Though Baby Jogger has come out with dozens of strollers over years, the City Elite is by far one which stands out and completely outshines from the rest. The intention of this Baby Jogger City Elite stroller review is to give you a comprehensive and an unbiased look at this one-of-a-kind baby stroller.
The City Elite not only outshines the rest of their own line, but really all the other three-wheel front swivel wheel stroller models out there on the market.
Baby Jogger, which has been around since the mid 1980s. The brand is renowned worldwide, especially in North America, Europe and Australia for their many models and versions of decent strollers, over years.
In this article:
- Stats & Dimensions
- The Seat
- Ease of Driving
- Overall Comfort
- The Mechanics: Handle, Central Locking, Brake System, Suspension, Swivel Lock and Front Wheel
Let’s dive right into the details:
1. Stats & Dimensions
- The City Elite weighs about 11.50 Kgs (25 pounds)
- It has a max carrying capacity of 34 Kgs (75 pounds)
- Of the 34 Kgs, about 10 Kgs (22 pounds) capacity is for the shopping basket
- When folded, it settles down at 85 x 70 x 40 cms – with the wheels
Note: The wheels are very easy to remove and can make the stroller considerably smaller and make some space.
2. The Seat
The first and the most important thing you need to know as a parent about three-wheeled strollers’ seating is – the facing. From the perspective of design, a three-wheeled forward-facing stroller is relatively superior and comfortable than those with reversible seat options for just one key reason: It is functionally simpler and offers more comfort for the baby.
The highest point on the stroller is the handle and the lowest is the wheels. As regards 3-wheel forward facing strollers, manufacturers basically suspend the seat from the frame. This way, you get to avoid all the mechanics involved in having a separate seat unit, therefore eliminate things that could possibly go wrong.
Another advantage with the suspended seat is that it can be much larger, since it can extend from one arm to the other. This also means that it can fit lower as well, as you don’t need to necessarily have a point for attaching a seat frame. Most of all, suspended seat means that more can be done with the lower area of the stroller, one of them being that you can have a full 12 inch front-wheel on three-wheelers.
3. Ease of Driving
If you want the experience of driving the Baby Jogger City Elite to be summed up in one word, it would be: Smooth!
The City Elite can tolerate and easily navigate just about any terrain comfortably – hands down! In fact, one can go as far as to say that the Elite arguably has the most unparalleled drivability, which is the prime reason why if at all there are problems, it happens very occasionally.
4. Overall Comfort
Comfort-wise, the City Elite in fact checks 5 important boxes, as it:
- Is lightweight
- Has a huge seat with a fantastic recline
- Has a good canopy
- Is incredibly easy to fold
- Occupies less space as it is small and compact when folded
Note: The Baby Jogger City Elite’s fold is by far the best in the market, thanks to its patented Easy Fold technology.
On the flip side, it is a little inconvenient to access the shopping basket when the seat is in recline. However, that’s a common challenge among all three-wheel strollers.
There is also a general concern about the stroller tipping when you’re parked and not holding the stroller, which is actually a myth propagated by people who senselessly hang too heavy items on one of the stroller’s handles. In fact, all strollers do tip over backwards if you hang too much stuff from the handles.
For purposes of safety, in case you’re using the City Elite with a 3 or 4 year old in full recline, just make sure you hold the handle if you’re on an inclined surface.
5. The Mechanics
The first and foremost reason why the Baby Jogger City Elite stroller has great drivability, is because it has very large wheels, which makes the stroller capable of driving on varied terrains.
If at all there is a problem then that can occur with the stroller, it is invariably going to be the fact that people use it too harsh and misuse it in a mindless manner. For instance, hanging a lot of stuff on the handle from either side or both sides and using it over bumpy terrains will obviously lead to some problems.
Let us look at the 6 aspects of City Elite’s mechanics, starting with the:
The City Elite’s handle is built from a good quality aluminium that is relatively lightweight yet durable in nature. As discussed earlier, if at all there are likely to be some problems, it will only be because of mindless driving over varied terrains with excess weight on the handles, which could create stress on the top handle which has several sections that are screwed together.
If one is indeed (mis)using it mindlessly but at least checks the screw-points now-and-then, in particular, then the handle won’t have problems. It’s worth stressing, that the City Elite’s handle is indeed built strong and it’s usually due to misuse that a vast majority of the problems occur and never otherwise.
ii) Central Locking
Baby Jogger City Elite’s central locking system is called the Easy Fold system, which is in fact patented. The system is incredibly easy to activate and is designed such, that it snaps upright and the rest of the parts spread out way from each other properly.
