Bugaboo Bee 5 Review
The much loved Bugaboo Bee is in its 10th year of production. The latest model, the Bee5, has just been released and we have been putting it to the test.
We have certainly been impressed by the upgrades made to the Bugaboo Bee5. The extra padding in the seat unit and stay open harness are fab additions to this already popular stroller and they made the ride extremely comfortable and enjoyable for our tester.
- One-piece easy fold
- Stay open harness
- Improved chunkier wheels
- Large hood
- Open and exposed seat
- Not suited to uneven terrains or gravel
Around since 2007, it's one of the best selling city strollers on the market worldwide. Fans of the previous model, the Bugaboo Bee3, will be knocked off their feet by the improvements and changes made to the Bee5. Equally, if you weren't sold by the previous model, then read on because we know you won't be disappointed. And if you like to stamp your own style, there are 790 different fabric, chassis and hood combinations for the Bugaboo Bee5!
The Bee5 arrives in a neat box and is cleverly packed (very environmentally friendly - we like this a lot!). It does take a bit of building, but to be honest, as pram lovers, the building was a pleasure and it gave us chance to get to know every nook and cranny of the new Bee5 stroller. Putting on the vegan leather handlebar covers can be a little fiddly, but the end result is well worth it.
The iconic chassis shape of the Bee stroller remains for the Bee5, but you will notice the odd attachment point here and there. These attachments are a genius addition to the Bee chassis and mean that parents can pop their accessories securely onto the Bee5 frame without the need to purchase separate adaptors. Putting on the cup holder, parasol and ride on board was so easy - it took the hassle out of the little jobs that can really agitate us at times when we are having ‘one of those' parenting days!
The chassis is feather light but exceedingly strong, standing behind the handlebar it feels super sturdy, with not a wobble or flex in sight. The handlebar of the Bee5 adjusts to several different heights using clearly visible white adjuster clips on either side of the stroller frame. Just open them up and adjust the handle to your preferred height. Here at PX HQ, we love how simple and fuss-free the adjustment is.
You may assume that the Bee stroller wheels are small and perhaps a little fragile, but this is certainly not the case at all when it comes to the Bee5. The nippy wheels are in fact chunky and although they won't cope with off-roading, they will certainly last the test of time and felt superbly smooth to push. We love the addition of interchangeable wheel hubs that Bugaboo have added to the Bee5 stroller. You have the choice of a deep wine red or white. So you can style your pushchair just the way you like it! The wheel caps clip on and off with ease, so for those of you that like to accessorise your pushchair regularly, they are easy to swap and change to suit your mood or style. We'd love to just see more colour options! We are convinced that this model of the Bee stroller has a push far superior to its previous model. The wheels have been totally redesigned and they really do seem to absorb even the bumpiest of pot holes on the city streets! The tyres on the wheels are definitely chunkier than on previous Bee models.
The rear wheelbase is still just as narrow as previous models of the Bee to allow for nipping in and out of aisles and on and off public transport really easy. We had no problems in popping the Bee5 up and down curbs with our 2 year old tester in-situ! The brake on the Bee5 has also been cleverly designed with busy parents in mind. The broad and clearly visible white brake lever is simple to operate. Just flip it on and off with your foot. We have used the brake on hills, pavements and platforms - every time it felt safe and secure. Admittedly, It was a little bit tricky to reach when the ride on board was attached to the frame.
The basket on the Bee5 is more spacious than you may think. The access is from the front due to the plastic framework of the fold mechanism (something that may take some getting used to at first), but we were able to fit quite a lot into the undercarriage of the Bee5; including coats, school bags, a lunch box, nappies, wipes and drinks bottles! What we do love about the basket of the Bee5 is that you can lift the base of the seat up when baby is not seated, to gain even better access to the basket. There is a great separate storage compartment integrated into the front of the basket, which we found great for keeping smaller objects that we needed to get our hands on quickly. The raincover fitted into this compartment perfectly too, so did not take up valuable space in the basket either.
The seat of the Bee5 is what impressed us the most after using it for a little while. Having had experience of the previous model, the Bee3, seat unit, we wrongly assumed the Bee5 seat would be the same. It is totally different, the whole composition of the seat is different, from the shell to the harness! One of the most noticeable features of the Bee5 was the padded seat unit. The foam padding sits neatly underneath whichever coloured seat fabric you choose (there is a choice of 15 brand new colours and materials to choose from!). Our tester certainly seemed to enjoy the ride and never once complained of being uncomfortable. In fact, he was constantly climbing into the stroller of his own accord and asking to be pushed around! There is also the added bonus of being able to adjust the height and depth of the seat unit as your little one grows - something we rarely see!
The other niggle that we know many parents have experienced with the Bee is the fact that their babies seemed to be slumped in the seat. Not once did this occur throughout the time we tested the Bee5 and we are convinced this is down to the newly designed seat and harness system. We LOVE the harness on the Bee5! The genius addition of a stay-open harness to this stroller is a definite parent pleaser. Popping baby and toddler in and out of the seat unit was quick and easy. The stylish but practical round clasp was simple to buckle up and sat in a perfect and comfortable position on baby's body when fastened. We loved how the harness adjusted – by just tweaking the cords, the harness could be altered to fit any baby perfectly.
The seat unit can be parent or world facing but admittedly, there is an art to removing it off the chassis and turning it around. The recline lever is situated towards the top of the seat unit. Just squeeze the large white button whilst popping your thumb on the moulded ledge on the back of the seat unit and you can adjust the seat to a position comfortable for baby. The seat does lay totally flat, so is suitable for newborns, but what we loved most is the fact it also sits bolt upright - something that parents of nosy toddlers will really appreciate! What our little tester did miss, was the ability to lean against the sides of the seat unit. The seat is very open and at times when he felt like snuggling in, it was a bit harder than in other strollers with deeper seat sides.
The hood on the Bee5 certainly gave our tester good coverage. We experienced some lovely spring sunshine whilst testing out the stroller and we unzipped the extendable panel of the hood to really shade and protect our toddler whilst he was strolling and sleeping. One thing that we really would love to see is the addition of a peek-a-boo window. Such a simple little feature but so valuable when you want to check on baby without disturbing them!
As an urban stroller, you do expect the Bee5 to be compact – and compact it was! It folds unlike any pushchair we have used before, but once you have got the knack, it's also one of the quickest folds we have experienced too. It doesn't matter which direction your seat unit is facing in, you can fold the Bee5 any which way! All you need to do is line the seat unit up with either side of the pushchair frame and then you will notice two white levers on either side of the frame. Press these buttons in and slide the handle down (like a telescopic fold). The whole pushchair folds up into itself and the seat tucks inside the frame nicely so doesn't get mucky! It makes a great one piece fold to use in the car or on public transport. It's really light and easy to carry too. We found it really handy that we were able to push the Bee5 to the side of the car boot so we had plenty of space for shopping, dogs or other general luggage when we were off on a day out!
We have certainly been impressed by the upgrades made to the Bugaboo Bee5. The extra padding in the seat unit and stay open harness are fab additions to this already popular stroller and they made the ride extremely comfortable and enjoyable for our tester. Although the open and airy seat might not be to everyone's liking, the Bee5 definitely rates highly in the fold stakes with its ability to be folded with the seat unit on the chassis in either parent or world facing modes. And even though we wouldn't personally rate it as a luxury pushchair, it is certainly practical for city living. The new colours and fabrics are beautiful and allow parents to style their pushchair to suit their taste and their baby's personality. The newly designed wheels have been built to stand the test of time and really made a difference to the strolling experience for both parent and child.