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Hands-on Gear Review

BOB Sport Utility Review


Jogging Stroller

The BOB Sport Utility is a fixed wheel stroller
Price:   $390 List | Available for $400 from Amazon
Pros:  Great coverage from weather, comfortable, runs straight
Cons:  Longer footprint, and complicated fold
Bottom line:  High quality, but the fixed wheel makes it harder to turn in tight spaces
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   BOB

The Skinny

We love BOB. Its important to be honest up front that we have sort of a love affair with BOB strollers. However, in this Review go around they somewhat failed to measure up to the Thule models that are new on the scene. So while we think it is hard to go wrong with a BOB, the Sport Utility didn't measure up to the Thule Glide (another fixed wheel stroller) or the other BOBs we looked at even though it did come in 6th place out 16 strollers tested. This makes it a stroller we think parents will like, but for the price we also feel certain that you'll be happier with other alternatives. This makes the Sport Utility a stroller we are reluctant to recommend over the competition.

Update — June 2016
BOB has released a 2016 version of the Sport Utility at a list of $425, which is what we are linking to now. However, it typically sells for almost $100 less. Read on to find out more about changes and improvements to the new version.

RELATED: Our complete review of jogging strollers

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

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

Last Updated:
Sunday
June 14, 2015

BOB Sport Utility Stroller 2015 vs. 2016 Version


We have not yet done a full review of the 2016 Sport Utility, but we expect that it will perform similarly well to the older version. The 2016 version has a few added convenience features, such as a larger basket, an overall weight capacity that is 5 lbs higher, and a one handed recline. All of this comes at the price of 2.6 extra pounds added onto the weight of the stroller. The adjustable suspension, hand brake, and most other aspects of the design remain the same. Below you can see the 2015 Sport Utility (left) and the new 2016 version (right).
 

The Sport Utility is a rugged yet lightweight stroller that works on various terrain. The fixed front wheel increases stability for hiking and jogging and comes with adjustable tracking. The high impact polymer composite wheels are covered in pneumatic knobby tires. It has two-step fold with a lightweight frame. It comes with adjustable suspension system and can be coupled with car seat adapters for an all around travel system. It has a padded sling style seat with padded 5 point harness. The canopy adjusts for protection against the weather and has a large peek-a-boo window. It has a storage bin and a seat back pocket, as well as inside storage pockets. It also sports a hand brake for help going downhill and rolling up to intersections, a padded handlebar, and a wrist safety strap.

Performance Comparison


Sixteen top ranked strollers were put to the test to find the best jogging style stroller on the market (Grand Safari  Burley Solstice  Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight  and Mountain Buggy Terrain not shown).
Sixteen top ranked strollers were put to the test to find the best jogging style stroller on the market (Grand Safari, Burley Solstice, Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight, and Mountain Buggy Terrain not shown).

Run-ability


The Sport earned a 6 of 10 for run-ability. It didn't score as well as its Bob brothers and it failed to match the high scores of the Thule Urban Glide and the BOB Revolution Flex that both earned a 9. The Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger earned the distinction of the worst stroller in our tests for running scoring a 2. In our experience, the Graco is hard to push, fails to track straight, and was more of a workout to run with than most parents are ready to sign up for.
The manufacturing tolerances of the BOB are very small resulting in a wheels that set well in the axle and fork and prevent extra wobbling
The manufacturing tolerances of the BOB are very small resulting in a wheels that set well in the axle and fork and prevent extra wobbling
The Sport doesn't offer an adjustable handlebar, but it is taller than much of the competition so will likely work well with parents who are slightly taller than average. It does offer adjustable suspension and tracking that are both relatively easy to use and get the job done well.
The Sport Utility is relatively easy to run with and it has adjustable tracking and suspension
The Sport Utility is relatively easy to run with and it has adjustable tracking and suspension
This stroller is easy to tip and turn while running, a feat necessary when using a fixed wheel stroller, and it is relatively easy to maneuver when moving at speed. We weren't huge fans of the knobby tires and think they are more for show than functionality, and just resulted in more vibration in the handlebar than it would otherwise have. It did however do well for rolling resistance with an average distance greater than most of the competition. This stroller is similar to run with as the Ironman, but the Ironman had significantly less vibration thanks to the smoother tread. Our professional runner felt that this stroller offers a smooth glide and forward motion.

Maneuverability


The fixed front wheel on the Sport Utility is an easy on easy off process
The fixed front wheel on the Sport Utility is an easy on easy off process
Fixed wheel strollers are not the best for easy maneuvering and the Sport Utility isn't great either. It scored a 6 for maneuverability; its stiffest competition the Thule Glide earned a 7 and the Thule Urban Glide received a 9 in our tests. The lowest score for maneuverability is a 1 for the Graco.

