Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bugaboo Donkey Update

You may have read my earlier post about my new Bugaboo Donkey (if you missed it, click here to read it), and how I loved it. However,  things have changed a little and I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you. 

As I said previously, I adore the Chameleon. I loved everything about it, even the fact that it was pretty cumbersome, I still adored it. The decision to buy the Donkey wasn't a very difficult one as a result. The only hesitation I had was it's width, as our hallway is not particularly wide, and this buggy most certainly is. I made the decision to learn to climb over it, which in practice was not the best idea, especially being pregnant, but I can't criticise the buggy for this! If you are thinking about it, do measure your hall, and try and picture carrying a toddler or baby past the obstacle, to make sure it works for you, as both my husband and I found it very annoying. It also didn't fit in other people's hallways, which wasn't the end of the world, but a touch irritating, when it's pouring with rain and you really want to dash inside!

The reason for this post isn't to do with the width of the Donkey, but more about the design and performance. In theory, it is similar to the Chameleon, a dream to push, very sturdy and practical. But, I feel that this is where the similarities end. My main criticism is the safety straps, in the toddler seat. They are just too short. My daughter is not huge, she's on the skinny side if anything, and only 19 months, but the straps, at their very longest, only just fit around her, and can dig in quite tightly if she moves. as a result, every time we tried to put her in it, she would sob and wail, and a battle would ensue. I spoke to John Lewis about my issues (read on for how amazing they were) and they said that this was simply a design flaw, and not a fault. So, if you are thinking about buying a Donkey, please check that your child will fit in the straps!

Secondly, something I only discovered in the last week or so, in our current monsoon conditions, is that the raincover does not fit over the foot muff. Fifi literally has to have her feet in the air in order to get it on the frame, which when being tightly squeezed by the too short straps, results in more tears and a soaking wet mum, trying to get the cover on, get her comfortable, while sparing no time to keep herself dry. Epic! Again, this is just a design flaw according to John Lewis, and not due to a mis-sized or faulty raincover (or an overly large toddler). Again, try it out before you buy it!

Other issues we have had include the rear wheel going flat on several occasions (and pumping up the wheels is pretty fiddly, especially when nearly 7 months pregnant), and the sheer weight of the animal! I am tall and although no weight lifter, do not struggle to lift my toddler. However, getting the Donkey into the back of the car requires two things. One, a Herculean effort from the lifter, and secondly a car boot of epic proportions. We live in Fulham, so obviously have a four by four (that is meant to be a joke, but we do actually have one. My husband cycles to work though, so I hope that cancels it out....), and the Donkey only just squeezes in, with no room to spare for anything else. By the time baby number two arrives (with his car seat, toys changing kit etc) we will be upgrading to a Routemaster. So if you have anything other than an enormous car, think carefully about buying a Donkey if you ever want to take it anywhere!

So, feeling a bit upset, but trying not to dwell on it (after all, I had wanted this thing for ages and spent considerable effort nagging Mr. G in order to get one), my husband finally had enough on Saturday and packed it into the car (Fifi and I were strapped to the roof) and took it to John Lewis to have a moan. Being British and find any form of complaining awkward (Mr. G is British, but I think boarding school knocked those inhibitions out of him, while he was in the 'Louder you talk the more people like you' lessons), Fifi and I hid in the toy section. After a good hour, Mr. G marched out of the pram customer service section looking triumphant but sheepish. The very kind and generous manager had spent 55 minutes telling him that our issues were design flaws, not faults covered by the manufacturing warranty, but just as Mr. G was accepting defeat (I need to ask her for some tips, that has never happened to me), she realised that one the straps was sewn on wrong. This wasn't the cause of the shortness, but it was a manufacturing fault, so we could get a refund. 

So, the very generous and helpful pram manager, talked us through all of the other double buggy options, and we decided on the Phil and Teds Explorer. It arrives on Friday, so I'll keep you posted on how we go with this one, but if you are shopping for a double, make sure you really think about what you need and what will work for you. And do try it out with your little one before you buy it!


  1. Hi
    We have a donkey too and we have the same issues with it. The short straps are really annoying - i now only strap my son (2.5y) around the waist. Same with the wheels - we had a puncture twice in the last month. I mostly use it as a single now and get my son to stand on a buggy board.
    Cant wait to hear all about the phil&teds.
    By the way love your blog.

  2. HI There

    Just found your blog as we're looking at getting a double buggy. I'm starting on my husband about how great the Donkey is and just doing some research. I really wanted to know how people use it as a tandem, our children will be a similar age difference (19 months) - so I wonder for how long I will use it as a tandem. Thanks for the info. Have you blogged about the P&T yet? That's the one my husband prefers, but I don't like how the children face away from you. I'll try and keep an eye out for any review you do on the P&T.

  3. I have a donkey and a Phil and teds. the donkey is by far the better buggy and worth its weight In gold! The Phil and teds is a faff to put second child in, is far too long and I find it harder to load into car. having twins the donkey was the only option for me. yes I get punctures but I can live with them!! I also get many envious looks as I stroll down the street....If its good enough for Mariah Carey its good enough for me!!

  4. I purchased a donkey for my twins and found the thing to be completely overrated. Here are the pros: (1) it is a pleasure to push around (easy-peasy), (2) it allows you two switch the seats around, so the kids can face you, and (3) it is a good looking stroller. The list of cons, however, is way longer: (1) it is a pain in the ass to fold and transport (yeah, nothing else fits in the car and we own and SUV), (2) it tips over if you hang anything on the handle bar, (3) it is way overpriced and the company charges you for every little thing extra (rain covers, sun covers, cup holders, car seat adapters - the list is never ending and everything is extra pricey because of the label's inflated price point), (3) things break on this darn thing all the time, which really means this made in china stroller is sold at the wrong price point, (4) the straps are a pain (my kids start screaming every time I pull them on), (5) never mind going into stores with that thing -- it is too wide, and (6) the customer service at Bugaboo is not terribly helpful.

    I'm keeping a positive outlook on this stroller only because of one thing: the resell value is great. I'm sure to find a sucker who wants to drive around the BMW of strollers (minus the ingenuity of a BMW).

    Mariah Carey? Who gives a ....

  5. Just found your blog via Google! Very Nice.

    I am looking for the best fibre made baby mattresses online & Jobelles give you quality products with free mattresses protector.

  6. I purchased a donkey duo in April and I truly love it only thing is that the back tire went flat and the fold is huge! However it is a double and it gets the kids and me around just fine.Pros: pushes like a dream and can accommodate 2 kids different ages.Cons:Large bulky fold and flat tires.

  7. I purchased a donkey duo in April and I truly love it only thing is that the back tire went flat and the fold is huge! However it is a double and it gets the kids and me around just fine.Pros: pushes like a dream and can accommodate 2 kids different ages.Cons:Large bulky fold and flat tires.

  8. My donkey arrived yesterday, after trying out every single double pram option we kept coming back to this every time, I believe the straps have been changed now & when I put my 16 month old in yday he had loads of room & the straps were very roomy. It is big, there is no denying that! It's like a bus but I don't drive & I need something I can transport my 2 beasts about in 😂 I am a bit in love with it & I am very happy so far. I'm going to have to figure out a way to get out of the house though as it doesn't fit past my shed...fail...but that's my own fault not the prams. . . Haha


Please leave lots of comments or feedback! x

Read all about it....