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Hands-on Gear Review
Kinderwagon HOP Review
Price: $300.00 List | $299.99 at Amazon
Pros: Narrow footprint
Cons: Bad brakes, hard to turn, strange rear seating, poor storage access, poor quality
Bottom line: Harder to maneuver with poor rear seating and hard to use features
The Kinderwagon HOP earned a 2nd from the bottom rank out of 9 competitors. This stroller earned below average scores for every metric we tested, and was in many ways quite boring. The HOP has an in-line design that makes it easier to push through smaller spaces, but it sacrifices the rear passenger riding experience with a strange short canopy, limited legroom, and no visibility with the canopy open. With disappointing scores in key metrics like maneuverability and ease of use, the HOP is a stroller we don't recommend and we think will lead to issues of which child sits where and why. Alternatively, the ZOE XL2 Deluxe is lightweight, has the same seating for both passengers, and is much easier to use.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Kinderwagon was born when a family couldn't find just the right stroller that met their desired level of quality, comfort, and convenience. Kinderwagon wanted to create strollers that engaged babies and were no-nonsense for parents. With three children of their own, the creators of Kinderwagon are determined never to cut corners on safety or quality.
Weight and Folded Size
The HOP earned a 5 of 10 for weight and folded size. This stroller weighs 21.4 lbs and measures 12,071 cubic inches when folded, making it one of the largest strollers in the group. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe is both lighter and smaller than the HOP, with a weight of 17.8 lbs and a folded size almost 3,000 cubic inches smaller.
Ease of Use
The HOP earned a 4 of 10 for ease of use, with one of the more difficult and strangely designed strollers in the group. Three of the competing options earned higher, including the ZOE XL2 Deluxe with a score of 8.
Fold and Unfold
We had trouble folding this option flat and getting the manual elastic lock strap connected. While some testers could do it one-handed, others took two, but none liked the stroller lock and how difficult it was to use. It does not self-stand and unlocking requires putting pressure on the frame to fold the stroller flatter to disconnect the strap.
The HOP brakes are single action brakes that are easy to set and release, but unfortunately also seem to release themselves if you tip the stroller back or push it forward hard. This caused concern for us and left us not liking the brakes, even if they are sandal foot friendly.
Brake Safety Concern
During testing we experienced repeated brake failure on the HOP. The brakes release themselves if you tip the stroller and let it fall back even slightly. The brakes also failed when we pushed the stroller froward hard or abruptly. We worry the brakes will disengage when parents don't intend them too, resulting in accidents and potential injury. This problem grew more pronounced as time went on.
The HOP has a small hard to access storage bin with only 5 pounds worth of storage. The cross brace blocks larger items from being put in the bin, and 5 lbs is unlikely to be enough for supplies for two. The bin only has access from the sides because of the back stretcher and top folding cross bars. The HOP also has a cup holder low on the frame that fit our test water bottle.
The HOP canopies are vastly different from one another. The front canopy is average with a small visor and has a zippered panel that helps it extend as far as the belly bar, but leaves most of the leg exposed. The front peek-a-boo window is in the zippered portion of the shade, but there is no cover so the sun will shine onto baby. When the front canopy is closed, it will be right in the face of the rear passenger. The back canopy is a piece of fabric that velcros to the back of the seat with a virtually useless peeping window when the seat is upright. The rear canopy covers the top and sides, but crosses low making it a poor choice for taller riders.
The HOP has 5-point harnesses for each seat. The front seat has a tight piece of fabric covering the back where you would push the tabs through to rethread, making it difficult to access and it is easier to adjust if you unclip the strap. The straps adjust with a slide clip and the fabric is too stiff to slide it into place and you have to help it by pushing the strap through, which is a arduous process.
The HOP has different seating for each passenger, something common with in-line double strollers (above left). The front seat has an adjustable leg rest that has several positions including straight out, which is strange because it hardly reclines which makes the straight leg rest uncomfortable. The rear seat does not have an adjustable leg rest, or a leg rest at all, but it does offer a deeper recline (above right). Neither seat is comfortable enough for longer trips.
Ease of Setup
The HOP has one of the nicest manuals with clear pictures. It took us about 5 minutes to unpack and assemble this stroller with no tools required.
The HOP earned a 3 of 10 for maneuverability. None of the lightweight double options were easy to push or turn, but the HOP was good at pushing straight as opposed to turning where it struggled. While its narrower footprint helped it move through tighter spaces, it takes more forethought to get it turning. The HOP has some wobble in the wheels and flex in the handles as they are taller than most, and while you might be able to push it with one hand, you can't turn it with one. It was easier to push over rougher terrain and managed transitions from one kind to another better than the competition.
This stroller has all-wheel suspension, but given the firmer seats and strange seating options, it isn't the most comfortable. The taller plastic handles are strangely placed, and not the most ergonomic. The handles tall and close to the stroller design also meant that taller testers kicked the rear axle when strolling.
The HOP earned a 1 of 10 for quality, giving it the lowest quality score in the group. The materials used and components come together in what looks and feels like an uninspired design that is hard to use. The flex of the frame and the feel of the fabric reminds us of a less expensive stroller. However, all of this aside, the HOP earned the lowest score for quality in large part due to the poorly functioning brakes. We believe had the quality of the parts and craftsmanship been higher that the HOP brakes would not have suffered such a fatal flaw, and would have consistently worked without accidental disengagement. Alternatively, the ZOE XL2 Deluxe earned a 5 for quality, costs less, and is lighter weight, easier to use, and has better maneuverability.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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Most recent review: September 9, 2016