There's a reason the BOB ironman is the official stroller of the Ironman Triathlon. This is a serious running stroller for people who just love to run or who are training for long-distance events. It is not for those who kind of want to get in shape; it's not for everyday use; it's not for trail running. If road running is your thing, and you log significant miles doing so, this is the stroller for you.
As safe as it gets, but two recalls in one year. The BOB Ironman has not one, but two brakes: a heavy duty, one-touch, linked parking brake on the back wheels, and a handle brake made to carefully slow it down on hills so it does not come to a screeching halt. There also is a wrist strap in case the stroller slips out of a parent's hands, and the wrist strap doubles as a manual fold so the stroller won't accidentally open when carried. Parents say the five-point padded harness is easy to adjust.
BOB single and double strollers manufactured between April 2002 and February 2011 were voluntarily recalled in February 2011 due to a strangulation hazard from the drawstrings on the stroller. Another voluntary recall for strollers manufactured between November 1998 and October 2011 was issued in October 2011 due to a possible choking hazard if the stroller canopy's embroidered logo's patch detached. No injuries were reported in either recall. BOB responded quickly, offering fixes based upon reports from consumers. If you have a stroller made within those manufacture date, discontinue use and contact the manufacturer for repair information.
Easy to push, everything else is two-handed. Experts and owners praise the BOB Ironman for its easy-to-use features, including its locking brakes, reclining seat and fold/unfold. However, none of these can be done with one hand, so it may be best to have a place to park your baby before you set this stroller up. It doesn't get panned for being bulky, and the back wheels pop off easily, making it more compact for smaller trunks. It gets raves for ease of pushing on its 16-inch, high-pressure tires, with runners saying they can push it with one hand and it doesn't take any effort. The seat can be spot cleaned.
Serious road runners, this is your stroller. The BOB Ironman stroller has a fixed front wheel without a swivel option, so it's a terrible choice as an everyday stroller, as reflected in the disappointed reviews from people who bought this as an all-around stroller. However, it's not supposed to be an everyday stroller; it's a stroller for marathon runners and other long-distance road runners.
The Ironman takes a car seat with optional adapters (*MSRP $55), but it should not be used as a running stroller with the car seat in place. According to the manufacturer, newborns up to 8 weeks old can ride in the stroller only with the car seat in place. After 8 weeks, they can ride in the stroller without a car seat, but they may need additional head and neck support if they cannot hold their heads up. Until children are 8 months old, the stroller should be used only for walking, not running. Some owners say the stroller is bulky with the car seat attached.
After 8 months and up to 70 pounds, experts and parents say this is a very safe, comfortable stroller for children to sit in while their parents pound the pavement. It has extra back support, good padding, leg support with a bumper to keep children's feet away from the front wheel and two side pockets for snacks or drinks. The tracking and suspension are both adjustable, with suggested settings for children of different weights on the suspension. The seat is roomy, but one expert warns that taller children may hit their heads on the canopy due to a lower clearance. The canopy is very large, with almost complete coverage and a large peek-a-boo window. There is a medium-sized under seat basket and a large pocket on the back of the seat. There is no parent cup holder, but a handlebar console (*MSRP $25) is sold separately. An optional child snack tray (*MSRP $30) is highly recommended by one expert.
The BOB Ironman weighs 23 pounds, and it doesn't fold compactly, but the rear wheels pop off for a smaller footprint. The handlebar is not adjustable, but taller parents say it fits them well, although at least one expert reviewer says very tall parents should try it before buying. The Ironman is also available as a double, side-by-side stroller, the Ironman Duallie (*MSRP $560).
Solid stroller, solid warranty. The BOB Ironman carries a five-year warranty on the frame, and one year on small parts and fabric. BOB and Britax have excellent reputation for customer service
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1. Baby Bargains
Review credibility: Excellent This well-researched book includes buyer's guides and ratings for all types of baby gear, including jogging strollers. The authors conduct hands-on testing and also interview parents, manufacturers and retailers. Parents posting to Amazon.com say this is the best baby gear book available, with plenty of current info and lots of attitude, including sections aimed at steering consumers away from unnecessary features. Although the authors focus mainly on reviewing stroller brands, they do single out a few jogging strollers as the top in their class.
Review: Strollers, Diaper Bags, Carriers and Other to Go Gear, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition, 2012
Review credibility: Excellent Founder and senior editor Hollie Schultz gives the BOB Ironman a thorough review, even taking it for a run. She notes that it's a stroller for serious, long-distance runners, not for everyday use. She likes the way its large, thin wheels glide over pavement, so it doesn't seem like she's pushing a stroller. She also points out its many safety, comfort and convenience features. She's doesn't like the noisy Velcro canopy closure, but she says it probably doesn't matter on a jogger. The BOB Ironman is also the top jogging stroller in the Editor's Choice Top 5 jogging strollers.
Review: Baby Gizmo Review of the BOB Ironman Stroller, Hollie Schultz, May 8, 2012
Review credibility: Very Good This roundup of the top jogging strollers and bike trailers includes an overview of the BOB Ironman stroller, which is named "Best for Long Runs." It includes feedback from expert and mom testers. Nancy Johnson Horn says this is a stroller for serious runners, and then she says she wishes it had a swivel wheel for everyday use. Otherwise, she says it's very smooth, even on broken sidewalks. The parent tester also notes its smooth ride but does not like the handbrake, which she says is uncomfortable.
Review: The Best Jogging Strollers of 2012, Nancy Johnson Horn, July 24, 2012
4. Running Times
Review credibility: Very Good The BOB Ironman is one of several jogging strollers recommended by Running Times magazine, and the recommendations are based on personal testing. Calling it the stroller for "The hip, fit parent who wants to take her kid on lots of long training runs," Wolpert says the Ironman is solid and lightweight, and has great safety features.
Review: A Runner's Guide to Jogging Strollers, Katie Wolpert, Not dated
Review credibility: Very Good The BOB Ironman earns an overall rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 in more than two dozen reviews. Owners say it's very smooth, easy to push, durable and easy to use overall. It gets top marks from serious runners; its lower ratings seem to be from people who did not realize they were buying a dedicated jogging stroller and do not like the fixed wheel.
Review: BOB Ironman Single Stroller, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012
Review credibility: Very Good Elena Filatova, founder of WalkingMama.net, focuses on topics related to getting in shape after having a baby and exercising with baby. This review of the BOB Ironman is thorough and includes pros and cons. Because she is interested more in overall fitness than in distance running, her big complaint with this stroller is the lack of an adjustable handlebar. She also says its narrow footrest may not be comfortable for some children. However, she likes its ability to handle rough terrain, like cobblestones, its shock absorbing abilities and its ample storage. It is also chosen as one of Walking Mama's Top 5 strollers of 2012.
Review: Bob Ironman Stroller Review, Elena Filatova, Oct. 29, 2011
Review credibility: Good Christine Luff, the running guide at About.com, highlights the BOB Ironman as a "great option" for serious runners. Luff praises the performance and handling, and she finds the parking brake easy to engage. However, there is no mention of testing, and it's not comparative; it seems to be based upon features only. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top Jogging Strollers, Christine Luff, July 25, 2012