BOB Blaze Review
Pros: Easy to use, handbrake slowing, parent console
Cons: Fixed wheel, bulky fold, poor maneuverability
Our Analysis and Test Results
BOB is a California company started by a pair of dads looking for a great jogging stroller so they could have greater adventures with their babies. The dads created the first fixed wheel running stroller that evolved over time into the locking swivel wheel revolution we know today. The Blaze fixed wheel design more closely mimics the original Sport Utility with upgrades to decrease the weight and improve run-ability.
The Blaze is designed for the serious runner with few nods to convenience you'd need for everyday errands. The fixed front wheel has adjustable tracking (below left) and ours was easy to adjust and ran straight and true down the path. The spoked wheels are designed to be stable and lightweight and the handbrake (below right) provides useful slowing abilities when traversing up and down hilly terrain.
Overall, the Blaze offers customization for better ergonomics and it tips to turns easily when it needs to. However, despite the runner design, this option didn't perform as well as several of the locking swivel wheel competition that were easier to run with.
Ease of Use
The Blaze is easy to use despite lacking some features parents might want in an every day stroller.
Fold and Unfold
The Blaze fold is a straightforward affair with three steps including the manual locking strap. The stroller frame unlocks with dual levers and the fold handle is easy to pull. Unfolding is also simple and quick.
The Blaze has a handbrake for slowing to a stop while running and a single action parking brake. The parking brake is a rocker pedal in the center of the brake bar above the rear axle. It is easy to use but we had some difficulty getting the teeth to engage and had to wiggle the stroller somewhat to ensure proper engagement.
The Blaze has a 10 lb allowance storage bin (above left) with zippered cover (above right) and there is a mesh pocket on the back of the seat. It also has two inside mesh pockets for the passenger.
Oddly, this BOB comes with a parent console which is challenging to use when you run as items are more likely to fall out at speed. It has two cup holders and a center pocket with a zippered cover.
The Blaze canopy is a standard BOB canopy that covers to the knees, has a vinyl peek-a-boo window and a ventilation panel above the window. The canopy can rotate forward for protection against low sun or wind.
The 5-point harness is easy to put on and take off with red pull tab tightening and non-rethread height adjustment. The buckle works well and doesn't require excessive force to release.
The Blaze seat reclines almost flat, has molded padding and stationary leg rest. Recline adjustment requires a single hand to move flat and two hands to raise. The sling-style design is comfy and good for napping.
Car Seat Compatibility
While you can't run with babies under 8 months old, you can attach a car seat to your Blaze for leisurely strolls on flat surfaces with your younger baby. BOB offers a few car seat adapters that require assembly and attach to the stroller frame using a screwdriver. All of the adapters require clicking the car seat on and then using straps to finalize the connection. We aren't big fans of the two-step process as we worry parents will accidentally or intentionally skip the strap step opening the possibility for injury.
Ease of Setup
The Blaze is challenging to set up compared to the competition. It took just over 11 minutes to assemble with better than average documentation. This BOB took longer than most as it has a front fender to attach (with a screwdriver) that has confusing instructions. It also has a parent console.
The Blaze is challenging to maneuver thanks to the fixed wheel design that requires it be tipped back in order to turn. This tipping combined with the longer footprint means you need ample space to negotiate enclosed spaces.
It requires two hands to tip and the finagling to move it over also needs two hands. We think most parents will find it frustrating to use when not running and will quickly see the advantage of a swivel front wheel for everyday use.
Weight and Folded Size
The Blaze should be lighter than other BOBs given the dedicated runner design, but it isn't much lighter with a weight of 26.9 lbs which is negligibly lighter than some BOBs and heavier than others. It measures 19,930 cubic inches when folded which is over 5,000 cubic inches larger than most products where the wheel can turn in for a more compact fold.
Despite some of its shortcomings, the Blaze is a well-constructed jogger that uses durable materials designed for longevity and heavy use. The frame and wheels are rattle-free and the fabric fits the frame nicely. Overall, the fit and finish is rugged but sleek for a BOB which tends to be more utilitarian than sporty. We like that this stroller offers customizable features not found on all of the competition and that you'll be able to use it trouble-free for years.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz