Loved by Hollywood and actual royalty, Bugaboo is a multi-award-winning brand that prides itself on innovative stroller designs. The Dutch design company claimed the world’s first modular stroller design back in 1994, and is best known for its high quality materials and four distinctive designs – Cameleon3, Buffalo, Bee5 and Donkey.
But now Bugaboo’s long-standing focus on getting families on the move has seen the more recent arrival of the Bugaboo Runner. While there are plenty of sports pushchairs already on the road, the Bugaboo has several special features worthy of note. You can buy the whole pushchair as a package, or simply buy the chassis to use with your existing Bugaboo seat if you have one. The seat is reversible, the extra hand-brake is well-designed, and it feels wonderfully light to push.
On the down side, it’s bulkier and heavier at 12.7kg than some competitors, and has a more limited 17kg weight limit than the likes of the Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport v4 (£354.95), which can carry up to 22kg, or Thule Urban Glide (£435), which carries up to 34kg. It’s also pretty pricey at £610 for the complete package. But head out for a run with the Bugaboo and you have to admit, its user-friendly design and comfortable features really earn its place at the luxury end of the shelf.
Buy the Bugaboo Runner direct from Bugaboo, or from Pramworld and Amazon.
The Bugaboo Runner is sold as a dedicated jogging buggy, so just how does it feel to push when running?
It feels very light to push while running, meaning you can put more energy into your speed for a nice balanced workout, which is great.
I also found this lightness made it feel very easy to steer, even more so than the Nipper Sport, which was fantastic given that a fixed front wheel can take some getting used to on corners (you have to slightly dip the pushbar to raise the front wheel as you turn).
In the park, running across grass was harder than the pavement, as you’d expect, but still manageable and the large wheels meant even patches of mud weren’t a problem.
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Tell us about the different formats for buying the Bugaboo Runner – as the whole package or as a base chassis to add your own Bugaboo seat.
You can buy the Bugaboo Runner base as a complete jogging stroller (including seat and adapters), or as an accessory for Bugaboo owners (including adapters) – you just click your Bugaboo Cameleon3, Bugaboo Bee (2010 model onwards), Bugaboo Donkey or Bugaboo Buffalo seat onto the running chassis.
I don’t personally own a Bugaboo, but if I did this option would certainly make me consider buying the running base as an add-on, rather than splashing out on a completely separate new running pushchair.
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What’s in the box?
It arrived in two large boxes: one containing the seat and one with the frame (this equates to a cardboard ‘castle’ for each child in our house, so that’s a plus!). The adapters come in a separate box. In total, you get the aluminium bugaboo runner chassis with wheels, the black fabric seat and frame, the sun canopy hood and wire frame, a rotating carry handle, underseat basket, air pump and a rain cover, and an instruction manual.
How does it ride on different surfaces?
While running in the park on the smooth paths it was exceptionally light to push and steer, and gave my toddler a really smooth ride. Jogging over the grass or mud felt a little bumpier, but far more stable and comfortable for both of us than using a regular pushchair such as the Stokke Xplory, for example.
On pavements, what really impressed me about the pushchair was that I could steer and push it singlehanded, leaving one hand free for my eldest daughter to grab when I walked her to preschool or to the park where she’d jog alongside me, with my youngest in the buggy. It’s certainly not as comfortable to push as my swivel-wheeled Out ‘n’ About Nipper for everyday use, but it’s so light it’s really not bad to push while walking around town.
What do you think of the tyres – do the large 16 inch tyres make a difference when jogging?
Absolutely yes. The super-sized air-filled wheels absorb little bumps and obstacles in your path with ease, giving a much smoother ride for both passenger and runner compared to a regular-sized wheel. This is not only more comfortable for your little one, but makes it a safer, more stable ride.
The wheels also all have mudguards which is great when running across fields or grass in the park. My wheels needed pumping out of the box, and I have to confess I gave up on the hand pump supplied after several failed attempts to connect it to the tyre.
Instead I used my own foot pump, which was much easier and had the added benefit of a pressure gauge to guide me. Having to pump the wheels regularly is a small annoyance when you’re trying to get out of the door, but the pneumatic style more than earns its keep when you realise how much smoother a ride they create.
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Does the fixed front wheel make jogging easier with this buggy?
It does – it makes the pushchair much more stable than a swivelling wheel would, especially when moving at speed.
