Providing a comfy ride around urban landscapes since 2007, the Bugaboo Bee is still going strong, and improving with each new incarnation. Our MNHQ parent tester took a first look at the new Bugaboo Bee 6 to find out what was new, and how this model compares with other lightweight buggies designed for town – and city- living.
Who’s it for?
This is very much a buggy for babies about town. Like all the Bugaboos that came before, it’s perfect for city life. The small, lightweight frame is easy to pick up and carry if you need to, and the Bee 6 manoeuvres without problems onto buses and tubes and up pavement edges.
And it’s not only when out and about that the Bee 6 impresses. It has clearly been designed with city homes in mind too. The frame fits easily into narrow hallways, folds down swiftly with one hand and, once folded, stands upright – but discreetly so it doesn’t take up too much space. It also fits neatly into the boot of a small car. Our tester’s bijou Ford Fiesta housed it with no problem and the tight fold really makes a difference.
The carrycot makes the Bee 6 suitable from birth. Children then transfer to the seat once able to sit unaided and can stay happily in that for up to four years. You could also add Bugaboo’s wheeled board for a toddler to sit or stand behind, making it a travel system that should see you through the early years of family life.
What’s new for the Bugaboo Bee 6?
Lots of little changes that add up to a much comfier, more high-end ride, for both parent and baby are the most noticeable differences with the Bee 6 compared to the Bugaboo 5.
The super-tight turning circle is still there – handy for narrow corners and weaving in and out of tight spots – but the wheels are slightly bigger now, at seven inches, to offer a smoother ride on any bumpy bits of pavement.
The seat is made from a more breathable and plusher feeling fabric, and the back of the seat now has ventilation holes so your baby stays cooler in warm weather. The handlebar grip has more of an upmarket soft leather feel than before, and this same fabric is used on the new belly bar, something we always felt Bugaboos were missing and a welcome addition.
What baby doesn’t like to grip onto a bumper bar, after all? This one has a clever design that lifts so it doesn’t need to be removed to fold the buggy. We liked that the carrycot sits a little higher than it used to on the frame, so your baby will be closer to you. The adaptors are really simple to put on and the carrycot itself is much easier to click on and off the frame than in previous models.
There are also some changes to the iconic hood. There’s now a ‘peekaboo window’ in the top so that when your baby is facing away from you, you can check on her more easily. It also allows more air to flow into the seat or bassinet.
Let’s talk about money
The Bugaboo Bee 6 starts from £599, which is certainly pricey, but Bugaboo has always been at the top end of the travel system market price-wise, and you can see what you’re paying for in that smart engineering, lightweight chassis and manoeuvrability. So it’s a fair price in many ways.
The Bee is built to last, so if this is your first baby and you’re planning for more, expect it to see you through. Bugaboos also tend to hold their value really well so you should be able to sell it for a fair price and recoup some of the original outlay.
What’s worth remembering is that that £599 only buys you the chassis and seat combo, which is only recommended for use from around six months, or till when your baby can sit up. To make it fully suitable from birth, you need to spend £779 to get the chassis, seat and carrycot combination. The carrycot allows your baby to lie completely flat and also doubles as a napping space, but comes at an additional expense. For the extra £180 you’d be hard pushed to buy a decent lie-flat pram to take you up to six months.
The Bugaboo Bee 6 has a two-year warranty, which you can extend to three years just by registering your buggy within three months of purchase. Generally, Bugaboo tends to be very helpful about repairing or replacing if you have any issues.
At first glance
It’s immediately clear that all the smart Bugaboo features are still there, and improved upon with each version. The Bee 6 positively oozes out of the box with its soft grips, sleek all-black wheels, which are just a touch bigger than before, and invitingly squidgy seat and bassinet. We were excited to see that the best of Bugaboo is still there and also that they’ve made some pretty cool changes. For example, we loved the bold colours and smooth curves.
While putting the Bee 6 together is pretty intuitive, the instructions aren’t exactly comprehensive. The reassuringly thick instruction booklet you get with it covers 21 languages and the assembly instructions are all picture-based in the back. If you quite enjoy the challenge of an Ikea flatpack, you’ll be fine with this, but if not just look up one of the many YouTube videos first, which will take you through it.
