggling with fitting the pebble on and off it. <sigh>

Vivienne52 Tue 19-Feb-13 18:00:21

Ok, it's here, it's up..... It's massive! I am in two minds. Will have aplay and get back to you....

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 19-Feb-13 19:48:52

Ooh! <waits>

Vivienne52 Tue 19-Feb-13 21:49:28

There are soooo many things I love about it.......

Ds was thrilled with it, was happy to sit in it (miracle)
The storage is amazing, huge basket and I love the mesh pocket at the back of the seat.
The seat in the upright position is perfect. So this makes the parent facing mode more interesting for the lo as it can look around as well. I've found a lot of parent facing buggies to reclined in this position.
The fold is genius
Smoooooth ride. Glides! My dd (3 and a half) was quite skilfully wheeling her brother round the dining room table which is no mean feat.
My quinny footmuff fits! Albeit with some jiggery pokery.
Huge sunshade.
On best buggy the dimensions are more or less the same as the mini so it isn't huge.....but......

It is heavy. There isno getting away from it. I worry about kerbs, stairs etc.....

Can anyone shed light on how it is up and down kerbs? Will it be unbearable with a toddler on a buggy board? I don't think it fulfils my want for a lightweight, do all stroller, but only because of the weight. How much will I be humphing it though? In and out the car? No biggy really. I just sooooo don't want to pay 320 quid for it and get the maclaren out in 3 months.....

It is a great bit of kit IMHO, kicks the solas sorry ass..... Waiting for dh to come home to see what he thinks.... Will we keep it will we not???? Help!

Tiggywunkle Tue 19-Feb-13 23:02:13

Rooney smile Believe me compared to 90% of the pushchairs out there the Versa hood is absolutely fabulous!! Most pushchairs have the basket issue RF TBH. Again some are worse than others. The Stokke Crusi PF is one of the worst for access. I would love someone to invent basket clips to hold your handbag safe in the bottom of the basket!

PLEASE also do not use the seat unit for your 6 week old. Please get a wedge or carrycot or even use a car seat for short periods of time. But having a baby in such a deep bucket seat squashes their inner organs and does not allow for lungs etc to expand fully. Given babies grow whilst asleep, its vital they are allowed to lie flat. Also for good spine development.

Have you seen the City Select - the Versa is really the hybrid of the City Select and the City Mini. Its exceedingly clever as a pushchair, and no offence, but maybe you dont understand how remarkable the Versa is as a pushchair IYKWIM. Its ground breaking TBH.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Wed 20-Feb-13 08:23:33

Viv I am glad you like it - sounds like a positive first impression! smile

ikwym about the weight, but then it seems so beautiful to push doesn't it? Did you get the ordinary wheels? How are they?

Tiggy, thankyou so much - I didn't realise about the developmental effects of sitting him - it seems very supportive, straight back, reclined to almost flat, just it holds his bottom iyswim - so he doesn't slip down, and his little legs are always in that froggy position anyway, especially when I use the Ergo carrier so I didn't think it would be a problem. He's really not slumped at all.

But I have the wedge from my Britax first class somewhere so will try it with that.

I think my issue with the hood is the sort of lack of positive clunks, you know with some buggies you get a click every time you shange the position of a part - like it has proper positions, and when you put the hood there it stays there. The Versa one is nice and solid so that when you do move it up or down, it kind of seems to stay but I worry about it slipping when it's half way.

One thing I'd like to tell manufacturers is to make their buggies have positive positioning. I think that's what made bugaboo so successful - that everything clicked into place and stayed there.

Vivienne52 Wed 20-Feb-13 09:21:10

Definitely positive. I really love it. I love the hood. By comparison to a few I have tried it is pretty good. I love the seat position. I also love the compact fold. For trips away it will go in the footwell of the back seat no problem, by comparison to the quinny and sola - you need an extra car just for them! It also folds well with my footmuff attached which lots of buggies don't. I always found that a pain with other buggues, especially a maclaren.

It is so heavy though, but I think I will just need to get better muscles. DH loved it and the kids have spent the morning putting toys in and out of the enormous basket. I got the normal wheels, I prefer the idea of 4 wheel suspension. And my off roading isn't too off road iykwim.

I guess my only issue is whether I will use it enough to justify the cost. Another travel system type buggy wasn't really what I was in the market for but it might just be too lovely to return.

Sunnysummer Wed 20-Feb-13 11:32:05

Vivienne52 - that's so good that you love it, hope it goes well!

