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Hands-on Gear Review
Burley Solstice Review
Price: $400.00 List | $349.00 at Amazon - 13% off
Pros: Top score for ease of use, simple fold, large storage, runs straight
Cons: Heavier weight, bulky fold, difficult to lift and stow
Bottom line: Great jogger that is super easy to use and could work as your only stroller
The Burley Solstice earned a Top Pick award for ease of use, coming in 4th place overall. It implements a yellow color coding of adjustable features that make the Burley intuitive to use and highly functional. Compared to the similar BOB Revolution Flex, the Solstice is much easier to fold, and it self-stands and can be pulled from behind on its wheels to transport instead of picking it up like the BOB requires. This stroller also scored well for quality and earned a 2nd place rank for run-ability, making it a good option for the serious or casual runner. The similarly priced, but higher overall scoring Thule Urban Glide, earned a top score for run-ability making it arguably a better option if you value run-ability over ease of use. However, if ease of use is your top priority the Burley is a cool option, and we can see why it is gaining traction as a parent favorite.
RELATED REVIEW: The Race for the Best Jogging Stroller of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Since its humble beginnings near Eugene, Oregon, the Burley brand has been making bike products since 1978. Naming the company after his wife "Burley Bev", the founder, Alan Scholz, made his first bike trailer to transport goods into town to sell at the Saturday Market. The Solstice is Burley's only dedicated jogging stroller so far, but its first leap is a fairly impressive one.
This chart shows a comparison of each jogging stroller and their overall scores. The Burley Solstice (shown in blue) earned a 4th place rank, but its high ease of use score helped it earn the Top Pick award for Ease of Use.
The sections below outline the details of how the Burley performed during our tests for each metric. Scores from metric testing are combined to determine the overall scores with weight being given to run-ability and ease of use.
The Burley earned a 7 of 10 score for run-ability, which is the second highest score in the metric. The similar Thule Urban Glide and the BOB Revolution Flex both earned 9s, and also sport swivel front wheels like the Solstice. Interestingly the swivel wheel strollers scored higher on average for run-ability (with the wheel locked) than the fixed wheel competition that had historically been considered a better bet for serious runners.
The Burley has a locking swivel front wheel with adjustable tracking that is easy to use thanks to large, finger friendly, yellow knobs. The Solstice runs true on pneumatic rubber tires, and there is no annoying wrestling to keep it from veering off course. When the front wheel is locked, the stroller is easy to tip back and turn going around wide corners, something required of all serious running products. However, it has enough give in the locked wheel that you can gradually round wide corners without much back tipping if you want to.
The Burley has a height adjustable handlebar that is easy to use, but has a limited range (about 3 in) that may not work for pushers over 6 ft tall. We do like how the handlebar is covered in dense foam and curves off on each side creating a comfortable, more ergonomic place to rest hands, but the short right-sided safety wrist strap will be hard for lefties to use, and you'll always be holding the bar with the right hand if you utilize the strap.
Ease of Use
With the highest score of 9 of 10 for ease of use, the Solstice took home a Top Pick award. With thoughtfully designed features like yellow adjustment points, and impressive functionality like an easy fold, the Solstice offers parents and passengers a product that is both intuitive and useful. This will come in handy if alternate caregivers take little ones for a stroll.
In this metric the Thule Urban Glide comes in second place, but in our opinion it lacks the intuitive edge found in the Burley.
Fold and Unfold
The one-handed fold on the Burley takes almost no effort at all and scored very well compared to the competition. It is the only option in the top 5 strollers that folds in one fluid motion and self-stands. To fold the Solstice, you use the yellow highlighted buttons to slide, squeeze, and rotate the handle forward, making it effortless and direct.
The stroller folds in half smoothly and sits on its wheels (above left), which keeps it clean. It also auto-locks, self-stands (above right), and rolls like luggage.
The brakes are single action brakes that are easy to set and release without the stiffness found in some of the competition. However, these brakes are pretty painful to use if you're wearing sandals.
The storage bin under the seat is extra-large and holds a maximum weight of 15 lbs, the second highest allowance in the group. It has access from the sides and rear, and it fit our extra-large diaper bag inside with no problems. The Burley also has a large mesh pocket on the back of the seat where you can store a water bottle or cell phone and keys, and mesh pockets inside the seat that are similar in design and looks to the BOB and Thule passenger pockets.
