< Go to Jogging Strollers

Hands-on Gear Review

BOB Ironman Review


Jogging Stroller

The BOB Ironman is a fixed wheel stroller with aluminum spoke wheels
Price:   $420 List | $419.99 from Amazon
Pros:  High quality parts and construction, easy to use deceleration
Cons:  Fixed wheel maneuverability, harder to use features
Bottom line:  Nice fixed wheel stroller with limited maneuverability in tight spaces
Editors' Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   BOB

The Skinny

As we've said before, and are likely to say again, we love BOB. However, in this year's review the BOB strollers just didn't match the performance scores and features of the new kid on the block, the Thule Urban Glide. The Bob Ironman is not a bad little ride and it has some nice features like being lightweight, having a nice size canopy, adjustable suspension, and tracking ability. It did score about average or above for each metric, but it failed to earn as many points as the competition making it a stroller we don't recommend. Had it earned higher scores for run-ability, maneuverability, or even ease of use, this product could have been a better contender.

Update — June 2016
BOB has released a new version of the Ironman for 2016. We have not done a full review on it yet, but you can read on to get a better feel for the changes that were made in the 2016 version.

RELATED: Our complete review of jogging strollers

Compare Side-by-Side

Compare all Jogging Strollers >

Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

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

Last Updated:
Sunday
June 14, 2015

2015 Ironman vs. 2016 Ironman


The main components of the 2016 Ironman seem to be mostly the same as in the old version and in terms of functionality, the stroller seems like it would perform equally well. Most of the changes were purely convenience features, such as a one handed recline, and a basket with 15% more storage over the last version. The weight limit has been bumped up to a 75 lb max capacity, and the over all weight has increased by 4 pounds as well. Below you can see the 2015 Ironman (left) and the 2016 Ironman (right).
 

Hands On Gear Review



The BOB Ironman is a fixed wheel stroller that helps increase stability for running or jogging. It has an easy 2 step fold and a lightweight frame. It sports an adjustable suspension system, adjustable tracking, and alloy wheels with pneumatic tires. It has a parking brake and deceleration handbrake on the front wheel. The Ironman has a padded adjustable reclining seat with padded harness for child safety and comfort. The canopy is large and adjusts; it also features a vinyl peek-a-boo window. The stroller has a large under seat storage bin, a mesh seat back pocket, and interior stow pockets for children. The handlebar is padded for comfort and it has a wrist strap for extra safety that doubles as a fold lock when folded. This stroller can be a travel system if you use a car seat adapter, and you can also purchase a parent console or child tray should you need them.

Performance Comparison


Some of the top jogging strollers we tested (Grand Safari  Burley Solstice  Mountain Buggy Terrain  and Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight not pictured)
Some of the top jogging strollers we tested (Grand Safari, Burley Solstice, Mountain Buggy Terrain, and Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight not pictured)

Run-ability


The Ironman received a 7 of 10 for run-ability scoring better than its BOB brother, the BOB Sport Utility, another fixed wheel stroller. It didn't score as well as the Thule Urban Glide of the BOB Revolution Flex that that both earned a 9. The Thule Glide earned a 7 as well, and is a close competitor of the Ironman. The Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger is the worst stroller for running in our tests earning a score of 2.
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 does not offer an adjustable handlebar and might disrupt some runner's biomechanics if they aren't close to an average height. It does have an adjustable suspension system for changes in child weight or terrain, and the adjustable tracking is relatively easy to use and keeps the stroller moving straight without too much trouble.

The Ironman is easy to tip and turn at speed and the smooth tread on the tires prevents excessive vibration from travelling up to the handlebar. This BOB did well for rolling resistance with a bigger distance than some of the competition for rolling. This is likely do to the alloy wheels and smooth tread, but a lower tolerance for discrepancy and better quality control in manufacture ring is also probably part of the equation.

In general there are lots of features on this stroller that make it good for dedicated runner including the deceleration hand brake. Unfortunately, there are strollers in this review that earned higher scores in our tests for run-ability and other metrics dedicated runners will be interested in.

