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Mountain Buggy Duet Review from Harrogate Nursery Fair, 2011 by Jus

At the Harrogate Nursery Fair this weekend, several times people said to me “but there will never be a perfect pushchair” but I had hope…..

I travelled two hours to Harrogate, leaving my baby son for the first time ever, to see and review one side by side double pushchair – the Mountain Buggy Duet. For a self confessed Tandem lover this was a huge thing to do!

On paper, the Duet has been well received because of its narrow width – 63.5cms – which is the smallest double I know about to date – but at the bottom of every review to date has been the line “The 29.5 cm seat width isn’t the roomiest, but average for more compact double strollers, and should be adequate for most children up to 4 years of age”.  But I think the phrase “seat width isn’t the roomiest” was putting people off…….until I had a lightbulb moment. At the time I had literally just taken delivery of a 2011 Baby Jogger City Mini and my first outing around our seaside town with the BJCM had been a disaster because of its width (75.6cms) . I had had to abandon it in one shop, and couldn’t get into another. So already I was on the search for a narrower side by side. At the time the chair my tall 2 year old daughter was sat in, was only approx 30cms wide and she easily had 5cms either side of her….so therefore the 29.5cms as quoted suddenly sounded very roomy to me! So I found a tape measure and went off to measure the BJCM seat widths. I discovered that the BJCM seats at the back seam were only 25cms wide and even at the front edge were only 28cms wide! Even the single BJCM seat at the back seam is only 28cms wide. So the Duet had on paper wider seats than both! This excited me….enormously!!

Fast forward to Harrogate and my first meeting with the Duet. It’s small and perfectly formed. I gave it a quick push and it was like pushing air! Sturdy but light! My next cheeky move was to drive it across the corridor and line it up with the City Select on display on the opposite stand. How on earth could a side by side, with wider seats than a BJCM, be narrower than my beloved City Select? Its been the thing thats been boggling the minds of Babycentre mums since we started seriously considering the Duet. But it is!!!! How??? To be honest, for starters the wheels are well tucked underneath. The City Select and BJCM’s wheels are a similar width apart at the back. But if you have a good look at the BJCM double, it’s easy to see how the Duet loses those critical cms to make it so narrow without compromising on seat space. The BJCM has a double bar down the centre. On the Duet its a thinnish single bar. The BJCM has hoods that stick out by several cms each side. The Duets clip onto the bars at either side. It’s easy to lose 10cms with extra metal and plastic! The seats on the Mountain Buggy are much more functional and practical rather than pretty. They are straight and unshaped. But that’s fine with me although I have to admit I would probably have never looked or bought a Mountain Buggy as a single – aesthetically it doesn’t thrill me like the City Select or iCandy Peach does. But a pushchair is an item that you use. That you live with. It is a work horse. If it looks great, then even better. I have a tandem for one purpose and I need a double for another ie walking to our local shops, park and to the beach, and the Mountain Buggy should be great for that. HOWEVER!! I couldn’t get my seat measurements near the 29.5cms that has been quoted for the seat measurement. In line with the BJCM (and the other pushchairs we looked at) we measured the seat at the back along the seam and the width was 27.5cms and along the front seam at the knee it was 27cms. The seat was 19cms deep. But even so thats approx 2cms wider at the back of the seat than the BJCM and only 0.5cm less at the front. It’s not worth arguing over really! What was even more amazing was that the bulky, heavier, taller Duo ALSO had the same seat measurements ie 27.5cms at the back of the seat and 27cms at the front!!

There is a large basket. It’s more accessible than the BJCM where I could only fit a small bag through the side gap and at best a can of coke at the back. I obviously haven’t tried, but I would hope to be able to get a couple of bags of shopping easily through the gap under the seats. However I am aware that once you get the weight of a couple of children in, the gap may well close and make it harder to get bags underneath. So I remain unconvinced over the basket access - its the one thing I really would like to see in real life with children in the seats - but you know what? It’s better than I have right now with the BJCM as the Duet will fit through ALL my local shop doors!

As I said the seats are functional really. I am not sure what the recommended age for the seats will be but they do lie pretty flat and we thought they may recommend them as suitable from 4 months. But as in the photo you can buy liners to fit the Mountain Buggies to add extra comfort. The sheepskin type one in the photo looked lovely. The seat recline was a toggle type strap system at the back which is a feature I love on the BJCM. My 8 month old son hates being laid down but once he’s asleep I slowly lower him down in the BJCM. So that was a plus for me.

For infants you can add one or even two carrycots. To be fair they were probably the smallest of the carrycots we measured (I will do a comparison table later) but not by much. And I would have no issues moving a 4-5 month old to the seat later because its not bucket shaped like say a City Select or Bugaboo seat. We went back at the end of the day to see how they fitted. The gentleman had never done it before, but he had the fabric poppered off in seconds and the carrycot very easily clipped onto the frame (once we had found the right place!). It looked great – parent facing! It was a good sturdy carrycot. My assumption is the carrycot would need to come off to fold. The carrycots were a few cms smaller than the Bugaboo and City Mini carrycots but not by much. The internal useable space measurements we got were 75cms long by 26.5cms wide in the middle and 27cms wide at the head end. The carrycots are apparently suitable for overnight sleeping.

