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As a first-time parent, I obsessed over every purchase for my precious little bundle of joy. One of those, of course, was the stroller. It seemed that strollers come in varying levels:
- The uber-cheap you abandon at Disneyland when you leave (no joke–we’d find random abandoned cheap strollers in Downtown Disney at 2am all the time).
- The lightweight stroller–cheap, better than an umbrella, does the job
- The lightweight deluxe stroller–better than a lightweight and umbrella, does the job well, cheaper than the high ends
- Solid stroller–the battle axe that’ll get you through
- Very expensive stroller–hopefully it’s worth the money
So given all of the above, and the fact that in SoCal we’re in and out of our cars more than just walking to the grocery store, I decided a lightweight deluxe stroller would be the best bet. After consulting Baby Bargains, the sort-of Consumer Reports type of book for baby stuff, I chose the Combi Cosmo.
First off, I paid about $120 for the Combi Cosmo. So at that price, I considered it more expensive than its lightweight counterparts ($80 for the Combi Flare, $67 for the Graco Literider, etc.) but alongside its same-price partners ($115 Maclaren Volo, $115 Chicco Liteway, etc.). I expected a stroller that performed better than the lightweight ones.
I’ve made a video demonstrating my problems with the Combi Cosmo, which I hate. Did I mention that I hate this stroller? Because I hate it. The primary problem is its lack of maneuverability. The front wheels have a mind of their own, particularly over soft surfaces (like grass) and against sidewalk cracks. I took this stroller to Disneyland, and let me tell you, Disneyland has the smoothest pavement of any place on earth because they don’t want to get sued by some idiot who trips on a crack, and even at Disneyland, the Combi Cosmo was a pain in the rear to control.
Also, the basket just stinks, it’s impossible to lock the front wheels without totally distorting your foot, and if you want to fold it and you’re by yourself, you need to ask someone else to hold your child. I ran into this problem getting on a plane, where I had to stop another mom and ask her to hold onto Mouse while I collapsed the stroller at the gate. The mom was happy to help (of course, that’s one thing I’ve learned is that a mom is more than happy to help out another mom), but it was a bit disconcerting.
The video isn’t ideal–the voice quality betrays the fact that we are amateur videographers, but here’s a basic rundown:
Clip One, I’m strolling on smooth ground and demonstrating how rickety the stroller is with one finger
Clip Two, my beef with grass
Clip Three, stroller meets sidewalk crack
Clip Four and on, you should be able to hear me from that point on.
Basically, the thing is that I would have expected this kind of performance from a $50 stroller, but not a $120 stroller. I mean, it’s not expensive per se in the stroller world, but I want my money’s worth.
I had heard that they’d redesigned the stroller for 2010, so I headed over to Babies R Us to check it out. The fabric was indeed different, and they added a pocket to the back, but the basket was the same, and the handling was the same to me. I popped Mouse in and gave it a spin in the store, and it performed okay in the glass-smooth surface of the BRU floor (perhaps they don’t want people to sue them either), though the one-hand steering was still difficult. They wouldn’t let me take it outside for a sidewalk crack test, imagine that, but I did bring a small blanket to throw on the ground to simulate a soft surface and had the same problem. Plus I got a really strange look from the sales associate as I ran their stroller over and over a baby blanket, and then put my kid back into my own stroller and did the same thing. At any rate, if they did change it, I don’t think they changed it enough.
The stroller I have now that I love love love is the Baby Jogger City Mini. I can’t recommend that enough, and although it’s more expensive, if I’d saved the money on this piece of crap Combi, it would be cheaper than buying both and having a stroller in the garage that I can’t use.
Filed under: Product, Review | Tagged: chicco liteway, combi cosmo dx, combi cosmo flare, combi stroller, graco literider, mclaren volo, negative stroller review, stroller review, The Scriv, The Scrivener |