This means the pushchair is more stable, vastly reducing the risk of you losing control or overturning the buggy if you hit an obstacle, and making a much more comfortable ride.
The fixed position does mean the front wheel is always sticking out in front, and can’t be tucked in to reduce the pushchair’s footprint on a crowded bus or for storage, but it’s an essential safety feature for a running pushchair.
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Tell us about the brakes.
There are two – one on the bottom of the chassis to lock it into the braked position and another one on the pushbar to govern speed. The footbrake is in the centre of the chassis bar, which is great as you can reach it easily with either foot.
It feels both sturdy and easy to press or release so it’s quite simple and comfortable to use, and the pushbar-mounted lever is a really useful addition when running.
What do you think of the handlebar-mounted brake lever? How does it govern speed?
The pushbar brake is excellent – it runs right across the length of the pushbar, meaning you can grab it easily with either hand at any point, which I much preferred to the Nipper Sport’s one-sided lever.
You give the Bugaboo’s bar a firm squeeze to completely halt the front wheel, or grip lightly to just slow the buggy down. While the usual footbrake is applied to park the pushchair, the pushbar brake only works while you’re holding it, so it was really useful to govern my speed on a hill, for example, or if I needed to stop suddenly. It is a great safety feature.
Using the Bugaboo Runner’s speed control brake
How compact is it when unfolded and when folded?
Not very – once I unfolded the frame I was struck by how huge it looked! It’s very wide (70cm) and looks much bigger than the Nipper Sport (61.5cm). This sturdy base is great for stability when you’re running, creating a nice smooth experience for your little one.
The down side is that storing it, or attempting to negotiate public transport or the narrow corner shops aisles for a post-run snack, is tricky. I stored it at the back of the house and found it wouldn’t fit through the hallway passage to the front door as it was too wide. So each time I used it I had to remove the seat and fold the chassis, then re-erect it in the porch, which was a pain.
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What do you think of the fold?
Pretty good. You have to remove the seat, which is a bit annoying compared to the Nipper Sport and the super-easy Babyjogger Summit X3 models, which fold in one piece, but it’s very easy to do.
With the brake on, press the buttons on either side of the seat frame, and lift the seat out. Then, pull the catches on each side of the frame to release the pushbar, and push the bar right the way over the seat, folding it in half.
Then you can just tuck the back wheels neatly underneath. There’s no frame lock but it doesn’t seem to unfold by itself no it’s not a problem. To unfold, pull the back wheels out from under the frame, then swing the pushbar all the way over the frame where it will click back into place. Simple!
Watch how to fold the Bugaboo Runner
Does the Bugaboo Runner fit in the boot of your car?
Just about. I would usually start my run from home, but for a drive to the local woods I’d need to pack it into the modest boot of our VW Golf. To do this, I had to place the chassis on its side, as the size and wide spacing of the rear wheels meant it couldn’t lie flat. I could then slot the seat alongside it but it certainly didn’t leave space for anything else.
What is the weight of the buggy and does it feel light/heavy?
The chassis alone weighs 8.8kg (19.3lbs), or 12.7kg (27.9lbs) when you include the adapters, wheels, seat and basket. So it’s not the lightest compared to other models – 10.5kg for the Thule Urban Glide, 9.8kg for the Nipper Sport – but it feels very light to push and I found it’s not too bad to carry, especially as I usually moved it in two parts as you remove the seat to fold it.
How easy is it to store?
You have to remove the seat to fold it which is great for storage as you can store the two parts separately if you’re short on space. And bear in mind if you already have an everyday Bugaboo in use, you’ll be using the seat for that so it’s only the base that needs storing. That said, the base remains unavoidably wide and bulky even when folded down, which is something to consider if it’s not going to be used every day.
How easy is it to clean this buggy and the tyres after an outing?
Very easy! The rear wheels are very easy to remove – just press the button on the wheel joint and slide it out. You’d need to unscrew the front wheel (and check the wheel tracking once you put it back on) but again it’s relatively quick to do, so you could quite easily remove the wheels to give them a rinse or wash outside after a muddy run.
The seat fabrics and even the basket are detachable and machine washable, which is a big plus after a muddy run (or for use anytime with a snacking toddler!).
Is it affordable for what it is?