Though the mechanism is easy to use, the materials used for the mechanism is pretty sturdy and made of metal. A pair of metal gear, teeth discs and a clover shaped metal piece makes the many sections from the central locking mechanism to spring out and fall in place.
There are other models of Baby Jogger that are built on a simpler system but they are not quite as sturdy as the City Elite. However, the original Easy Fold mechanism is a huge positive.
Having said, when you have anything that is built so easy to use that it’s too good to be true, it is going be relatively complex with its mechanisms and is going to have some small parts that makes it work.
Small parts mean there are going to occasional problems, but as discussed earlier, we are talking about problems after 5 or 6 years of no attention at all! In other words, if you treat it the stroller with care, you’re not going to see any issues. Overall it’s a very well-designed mechanism.
iii) Brake System
The City Elite comes with hand brakes. Originally, it had a foot brake system which was relatively simpler. Though it did have some issues, it was few in number. In general however, the hand brake system is good.
Having said, since the (unnecessary) complexity of the brake when activated involves a series of shafts, springs and pins that are eventually get to the wheel to apply the brake, you may sometimes have issues with rust and grit.
However, you can do away with it by regular lubrication. It is important to remember that Baby Jogger has been improving its brake system over the years.
If in the (mostly unlikely) event you do face problems with the brake system, you can easily get a spare from Baby Jogger and install it yourself.
Baby Jogger City Elite does not have any inbuilt suspension units. Now hold on. Just relax, as it doesn’t mean that the stroller feels like it lacks suspension while driving. In fact, when you’re using the City Elite, it functions quite well on terrain without any sorts of large springs.
Thanks to its design, the suspension actually comes from the shape of the chassis. This also means that a lot of the pressure the stroller takes while functioning on different terrains is actually taken by the handle. This is exactly why it becomes very important not to misuse this stroller by hanging too much weight on the handle (which we have discussed very elaborately above).
The City Elite is not a jogging stroller but it is an all-terrain stroller. This means it is very good outdoors and it’s very good on terrain, but it’s not meant to have a more weight than is recommended for it (34 Kgs/75 pounds).
Note: Baby Jogger does have models that are specially designed and built for jogging.
v) Swivel Lock
While the City Elite does have a decent and sturdy swivel lock mechanism, it however does require some lubrication on a regular basis to keep it functioning well. This axle may loosen occasionally but the design is such that fixing it is quite easy.
vi) Front Wheel
The tyres of City Elite’s wheels are foam-filled and made of a good quality. The quality is so good that it is by far the best setup as far as tyres go when compared to similar competing models. Practically speaking though, not having air-filled tyre does mean you lose a bit on suspension. However, foam-filled tyres are designed and done well, and also works well, there is hardly anything to be concerned.
As regards ball bearings in the wheels, the way the City Elite is set up is such, that you won’t have any issues with them. The much earlier models of Baby Jogger before the City Elite did have some problems, though not too often. However, those issues were fixed several years ago, which means we’re talking about really old models.
One of the best yardsticks you can use to gauge the durability of a stroller is by knowing how soon and how often it hits the workshop. The Baby Jogger City Elite hitting the workshop is a rarity. And if at all it does hit the workshop, it is usually well after its 5th or 6th year – and probably with lots of misuse!
When it comes to longevity therefore, this stroller is in a different league altogether when compared to a lot of strollers out there. In fact, there are many Baby Jogger City Elites around the world that are 10 or 12 years old that are still driving well with very minimal or no issues.
So, is the Baby Jogger City Elite the right stroller for you? Well, if you are indeed okay for a stroller with a forward-facing seat, then yes, the City Elite is for you. As a matter of fact, there are very few reasons, if at all there is, for not choosing this this stroller.
As discussed in the beginning of this baby jogger city elite stroller review, it is lightweight yet sturdy, easy to fold, compact, has a big seat and is highly capable across terrains.
You therefore simply can’t ask for more, unless of course you’re looking for an ultra-compact stroller since you are highly mobile and travel regularly; or you need a jogging stroller as jogging is an absolutely essential and non-negotiable part of your daily routine.
If you use it right, treat it well, check the screws if they are tight and lubricate regularly so that it doesn’t overburden the handle, the City Elite indeed last pretty long.
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