Spotlight Product Review: Bugaboo Donkey

bugaboo donkey review

It is one of the most anticipated (and hyped up!) strollers to hit the market!  Anytime a store charges you $100 to the red carpet event just to get a peek – you know it’s hot!  Whether it is chatter about Bugaboo finally debuting a double stroller or talk about the fact that it will set you back $1600, the stroller with the funny name is the talk of the town.  Of course, we are talking about the Bugaboo Donkey, the long-awaited convertible stroller from the company that started the whole luxury stroller craze. 

Sure, it’s a funny name but so was Google when it first launched.  And Google isn’t doing too bad, last time we checked!  We have gotten so used to the name that we don’t even give it a second thought. 

The Donkey is a mono-duo-twin stroller that will change to fit your needs.  It converts from a single stroller to a double stroller to a twin stroller to accommodate your situation. 

Let’s start with the Donkey in mono mode.  At first glance, we thought the Donkey was much wider than other single strollers.  Not so.  Since the handlebar is the widest part of the stroller, it’s an optical illusion.  We measured the widest part of the Donkey in mono mode and it is the same as the Bugaboo Cameleon and 2 inches skinnier than the Uppa Baby VISTA. 

The seat is roomy to accommodate a rider up to 37.5 lbs.  Since that is a pretty random number, we are going to go out on a limb and say it’s good for kids up to 40 lbs.  The seat isn’t the widest at 11 inches (2 inches skinnier than the Cameleon seat) but the tall seat back of 20” and the seatback to canopy measurement of 25” accommodated our 4 year old tester just fine.

The seat sports a padded, 5-point harness with a buckle that was too tricky for our 4 year old to master right away.  We love that it has a no-rethread harness that all you have to do is slide it up and down to accommodate children of different sizes.  The seat has a padded bumper bar that is removable but not swing-away. 

The seat is reversible to allow your baby to face mom or out at the world by pressing two white buttons.  A fun fact about the Donkey is that everything that is white (levers, buttons, brake) on the stroller has a function. We love the unique feature of memory lock buttons to reverse the seat.  That means you can reverse the seat with just one hand.  Similar to other luxury strollers, instead of just the back of the seat reclining, the entire seat on the Donkey reclines back easily with a large, one-handed lever. The seat keeps its wide “v” shape and has two positions forward facing (upright and half-way back) and three positions parent-facing (upright, half-way back and fully reclined). 

The Donkey canopy is large and full-coverage but it is missing a peek-a-boo window.  Maybe fancy people don’t need to keep an eye on their little rider? The handlebar is fabulous!  It telescopes from 33” to 42” from ground to handlebar.  Even though 42” sounds pretty standard today, the handlebar shoots out and up so that it keeps you quite far from the frame of the stroller.  Even our tallest mama and dada friends won’t kick this stroller with a long stride.  The handlebar extends away from the stroller so much that you won’t get kicked by your parent-facing child either. 

Since Donkeys are known to carry lots of stuff, the Donkey doesn’t disappoint in storage.  There is a fabulous upper basket in mono mode that allows you to keep all your stuff within quick reach.  While the upper basket may seem weird to some, we love it!  All our stuff is right there for us to grab, plus the basket is removable and sports handles to take it on the go.  It really is too fun!  If that upper basket isn’t enough (plus, in duo mode – it goes away!), there is also a large bottom basket underneath the seat.  The lower basket sports three mesh pockets to keep things secure and the basket is large enough for a large diaper bag plus other on-the-go essentials.

Instead of walking, the Donkey rolls on 10″ front and 12″ rear, air-filled tires. Bugaboo even gives you an air-pump to upkeep the proper air pressure.  See what you get for $1200 (in mono mode)! The front wheels are swivel wheels that have the ability to lock straight for navigating bumpier terrain. With the large, air-filled tires, the Donkey is definitely an all-terrain stroller.  It tackles everything from grass to playground mulch to sand and snow.  The stroller doesn’t have a typical stroller suspension system that you can see on the outside.  The suspension is built into the tires similar to bikes.  Even though you can’t see the suspension system, the ride is very smooth for baby. 

The maneuverability is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  We are talking push with your pinkie easy!  Or better yet, I could possibly push it with my breath.  Bugaboo must sprinkle some type of maneuverability magic on their strollers because they are the easiest to push stroller around.  Even full loaded in duo mode, I can maneuver the stroller easily with one hand. 

Another great feature of the Donkey is the two wheel mode. You can slide the back and front wheels together to allow you to easily pull the stroller (with kids aboard) in sand and snow.   There is a linked, rear parking brake that is easy to do with one step on the white pedal. 

Now the main feature of the Donkey is the ability to turn from a single stroller into a side-by-side double!  It’s the first in the stroller world to expand a stroller like the Donkey expands.  Unclip three clips, push a white button on the center bar, and pull the Donkey apart to expand it to accommodate a second seat or bassinet.  It really is brilliant!  Plus, we love that it turns into a side-by-side because we think those types of strollers really are the easiest to push!

The donkey in duo mode can accommodate two seats, two bassinets, a seat and bassinet or two car seats.  Yep, you heard us right – TWO infant car seats at once!  Now, it only takes two Maxi Cosi seats at the same time and it does make the stroller wider than a standard doorway, but the double travel system feature is really great!  If you want to use one infant car seat at a time, the stroller will take either a Graco or a Maxi Cosi.

The versatility in duo/twin modes is great!  You can mix and match seats, infant car seats and bassinets to accommodate your needs.  Plus, the seats don’t have to both be facing the same way.  One seat can be parent-facing while the other faces the world or both facing in or out. 

Weighing in at 33 lbs in mono mode and 38 ½ lbs in duo mode (with two seats attached), the Donkey isn’t the lightest stroller on the market.  In mono mode, we didn’t have too much trouble lifting it in and out of our trunks but when you add the second seat, the stroller is H-E-A-V-Y and takes a bit more muscle if you fold it and lift it with both seats attached. The seats are so easy to remove if you would like to lighten the lifting load though.

The stroller is pretty easy to fold.  Lift two white levers on the handlebar to fold the handlebar down to the ground, then you pretty much squish the front and the back of the donkey together.  It doesn’t have a transport lock but it does have a standing fold.  While we love that you can leave the seats or bassinets attached while folding, it is a very bulky fold in duo mode.  Luckily, you can remove the seats to make it a little bit more compact of a package.  We said “a little bit”!  The weight and the bulky fold are our two least favorite features of our friend the Donkey.  We have to say the AMAZING maneuverability does make up for it though! 

Two things to note about the Donkey:  1) Other Bugaboo seats will NOT fit on the frame of the Donkey!  2)  You cannot buy the Bugaboo Donkey online yet!  You have to purchase it from a real brick and mortar store so that they can give you a demo. 

Now, since it’s a Bugaboo, you know it’s going to be expensive.  I bet you didn’t know how expensive though, did you?  At its luxury price ($1200 mono, $1400 duo, $1600 twin), it’s not for everyone.  As a matter of fact, it is the most expensive double stroller you can buy right now.  Makes you want it even more, doesn’t it?!?  If you are looking for the chicest stroller since the original Bugaboo Frog debuted on “Sex in the City” in 2002 as Miranda’s carriage of choice, you might want to give the Donkey a second look.  You will not only love the designer cache but the sturdy, minimalist design and versatility.  Our only challenge now is to convince the hubby that it’s worth equivalent to a down-payment on a car. 

To watch the full review of the Bugaboo Donkey, click the video below.  We do want to warn you that it is a bit longer than our other videos, but if you are going to think about spending $1600 on a stroller, it’s worth the 13 minutes to take a look at it!