Bugaboo Review – The Cameleon Summarised
The Bugaboo Cameleon has to be one of the most stylish and in demand pram / pushchairs available today. We purchased ours nearly two years ago and it's still going strong. We've changed the canopy three times from orange, to ivory to Denim Blue 007, so I feel like we've had three different Bugaboos'. The latter adds add fun element to the Bugaboo – you and your child do not get board!
The pram version is great, very solid and secure. It comes with a mattress – which seems very comfortable and always ensured my son slept well as a baby if we were out and about. The unit is easy to clip on and off the frame (once you know where to push) .The hood is easy to push up and down, although it is limited in how far it covers your baby, so the sun can shine in on their face . I bought a Bugaboo sun umbrella. It's not great to be honest and most of the time, I had to hold it at an angle over my child as the spring device is very rigid and does not stay where you want it to. A sunshade canopy is available. I also bought that, but did not use it, as it covers the hood opening so I could not see my child. (It's a silver thick mesh).
The Bugaboo is not light by any means; however this is the trade off for purchasing a design which boasts stability and ergonomic design. Having used a Maclaren on a recent trip abroad, the weight of the Bugaboo was definitely highlighted. I bought a travel case for the Bugaboo, but it was so difficult to dismountle and fit the Bugaboo unit in, that I got up and bought a Maclaren to take on the plane. However, the weight is due to the Bugaboo's stability and safety design, which for everyday use is so important. I never worry that my child is not comfortable or supported well.
The Bugaboo rain-cover fits very tightly – it actually makes it quite difficult to get on and off, as you really have to pull it. Once on though, it's great. It even has an air-window, ensuring ventilation for your little one. Once your child moves into the pushchair position, the fitting of the rain-cover becomes a little trickier. I find if I put the seat in the horizontal position, it's easier to pull on and off. My child is not always keen on this though.
The basket underneath the Bugaboo is great; very strong. I used to use to put food shopping in and was always amazing at how much it traveled. I probably should not have loaded it as much as I did, but it made life easier for me and always seemed strong enough to take. It's hidden out of the way, so your child is not bothered by it – a great addition.
The Bugaboo has fantastic steering. Its wheels make is so easy to navigate around other shoppers and obstacles which might be in your way. I whiz around the shops with little effort. The front wheels turn 360 and it's this design which makes life easy for the parent. The 4WD element is difficult to use if you are not in snow or sand, so do not use it unless you are in these conditions. Basically, you can flip the handle-bars so the big wheels are at the front. These wheels do not move and are supposedly to give better grip on a non-smooth surface. However, I did use this option in the recent snow and found it did not really help. It seemed a lot heavier to push.
On that note, you will find a difference in weight allocation once you have your child in the pushchair unit, front facing. I left the front facing option until my baby was around one as we always used to play, clapping games etc when he was facing me. However, once he started trying to look behind him, I turned the seat around. It feels very strange as there seems to be a huge void between the seat back and your legs. This may sound like an odd comment, but it means it's heavier to push. If you have your child facing you (as a toddler – if it's very windy etc you may want them facing you so they do not get a chill), you will certainly feel the difference.
The brake is on the right side of the Bugaboo and is a clip-switch which you pull and push, once you have pushed a button in. You can still push the Bugaboo when the brake is on, however the wheels are locked and so it is difficult. I do wish they had put it on the handle-bars though; as our child soon worked out how to use it (when he was sat facing me) and found it great fun to pull the brake on while we were out.
The handle-bar is soft to use and has a comfortable grip. It is adjustable in height, which is great. The Bugaboo overall is at a great height; not too high that you worry about stability, but low enough for your child to climb in and out of – which they will love doing once they start to walk.
The Bugaboo is expensive, but having spoken to friends who bought Mamas and Papas and The Quinny, I'm really glad we went for it. It's sturdy, easy to use, has great fabrics and absolutely I always think my child is safe in it. The Quinny does not have such great steerage and the Mamas and Papas are not as well made. (My friend's one fell apart!) Definitely a good buy and you'll definitely get your money's worth if you have more than one child (remember you can change the color of the canopy).