Maneuverability


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
The Ironman scored a 6 of 10 for maneuverability. While this is the average score for the metric and it did tie with several other strollers, it is still not a great score. In our tests several other strollers earned higher scores for maneuverability including the similar fixed wheel stroller, the Thule Glide that earned a 7. Our Editors' Choice stroller, the Thule Urban Glide earned a 9 in this metric, but its ability to switch to swivel wheel mode gives it a leg up on the fixed wheel options. The hardest stroller to maneuver in our review is the Graco with a score of 5 and a swivel wheel that locked randomly and without notice during turns.

For pushing and turning on pavement and hard surfaces the Ironman is sort of a pain. Navigating tight turns make it even worse given that you have to tip the entire stroller back and it stick out so far in the front when tilted. For pushing and turning off road and on various terrain the stroller didn't do much better. It is easy to push, but of course still harder to turn because of the fixed wheel. We found it to want to tip on the side hills and we had to wrestle to keep it upright when things got steep. It is similar to the Baby Trend Expedition in this way. It does roll over bumps easily and is good in gravel so it got points for that. Our runner felt this stroller is easy to push on smooth surfaces.

For curbs and stairs it is easy going up and down. The suspension helps give it a little bounce that thrusts in forward, this movement can help it down the stairs, but means you'll need a steady hand to keep in on track and prevent it from getting a loosy goosy.

Ease of Use


The Ironman scored a 6 of 10 for ease of use, it tied with 4 other products in the review. This is the average score for this metric in our tests with the Burley Solstice earning top marks with a 9. The lowest scoring products for ease of use in this review are both of the Schwinn strollers that earned 4s.
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
The Ironman has a large storage bin under the seat that is situated relatively far back so it isn't the easiest to access. You can fit items in from the back and side, but larger bags will need a little finessing to do so. The bin has a max weight of 10 pound capacity which is probably plenty for a jogging style stroller given that you are less likely to use it for shopping and all day excursions.

This product also has a mesh pocket located on the back of the seat that is made of mesh and holds about 2 pounds. It has an elastic top that keeps it snug up to the seat back and is good for storing water bottles for extra running hydration. With the Ironman coming standard without a parent console the mesh pocket is a good place to keep quick access items like phones, keys, and wallets. The inside of the stroller also sports two mesh stow pockets for kids. These pockets are large enough for snacks and treasures, and also tight enough to the seat for sippy cups to be held in place. Only the Thule lineup and BOBs have inside pockets for children. We kind of like them and think it is a good addition for any stroller.

The BOB Ironman has traditionally been considered one of the best fixed wheel strollers on the market
The BOB Ironman has historically been considered one of the best strollers for long distance runners
 
The photos above show the canopy function on the Ironman in both positions.

The canopy on the Ironman BOB is a large sun shade that will likely cover children down to the knee and is adjustable to keep wind and sun at bay. It is made of sturdy canvas material and has a vinyl peek-a-boo window that has a hook and loop cover that stows away in a small pocket above the window if you need it out of the way. The sun shade has reflective corners similar to the material on the seats for better visibility for night time running.
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
The foot rest is an extended part of the seat that is also made out of canvas and potentially harder to keep clean than the other strollers with plastic foot rests, though ours have worn well over time and we don't know of any common complaint of this kind concerning BOB strollers. The seat back reclines significantly and is almost flat for little ones to nap in, but remember that running with the seat in a recline position isn't good for baby and should be a strolling seat position only. The seat back is a little stiffer than some of the competition to adjust and it requires 2 hands to execute. We also think that only the soundest of little sleepers will stay asleep as you adjust it. Once reclined there is a nice ventilation gap at the top for ventilation.

Quality


BOB strollers are always good quality and they continue to be so with this round of strollers. The Ironman earned a 9 in this metric with the Thule Glide coming in with a 10 and earning the highest score in our tests for this metric. It sure felt like the Thule one upped the BOB on most fronts and with very little effort and no added cost. The lowest quality stroller in our tests is the Schwinn Arrow that earned a 5 of 10 and failed to match the kind of quality found in the competition.

