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Hands-on Gear Review

BOB Ironman Review

The BOB Ironman is a fixed wheel stroller with aluminum spoke wheels
Price:   $420.00 List | $419.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Nice quality, easy to use deceleration brake
Cons:  Harder to turn in tight spaces, difficult to use features
Bottom line:  Nice fixed wheel stroller with limited maneuverability in tight spaces
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   BOB

The Skinny

The BOB Ironman earned a 5 of 16 products rank. This stroller earned an above average score in every metric with an impressive 9 of 10 for quality. The Ironman is a fixed wheel runner that aims to be lightweight for serious runners. Thanks to this design it earned a second place score for run-ability and weight and folded size. The downside is this BOB option is a little hard to use and maneuver. Thanks to the fixed wheel and longer footprint, this stroller has trouble in tight spaces and negotiating areas that required tight turns, and the features are somewhat harder to use. The Thule Glide is a similar fixed wheel stroller that earned 3rd place, has higher scores in weight and folded size, quality, maneuverability, and ease of use. Given this, and the cheaper price of the Thule Glide, the Ironman becomes a hard to recommend stroller unless you are a hardcore BOB fan that doesn't want the more maneuverable swivel wheel found on the 2nd place BOB Revolution Flex.

Update — June 2016
BOB released a new version of the Ironman in 2016, to which we now link. We have not done a full review, but you can read about some of the changes for 2016 vs the 2015 model below.


RELATED REVIEW: The race for the best jogging stroller of 2017

select up to 5 products
Score Product Price Our Take
84
$400
Editors' Choice Award
Our favorite jogging stroller that is great for running as well as everyday use
76
$500
Editors' Choice Award
Rugged jogger that is easy to run with and good for every day outings
75
$375
Great fixed wheel option that performed well overall, but is harder to turn
74
$400
Top Pick Award
Great jogger that is super easy to use and could work as your only stroller
67
$420
Nice fixed wheel stroller with limited maneuverability in tight spaces
64
$390
High quality, but the fixed wheel makes it harder to turn in tight spaces
63
$150
Best Value Award
Best bang for the buck, but not the best option for serious runners
62
$600
Do not recommend for avid runners
62
$910
Top Pick Award
Top Pick for versatile adventures that allow us to forgive its size and limitations
60
$299
Disappointing choice that doesn't run straight enough and lacks the ability to fix that
59
$430
Disappointing to run with and harder to use, make it an option we aren't fond of
51
$380
Requires excessive wrestling to run straight, making it a no go for us
49
$240
Poor run-ability and wobbly wheel make it a bad choice for serious runners
48
$190
Difficult to push and turn with the worst run-ability
47
$160
While better than similar Tourismo, the lack of run-ability makes it a bad jogger
47
$240
One of the hardest to run with and more difficult to push and turn with fixed wheel

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Thursday
December 29, 2016

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2015 Ironman vs. 2016 Ironman
The main components of the 2016 Ironman seem to be similar to the old version and the stroller seems like it would perform equally well. Most of the changes were to convenience features, such as a one-handed recline, and a basket with 15% more storage. The weight limit has been bumped up to a 75 lb, and the overall stroller weight has increased by 4 pounds. Below are pictures of the 2015 Ironman (left) and the 2016 Ironman (right).
 

Roger Malinowski and Philip Novotny created the Beast of Burden Company, (otherwise known as BOB) in San Luis Obispo, California in 1994. The bicycle professional and the airline mechanic built Yak bike trailers as their first products. As the men had families, they found a need for a different type of stroller. With this, the men created the first BOB Sport Utility jogging stroller. The two men continued revolutionizing the stroller world in 2005 by creating the first jogger with a locking swivel wheel, which made it easier to maneuver. In 2011, the company was sold to Britax. BOB/Britax now offers a more complete line of strollers designed for every lifestyle and adventure.

Performance Comparison


The chart below shows a comparison of the overall scores for the jogging strollers we tested for this review. The BOB Ironman is shown in blue.


Below are additional details on how the Ironman performed during testing for each metric compared to the competition. Metric scores were used to determine overall scores.

The Ironman is a nice fixed wheel jogger  it just didn't score the best in our tests
The Ironman is a nice fixed wheel jogger, it just didn't score the best in our tests

Run-ability


The Ironman received a 7 of 10 for run-ability, tying with the fixed wheel Thule Glide and the Burley Solstice. This is second place to the Thule Urban Glide and the BOB Revolution Flex that that both earned a 9.

Given the low tolerance for variation in BOB manufacturing the wheels fit in the axle firmly and have very little room for movement which prevents wobbling at speed
Given the low tolerance for variation in BOB manufacturing the wheels fit in the axle firmly and have very little room for movement which prevents wobbling at speed
The Ironman has adjustable tracking that is easy to use and keeps the stroller moving straight without much trouble. This stroller is easy to tip as required for turning with a fixed or locked front wheel. The smooth tread on the tires helps prevent excessive vibration from travelling to the handlebar. The Ironman does not have an adjustable handlebar, which might disrupt some runner's biomechanics and make longer runs more fatiguing. The deceleration hand brake works well and helps the runner conserve energy as they slow to a stop on hilly terrain.

Ease of Use


The Ironman scored a 6 of 10 for ease of use tying with the BOB Revolution Flex. The fixed wheel Thule Glide scored one point higher with a 7, while the Burley Solstice earned the high of 9.