For pushing and turning on pavement and hard surfaces this stroller is kind of a pain and definitely not the stroller you want to take shopping or into a store. It is tough to get through tight turns, you will have to tip it back to turn which makes the already long wheel base longer and when you hit a small bump with one rear wheel while tipped back it will turn the stroller for you.

For pushing and turning off road it performed better. It is easy to roll but harder to tip and turn than the other BOB strollers. It also felt more likely to tip on the side hill part, but it rolled over just about anything with ease and little extra pushing effort on our part. Even on loose gravel this stroller is easy to maneuver.

Going backwards up curbs and stairs is a bumpy affair given the better than average suspension so parents will have to pay special attention to keeping it under control as they roll. However, the suspension will help when traveling down by sort of launching the BOB forward with each step. Once again it is important that you have a firm grip and possibly practice the moves without baby until you feel comfortable. it is always safer never to take baby up or down stairs in a stroller and the manual warns against it.

Ease of Use


The Sport Utility earned a 6 for ease of use. this is the average score in our tests for this metric with the high score being a 9 earned by the Burley Solstice. The lowest scoring products for ease of use in this review are both of the Schwinn strollers that earned 4s.
The under seat storage bin does hold a large diaper bag  but it is hard to access because the handlebar sticks out so far
The under seat storage bin does hold a large diaper bag, but it is hard to access because the handlebar sticks out so far
The Sport Utility has a large under seat storage bin that is easy to access from the back and sides. It has a maximum weight capacity of 10 pounds and it fit our large diaper bag with ease. The bin is relatively far under the handle bar and you are going to have to squat or bend all the way down, or approach the stroller from the side, to avoid the handle and get to the bin.

This stroller also has a large mesh pocket on the back of the seat that holds up to 2 pounds. This pocket is a good place to store a water bottle for hydration while running. Given that the Sport has no parent console the pocket is a nice, potentially safer, place to put your quick access items like phone, keys, or wallet.

While it does not have a child's tray, it does have inner mesh storage pockets on either side of the seat. These pockets are a secure location waiting for little treasures or snacks. We feel these kinds of pockets are better for jogging style strollers because it is easier for children to access them and less likely they will fly out of the stroller at speed.

The Sport Utility was the lowest scoring BOB in our review
All the BOB jogging strollers (including this Sport Utility) have a padded sling style seat that can help keep baby comfortable while jogging.
 
The photos above show the canopy closed and open.

The canopy on this BOB is large in size and will likely cover most children all the way to the knees for sun protection. The canopy is sturdy with a big vinyl peek-a-boo window and it has ventilation at the back; it does not detach. The cover on the window is sort of awkward to pull up and get it out the way, and we aren't sure we are doing it the way BOB intends or just the way that seems most obvious. The canopy sports reflective material on the front corners for better night time visibility.
The peek-a-boo window on the Sport Utility is large enough to see baby and has a stow pocket to keep the flap from blowing in the breeze
The peek-a-boo window on the Sport Utility is large enough to see baby and has a stow pocket to keep the flap from blowing in the breeze
The foot rest for this stroller is part of the seat and is a heavy canvas material that might not be as easy to clean as plastic ones. The recline looks comfy and goes down 15 degree from flat for a great napping space. While you shouldn't run with the seat at this angle, it can make a good place for a cool down walking nap. It isn't the easiest seat to recline, it does require 2 hands and it isn't smooth enough to prevent waking a sleeping baby. It has a nice large open area at the top of the seat once reclined for ventilation; all the BOBs have the same recline.

Quality


BOB strollers continue to be some of the best quality options on the markets with products that last through multiple children and still hold a nice resale value
BOB strollers continue to be some of the best quality options on the markets with products that last through multiple children and still hold a nice resale value
The quality of BOB strollers is hard to dispute and the Sport Utility is no exception. It earned a score of 9 of 10 for this metric on par with the other BOB options, but just slightly lower than the Thule Glide that received a 10 and its the Sport's biggest competition. The lowest scoring product for quality in our tests is the Schwinn Arrow with a 5.

The fabric used all the BOBS is a heavy duty durable canvas on thermo-molded seats and padding with reflective elements for night time running. We were unable to snag this fabric and previous versions have shown they are durable and last for the long run through multiple children. It is easy to care for, water resistant, and is spot clean only.
This shows a close up of the adjustable suspension on the BOB Sport Utility
This shows a close up of the adjustable suspension on the BOB Sport Utility
The frame on this stroller is a heavy aluminum frame with tight connections and high quality plastic components. It comes with adjustable shocks that last for years and are easy to adjust. The workmanship looks good and there is almost no flex in the frame even at the hinge points. There are no rough edges on the metal or fabric and no poor stitching or random threads. It is a little industrial and utilitarian, but highly functional and durable. The canopy does look a little sloppy because it never remains taunt, but it isn't enough to ruin the overall fit and finish of this high end stroller.
A hand brake similar to this one on the BOB Sport Utility is a nice feature for slowing a stroller while descending a hill or coming up to potential hazards.
A hand brake similar to this one on the BOB Sport Utility is a nice feature for slowing a stroller while descending a hill or coming up to potential hazards.
The handlebar is higher than some of the competition at 40 inches and the bar is on the large diameter side covered in foam for an easy feel under hand. We like a more ergonomic handle bar, but it isn't a deal breaker and is still comfortable enough for longer jogs. The brake handle is also far enough from the handle that we didn't grab it by accident like other strollers in the review.