The fabric on this BOB is a heavy duty canvas that feel durable and wear well over time. It is used to make thermo-molded seats and also has padding with reflective elements for safer running at dusk and night. When tested for snagging we were unable to snag the fabric. Previous versions of the BOB have proven to be extremely durable and stain resistant over time. The fabric is easy to care for, requires spot cleaning, and is water resistant.
The adjustable suspension on the Ironman is an easy to use system that can be altered based on passenger weight or terrain
The adjustable suspension on the Ironman is an easy to use system that can be altered based on passenger weight or terrain
The aluminum frame on this stroller has tight connections, very little flex, and high quality molded plastic components that do not bend. It sports an adjustable suspension that lasts for years and is easy to adjust. The overall fit and finish looks good with no rough edges on the metal, plastic, or fabric. While its design might feel a little industrial or utilitarian it is a proven design BOB has been using for quite some time. Possibly our only complaint is that the sun shade always looks a little frumpy even when open. However, it isn't enough of a problem to be a deal breaker on how the stroller looks or how well it performs.
The handlebar on the Ironman is covered in foam and larger in diameter than some of the competition. The hand brake is easy to use and effective
The handlebar on the Ironman is covered in foam and larger in diameter than some of the competition. The hand brake is easy to use and effective
The handlebar on the Ironman is about 40 inches and the bar itself is larger in diameter than some of the competition. It is covered in foam and feels good in hand. We do prefer a more ergonomic shape to a bar, but found this one is comfortable even after longer running periods.

This stroller has all the features and design elements necessary for a more comfortable ride for baby. It offers a padded sling style seat with padded shoulder straps, an adjustable suspension system, and an extra-large sun shade that helps keep the sun from disturbing baby.

Safety


This Ironman scored a 6 in our tests for safety, this is an average score for this review and one shared by other products we looked at. The Top scorer for safety is the Thule Glide which once again dinged the Ironman in a side-by-side comparison of similar products with a score of 7.
The single action brake on the BOB Ironman is easy to set and works well
The single action brake on the BOB Ironman is easy to set and works well
The Ironman has single action brakes that are easy to set using a red pedal on the back of the stroller, and easy to release with the same pedal. They have very little play in them once set and it is unlikely parents will think they have set them if they haven't. This BOB also features a hand brake for deceleration going downhill or when you need more control. The hand brake works well and is effective, unlike many hand brakes on competing products. It requires about 31 pounds to slid it forward when parked, and 30 pounds to slid it backwards. Even though this isn't much compared to some of the competition, we feel it is highly unlikely that the BOB will move far enough to matter or endanger young passengers.

There is no cup holder on this stroller and therefore there is no cup holder safety concerns. We recommend parents used closed water bottles when running and a better location is in the storage bin under the seat or the mesh seat back pocket. Even If you purchase the parent console separately we recommend you don't use it while running and that you keep the potential for the bottle to fall on baby in mind even when strolling.
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
This stroller has a 5 point harness that is easy to put on and take off. It also scored well in our tests for adjusting the straps and comes with shoulder height adjustments and an adjustable crotch strap. The clasp is easy to snap together and pops right open when the button is pushed. We even managed it with bad thumbs and less than stellar working hands. The adjustment on the shoulder strap height is the best for riders of any size and the easiest to adjust with a little one in the seat.

The Ironman has a side tip angle of about 22 degrees which isn't as good as some of the competition, but isn't terrible either. It required 22.8 pounds to tip it backward, which isn't a lot but is relatively standard for this style of stroller. We highly recommend that parents do not put weight on the handlebar to avoid potential accidents and injuries.

This stroller can be used with newborns with a car seat attachment, but the manufacturer warns that you should not run with baby until they are at least 8 months old. It also comes with a wrist strap for added protection in case you trip or fall while strolling.

Weight and Folded Size


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
The Ironman is lightest stroller in the BOB lineup at just over 23 pounds. It has a lightweight frame and wheels to help keep it light. However, its folded size without removing wheels is rather larger given the length of the fixed frame design. It measured out at 18,207 cubic inches when folded making it the largest BOB when folded with wheels attached. The closest competitor in our tests to the Ironman with a similar design, the Thule Glide is lighter by a few pounds but bigger by a few cubic inches. In essence, you'll trade one for the other.
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
The fold is the same on all the BOB strollers and requires 2 hands, 2 steps and a manual locking fold. The stroller doesn't technically self-stand, and it is more steps if you remove the wheels. However, the fold itself is easy and most parents will be able to execute it with no trouble. The unfold is the opposite of the fold and might be manageable with one hand, but is more likely a two hand operation. The only real drag on the fold or unfold is the locking strap
The red fold handle on the Ironman is out of sight and out of mind of little passenger who might be tempted to pull it
The red fold handle on the Ironman is out of sight and out of mind of little passenger who might be tempted to pull it
which has a tendency to need adjustment because the front wheel gets in the way while folding. Swiftly pulling up the handle or shaking the stroller out will get it opened and locked. We liked that the pull handle on the BOBS is located under the seat and out of sight of curious children. Some other models have the pull handle on the seat and can accidentally be pulled by toddlers crawling into the seat.

