Key features of the Bugaboo Donkey2 (2018) pushchair
- Age suitability: birth to around 17kg per seat
- Type of buggy: Twin / tandem
- Weight: 15.3kg
- Fold: Not a one-hand fold but very simple to use
- Travel system compatible: Yes
- Total cost: £1039 for Mono, £1315 for Duo, £1430 for twin configuration
Bugaboo is a Dutch design company that has revolutionised the market for high-end buggies. The company began in 1994 and has since become a must-have brand for style conscious parents and celebrities alike.
The Donkey2 (as you may have guessed) is the second iteration of Bugaboo’s most versatile, multi-purpose single-to-double pushchair. New for 2018, everything on the Donkey2 can be customised to suit your taste, with the option to choose your frame, base fabric and canopy colour configurations.
This style and functionality does not come cheap though, and the Donkey2 sits at the top of the market. I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to test the Donkey2 out on my one-year-old boy/girl twins, and I really put it through its paces.
I have taken it on London buses, down supermarket aisles, through woodlands and parks, out in the snow, to the top of Highgate hill, and up and down the stairs to my London flat! I tried it out in a variety of configurations, both in Mono and in Twin.
Price-wise when using as a double it is at the high end of the market starting from £1315-£1430. It is, however comparable to the iCandy Peach Blossom (£1087), Silver Cross Wave (£1250) and Joolz Geo 2 (£1149).
And if you compare it to similar single buggies such as the Silver Cross Surf 2017 (£845), UppaBaby Vista (£849.99) or Bugaboo Chameleon 3 (£933.95), it’s even pricier.
What’s the difference between the Bugaboo Donkey and the Bugaboo Donkey2?
The new Bugabo Donkey now features foam-filled wheels instead of air-filled tires, so no more punctures. It also has improved suspension and a redesigned storage basket.
The side luggage basket used on the mono version of the Donkey2 now holds up to 9kg. There’s also a new pocket on the inside of the luggage basket keeps your phone, keys and wallet more organized and accessible. A new pocket on the inside of the luggage basket keeps your phone, keys and wallet more organized and accessible.
The pushchair foot brake has been redesigned to be flip-flop friendly and of course, the new Donkey is available in a range of new colours.
You can buy the Bugaboo Donkey2 at John Lewis or Mamas & Papas.
First impressions of the Bugaboo Donkey 2
The donkey is beautiful, I was in love with the simple yet stylish design and the quality of the fabrics. I couldn’t wait to take the twins for a spin. I was disappointed however that I couldn’t get it through my front door and had to set it all up outside in the rain.
The biggest selling-point for the Donkey is that it can be converted from a single buggy (mono) to a double pushchair for either a baby and toddler (duo) or twins (twin).
But unlike double buggies where a back seat is added or removed, the single Donkey becomes a double by expanding the chassis widthways, into a side-by-side set-up.
As a double buggy, the Donkey has several configurations. Either position can accommodate a carrycot, seat unit or car seat, making it suitable for twin babies, toddler and baby, or twin toddlers.
The seats can be forward facing or parent facing and with each seat fixed in opposite directions two toddlers can actually face each other – recipe for a riot, or what?
The Donkey is touted as “the narrowest luxury side-by-side duo stroller”. As a double it’s 74cm wide. The average side-by-side double buggy (known as a twin buggy) is around 80cm. However, it’s worth noting there are an increasing number of tandem buggies coming to the market.
How easy is it to convert the Donkey from single (mono) to twin/duo?
Extremely easy. All the functional parts are colour coded white, which makes it incredibly straightforward. A few clips to undo, and the frame can be adjusted to whichever mode you wish to use. You can even do it with one of the seats still attached.
How does it compare to other single or double buggies you’ve used?
It is without a doubt the most expensive buggy I have ever used, and also the most elegant. Having a total of 17 different possible seating configurations, it is also the most versatile, I really like that you can have each child facing either forward, backward or each other.
I love the Mountain Buggy Duet, however this is something that sets the Donkey apart from its competitor. On a single journey out with the Donkey, I am able to switch the seats around to suit the moods of my twins.