We think this stroller has all the components necessary for a comfortable ride. It has a padded sling style seat, padded shoulder straps, adjustable suspension, and a large canopy to keep the sun out. Our riders indicated they preferred this stroller over much of the competition and we feel the nice suspension is probably a significant part of this preference.

Safety


The single action brake on the Sport Utility is easy to set and release with the red push pedal
The single action brake on the Sport Utility is easy to set and release with the red push pedal
The Sport Utility earned a 6 of 10 for safety, a score that is the average for the group and just one pint below the high score of 7 earned by the Thule Glide, Thule Cougar 2 and the Baby Jogger Summit X3. The lowest scoring stroller for safety in our tests is the Schwinn Turismo with a 4.
A hand brake similar to this one on the BOB Sport Utility is a nice feature for slowing a stroller while descending a hill or coming up to potential hazards.
A hand brake similar to this one on the BOB Sport Utility is a nice feature for slowing a stroller while descending a hill or coming up to potential hazards.
This stroller is a single action brake system that is easy to apply with a simple press of the pedal. It is about average to release, but still easy and effective. The Sport has a deceleration brake in the front that is very effective unlike most of the competition which are largely for show and do little to slow the stroller down. The parking brake has less than .5 inches of play in them once set and it took about 34 pounds of pressure to slid the stroller forward and 33 to get it sliding back. However, it is good to keep in mind that with the parking brake set it is highly unlikely that the stroller will ever move in any significant way.

There is no cup holder standard on this stroller, so there is no cup holder safety concerns. That being said if you are the kind who needs a parent console and purchases the parent console that goes with this BOB it is set relatively high on the handlebar and could potentially result in injury to baby if the bottle falls out going over a bump. We suggest parents do not keep items in the cup holders while running.
The 5 point harness on the Sport Utility is easy to put on and take off. The red pull rings ensure a snug fit across the waist for smaller riders
The 5 point harness on the Sport Utility is easy to put on and take off. The red pull rings ensure a snug fit across the waist for smaller riders
The Sport has a 5 point harness that is easy to get on and off and easy enough to adjust. It has adjustable shoulder height options and an adjustable crotch strap. The latch is easy to snap together and pops right open when the button is pushed, some of our tester even managed the feet with bad hands and subpar thumbs. The adjustment on the shoulder strap height is the best in the group and the easiest to use.

This stroller has a side tip angle of 21 degree, which is less than average. The best in the group is the Thule Chariot Cougar 2 with Jog Kit which has a low center of gravity and doesn't tip until 35 degrees. The Sport will flip back and fall with about 22 pounds of pressure on the handle bar. While you shouldn't put weight on the handlebar we know that parents often do this. The Sport Utility is likely to tip without much leaning on the bar.

This stroller can be used with newborns and a car seat attachment. However, it also states you should not run with children under 8 months of age. It is good for children up to 5 years or 70 pounds. Where you are likely to start having trouble is with taller children fitting under the canopy.

Weight and Folded Size


This is the compact fold of the Sport Utility with the wheels removed
This is the compact fold of the Sport Utility with the wheels removed
The Sport Utility is about 25 pounds, the average weight for the products in our review, making it neither super heavy or light. However, it is likely to feel heavy if you are getting over a C-section or aren't used to lifting that much weight. It folds to a compact size of 17,850 cubic inches. This puts it in the larger half of the strollers in the group. Parents might have trouble
While the Sport Utility does not have an actual self-stand feature it can stand upright if you need it to by balancing it on its handlbar
While the Sport Utility does not have an actual self-stand feature it can stand upright if you need it to by balancing it on its handlbar
fitting this one in smaller trunks without removing the front wheel. It also might take a little more finessing which will require you to hold it for a longer period of time; the longer you hold it the heavier it will feel.

The lightest stroller in the group is the better performing similar jogger the Thule Glide with a weight of just over 20 pounds. The heaviest option is the Thule Chariot Cougar 2 with Jog Kit at about 32 pounds.