The Solstice has a large sunshade (above left) with added ventilation and a medium size peek-a-boo window made of vinyl. The canopy is easy to use, and while it looks smaller than those on the BOB strollers, it has a similar amount of coverage and looks sharp when open instead of rumpled like the BOB Revolution Flex. The window is easy to see through and has a magnetic closure for quiet peeking (above right), which is better than the Velcro closure found on much of the competition. The canopy also has a zippered extension and a pop out visor for added protection.
The Burley has a unique 5-point harness that has what Burley calls Spring Integrated Technology (SIT). This harness pops open and stays open, without fumbling for straps under baby. Adjusting the harness height is also easy, as is the crotch strap, giving enough variation in harness size for almost any size child. The straps are easy to insert in the buckle and they eject on their own when the buckle is pressed, making it a one-handed operation to open.
Overall, the Solstice seat is fairly comfortable and functional with a sling style seat and nice padding that extends to the leg rest. However, without an adjustable leg rest or flatter recline angle, the seat might not be great for napping. This stroller also has one of the easiest to use one-handed adjustment toggle for reclining the seat back.
Car Seat Compatibility
The Solstice is compatible with a variety of well known infant car seat brands. Burley offers a universal Burley Car Seat Adapter that works with the following car seat carriers: some Baby Trend, the Britax B-Safe 35 and Bob B-Safe, Chicco Keyfit 30 and Keyfit, Safety 1st onBoard Air 35, Evenflo, Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35, Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40, SnugRide Click Connect 30, and SnugRide Classic Connect, some Maxi Cosi options, Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP, and 30-30 (but not the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35). For a full list check the Burley website.
Ease of Setup
The Burley is easy to set up and requires no tools. It took us a little over 5 minutes to assemble and the manual has helpful information.
The Burley earned a 7 of 10 for maneuverability. The Thule Urban Glide and BOB Revolution Flex once again earned higher scores, putting the Burley in 3rd place for this metric. Maneuverability is important because it concerns movement and turning over various terrain; if you don't like pushing a stroller, you aren't likely to enjoy anything else about it.
Pushing and turning the Burley on flat surfaces is relatively smooth going, with good navigation of tight spaces, even if it could be more responsive. You probably could manage this stroller with only one hand while strolling, if the bar didn't have a part of the fold mechanism in the middle that makes the center harder to hold. The Burley really impresses when you take it off-road with similar capabilities and responsiveness over grass and gravel that we experienced on smooth surfaces. This makes it a good choice for trail running or playground outings, where the terrain could change at a moment's notice.
The Solstice has rear suspension, rubber air filled tires and padded sling style seat that combine to create a comfortable ride. Going up and down curbs isn't difficult, but the coil spring suspension gives the stroller a little bit of a bouncy jump, so you'll need to exercise extra caution and use two hands.
Weight and Folded Size
The Burley is the second heaviest stroller in the review with a weight of 27.4 lbs. This makes it harder to lift or arrange into a trunk. In comparison, the Thule Urban Glide is only 22.6 lbs, about 5 lbs lighter, which can make a big difference for many parents when it comes to lifting and carrying it.
The folded Burley is 23,138 cubic inches of bulkiness, making it the second largest folded stroller in the group. So depending on the size of your trunk or SUV, this could be a deal breaker. Sure, you can remove the wheels with the easy to use quick release function to make it slightly smaller, but that is an additional step and doesn't really decrease the size enough for most parents to bother.
The Burley earned an 8 of 10 for quality with attention to detail and higher quality components and materials than much of the competition. Both the BOB Revolution Flex and the Thule Urban Glide scored slightly higher in this metric with 9s.
The Solstice has heavy canvas material with smooth consistent stitching. The fabric fits the frame nicely and both have a sleek finished look not found in every stroller. The aluminum alloy frame has a simple clean shape and only flexes slightly under pressure. The overall look has few exposed fasteners and is pleasing to the eye. The Burley wheels are dense plastic, similar to those on the BOB Revolution Flex, with rubber pneumatic tires, sealed cartridge bearings, and quick release mechanisms.
This video shows some of the features of the Burley Solstice.
The Solstice doesn't necessarily need accessories, but there are some that might make it even more user friendly.
The Solstice is the only dedicated jogging stroller that Burley makes. However, they do offer several bike trailers that can be converted to a jogger with a jogging kit, much the same as the Thule Chariot Cougar 2 with Jog Kit. The following is a comparable one to consider:
If you would like more information on the D-Lite, or are interested in seeing a comparison of the D'Lite to the Thule Chariot Cougar 2, take a look at the bike trailer review on our sister site, OudoorGearLab.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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