With the Mountain Buggy, they have to both face forwards at all times. Similarly to the Mountain Buggy, the Donkey can be used as a travel system and both can be used as a single (with side shopping basket) or as a double buggy. Another single-to-double buggy that I have used is the Oyster Max, which is a tandem rather than a side-by-side double.
The Oyster Max was perfect when the twins were tiny. Since it is only single width, I was able to go everywhere. At times people didn’t even realise that there were two babies on board. This certainly can’t be said about the Donkey2. It is very much a statement buggy!
However, as the twins have grown and become more curious, they both refused to sit on the lower seat of a tandem, so moving on to a side-by-side double was inevitable. I have also used the Cosatto Supa Dupa double and My Babiie MB22, which are both double strollers. These fold up more compact than the Donkey but have no versatility and can’t be used as travel systems.
What do you think of the side storage?
I think it’s fabulous. I loved that I didn’t have to carry a basket around the supermarket, and could just pile all my shopping in the pram ready to pay for it all at the till.
Once home there was no need to empty the under basket by trying to carry all the random bits I had picked up throughout the day. Instead you just unclip the side basket with all the contents and carry it indoors.
Brilliant idea! I should also mention that it can hold up to 10 kg, that’s almost the same weight as one of my twins. The problem with having twins however, means that this lovely basket becomes almost dormant, and I have had to rely on the under seat basket for storage.
How well do you think it performs as a single pushchair?
As a single buggy – or mono – it has a large shopping basket next to the seat, in the space that the second seat would sit. But it’s not just a case of swapping the basket for a second seat unit – the chassis (buggy frame) extends widthways.
In single mode the Donkey mono compresses to 60cm wide down from the 74cm width it is when in double mode. To put this in perspective, the Bugaboo Cameleon is 60cm wide.
When pushing in single mode it feels incredibly light and with only one seat required, you have the lovely side storage basket in place for all of your daily needs. You can load the Donkey up with everything and not have to worry about carrying a thing (unless you have twins and have to carry one of them in sling like me).
You also then have the option to expand if your family grows, without having to buy a whole new pushchair. As a single it is the same width as the Bugaboo chameleon, so nice and compact but with extra storage.
How well does it perform as a double/twin?
As a double/twin, the Donkey is a beast of a Buggy. It handles well, is strong, sturdy and has great seating configurations. However, it looks and feels enormous. One of my neighbours called it my SUV! Although it is not the widest of double buggies; the city mini jogger for instance is 2 cm wider, something about the Donkey2 just makes it look bigger.
Is the Donkey travel system compatible?
Yes, you can purchase specific adapters for compatible car seats; Maxi-cosi and Britax-Romer, Although in twin mode with 2 car seats it is very wide at 84 cm.
How easy is it to push when loaded up with both children?
Incredibly easy. The large foam tyres, light weight frame and great suspension make it seem weightless on flat surfaces. Uphill is always a bit of a haul with two on board, but I was able to tackle the hills with relative ease. Unlike the Mountain Buggy Duet however, there is no handbrake, so going downhill can feel a little unnerving at times with the sheer weight of the loaded buggy.
How does it ride on different surfaces
The Donkey2 feels really sturdy over a variety of surfaces (gravel, cobbles, snow and off-road). It took to the woods with no problems at all.
I felt that I had to anticipate an upcoming kerb if I was going up but coming down was effortless and no buckling like with other buggies I have used. When pushing on flat surfaces, it can be pushed with one hand and with 360° wheels, it rotates beautifully on the spot.
How is it on public transport?
Surprisingly well; I tend to walk everywhere as London transport with twins is fair task. The underground is extremely difficult with any double buggy unless you have an army of helpers, and you can wait a lifetime for a bus to pull up that isn’t already inundated with buggies.
I decided one day that I would give the bus a go though. I had my doubts that I would be able to even get it on the bus, however I was quickly proved wrong when it slid nicely into the space provided, and there was even room for another pushchair to squeeze in the end.
What do you think of the wheels?
The foam wheels are great. They are large enough to easily glide over most kerbs but small enough that they don’t make the buggy look like a tractor!