The fold on the Sport Utility is a two hand fold that is simple, but has 4 steps to complete if you don't need to take the wheels off. It has a manual fold lock and does not self-stand. The strap that keeps it folded is sort of a hassle and it can take some wiggling it about to get it in the right position. Not impossible, but we feel like it could be placed better or differently.
Pulling the red handle under the seat of the Sport Utility is the second step in the folding process
Pulling the red handle under the seat of the Sport Utility is the second step in the folding process
The unfold also requires 2 hands, but is decidedly easier to manage with 2 steps. It might take some practice to get good at it or at least not awkward with it, but most parents will get it down after a few tries without too much trouble. The underside pull handle is red making it easy to identify, but hidden under the seat and less interesting to little curious hands as some of the competition that puts the pull handle right in the seat in plain view.

This is not the best stroller for commuting given its longer footprint and its fixed front wheel. Because it is heavy and doesn't self-stand it isn't great for getting into and out of trunks or carrying onto public transportation. It does conform to the 2X4 rule in some areas for public transport, so you might not have to fold it to ride, but you will likely still be in the way of other travelers. It also isn't going to be good for visiting cafes or coffee shops. It is long, in the way no matter where you put it, and not great pushed up to a table because the low seat height puts little ones almost under the table.

Both Thule single joggers scored higher for weight and folded size with an 8 of 10 score in this metric, making them lighter and smaller overall and better for commuting. The Bob Sport Utility earned only 6. The lowest scoring stroller is the Thule Cougar 2 with Jog Kit thanks to its double seating, extra features and low center of gravity.

Ease of Setup



The Sport Utility earned an 8 of 10 for ease of setup and is similar to the other BOB products in how it goes together. It took us 5 minutes and 24 seconds to get the BOB out of the package and ready to run. the documentation is fairly good, but it does require the use of Phillips head screwdriver. We realize this stroller might have been easier to put together given that we had already put together the other BOBs and were somewhat familiar with the instructions and process.

Best Applications


A possible best application for this stroller is off road trails and jogging on uneven ground. While we didn't really feel that our tests indicated that the Sport Utility really has an edge over the competition in this realm, it is designed with off-road use in mind and comes with beefier knobby tires, fixed wheel for safety over uneven terrain, and a thick canvas type material that will wear well even with dirt and mud regularly applied. If you will be using your stroller strictly for rough roads and forest excursions you might consider the Sport Utility. However, keep in mind that even in our off road testing we didn't feel or see a discernible difference in performance between the this stroller and the competition as it relates to jogging on trails.

Value


The Thule Glide is a fixed wheel stroller with loads of features that earned a second place score for performance in our tests
The Thule Glide is a fixed wheel stroller with loads of features that earned a second place score for performance in our tests
When it comes to excellent strollers for jogging you really will get what you pay for. If you are serious about running or jogging then you will be stuck with a relatively high price tag or looking for used products. The Sport Utility is on the cheaper side for products that performed well in our tests. With a list price of $390 it is cheaper than 3 out of the 4 strollers that scored higher in our review. Unfortunately for the Sport Utility, two strollers we tested are both about the same price and the Thule Glide, Thule's fixed wheel version similar to the Sport, has a list price of $350 and scored higher. Which makes the Sport Utility not the best value in the bunch for serious joggers or those looking for the best stroller they can afford. If you can afford this BOB, then you can afford a better performing option with the Thule Glide.

Conclusion


The Sport Utility is easy to push on and off the sidewalk
The Sport Utility is easy to push on and off the sidewalk
Even though we think that BOB strollers were the best thing on three wheels it seems their reign of supremacy might be coming to an end. Don't get us wrong, we still love us a good BOB, but when a good thing is made better it is hard for us not to stand up and take notice, and Thule simply offered two wonderful new thoughtfully designed strollers that did well in our performance tests. These new kids on the block threw us, and the BOB Sport Utility suffered in their wake. While it did score 5 out of 13 products and is still a nice stroller with some excellent features and a smooth ride, it did not score high enough to win an award or be a stroller we recommend with our full heart. We have no doubt that parents will like this stroller and if you have one, find a used one, or are given one you will likely be delighted. But if you are looking to buy the best stroller for jogging then we think you'd be happier with the fixed wheel Thule Glide or the swivel wheel Thule Urban Glide. One of which is cheaper than the Sport Utility and one is about $10 more, but worth every penny.

Other Versions and Accessories


BOB makes several different jogging style strollers both with fixed wheel and swivel models. We reviewed the BOB Revolution Flex, the BOB Ironman, and this version. The Revolution had the top score for the BOB products and has a nice score of 9 for run-ability. All also come in a double version and we also included the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie in our review of The Best Double Strollers.

BOB offers loads of fun and useful accessories for all their strollers including a handlebar console, weather shield, car seat adapter, child's tray, and a cool fitness kit.

Video


Juliet Spurrier MD, Carrie Vickers, and BabyGearLab Review Team

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User Reviews


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

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


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

Unbiased.