The right stroller for your precious cargo.

The right stroller for your precious cargo.

The right stroller for your precious cargo.

How to be the best consumer you can be.
Oct. 25 2005 7:31 AM

He's Having a Baby

And needs a stroller pronto.

(Continued from Page 3)

The Driver Experience: The Geoffrey is the branded, giraffe-print version of the barest-bones stroller out there: a mesh seat over a tubular steel frame with a uselessly tiny canopy and mesh storage bag.

The rubber-coated, curved handles are shaped like umbrellas, and they were too low for me and most everyone I saw pushing these rigs; we all drove hunched over. Don't bother hanging any bags on these handles, either. While the Geoffrey falls open easily, closing it is scary and involves flipping a spring-loaded safety lever that looks the business end of a box cutter.

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The Passenger Experience: With only a three-point harness (no shoulder straps), the kid seemed free to go tumbling into the street at any moment. (She didn't, of course.) In one- to two-hour stints and when granted liberal pushing privileges, the kid didn't complain.

Who It Is For: The family in Times Square in immediate need of a stroller. The Geoffrey won't win any comfort or ergonomics awards, but this cheap, light rig hauls a tired kid around just fine, at least for the day.

Celebrity Parent-Spotting: Ummm ...

If It Were a Car: a college student's trusty old Honda Civic.

Umbrella-Style Verdict: The Volo is great, but is it four times as good as the Geoffrey? Probably not. You will get 60 percent of the way there with a $21 novelty stroller. If you can count the number of times you'll use it on your fingers, a cheap stroller could be as good as a top-of-the-line model. Of course, if you're going to use it regularly, or if you're the kind of person who won't consider the cheapest of anything, your decision's already made: the Volo.

Urban/All-Terrain Strollers
City sidewalks have seen a boom in the number of rugged, "all-terrain" strollers. Like SUVs, they inspire passionate opinions, pro and con. But unlike SUVs, which are designed for off-road adventure drivers may never face, strollers in the city encounter plenty of potentially rough terrain—grass, cobblestones, gravel, potholes. All-terrain strollers are practical for many urban dwellers.

Phil & Ted's e3 Buggy
Click image to expand.

The Driver Experience: Originally invented for running around New Zealand, the three-wheeled Phil & Ted's squeezes versatility out of a specialized design. With its wedgelike seat cantilevered over big balloon tires (the front pivot locks for jogging) and a tubular steel base, the e3 feels a bit too bottom-heavy. The tires give a smooth ride, but they also limit maneuverability; I was quite clumsy navigating in and out of small shops in the West Village. And while opening the e3 is straightforward, folding it is inexplicable. I schlepped it up and down subway stairs OK, but elevators were a welcome sight. Nonetheless, it repeatedly impressed me with its thoughtful, functional design.

The Passenger Experience: The seat design is simple, smart, and clean. It can hold a car seat, and it can be used safely from birth. * Thanks to a series of zippers and straps, the seat converts into a bellowslike cocoon for an infant or a sleeping child.