You can also amazingly put on two maxi cosi car seats! We saw a photo of how they fit and although they are staggered on the frame, they are actually close together near the handle bar. I assume if the adaptors clip onto the frame like the carrycot that they will overlap nicely. Having said that, the external width of a Maxi Cosi car seat is 44cms so there has to be some overlap in the centre to keep the pushchair slim? We will await more photos of those. We hope to get some asap.

The Duet harness strap adjustor is so nifty! It has a height adjustor which slides up and down and seemed easy to alter. The harness buckle was easy for me to do but apparently harder for a child. But I loved being able to see the red release buttons because at home I am forever scrabbling around in the dark to find where the black ones on my Baby Joggers are! The hoods were a good size. Not as large as the amazing hood of the City Mini but still good with a peekaboo window which rolls up with velcro if you want it open.

I loved the ridged rubber handle – it felt good in my hand. I have back issues after two children so I do tend to lean on the handle when walking, and it allowed me to put my weight on even with no children sat inside without any  tipping problems.  I also loved the fold down handle to adjust the height. Pushing the Duet wasn’t the arm stretching task of the BJCM or any other double. It was effortless and my hands were close together! The brake was easy to identify but I have to confess I have been spoilt with my City Select side hand brake. The double bumper bar was functional. The raincovers are extras. We queried why and its because Mountain Buggies are sold in hot dry countries as well as wet ones! There’s also a wrist strap for the parent for your regular mountain climb!

I like to compare pushchairs so I cheekily lined up the Duet next to the Duo – wow! The Duo looked like such a monster next to the neat little Duet! I honestly didn’t want to go near the Duo!! I think the differences are obvious from the photos. The weight difference was considerable; the fold was larger on the Duo. Which reminds me! I haven’t talked about the nifty fold on the Duet!! We attempted to fold the Duo and it took two of us to work out the catch at the front and how to fold it. The Duet has an amazing little button on the back of one of the hoods. If I remember correctly you lift it up, give a little pull (or push?) and the Duet folds flat instantly! I was told no one knew how to do it but whilst they were searching for someone who did, I simply pulled the  handle and the whole thing just smoothly dropped to the ground. I think you should be able to do it one handed!! The wheels are much smaller on the Duet (its a Swift chassis if you want to look them up) but that wouldn’t bother the average user around the shops and on the school run. The wheels detach – and forgive me if I have got this bit wrong – I will check – but I think it was the Duet wheels where the pin slides back out of the way so that nothing catches on it when being stored. I’m not the one to ask if the tyres are airfilled or not – but I am sure again we will find that out. I will be interested to see if the Duet’s fold is small enough to fit into the 20cms clearance in my car boot! I wish now we had measured the folded width, but again it may be something we can find out about. But with the bumper bar off its a fairly narrow pushchair. I have to say I won’t miss having to do battle with my cosy toes falling off each time I fold the Duet like I do with the BJCM.

I promised Mountain Buggy that I would point out that the footplate  of the Duet will be metal like the Duo. The Duet in the photo was still a prototype. Please also note that in the side by side photos of the Duet and Duo, that the handlebar of the Duo is fully extended but the Duet handlebar has been lowered. It is my belief that the handlebar heights will probably be the same.

I have to say that by the end, Leah and I were in love. Both would have happily ordered one on the spot if we could have done so. Our only recommendation – we ARE fussy customers (!) - was to ask for storage nets on the back of each seat for drinks etc. but the people at Mountain Buggy WERE listening and we really hope they can make this small addition that REALLY IS useful happen for us :)

But apart from the storage nets and a few question marks remaining, I really think it could be the perfect pushchair. (And thats from a side-by-side-a-phobe!)

RRP is £580 for the Duet, £140 per Carrycot, £25 per set of Car Seat Adaptors and £41 for the Raincover (I am assuming its a double one but it may well not be – I will check!). Don’t forget that the new Freerider will also fit on the back for those mums and dad’s of three children! It was a very sturdy little board which came apart nicely when needed. Its wider than the average scooter and seemed to be plenty of room for little feet on the non slip base.

Stores are now taking pre-orders. Even though there is speculation re the date they are due in, and some stores are saying May, Mountain Buggy themselves really had no idea on Sunday. All they knew was that the Phil and Ted’s Verve would be the next Pushchair they launch and we assume the Duet will be next. The Plus One was a prototype on display and my feeling was that the Duet was almost ready to go whereas the Plus One wasn’t. But we will keep you informed!

Thanks to all the Mountain Buggy team for their patience, cooperation and enthusiasm to help us research this fully.

*EDIT* We believe the Duet will now arrive in late July. The RRP is not set, and will only be set when the Duet arrives in the UK depending on the current exchange rate.

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  1. Emma

    Hi… this is a great review! I have a couple of questions…

    1) do you know the overall weight?

