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Bugging Out

Sizing up the new Bugaboo Bee

There was a crazy amount of buzz surrounding the debut of the Bugaboo Bee in 2007. People were anxiously awaiting the arrival of a compact, lightweight and easy-to-fold yet durable buggy with a reversible seat. Then it arrived in stores, and, well, “I HATED it,” says our gear expert, Jamie Grayson. The seat was way too narrow, and had these bizarro arm flaps that, to be fair, covered a finger-pinching hazard. The canopy crowded toddlers, and the seat back had an awkward curve that was ergonomically wonky. “I often saw children stuffed uncomfortably into the seat, slumped over with their arms thrust forward because of the flaps and canopy,” says Grayson. All in all, it was a major disappointment.

Now, three years later we are just two weeks away from the debut of the “New Generation Bee.” Our team spent the past week poking, prodding and pushing the new Bee all around town and are happy to report that it rocks. ROCKS. “Aesthetically, it’s much cuter than the original Bee,” states Grayson. “The canopy is much shorter—so kids can actually see out and look around now—and is attached to a height-adjustable seat. The seat is a whopping 2.3 inches wider, while the stroller’s overall footprint only increased by a half-inch), and the back has been redesigned to support the natural curve of the spine. AND the flaps are gone: no more “zombie arms” for the tots.” So for starters, it’s cuter and more comfortable. It’s also way more convenient: everything from adjusting the height of the handlebar and seat back to expanding the seat depth to reversing the seat is ridiculously easy. (Reversing the seat direction is actually easier than reversing the seat on the Frog or Cameleon.) “The suspension has been tweaked, and the stroller now feels incredibly sturdy,” adds Grayson.

“Bugaboo has also stepped up the accessories,” he says. “The footmuff is now universal, they are introducing really fantastic seat liners this summer, and the Breezy Sun Canopy now comes with a zip-in sun/bug screen attachment. It’s terrific.” As for the new iPhone handlebar holder, we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it’s a multi-tasker’s lifesaver, or an unnecessary distraction.

Bottom line for NYC parents: While the Bee might not handle sidewalk bumps and curb ramps quite as gracefully as the Cameleon or Frog, it’s a smooth-riding, well-made stroller with a reclining, reversible seat, plus car seat compatibility for newborns and a small footprint for crowded stores and sidewalks. Plus, the easy fold and light weight (under 20 pounds!) make it great for public transportation.

New Generation Bugaboo Bee; $600 (plus $49 for canopy)
Available May 1st at giggle, BuyBuy Baby, and bugaboo.com