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Hands-on Gear Review

BOB Sport Utility Review

The BOB Sport Utility is a fixed wheel stroller
Price:   $390.00 List | $399.99 at 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

The BOB Sport Utility earned a 7 of 16 rank. It earned an impressive second place score in the quality metric, but in general had only average marks for the remainder. This fixed wheel stroller had difficulty with maneuverability and with ease of use. The knobby tires hurt it somewhat in testing, and while they help for off-road use, they hinder run-ability somewhat. While it is unlikely that users will dislike this BOB stroller, the Thule Glide simply earned higher marks in almost every metric and is has a cheaper list price. With a lighter weight, smaller fold, and better performance for run-ability and maneuverability, it is hard to choose the Sport Utility over the Thule Glide. If you happen to be a die-hard BOB fan, the BOB Revolution Flex earned a 3rd place rank, and if fixed wheel is a must, the BOB Ironman scored higher.

Update — June 2016
BOB has released a 2016 version of the Sport Utility, which is what we are linking to now. Read on to find out more about the minor changes in the new version.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

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

Last Updated:
Friday
December 30, 2016

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BOB Sport Utility Stroller 2015 vs 2016 Version
We have not tested the 2016 Sport Utility, but we suspect it will perform similarly to the older version (below left). The 2016 version (below right) has a few changes like a larger basket, a one-handed recline, and a 5 lb heavier weight capacity. All of this comes with an additional 2.6 lbs added to the weight of the stroller.
 

Roger Malinowski and Philip Novotny started the Beast of Burden Company, or BOB Company, in 1994 in California. The bicycle industry pro and the airline mechanic started their company building Yak bike trailers. After the men began to have families, they discovered a need for a stroller for outdoor and active families. To meet this need, the two men created the first BOB Sport Utility jogging stroller. The men developed several variations of this stroller and revolutionized the stroller world by creating the first jogger with a locking swivel wheel in 2005. This made the traditional jogging stroller much easier to maneuver and thus more user-friendly. The company was purchased in 2011 by the Britax Company, a well-known baby gear company specializing in everyday strollers and car seats. The merged companies now offer a complete lineup of strollers for just about any need.

Performance Comparison


This chart compares the overall scores for the jogging strollers we tested in this review. The BOB Sport Utility is shown in blue.


The sections below provide details on the Sport Utility's performance during the testing of each individual metric. Metric scores were used to determine overall scores, with an emphasis on run-ability and ease of use.

The Sport Utility is easy to push on and off the sidewalk
The Sport Utility is easy to push on and off the sidewalk

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 scores of the Thule Urban Glide and the BOB Revolution Flex that both earned 9, or the fixed wheel Thule Glide that earned a 7.

This stroller offers adjustable tracking that works well and keeps the stroller running true. The Sport is easy to tip back for turning, a necessity for running, and is easy enough to maneuver at speed. The knobby tread on the rubber tires work well off-road, but make running more difficult by increasing vibration in the handlebar. This stroller is similar to the BOB Ironman to run with but has some extra weight that makes it less than ideal for hilly terrain. Our professional runner feels it has a nice forward motion and rolls smoothly enough.

Ease of Use


The Sport Utility earned a 6 of 10 for ease of use, along with all of the other BOB products. The Burley Solstice earned a 9 in this metric, with the fixed wheel Thule Glide earning 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 Sport Utility has a two-handed fold that includes an easy to use red handle under the seat. This stroller 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 to get it in the right position.

Brakes


This stroller has single action brakes that are easy to apply and release, and are sandal foot friendly. There is a metal bar in between the back wheels on the 2015 model and a slightly larger plastic pedal on the 2016 version. The Sport Utility also has a deceleration handbrake that works well to slow the stroller to a stop and relieve the runner of some of the strain of slowing the stroller manually.

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

Storage


The Sport Utility has a large storage bin that is easy to access from the back and sides. It has a maximum weight capacity of 10 lbs and it fit our large diaper bag with ease. The bin is relatively far under the handlebar and you are going to have to squat or bend to use it. The Sport also has a large mesh pocket on the back of the seat and inside mesh passenger pockets.

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

Sunshade


The canopy on the Sport is large and will cover most children all the way to the knees. The canopy is sturdy with a large vinyl peek-a-boo window and ventilation at the back. The cover on the window has hook and loop closure, and the canopy has reflective material on the front corners for better night visibility.

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

Harness


The Sport has a 5-point harness that is easy to get on and off, and tighten. It has easy to adjust shoulder height options and an adjustable crotch strap. The latch is easy to snap together and pops open when the button is pushed.

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

Seat


This seat has a two-handed recline that is deep for napping. It has a large ventilation area at the top of the seat for additional airflow once reclined. The seat itself is thermos-molded canvas, as is the footrest that extends down from the seat to the footrest.

Car Seat Compatibility


The Sport Utility is like the other BOB jogging strollers and has optional car seat adapters for a variety of infant car seats. This allows you to use the stroller with children under 8 months of age as a walking stroller. The manufacturer warns that babies under 8 months of age should not be jogged with. All the BOB adapters have a two-step process that click-in and straps.
  • Other Adapters — BOB also offers adapters for Britax and BOB car seats, as well as an adapter for some Graco car seat.

Ease of Setup


The Sport Utility took us 5:24 minutes to assemble from unpacking to ready to run. The documentation is good, but assembly does require the use of Phillips head screwdriver.


Maneuverability


The Sport Utility earned a 6 of 10 for maneuverability. The Thule Glide earned a 7 and the Thule Urban Glide received a 9, with the BOB Revolution Flex earning the high for BOB strollers with an 8.

Pushing the Sport Utility on flat surfaces isn't too hard, but turning requires tipping the stroller back and can be a pain, especially in tight places like a store or café. This stroller is almost impossible to maneuver in smaller spaces as the length gets longer when you tip it back and bumping things with the front wheel is commonplace. Pushing off-road is easier and the knobby tread helps it navigate gravel and trails with ease. Negotiating curbs is tricky thanks to the adjustable suspension that can cause a bouncier decent than you might expect. Keeping a firm grip on the handlebar goes a long way in maintaining control.

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 on this stroller is higher than average and large in diameter. It is covered in a dense foam that feels nice in hand. The bar does not have an ergonomic shape, but the handbrake is nicely placed and didn't get in the way while running. This stroller has a padded sling style seat, padded shoulder straps, and adjustable suspension, making this stroller more comfortable than most for passengers.

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 Sport Utility earned a 6 of 10 for weight and folded size. This stroller is about 25 lbs, which is average for the group. The Sport folds to 17,850 cubic inches, which puts it in the larger half. Some parents might have trouble lifting this stroller or fitting into their trunk space. The Thule Glide is both lighter and smaller than the Sport Utility, and performed better for run-ability.

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

Quality


The Sport Utility earned a score of 9 of 10 for quality, but this impressive score is lower than the Thule Glide that received a 10. The fabric on the Sport is a heavy canvas on thermo-molded seats and padding with reflective elements. It has a thick aluminum frame with tight connections and high-quality plastic components. It comes with adjustable shocks and 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.

Manufacturer Video


This video show the general features of BOB strollers.


This video demonstrates the fixed front wheel on the Sport Utility.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & Carrie Vickers

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Most recent review: December 30, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

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