The foam tyres are an added bonus. Although they don’t quite have the same feel as air tyres with bouncing over every obstacles on the path, you do have peace of mind that you’re not going to have an unexpected puncture or a flat tyre ruin your lovely day out.
How compact is the Donkey – how does it fare when out in shops/travelling around town?
In the Duo/Twin mode, The Donkey feels very wide in comparison to some other buggies I have used.It dominates the pavement and you can see the annoyance in peoples eyes as they approach you, knowing that they will have to step onto the road to get past. Despite it being no wider than a wheelchair, there are many doors that it struggled to get through.
I took it in an elevator one day, and very nearly didn’t fit. I had to adjust the hoods slightly, but in the end we squeezed in nicely. In London, I am reluctant to go shopping with it as a double. There just isn’t the room in most of the shops here. Without the side basket, the shopping storage isn’t as good as the Mountain Buggy. The under basket is really quite awkward to access and once you fit in your rain covers (Always a necessity in the UK), there really isn’t much room left over.
How easy is it to store?
You need a lot of space to store the Donkey. Even in the most compact fold (where you have to remove the wheels), it is quite bulky. This is mainly because the seats don’t fold. For every day use, you don’t want to take the wheels off, and the quick fold is terrible. It’s almost not worth folding it. The Donkey would be best stored open if you had the space in a hallway or garage.
Is the frame strong, durable?
Yes, it certainly feels robust and built to last. The combined weight of the twins is around 22kgs and I was confident at all times that it was strong and sturdy. It also didn’t creak like some buggies do when fully loaded.
Do you think it works better as a single or a double pushchair?
It works well as either. However, as a single you have the side shopping basket, so I guess for this reason it works better as a single.
What do you think of the fold system? Is it compact when folded?
It depends on which fold you want to use. As I mentioned above, it is really bulky. The quick fold is completely pointless and takes up almost as much floor space as unfolded. The only time I used it was to quick squeeze it through our front door because I couldn’t get it through unfolded.
You certainly couldn’t carry it very far like this, or lift it up any stairs. The compact fold makes a huge difference to the folding of the frame but involves removing the wheels, something you really don’t want to have to do every day, but the seats wont fold up any more compact.
What do you think of handle?
The handle bar has 11 different heights. This is a great feature; it is comfortable both for me at 5’4” and my husband who is 6’1”.
Due to the nature of the frame, when it is expanded for double mode, the extended section can make pushing one -handed annoying as the clip to open up the frame is slap bang in the middle of the frame (exactly where you would want to push with one hand).
It’s also not possible to bend the handle if you wanted extra space between you and the buggy, however, I felt that there was always sufficient room for my feet when walking, unlike with the Cosatto Supa Dupa where I was constantly clipping my feet on the bottom.
What do you think of the size of the seat units?
There was plenty of room for them to grow. I tested the Donkey2 with my 3.5 year old niece and although she was still able to fit in it, it did look like she was a little big for it.
There wasn’t anywhere for her to put her feet, and it was a bit cramped with the hood up. She assured me that she was comfortable though. They certainly seemed wide enough though, and my twins are always comfortable in them.
The fact that there is a little bit of space between the seats and that they are separate units meant that they had a bit more space than with the Mountain Buggy Duet, and they didn’t fight as much by grabbing each other.
How many recline positions are there?
The seats have 3 easily adjustable recline settings (2 when forward facing) and I love that the seats can sit fully upright; this is a true blessing with twins as it means that you can safely feed them in the pushchair if out and about.
It is also great to have the option of which way the seats face (parent, forward or each other). Depending on what mood they are in, they enjoy all three!
How comfortable does it feel for your little ones?
My little ones loved the seats. I have never seen the so comfortable. Despite them looking like they might fall out of the seats when fully inclined, they actually loved sitting bolt upright so that they could see everything.
I’ve found in other buggies that they tend to lean forward to see things so I end up loosening the straps. I didn’t need to do this with the donkey.
The 5 point harness and the adjustable shoulder straps are by far the best that I have encountered on a pushchair. No threading straps through, just simply slide the straps up. It is the little details like this that make Bugaboo worth the extra money.