It's interesting that after playing around you think it's definitely a travel system... It seems like what so many of us really want is somewhere between a city mini and a bee (reversible, manoeuvrable, transportable and newborn-friendly, but also relatively sturdy) but the versa is more like somewhere between a city mini and a cameleon/select, which is lovely and no doubt revolutionary like tiggywunkle points out, but still leaves a bit of a gap in the market . Maybe their next iteration!

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Wed 20-Feb-13 11:43:11

Oh that's great, Viv smile

I've just had a long outing with mine. It's super.

The hood does work its way back down when it's up, but not if you put it to maximum so the front is tipped toward you - then it stays put. But you can't see the baby if you're tallish! (5ft7)

Kerbs are Ok, not difficult BUT very heavy - and it feels heavy to push imo. as well as to carry.
However I did manage to lift ds out, hold him in one arm and still take off the safety straps and fold it AND then lift it up over our awkward big step, round a corner and into the hall without dropping ds. grin It weighs a fair bit but it's not non-doable iyswim.

Was lovely to push if heavy. And I put a cushion under the footmuff, Tiggy, so ds was a bit flatter. I really liked being able to look at him all the time and the basket held a huge changing bag, (went to clinic) and my ordinary handbag and nothing fell out.

Very happy with it really.

rootypig Wed 20-Feb-13 12:00:08

hmm sounds like we have similar needs to you - 3mo DD, live in London, one flight of about 15 steps to flat. I looked at every and I do mean every pram on sale. I was sooo excited about the versa and when I saw it, immediately discounted. So heavy.

we have the Bee and it's great - my only complaints are (1) how low down it is and (2) small basket. I don't think parent facing is overrated, not for my DD anyway. she is awake a lot in her pram and likes to interact. friend has the BJCM with cocoon inside and this definitely wouldn't work for us.

Weight / size + parent facing was our key criteria and the Bee was the only thing that fit. I am 5'4" with an arthritic hip and can lift the Bee + DD + whatever crap is in the basket up and down the stairs no problem.

I have no problem with the fold?

We got ours second hand for £250, on gumtree (I would recommend this route, we inspected it v thoroughly before buying and have had no problems) and bought a new cocoon (£70) and I have no regrets. I often see people struggling in shops / on public transport with bigger, heavier prams, and I have no idea how I'd manage.

Good luck - and congrats!

Vivienne52 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:06:50

I think the fact that it measures moderately smaller than the city is a huge plus. TBH, it is more getting in and out of places I am concerned about than the weight. Squeezing into nursery with the buggy as he hates to be felt in the corridor, in about out of shopes. If feels slim but tall so there is room for him to grow (dd aged 3 immediately jumped in it, she fitted!). I think we are all looking for it to be lighter, why woulnd't we, but it feels sturdy, unlikely to tip. Which was always a pain with my maclaren and given we have to go through some rough terrain, i think it will be a bonus. I am not sure how you would get a super light buggy that wasn't prone to a bit of flipping about. But maybe I am wrong.....

Vivienne52 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:07:08

*smaller than city mini

Vivienne52 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:09:32

Sorry for the ghastly spelling and grammar I am at work so typing in a hurry. What I would say is that I would probably discount the versa if I used public transport. I couldn't humph it about that much.

Vivienne52 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:10:14

Glad it is growing on you Rooney! Could it be a keeper?

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 12:32:45

Rooney and Vivienne, that's great that you're both enjoying the versa. I'm tempted but the weight could be a bit of an issue for me. Hmmmm.

Rootypig, thanks for the info on the bee. I'm stilll considering this one. Do you ever take your bee on slightly rougher ground? Ie beaten up pavements, river paths, etc. If so, how do you find it? Also, do you walk a lot with it and find it ok? I know it's by no means an off roader, but wonder if it copes or is total rubbish when faced with a bit of uneven surface. Seem to be conflicting views...

rootypig Wed 20-Feb-13 12:48:43

hey Badger I walk miles with the Bee, we live in London and have no car, it probably easily clocks 40 miles a week. the only problem I can report is the front wheels occasionally catch on a kerb / ledge, but that's easily rectified because it's so light. I often take it on non paved park paths, canal side, across cobbles, and have had no serious issues.

but I wouldn't have wanted to pay £600+ for it (with the cocoon). that does seem overpriced for what is a well designed, multifunctional jazzy buggy. but the nice thing about the Bee in London at least is, there are lots of brilliantly good ones floating round on the second hand market. and if you bought second hand, and hated it, you could sell it for what you bought it for a month later iyswim. When DH and I got ours, that's what we thought - if we hate it, we'll sell on gumtree for what we paid no probs (£250 for like new).

In the end, if you won't give up parent facing, it's the versa or the bee, and the versa sounds lovely but is too big and heavy for where we live.

HTH!