You aren't likely to want to take the Ironman on any commuting or errand adventures. With a fixed front wheel it struggles with tighter spaces and can't make turns without being lifted and turned. It has a longer footprint than some of the competition and it isn't great for taking into cafes given its lower seat height that leaves little ones looking at the underside of the table or your knees. While it might be lighter weight and easy to lift compared to some of the competition, it is sort of large and doesn't self stand so putting into trunks or using it on public transport is going to be harder. It does however conform to the 2 X 4 rule of some public transportation in some areas, but you are still going to be in the way of other commuters who will have to navigate your large awkward stroller. This stroller is designed for dedicated joggers, it has few features if any that make it good for city living or commuting.

Ease of Setup


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
This BOB earned a 6 for ease of setup and tied for the lowest score in this metric with 4 other strollers. It isn't exactly hard to put together, but with this kind of competition it is even more important to keep it simple. It took just under 13 minutes for us to put this stroller together which is significantly longer than the easiest stroller that is close to 4 minutes. It does offer good documentation that is far more thorough than some of the competition. However, this only makes the process longer and more difficult sorting through all the details. It is easy to put together, but it does require a screw driver with a little bit of assembly other than wheels. Given that some of the competition didn't require tools it lost points for added complication.


Best Applications


There is likely not a best application for the Ironman even if you love BOB strollers. It is hard to deny that the Thule Glide simply performed better and is in the same class and general design as the Ironman, thus making it the more logical choice. The Glide is cheaper and scored higher making it better for runners even if they are dedicated and run regularly.

Value


With a list price of $420 it is probably not the best value going. It isn't that this is a big list price for this kind of stroller, with several of the competition in the same price range, it is that the Thule Glide earned a higher score overall and higher scores in key performance metrics for a cheaper price. With a list price of $350, and similar standard features, it is hard not to consider the Glide to be a better value than the Ironman. In addition, if you are looking for a swivel wheel model, even our Editors' Choice winner, the Thule Urban Glide, has a cheaper list price of $400.

Conclusion


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
The BOB Ironman is a nice little stroller with alloy wheels, smooth tread pneumatic tires, adjustable tracking, and a fixed wheel. In fact, it has all the features for a great jogging style stroller, and it sort of is. However, what used to be yesterday's awesome stroller is today's not as good option. With the Thule Glide new to the scene, and our review, it is hard to deny its strong points and how well it performed in our tests. Because the Glide earned 9 points more than the Ironman, it is hard to dispute that it might be the new reigning king of fixed wheel joggers. While we feel positive that most parents who jog or run regularly will be happy with this stroller, it is no longer cream of the crop in this highly competitive field.

Other Versions and Accessories


BOB makes several different jogging style strollers including several in this review, the Sport Utility and Revolution Flex (that came in 2nd place). We also reviewed the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie in our review of The Best Double Strollers.

The BOBs have a variety of possible accessories you can add to make your BOB easier or more fun to use. Most parents consider a parent console, child tray, or car seat adapter for upgrading their BOB, but a weather shield and Fitness Kit can also be nice options.

Video


General BOB Features


Fixed Front Wheel
Juliet Spurrier MD, Carrie Vickers, and BabyGearLab Review Team

Where to Buy?

Reseller Price  Shipping Cost Visit
Amazon $419.99 Check Site

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help BabyGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above links and if you make any purchase, a portion of sale helps support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund things like our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states, and for ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


User Reviews


Most recent user review: June 14, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used the BOB Ironman?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Where to Buy?
Seller Price
Amazon $419.99

*You help support BabyGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.
Helpful Buying Tips
 How to Choose the Best Jogging Stroller

by Juliet Spurrier MD, Carrie Vickers, and BabyGearLab Review Team

Unbiased.