How is interacting with your little ones when in the buggy?
This is one of the things that I most liked about this buggy. Having mostly had buggies that require both babies to be forward facing, it was a real treat to be able to have them facing me and interacting with them as we walked through the park.
Research has shown that it is better for a child’s speech to be parent facing, so it is really nice to have this option. Inevitably, they get bored of looking at me, but the great thing about the Donkey is that you can switch them around to face the world or each other if they want to see each other.
What do you think of the hood/s?
The 3 position sun-hoods are excellent and really do their job of blocking out the elements when required. There are no peep holes though, so if you are using them in the forward facing position, there is no way keeping an eye on them when they are up.
You can purchase an additional breezy sun canopy for an extra £89.95 that protect your child from the sun, whilst letting cool breezes through and enabling you to keep an eye on them.
Does it fit in the boot of your car?
I borrowed my mums Toyota Yaris to try this out, and I was actually gobsmacked at how well it fit in! Of all the buggies I have tried, this one fit in her boot the easiest. I think because unlike the Mountain Buggy, Cosatto and My Babiie, The Donkey isn’t a one piece fold.
This means you can squeeze bits of the buggy into the little nooks and crannies in the boot. So where it’s not very convenient for storing every day in you cupboard like this, if you store it in your car, you’re absolutely fine!
What age children is the Bugaboo Donkey 2 best for?
Although I didn’t get to try out the carrycots, I would say that the for a singleton/siblings then if would be great from birth through to around age 3.
For twins however, I much preferred having them in a tandem when they were in carrycots (why take up extra room when you don’t need to?), so I would say its best for 6 months plus in the case of twins.
That’s just my opinion though, I know lots of my twin mum friends liked having them side by side from birth, and the Donkey is well-equipped for two carrycots or two carseats.
How easily can you access the basket and is it big enough to store everything you need?
This is something that I didn’t really like about the Buggy. The under basket is really quite awkward to access. It is larger at the front of the pram (unlike most where they are to the rear of the pram). When both seats are facing you and in the upright position, you can only access the basket from the front of the buggy.
It looks a little strange too to have all your belongings on display in this way. If the seats are both facing out, then the basket can be accessed from the rear, so is more convenient. Although the basket looks like it should be large, it isn’t very deep, so your belongings could easily fall out.
There is also a bar across the middle of the frame, which is functional to the whole system, but gets in the way of that basket.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?
I would have wanted to know that it requires quite a lot of storage space and doesn’t fit through all doors. I live in a first floor London flat so compact single fold buggies work best for me at this time. We will be moving out to Yorkshire very soon through, so I’m excited to see how it fares up then.
Who would the product be most useful for?
Style conscious parents who want a stand out pushchair and who have the cash to spare and the room to store it.
The expanding frame is unique. It is the only single-double buggy that converts simply by changing the width of the frame. There is a two-wheel option for pulling the pram over sand, but I personally don’t feel confident using it in that mode whist laden with 2 children.
Is the Bugaboo Donkey 2 good value for money?
As a parent of twins, the Donkey2 will set you back £1490. Duo mode is £1360 and In mono mode, the price is still a hefty £1069. Everything is included in the package that you go for (frame, carrycots, Seats, rain covers, basket), however if you buy the single mode for example, and your family expands, you can purchase extra seats, carrycots , etc.
There are many accessories that can be purchased on their website, such as footmuffs, breezy sun canopy’s, and leather look handle set, coffee cup holder and parasol to name a few.
You get what you pay for and the Donkey is definitely high quality. However, this certainly isn’t an affordable buggy. There are many other buggies that are just as effective — maybe not as stylish though — for a fraction of the price.
The Bugaboo Donkey is versatile and unique but it’s not without fault. It is a classy, clever buggy but as a single (or mono) buggy you won’t benefit from the technology and design that sets this buggy apart.
Lovely to push and lovely to look at, it’s a good investment if you plan on having more children but if you’re not sure, there are alternatives.
Here are some brilliant double buggies, just for you…
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