Vivienne52 Wed 20-Feb-13 13:00:34

I think that is what it boils down to rooty, where you live. We live in a small village with mucky uneven paths. Plus we never use public transport. Although we go into the city occasionally but it is less and less now we have two bambinos to cart about. The bee is lovely but not for us. If I was more urban based I would have gone for that. Tbh all the people I know who have bees don't like them outwith the city.

Ihateparties Wed 20-Feb-13 13:10:26

I live in the city and a bee would drive me nuts but I just like more suspension, bigger wheels etc for all the walking. LOADS of people use them daily here, they can clearly cope it's me that wouldn't!

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 13:11:37

Thanks Rootypig, that's really helpful! I'm city based, but not London, so not as many secondhand options available nearby. But local pram shop has a good deal on a new one for £440 inc cocoon and car seat adapters, which isn't too bad plus I guess it's quite nice to have the warranty. And if I could sell it on for £200ish when I'm done with it after 2-3 years I'd be pretty happy. smile

rootypig Wed 20-Feb-13 13:23:59

oh yes Vivienne can easily see that Bee is not for you! we use sling for any mucky outings (already few and far between).

Sunny I agree, after months - literally - of research I can't believe there isn't something in this huge gap - more robust than Bee, lighter than Versa, like BJCM that faces both ways. how hard can it be?!

youmaycallmeSSP Wed 20-Feb-13 13:52:06

I haven't read all the posts (sorry!) but don't get a Bee! Seriously useless on anything except hard ground. Mine just about manages wet lawn but that's as off-road as it gets.

youmaycallmeSSP Wed 20-Feb-13 13:53:02

If no one has mentioned it already, have you had a look at the Oyster?

to answer a question up thread yes you can fold the oyster with the seat facing both ways. makes it pretty long when parent facing however

Ihateparties Wed 20-Feb-13 14:02:33

rootypig it's what everyone wants... it seems inconceivable no one makes it. The Oyster is probably the closest for sturdiness combined with compact. The seat is a bit... urrrr well not upright, not lie flat.. if you can live with that then it's certainly a good option. Again I found it a bit hard really but they have the air tyre option...

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 14:36:31

I checked the oyster out and quite liked it in the shop, but was put off by reviews about it falling apart after a few months...

snala Wed 20-Feb-13 20:53:54

Badger- sorry to hijack but where did you find that bee deal please? shock

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 21:13:45

Snala-I ordered in a local independent shop in the January sales, but it's back to normal price of around £600 now I'm afraid. I ordered the versa in their sale too and they're both sitting at the shop now waiting to be collected, so I just need to decide which one to take. confused

Sunnysummer Wed 20-Feb-13 21:22:27

Thanks rootypig, that's really helpful! It's also a good point about being able to buy/sell 2nd hand easily with the bee. I'll take DH with me next week to look at the 2 city minis and the bee as the wildcard, then hopefully we'll be able to get on with the rest of this having-a-baby stuff grin

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 21:32:22

Summer, I know what you mean, this pram business totally takes over doesn't it? I need closure! Good luck with your trip back to the shop to test them out again. I'm sure you'll pick the right one for you. smile

snala Wed 20-Feb-13 21:51:38

Ahh, thanks anyway. I'm having the same issues.

I've just sold my cam. I want something rf, that folds in one piece and is suitable for a 12 week old.

It needs to be easy for the school run too as I have to drop of at 2 different schools!

I'm hoping to get something at the baby show, just not sure what .......

rootypig Wed 20-Feb-13 22:30:12

a couple of last points (I was thinking about this as I trundled DD and the Bee over crappy Glasgow pavement today!)
- I think suspension is overrated, in a way, I often find myself desperately actively seeking bumpy ground, to try to bounce and bump DD to sleep, when we're on very smooth ground she wakes up! I think most babies are like this, at least when little;
- if you're using the Bee with the newborn cocoon you have to take it off to fold it;
- the Bee is small enough that I rarely / never fold it (as a non driver), just carry it intact into our (ridiculously tiny) flat and park it in front of the door, it fits.

SSP you're right, I'm only talking about using the Bee on uneven but hard ground, I doubt it would get anywhere on soft ground (but am a true city mouse so don't know where you'd find such a thing wink)..... to be clear am only recommending for city dwellers / public transport users / people who have to lift their pram up steps.

bows out grin

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 22:48:11

Rooty, omg, I'm Glasgow based too, and it's those very same crappy pavements of ours that I've be wondering if the bee could cope with! Small world. smile

rootypig Wed 20-Feb-13 22:51:24

ah in fact I am London and visiting my mum up here! but you have a direct endorsement of its performance on Scottish paving from me grin

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 22:54:04

Oh hang on, sorry, got confused, you live in London don't you. But from being in Glasgow today, you think the bee will ok here?

