In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

BOB Ironman Review

Nice fixed wheel stroller with limited maneuverability in tight spaces
The BOB Ironman is a fixed wheel stroller with aluminum spoke wheels
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Price:   $420 List
Pros:  Nice quality, easy to use deceleration brake
Cons:  Harder to turn in tight spaces, difficult to use features
Manufacturer:   BOB
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Carrie Vickers  ⋅  Apr 23, 2019
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67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Run-ability - 30% 7
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 6
  • Maneuverability - 15% 6
  • Quality - 10% 9
  • Safety - 10% 6
  • Weight/Folded Size - 10% 7
  • Ease Of Set Up - 5% 6

The Skinny

The BOB Ironman earned a 6 of 16 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.

Discontinued
The BOB Ironman has been discontinued and replaced by the BOB Blaze a very similar looking and styled fixed wheel jogger. To learn more about the Blaze see below.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Blaze vs. 2016 Ironman


The Blaze looks similar in size and function to the Ironman with a fixed front wheel, spoke rear wheels and a slicker tread pattern on the rubber tires. We will be testing the Blaze in an upcoming jogger update. You can compare the 2016 Ironman on the left to the Blaze on the right in the photos below.
The BOB Blaze is the replacement model for the Ironman.

Hands-on Review


Roger Malinowski and Philip Novotny created the Beast of Burden Company, (otherwise known as BOB) in San Luis Obispo, California in 1994. For their first product, the bicycle professional and the airline mechanic built Yak bike trailers. When the men had families, they found a need for a different type of stroller and they produced the first BOB Sport Utility jogging stroller. The two men continued revolutionizing the stroller world in 2005 by manufacturing the first stroller with a swivel wheel that locks in place for jogging use, which made it easier to maneuver in everyday situations. In 2011, the company was sold to Britax.

Performance Comparison


The chart below shows the jogging strollers included according to overall scores. In blue, ranking near the middle of the pack, is the BOB Ironman.


Below are additional details on how the Ironman performed during testing for each metric compared to the competition.

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 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 has adjustable tracking that is easy to use and keeps the stroller moving straight without trouble. This stroller is easy to tip for turning a fixed or locked front wheel and the smooth tire tread helps prevent excessive vibration from traveling to the handlebar. Unfortunately, it does not have an adjustable handlebar, which could disrupt some runner's biomechanics and make longer runs more fatiguing. The deceleration handbrake 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 2 scored one point higher with a 7.

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 with two hands and two steps. It features a manual lock and it does not self-stand. The folding process is easy with a pull handle under the seat, but there are more steps than the Thule options. Unfolding 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 that is sandal foot friendly. This BOB also features a handbrake for deacceleration that 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 quite extensive and keeps kids sheltered from the sun all the way 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 the corners feature a reflective material allows for high visibility when strolling 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 are easy as well. The clasp is simple to snap together, as well as popping 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 the baby until they are at least 8 months old (speak to your pediatrician). This stroller is compatible with a variety of different infant car seats with the purchase of an adapter. The adapters on the Ironman all require a two-step approach, which includes click-in and use of straps.
  • 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 fell in the middle of the group with a 6 of 10 in the maneuverability metric. 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 challenging 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.

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 added comforts like adjustable suspension, padded sling style seat, and padded shoulder straps. The handlebar is stationary at about 40 inches, and the bar is large in diameter and covered in foam that feels good. 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 respectable 7 out of 10 for weight and folded size. It is lightest BOB stroller at just over 23 lbs, but, 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 durable, heavy-duty canvas. 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 look good with no rough edges on the metal, plastic, or fabric. While it lacks the sleek design of the Thule it still has a finished look you'll love to push.

Manufacturer Video


This video demonstrates the fixed front wheel of the BOB Ironman and BOB Sport Utility strollers.


Juliet Spurrier, MD & Carrie Vickers