It’s got to be said: I’ve never been a big fan of the in-line stroller concept. I was always worried that the poor kid in the bottom kind of gets the shaft, staring at the back of a seat for the whole ride. Much to my surprise however, all it took was one look at the phil & ted’s Verve stroller with the double kit attached, for my kids to start fighting over who would get to ride in that bottom seat first.

Guess I was wrong.

We really enjoyed our time trying out the Verve. It’s a sleek stroller–about 10% more compact than phil & ted’s that handles very well on all terrain. (Looking down at the rear-wheel covers, though, I’m not sure it would be the greatest in heavy snow.)

There are lots of great features on the Verve to make life easier–the handlebar adjusts to all kinds of heights, both seats recline quite easily and with one-hand (though one seat does require two hands to get it back up), the buckles are easy to adjust, and don’t require the strength of ten men to undo. Plus there’s great suspension which makes for a smooth and easy ride, while the top canopy is easily adjustable to move with the sun to provide lots of coverage.

The stroller is designed to be useful through a variety of child stages, starting with one newborn and going right through to two big kids. They say it goes up to age six (or 44 lbs), but I think my six-year-old would be a giant in it.

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the brake.The wonderful brake! It’s a hand-operated brake that’s by far the best I’ve ever used. Just push a button to lock it and push a different one to unlock it. Totally easy.

I love that it’s a stroller that a family expecting their first baby can buy, use the whole way through, and then add the double kit to keep using it when baby number two arrives.

I must admit, however, that there are a number of features I don’t love. The rear canopy is tiny, even for my small 3.5 year-old–plus, it has to be removed in order to fold the stroller with the double kit attached. That said, it does fold up with the double kit attached, and takes up very little space.

Also, there’s not much storage for you when the double kit is in use, since the second child’s feet have to go in the space that would be the storage basket. I also found the wheel protectors don’t really seem to cover enough of the wheel. I asked my daughter to touch the wheel while sitting in the lower seat and she could do it easily. I would worry a bit about little fingers finding their way where they don’t belong–although I do know tons of parents who have used it without issue.

Still, I know there are lots of people looking for in-line strollers, and for you, the benefits of this one certainly outweigh the few complaints I have.

In fact, it’s targeted to city moms, and I imagine that if one wanted to ride the subway with a double, an in-line like this would be the best option, if you’ve got a little help getting it down the stairs. Doesn’t mean you won’t get some evil glares on the train, but it would certainly be better than a more unwieldy side-by-side stroller.

Now I’m still a side-by-side double stroller girl at heart. But having tested the Verve I can certainly see the merit of the in-line. They’re easy to maneuver around urban areas, totally doorway-friendly, and a great way to transport two young children without feeling too much like a pack mule. If you’re looking for a small-footprint, narrow, easy-to-use double you will surely love this stroller. Provided you can handle the daily argument over who gets to ride in the bottom seat.

See the phil & ted Verve stroller at an indie toy or baby gear store near you, and see the phil & ted’s site for a great chart comparing the features of all the phil & ted strollers.