A running buggy can offer enormous health benefits if you struggle to fit exercise around childcare, but it is an extra cost on top of the usual baby shopping list (car seat, pushchair, cot etc.).
If you already have a Bugaboo seat, then the cost of buying the Runner chassis is comparable to some of the most popular running pushchairs available.
However, if you are buying the whole pushchair from scratch then it’s definitely one of the more expensive brands. And after ticking safety and comfort boxes, cost is an important deciding factor for what is essentially a non-essential piece of baby gear.
What do you think of the height of the buggy?
Good. I’m pretty tall at 5’8” and I found it very comfortable to push, but if you prefer a lower pushbar it’s really easy to adjust.
Is the frame strong, durable?
Yes. My first impression as I constructed it was that it feels wonderfully sturdy and great quality. This is reassuring if you plan to put it through its paces on bumpy terrain and long runs, but I’d also expect more than one child to get plenty of wear out of it so it’s a good long-term purchase, with good prospects for selling on second-hand.
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What do you think of the handlebar?
The foam-padded handle is very comfortable to grip, and adjusting the height is very easy – you simply pull the catches in either side of the frame, and raise or lower the bar to suit your height. It is also fairly wide, which is helpful in manoeuvring the pushchair, especially around corners.
There’s a handstrap fixed to the centre of the bar, which is important to help you retain control of the buggy while running. However, this one is made from thick, stiff fabric, so while it feels very sturdy I found it dug into my wrist a bit and I couldn’t easily disengage my hand to switch sides mid run. So personally I prefer a slimmer, more flexible strap.
Does the seat recline? How many recline positions are there?
Yes – you can adjust the seat angle easily with one hand – just squeeze the clip at the top of the seat and angle it from upright to horizontal. There are three positions, ranging from practically horizontal (although the seat is v-shaped) to almost fully upright.
How comfortable does it feel for your little ones?
Very comfy! My two-year-old seemed quite happy in the seat, which has a lightly padded five-point harness with height-adjustable shoulder straps. It’s not the softest seat (the Nipper Sport is softer) but my daughter didn’t complain.
The seat also gets big plus points for being reversible, so she could switch between chatting to me or facing forwards to view the path ahead. It’s also very easy to adjust, so she could start a run in the most upright position and I could easily recline it back if she nodded off.
How is interacting with your little one when in the buggy and what do you think of the reversible seat feature?
The seat itself is great – I used it forward-facing while running as I think my two-year-old enjoyed the better view especially when we picked up speed. With the seat upright and forward-facing I couldn’t really see her, but I could hear her cheering me on and it was easy to just pop my head round the side to check in on her.
When going out for a walk I sometimes switched it to rear-facing and it was really nice to be able to see her face and talk to her as we walked. This is a lovely perk to have with a chatty toddler (especially if you wanted to distract them while travelling on public transport) but particularly reassuring if you use it with a younger baby.
What do you think of the hood? Can it be used as sun protection?
I actually found it a bit disappointing. Constructing it didn’t take long but I found feeding the three frame wires through the fabric hood a bit fiddly. When fitting it to the pushchair chassis however the three wires kept popping out until I secured them into place with the elastic loops on each side.
Once fitted, it felt a bit flimsy and didn’t pull forward or back as smoothly as I’d expect given the impressively sturdy feel of the other sections. You can unzip and extend the middle section of the hood so it almost completely covers the baby, which is very handy on a hot day or if you’re caught without the rain cover.
But sadly there’s no peekaboo panel, so once fully extended you can’t really see the baby and it’s quite close fitting to the seat, so my irritable toddler kept yanking it back as it obstructed her view. I found the Nipper Sport’s hood, which has a window and useful zip pockets along the sides, much more useful and smoother to retract.
What is the basket like?
It’s good. I really like the fact it’s included (the Nipper Sport’s basket is sold separately) and easy to access (the Thule Glide’s basket looks a little closer to the seat which could be annoying) – there’s a decent gap between the basket and the seat so you can slip in a running jacket once you’ve warmed up, or reach down for your water bottle without having to rummage.
It’s not huge (it has a 17.5l capacity) but I’d say if you’re hardy enough to risk running in inclement weather, there’s space enough to fit the raincover alongside a few snacks and a water bottle.
What age child is it best for?
The Bugaboo Runner is suitable for toddlers from nine months up to around three or four years (17kg).
