Dear reader, I jumped for joy at the opportunity to test drive the hot-off-the-presses Bugaboo Donkey for you all. (Right. For you.) It is the most talked-about stroller I’ve ever seen, and I had been ogling it online ever since I first heard about it last fall.
Let me start off by saying that I had never used a double stroller before this month. I just had my second baby in late April and was determined to force my toddler son into walking everywhere rather than buying a double stroller. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.
I quickly discovered that getting anywhere–even to the corner bodega–would take no less than 45 minutes, a half a dozen time-outs and many tears of frustration–mine and his. I realized a double buggy purchase was imminent.
Needless to say, I was delighted when the stroller gods listened, and offered up a Donkey loaner.
The Bugaboo Donkey (the name still makes me giggle) is designed to be a stroller that can grow with you, and can be adapted into three different configurations. The Duo accommodates a bassinet side-by-side with a seat, the Twin is for two kids in seats or bassinets, and what’s particularly interesting is that it also can be used with a single seat or bassinet, plus a big ol’ storage basket right next to it.
From top: Twin, Duo, Mono configurations
I chose the Duo, and when it arrived, I practically tore the box open and attempted to put it together myself. Then I went to the Bugaboo website and saw that the directions had no words, just pictures, and I decided to wait for my husband to get home. Instructions written in mime
are not so easy to follow.
Once we did get it up and running, I had great fun toying with the convertible-ness of it. One of the coolest things about the Donkey how easy it is to transform between configurations, or rotate the seats from forward to back with just a few snaps of handles and pushes of the frame. Really easy. I promise.
And if you’ve only got one kid with you, with little effort you can also slide the frame together to convert a wide double into an actual single stroller. It really is genius.
(Check out the nifty Bugaboo Donkey videos to see it in action)
In the Duo position, the stroller is 29″ wide, and Bugaboo claims it’s the narrowest luxury side-by-side on the market. That’s a little like saying the smallest minivan on the market. This stroller is still huge. And as luck would have it, I live in an old brownstone with a door that’s a bit smaller than standard. It took about 5 minutes of clever maneuvering and angling before I had my beast of burden out the door. This task had to be done with the bassinet removed while both kids waited inside; but I’d imagine that’s not a problem most parents will have.
However once I got it out the door? Wow. It was hard not to feel like a celebrity when walking down the street with my new accessory. Bugaboos in my Brooklyn neighborhood are about as ubiquitous as indie coffee shops. But I had yet to spot a Donkey, and apparently, I was not alone. When I steered the comely stroller into an upscale children’s boutique in my hood, there was an audible gasp, followed by a point, from a mommy shopping inside. I got more than few “nice
stroller” catcalls from fellow pedestrians and I could feel the envious stares at the playground. It is definitely a conversation starter.
Getting in and out of doors takes some getting used to, as with any double stroller, though the Donkey did manage to fit nicely through every door I wanted to go into (besides my own!). The Donkey was surprisingly light to push, though I did have a few issues with the front wheels randomly locking while out and about. All in all, it proved to be a very smooth ride. Those air wheels are a godsend.
The stroller frame is also car seat compatible, and has a two-wheel position in case you need to drag it over sand or rougher terrain. Other cool things: it’s got a one-hand recline (either seat operates independently), and the stroller has a neat standing fold.
While pushing my two boys in the Bugaboo Donkey, I realized the side-by-side facing seats had
more perks than I had realized. When my newborn started wailing, my toddler reached his arm into the bassinet and took the baby’s hand to comfort him. In my book, that sight alone is worth the rather steep price of admission.
Is this stroller for everyone? Of course not. But if you can afford it, it’s a marvel of engineering designed to grow with your family. In fact, you can stick a board on the back so it can haul three kids together. But I’m not even close to thinking about that. -Melissa
You can order the Bugaboo Donkey in three configurations, Mono ($1,199), Duo ($1,499) or Twin ($1,659). That simply means you’re ordering your own combination of stroller seats and bassinets. Find a retailer like Giggle or Magic Beans in your ‘hood on Bugaboo.com. It cannot be purchased online at this time.