Xmasbaby11 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:03:23

The Bee is amazing! It is so light and easy to push, turn, lift, carry around on buses. And it's compact so you don't take up entire pavement etc. I've never seen a better design.

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 23:05:39

Thanks Rooty, that's good to know. Would only be taking it on said crappy pavement, and short patches of cobble and rough path on way to park and river so I'm thinking it will be ok. Like the idea of just lifting the whole thing to take it down to our basement flat. I'm guessing if it can't be folded with the cocoon, it prob can't be folded with a footmuff either but if it's small enough not to need folding often then that's ok. Cheers!

Badgerhoney Wed 20-Feb-13 23:08:43

Xmasbaby, cool! smile

rootypig Thu 21-Feb-13 00:06:04

oh Badger, sounds very similar to us! a couple more things, in that case....

re fold - I often have so much crap stuff wedged in the basket I don't want to fold it anyway - I keep it "packed" with raincover, sling, nappy stuff, change of clothes for DD. I think this is pretty standard practice for city dwellers who don't have / use car and get out and about every day (ie the basket is pretty much my nappy bag, it's not big enough to pack a bag and then try to wedge that in, I just use this, which is brilliant). and I would say the Bee is so compact it's hardly worth folding it, unless you have a car (fits easily into my mum's 3 door polo boot, which is v small, but you wouldn't get much else in; fits very very easily into my brother's 5 door golf, along with a tonne of other stuff). The cocoon comes off and goes on incredibly easily, it just sits on the seat with the straps through. the rest of the fold is easy but two handed.

I generally take DD into the house, deposit in cot, then come back for buggy, just for maximum safety. though have carried her and pram into house no probs when she's asleep (she usually wakes up three seconds later, the minx!) and DH carries her + Bee + aforementioned basketful of crap up and down flights of stairs for the tube no bother (and he is no rugby player!)

other plus: when using the cocoon, there's a handy quite big space behind the baby's head ie above the top of the cocoon, below the hood, perfect for stashing toys, gloves, a muslin!

all in all I was swayed by what a nice man in John Lewis told me, which is that he sees the same people who buy travel systems come back 6 months later for a MacLaren. but the Bee will take you all the way through. I agonised and agonised over pram so believe me, I understand (finally bought a Bee when I was 5 days overdue!!), it took a long time to let go of wanting the 'best' thing, something maximally cosy and robust for DC (was hankering for uppababy vista) but do think made the right choice for us, especially when I see people with virtually anything else struggling to get into any coffee shop, for example. and fwiw she seems to like it. again, my only complaint is it's oddly low down, and I'm not tall....if you are, I would consider that. now she is three months we're interacting fine at the distance, think her vision has lengthened significantly!

HTH, will stop harping on now

youmaycallmeSSP Thu 21-Feb-13 08:20:22

I can definitely fold the Bee with the cocoon attached. Haven't tried with the footmuff yet but it's in and out of the car boot every day so I specifically checked that it would fold both ways with the cocoon so I wouldn't be faffing around.

Just to say again though, it is dreadful on uneven surfaces. I've done cobbles and if DD had any teeth, they would have been rattling around her head.

Vivienne52 Thu 21-Feb-13 08:27:44

Glasgow based here too!

Badgerhoney Thu 21-Feb-13 08:46:34

Vivienne, how funny you're in Glasgow too! How's the versa working out?

Rooty and SSP, thanks again for all the info. Much appreciated. smile.

Ihateparties Thu 21-Feb-13 09:14:23

The bee will defo last you in terms of size and one piece fold, people will differ in their opinion of everyday use of it on rough surfaces, as will babies... One of mine hates being bobbled about and refuses to sleep, the others iirc didn't care one way or another. There is no perfect thing, people definitely exist who have never swapped to a maclaren, I'm one of them so I know there are some knocking about. Check out best buggy's very interesting recent photoset of the bee in context with 4 other parent facing fold buggies here

OutsideOverThere Thu 21-Feb-13 09:52:59

Just to note that Mothercare currently have the older Bee in stock in khaki and blue, for 359. (rooney here!)

Badgerhoney Thu 21-Feb-13 09:59:16

Parties, that link is fantastic. They all look great lined up and there's not much in it apart from weight. Amazing that the versa is the heaviest and yet folds down so small. It would still come down to the versa or bee for me (versa on looks and sturdiness, bee on weight and looks too), so at least I haven't added any of the other ones to the short list. Think my head would implode!