My two-year-old is quite tall and seemed very comfortable, and I think the reversibility of the seat is perfect for both younger babies who want to see interact with you and curious toddlers who like a good view ahead.
However, there are other models offering a wider lifespan – the Nipper Sport can be used from newborn up to around four years (22kg), while the Thule Urban Glide has an impressive weight capacity of 34kg.
Is it easy/hard to build the product?
I found it a bit time-consuming but very easy to put together. As seems to be the norm, the user guide contains instructions in a variety of languages, using illustrations as a general guide, and these were easy to follow. In addition to erecting the frame and adding the wheels, you also have to construct the seat, which includes fixing the padded fabric seat to the seat chassis and attaching the hood.
From unpacking the boxes and reading the instructions, to assembling the seat, sun canopy, wheels and frame, the whole thing took me about 70 minutes! This was much longer than the practically preassembled Nipper Sport. However, this did mean I got to know the Bugaboo’s functions quickly, and although time consuming it wasn’t particularly tricky to put together.
Can it be used as an everyday pushchair?
Yes, but it’s not ideal. It is fairly easy to manoeuvre, even with the fixed front wheel, because it is so light, but the frame’s footprint is very bulky. It’s worth noting, however, that some models offer a flexible wheel position – the Summit X3 even has remote wheel lock on the handlebar allowing you to easily shift between fixed (for jogging) and swivel (for strolling). It is also travel system compatible, whereas the Bugaboo cannot be used with an infant car seat (or carrycot).
The flexibility of having a reversible seat makes the Bugaboo ideal for a range of ages, and the underseat basket could hold a bag or two of shopping if you popped to the supermarket. However, its main function is as a running buggy, and unless you really plan to make good use of its running features (fixed front wheel, pushbar brake, extra-large tyres etc.) then you’ll probably find a pushchair with a smaller frame, newborn-friendly seat and swivelling front wheel is a better choice for day-to-day use.
Of course if you already have a Bugaboo pushchair, you can use the seat from this and simply buy the Runner chassis.
Who would the product be most useful for?
Anyone interested in combining keeping fit and active with childcare! You can run as fast or slow as you wish, so it works for everyone from parents who marathon training to mums using maternity leave to try running for the first time.
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The Bugaboo Runner allows you to build exercise sessions into your childcare routine, saving on gym and/or babysitters, but it’s also a way to set a great fitness example to your little ones and let them enjoy the fresh air.
Its large air-filled tyres also make it a great option for country-dwellers who want to enjoy country lanes and woodland walks without their pushchair getting bogged down by mud or bumpy terrain.
Is there anything unique about this product?
The fact you can buy the chassis with or without the seat – and so use the seat from your existing Bugaboo pushchair – is fantastic, meaning fans of the brand needn’t fork out for a completely separate running pushchair.
It has all the hallmarks you’d expect from a quality running pushchair – large inflatable wheels, fixed front wheel, top-notch suspension – but the easily accessible design of the pushbar brake and the reversible seat really make it stand out from the crowd.
What is the price? Is this good value for money? Do you have to buy a lot of additional extras, which all add up or is everything included?
It’s not cheap. The Runner base has an RRP of £334, while the seat comes in at £259, plus adapters for £17, so unless you already own a Bugaboo seat you’re looking at forking out more than £600 for the full pushchair. The Nipper Sport V4 is £354.95, and the Thule Urban Glide is £435. So if you have the Bugaboo seat already it’s slightly cheaper to buy the complementary Runner base, which does come with the basket and raincover.
However, if you’re looking to buy a complete running pushchair (with the benefit of being able to sell it on when you’re done) then the Bugaboo is very much at the premium end of the market. It’s a very nicely designed pushchair if your budget can run to it (pardon the pun), but if you’re also purchasing an everyday pushchair, on a maternity budget, it’s worth considering the cheaper sport alternatives.
If you fancy splashing out, the accessories available are varied and plentiful, ranging from a number of blankets, bags, trays and holders.
I really liked using the Bugaboo Runner. It was light and smooth to push and steer, the seat angle and direction were really easy to adjust and the inclusion of a shopping basket was a bonus. Its bulky frame and luxurious price tag mean I’m not quite ready to fold up my trusty Nipper Sport just yet, but if I had an existing Bugaboo seat I’d definitely consider buying the frame.
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