The first step in folding any of the BOB strollers is to pull the side handles located near the handlebar to release the frame to fold
The first step in folding any of the BOB strollers is to pull the side handles located near the handlebar to release the frame to fold

Fold and Unfold


The Ironman fold is the same as all the BOB strollers. It is a two-handed fold with 2 steps, a manual lock and it does not self-stand. The fold itself is easy with a pull handle under the seat, but the process is more convoluted than the Burley Solstice. The unfold is also a two-handed operation opened by pulling up on the handlebar and shaking the frame open.

Brakes


The Ironman has single action brakes that are easy to set and release with the red pedal between the back wheels. The pedal is sandal foot friendly. This BOB also features a hand brake, as previously mentioned, and it is easy to use.

The storage bin of the Ironman is large but placed far under the seat almost making it easier to access from the sides than the back
The storage bin of the Ironman is large but placed far under the seat almost making it easier to access from the sides than the back

Storage


The Ironman has a large under seat storage bin situated relatively far under the handle, so it isn't the easiest to access. Items can fit in from the back and side, but larger bags will need finessing. The bin only holds up to 10 lbs. The Ironman also has a mesh pocket on the seat back with an elastic top that keeps it snug to the seat. The inside has 2 mesh passenger stow pockets.

The peeking window on all the BOBs are larger than most of the competition including the one on the Ironman
The peeking window on all the BOBs are larger than most of the competition including the one on the Ironman

Sunshade


The canopy on the Ironman is large and will cover children down to the knee. The shade is made of sturdy canvas and has a vinyl peek-a-boo window with a hook and loop cover and it has reflective corners for better visibility at night.

The red pull tabs on the 5 point harness of the Ironman make it easier to adjust
The red pull tabs on the 5 point harness of the Ironman make it easier to adjust

Harness


This stroller has a 5-point harness that is easy to put on and take off. Adjusting the strap tightness, shoulder height, and crotch strap is easy as well. The clasp is easy to snap together and pops right open when the button is pushed.

The BOB Ironman is a fixed wheel stroller with adjustable tracking and suspension
The BOB Ironman is a fixed wheel stroller with adjustable tracking and suspension

Seat


The leg and footrest are an extended part of the seat made out of canvas. The seat back reclines almost flat for little ones to nap in, but it is a little stiffer to adjust and requires 2 hands to execute. Once reclined there is a nice ventilation gap at the top for additional airflow.

Car Seat Compatibility


The Ironman can be used with newborns with a compatible infant car seat carrier, though the manufacturer warns that you should not run with baby until they are at least 8 months old. This stroller is compatible with a variety of different infant car seats with the purchase of an adapter. The adapters are all a two-step process of click in and strap on.
  • Other Adapters — BOB also offers an adapter for some of the Britax and BOB infant car seats, and there is an adapter for some Graco infant seats.

Ease of Setup



It took about 13 minutes to put this stroller together. It offers good documentation that is very thorough, but makes the process longer with so many details. It is easy to put together, but it requires a screwdriver.

Maneuverability


The Ironman earned a 6 of 10 for maneuverability. The similar fixed wheel Thule Glide earned a 7, and the swivel wheel Thule Urban Glide earned a 9.

Pushing and turning the Ironman is somewhat difficult, with tight turns being very difficult as tipping the stroller back makes it prohibitively long. However, our test runners feel it is good for smooth flat surfaces with long straightaways. Going off-road the stroller didn't perform much better with less tread causing it to struggle somewhat, but it rolls over bumps easily and is good in gravel for short distances. This stroller is easy to take up or down curbs, and while the suspension gives it a bounce and forward momentum, a steady hand on the handlebar prevents it from getting out of control.
The Ironman is a fixed wheel stroller that isn't the best at maneuverability
The Ironman is a fixed wheel stroller that isn't the best at maneuverability
This stroller has a padded sling style seat, padded shoulder straps, and adjustable suspension. The handlebar is stationary at about 40 inches, and the bar is large in diameter and covered in foam that feels good in hand. We think that both passengers and runners will be comfortable using the Ironman.

This is what the Ironman looks like when folded with the wheels removed
This is what the Ironman looks like when folded with the wheels removed

Weight and Folded Size


The Ironman earned a 7 of 10 for weight and folded size. It is lightest BOB stroller at just over 23 lbs. However, its folded size without removing wheels measures at 18,207 cubic inches, making it the largest BOB with wheels attached. The Thule Glide is lighter by 3 lbs, but bigger by a few cubic inches. In essence, trading one measurement for another.

The front wheel on the Ironman is a quick release wheel that is relatively easy to remove and put back on
The front wheel on the Ironman is a quick release wheel that is relatively easy to remove and put back on

Quality


The Ironman earned a 9 of 10 in this metric, with the Thule Glide earning 10. The fabric on the Ironman is a heavy duty canvas that feels durable. It has thermo-molded seats and padding with reflective elements for night running. The aluminum frame has tight connections, very little flex, and high quality plastic components that do not bend. The overall fit and finish looks good with no rough edges on the metal, plastic, or fabric.

Manufacturer Video


This video demonstrates the fixed front wheel of the BOB Ironman and BOB Sport Utility strollers.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & Carrie Vickers

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Most recent review: December 29, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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