Which? puts Bugaboo Bee wheels to the testHas Bugaboo fixed the Bee's front wheel problems?

10 April 2012

Blue Bugaboo Bee pushchair

Bugaboo Bee pushchair

Which? has put the latest Bugaboo Bee through a series of gruelling tests to see whether Bugaboo has solved the problem with non-swiveling front wheels.

Bugaboo pulled its popular Bugaboo Bee pushchair from sale in September 2011, when changes made to the front wheels (to prevent a problem with them shimmying from side-to-side) caused some owners to experience a problem with non-swiveling front wheels.

Which? contacted Bugaboo after complaints about the Bugaboo Bee started appearing on the pushchair review customer views pages on the Which? website. 

Bugaboo takes action

Bugaboo told us it was aware that some Bugaboo Bee customers were experiencing non-swiveling front wheels. 

It came up with a range of solutions for both shimmying and non-swiveling wheels which included:

  • Stopping sales of the Bugaboo Bee with the plastic front wheel bearings that were causing the problem
  • Reworking the wheels before reissuing the Bee for sale in Autumn 2011
  • Providing replacement wheel sets for models made in January-September 2011
  • Providing a solution (new metal washers) to solve the shimmying problem of wheels made pre-2011

Which? tests the new Bee

Bugaboo Bee swivel wheels Our swiveling test was so tough that the wheels left rubber on our test surface

Which? pushchair expert Victoria Pearson says: 'Bugaboo responded quickly to the problems, sending out replacement parts to customers who'd registered their purchase and setting up a dedicated page on bugaboo.com where parents could turn for advice.

'But we couldn't leave it there. When Bugaboo reissued the Bugaboo Bee, we sent one of the new models straight to our test lab, where our safety and durability experts devised a series of tests to challenge the new wheels.'

Testing the Bugaboo Bee's new wheels

Our tough tests included:

Test 1: We set the Bee travelling on our rolling road with a 15kg weight in the seat - driving it 72,000 times over a series of bumps - the same tough test that pushchairs need to pass under British and European safety standards.

Test 2: We put the front wheels on a rotating platform which automatically swiveled them 80,000 times with a 9kg child dummy sat in the seat - this amounted to about 200 hours of continuous swiveling. This test was so harsh it left some rubber from the wheels behind on the white linoleum surface of the test rig.

Test 3: We spent an hour wheeling, pushing and turning the Bugaboo Bee with a 9kg dummy in it. We inspected it in action for any signs of shimmying or swiveling problems, before scrutinising the wheels for signs of wear and tear.

Our conclusion

We saw no evidence of shimmying or non-swiveling wheels during our tough challenges and did not observe any defects around the swivel point of the front wheels - even though the wheels themselves were wearing out and leaving black dust on the rotating platform.

So it looks like Bugaboo has successfully addressed the problem with its front wheels. 

But if you do begin to experience problems with your Bugaboo Bee visit the Bee wheel problem page on the Bugaboo website for advice on what to do next.

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