We decided we shouldn’t cheat so did the whole thing sans instructions or video and actually, it’s hard to go wrong. It took around an hour to put everything together fresh from the box and get it all working – which is pretty good going for a pushchair.
Once you’ve got to grips with it, the Bugaboo Bee 6 couldn’t be easier to use. The seat is much easier to click onto the chassis than it used to be, and you’ll hear a click to tell you you’ve done it properly. The carrycot is similarly easy, with a soft and squidgy surround that zips on to the base. We liked the fact that when releasing it from the chassis, you can depress the buttons and let go of them to carefully lift the carrycot by the handles. So many buggies require the physicality of an octopus to press buttons and lift all in one movement – not this one.
It’s also very easy to fold up and down once in use. You need to take the carrycot off the chassis first of course, but in six months plus mode, you can simply fold up the belly bar and collapse the buggy with the seat unit still in place. There’s a knack to it, but you can definitely manage it with a baby in one arm.
Bugaboo Bees have always been prized by city dwelling parents for their amazing turning circle, and the Bee 6’s is the best yet. You can still turn the buggy 360 degrees on the spot with one hand, but the slightly bigger, puncture-proof wheels make for a super-smooth ride now and are virtually indestructible.
The hood, which attaches to both the carrycot and the seat, is super stylish and really easy to pull forward and push back. We love the new mesh window in the top, which improves air circulation around your baby but also is really useful for checking in on them while you’re on the move.
The flexibility of the Bee 6 is really impressive. It now comes with baby car seat adaptors for the Bugaboo car seat. If you’re in and out of the car a lot, it’s really useful to just be able to click the seat onto the chassis.
We also want to give a massive high five to the new release buttons for the bassinet: it now sits a little higher on the chassis, saving new parents’ aching backs, and, once depressed, the release buttons stay released briefly so you have both hands free to lift the carrycot clear. When you’ve just arrived at your destination and your baby’s asleep, it’s a massive bonus to be able to carry them inside while they continue to sleep. The carrycot is super comfy too so most babies will be happy to nod off in there.
The seat unit is now even easier to remove. We always thought the design of the seat was pretty nifty, but on older models it was a slight struggle to wiggle on and off. That unit now slides off in seconds when you need it to. All in all, we think these changes allow you to get a lot more from your buggy, making it so much easier to switch units and fold or unfold.
- Puncture-proof wheels, now a little larger, and with independent four-wheel suspension for a smoother ride
- Front wheels swivel 360 degrees for an effortless turning circle but can be easily fixed to a forward-only position when needed
- Spacious basket under the chassis to store shopping or baby changing bag
- One-hand fold to collapse chassis, with seat attached
- Seat unit with ventilation at the back for comfort and a softer, squishier seat fabric. The seat adjusts both at the back and on the base to grow with your child. There are three seat positions: upright, reclined and almost lie-flat, which can be adjusted with a handle on the back of the seat if your child nods off
- Five point harness, with four straps that can each be clicked into place separately, making it much easier to put on, and one button to release all four straps together
- Revolving belly bar for added reassurance, which folds with the seat unit
- Easily adjustable handlebar, making it easy for each parent to push comfortably and swap over as needed
- Car seat and carrycot converters included
- Carrycot with soft, comfortable base and sides that easily attach and detach from the chassis
- The canopy attaches to both the seat and carrycot, and pushes back with ease to allow your baby to see more. A peekaboo mesh window allows you to look in on your baby without disturbing them and adds vital ventilation, keeping them cool in warm weather
- Raincover, which unfolds and attaches to the seat or bassinet
- Compact fold with integrated stand to allow the buggy to remain freestanding when folded
- Lightweight frame – the buggy weighs just 20.7lb (9.38kg)
- Suitable from birth to four years
Verdict (for now)
This is the perfect pushchair for town and city dwellers. It pushes easily over grass, so it’s fine for the park, but probably wouldn’t stand up to very rough terrains. However, up and down kerbs, on and off public transport and in and out of narrow hallways, the Bugaboo Bee 6 is a dream. If your house, car or life is bijou in any way, it’s the solution you’re looking for. Because it’s so compact and lightweight, you’ll never need another buggy. This will see you right through from newborn up to pre-school days, with most of the add-ons included and plenty more available so you can customise it to your lifestyle.
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