Ihateparties Thu 21-Feb-13 10:39:31

Ooh, i like the old bee but 359 is too much

OutsideOverThere Thu 21-Feb-13 11:08:37

I wonder if you can get the older ones anywhere else...I have ordered it am tempted as it looks like it'll fit in the car boot.

Like the larger canopy and it has SIDES which bee + doesn't?

Ihateparties Thu 21-Feb-13 12:03:37

Mwahahah, I preferred the older one too, it should work for your car :-)

Vivienne52 Thu 21-Feb-13 12:36:03

It really is baby specific. My dd liked to face out and enjoyed a bumpy ride. My ds very much needs parent facing and HATES bumps. Actually wails and cries when the surace changes. They are strange little people with strange little needs! This is why I wanted something sturdier than a maclaren and his bones would rattle in it and it would be unfair to him. DD was in a maclaren at a year old and I was one of those people who traded at £600 travel system for a maclaren at 12 months. I am so hoping the versa lasts us until he is able to walk for longer distances. The small fold is the selling point for me and I am hoping the weight issue isn't too annoying.

Tiggywunkle Fri 22-Feb-13 00:12:09

Oooooh I am glad you posted that link Parties. I was about to do the same!

liswee Fri 22-Feb-13 11:03:00

Badgerhoney if it would be any help for you I live nearby Glasgow (Stirling side) and could pop through with my bee+ and Versa (although its the gt) to let you feel them in your real life surroundings stairs, paths etc - although it is different when you are with bump and not bambino - before deciding which you go for smile

Badgerhoney Fri 22-Feb-13 12:45:18

Iiswee, that's such a kind offer, really wouldn't want to put you to all that trouble. What do you think of the bee and the versa? I know they're quite different, but do you have a preference or one you use more than the other? Pros n cons, etc. Be really interested to hear more as you have both. smile I could pm you if you prefer.

liswee Fri 22-Feb-13 14:34:46

I have PM'd you badgerhoney smile

OutsideOverThere Fri 22-Feb-13 15:06:40

Fwiw I just got my bee through the post.

I really dislike it sad

Mind you I was negative about the versa at first so I might decide it's great tomorrow...

But a more difficult to operate piece of machinery I have never encountered. Trying to unfold it with your foot on the brake while not falling over/your foot slipping off said brake, is almost impossible. (is there a trick?)

The baby is in a ridiculous position on the seat with his legs sticking out off the end of the footrest (he is 7 weeks)
I think this is why you need the cocoon as it would presumably move them up the seat back, which is enormous?

The hood is awkward but at least it's large
The recline is good, the wheels and frame seem nice to steer, but the entire reason I bought it (to fit in the car) is negated by the fact that when you fold it with the seat facing you, it doesn't go very small, and the seat back flips and flaps around so it's not going to be that easy to get into the boot at all.

It's far better forward facing. I would choose the versa any day and every day tbh.
Hope that helps a bit.

youmaycallmeSSP Fri 22-Feb-13 15:28:51

You definitely need the cocoon for a 7wo. There are loads on eBay as babies are in them for such a short time.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it difficult to unfold when the seat is rear-facing! I haven't had the seat-back flapping around though.

OutsideOverThere Fri 22-Feb-13 17:54:17

Oh thankyou...the review on Best Buggy hated it and mentioned all the issues I am having! Which was gratifying...going to put it back in its box and take it to Mothercare for a refund, I think.

OutsideOverThere Fri 22-Feb-13 17:55:18
Tiggywunkle Fri 22-Feb-13 23:41:19

I am interested to see if the Oyster Gem has got any futher at Harrogate this year. That seems to plug the gap for a small folding, parent facing pushchair.

The Bee is a PITA in some respects, but there's not much comes close to it weight wise...in fact all round there is a real gap in the market for good light weight parent facing pushchairs.

natienka Fri 28-Jun-13 17:13:32

Phew! I went through it all ;) and wanted to throw one more into the mix: Jane Rider. Has anyone used this model?

Laquila Sat 29-Jun-13 12:22:56

I think parties has. I tried it out in the shop (before eventually going for a Versa!) and was quite taken with it, but in the end I thought it was just too bouncy - the suspension was quite sensitive and to my mind it didn't really feel stable enough. I imagine this would make it perfect for some people though! I quite liked the Matrix 2 system that went with it, and I definitely liked the seat unit - it felt nice and sturdy and comfortable, but unfortunately once we'd managed to fit the chassis into our little Clio it didn't leave much room for a seat unit AND a baby...

Tiggywunkle Sat 29-Jun-13 12:53:19

Parties and I have had a good play of the Rider. We both liked the nice neat fold. I dont think she has had one. We have both had a Jane Twone.

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