The Breakdown: Status Strollers

By Blythe Copeland | Boston Magazine |

Parents eager to maintain their coolness quotient have taken to it in droves, but is high-end baby transport worth rolling out the dough for? We take the trend for a spin.


By the time most weary couples reach the stroller section of their baby registry, they’re happy to pick any old Graco and head home for a nap. But chic new European models—like the Bugaboo, which debuted locally at Bambini Design in 2003, and now the much hyped Quinny Buzz (pictured below), which Magic Beans in Brookline and Wild Child in Arlington say they can’t keep in stock—may give parents-to-be a cause to splurge. Each has its fans: Celebrity moms Jennifer Garner, Gwen Stefani, and Heidi Klum tote their tots in Bugaboos, while other enraptured parents are setting up blogs devoted to the Quinny (rumored to have been widely smuggled into the States before its federally approved version arrived). So what makes these brands the Mercedes and BMW of the stroller market?

Pretty Persuasion Don’t underestimate the value of great curb appeal. Many new parents yearn to remain true to the trendy, styleconscious people that they were before baby wipes replaced Balenciaga—and therefore will shell out extra for a Bugaboo or a Quinny in part because it’s streamlined and chic.

Joint Efforts Like most strollers, the upscale brands sport aluminum frames, but theirs have fewer joints (thanks to innovations like the Quinny’s X-shape design). When necessary, stroller frames are connected by plastic joints; however, the Bugaboo and the Quinny use joints that are thicker and much sturdier—and therefore longer-lasting—than those of their more economical counterparts.

Weight Lifter The Quinny’s most celebrated feature is its hydraulic lift system, which allows for hands-free unfolding: Parents tap a button with their foot to activate, leaving both arms available for juggling gear and calming a fussy infant. When not in use, the Quinny, unlike most Bugaboo models, can be folded with its seat still attached.

Wheel Deal Old-school strollers are recognized by their wheels: four fixed sets of two, which are usually plastic with a rubber coating. The Bugaboo and the Quinny both use larger back wheels with air-filled inner tubes, like those in bike tires, which offer more traction and better suspension. The Bugaboo can even be configured to put the bigger wheels in front for navigating rougher terrain; it also can be pulled on two wheels for traveling on the beach.

Smooth Moves Boston’s crowded sidewalks and bumpy cobblestones make easy maneuvering a top priority. On the Bugaboo and the Quinny, the large rear wheels and small front wheels allow for tighter steering. And their high-tech suspension systems let moms and dads push with less force, so wheeling around one of the pricier four-wheeled strollers isn’t as taxing as the classic eight-wheeled version can be.

Quinny Buzz, $500, available at Wild Child, 397 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 781-483-3566, wildchildgear.com; Magic Beans, 312 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-264-2326, mbeans.com.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2007/08/the-breakdown-status-strollers/