    2) would you swap your BJCS for a Duet? I have 3.5mth old twins and have a BJCS currently – mainly for the ability to click the car seats on when I’m just popping somewhere quickly (use the carrycots for long walks). I love it but already find it a bit heavy and awkward to lift up kerbs. It appears the only thing I would lose with the Duet is the ability to have them parent facing in the main seats – is that right? Would love to hear your thoughts please!

    • AllTheNines

      Overall weight of the Duet is 14kgs i think= perhaps u can confirm jus?

      I cant answer your question about swapping to a duet as ive never owned a BJCS but i do have twins and i have to say id be very tempted with it for my boys.
      I had an icandy pear from birth – 9/10 months and it was great having the option to use the car seats on the frame- BUT i did swap to a side by side once my boys were big enough to fwd face in car seats.

      And yes you cant have child facing parent in the seat units- only cars seats or carrycots.

    • Thanks for your comments. I will check my notebook for the weight and get back to you. But I have also emailed my contact at Mountain Buggy for all the stats so hopefully I will have those soon. Honestly I don’t think I can answer your would I swap question until I really get to test drive a Duet with children in, in real life situations! As you probably know I love my City Select….it really works well as a pushchair apart from it being heavy up kerbs. But I am also in the fortunate position of having a City Select and a City Mini. The BJCM will definitely without question be sold. Whether I would actually replace the City Select with a Duet I can’t answer until I try it. However for me the shopping basket will make or break it for me! For anyone else…..I absolutely honestly think this is one cracking pushchair. It is a pushchair (especially for twins) from birth to probably four without needing to swap. I suspect it will be better than the City Select in most ways but I do love the City Select for the seating positions. But if I was only allowed one forever pushchair I strongly suspect I would pick the Duet. Parent facing older babies don’t bother me at all. Babies will parent face in the car seats and carrycots and to be honest by 9-12 months old most babies probably prefer to look out! I think it’s the mums who like to see their little ones! But the peekaboo windows are great for you to look down on your LOs. I have to say in the CSs defence that it’s only been recently with a 2.5 and 8 month old that it’s started to feel heavy for me. I still love it and love using my City Select….but ask me again when I get a Duet in my hands!!!

  2. Emma

    I should have also added that I have a toddler who is about to turn 2. Which buggy works best with a buggy board as ultimately that’s what I hope to get to? At the moment we also have an ABC triple for long walks and use a Mclaren + the BJCS when we are in town and there’s 2 of us.

    • AllTheNines

      Both the BJCS and the Duet will work with buggy board attachments. Mountain Buggy Have theit new Free Rider which is a sort of scooter attachment for the back- and can be used as a seperate independant scooter on its own too. Comes in some great funky colours xx

  3. Loving the review Jus!
    It really does seem the perfect pushchair. I think your right when you say its practical rather than pretty but whats the point in a pushchair that looks good but is a nightmare to use?!
    My only question was about the bench type seat mentioned a while ago, any more info on that?

    • AllTheNines

      Bench seat isnt going to be an option on these. We asked the question and its not in their plans. There is the Free Rider though that comes in a variety of colours xx

    • Thanks for the comments. We asked about the bench type seats and no one had heard anything about it. Sorry! The Free Rider was excellent. Someone asked me to check how sturdy it was, and I have to say it looked pretty sturdy. It’s better quality than our two scooters and one of those is a good branded one. I suspect it would withstand a toddler chucking it around / on the floor well. The board had a wide space for little feet and had a very good non slip grippy, rough, costing on it. It folded up well and detached easily once we had worked out how! The duet is functional but I have to say it means I can go through the doors of my local shops with a side by side. I wish we had had longer with the Duet, and I also wish that we could have tried children in it – more to see how good the basket access was.

  4. Yvonne

    Fab reviews Jus and Leah and great website. Duet looks fab and sure it could be brightened up a bit by footmuffs etc.

  5. I agree, would have been great to see it with some children in.

  6. Catcymraeg

    Love the reviews. Excellent new site.
    I’ve tried looking for Mountain buggy cosytoes online and all I can find are cocoon looking ones which look like you’re going on a polar expedition. Did you see any ‘normal’ ones like baby joggers new ones?

    Pre-ordered and deposit paid on mine. Can’t wait. But like Jussy says, I love my BJCS as well and sold my BJCM as it wouldn’t fit through my front door. It’s also very bad that the handle isn’t adjustable on the BJCM. We’ll have to wait and see whether the duet will answer all our twin prayers.


    • Thanks for the message and compliments. I have to say I didn’t see any Phil & Teds cosy toes. The only thing I saw was the sheepskin type liner in the Duo. We asked to borrow a cocoon at one point to try in the Mountain Buggy +One and they didn’t have any on the stand at all!
      Like you, I hope the Duet will be the perfect buggy – like I said I have one main query and that is the access to the basket once children are in, but otherwise it seemed to be a cracking pushchair. Lets keep our fingers crossed that it works well in real life :)

  7. Laura

    This is an excellent review, very thorough and I am so excited about the Duet. I’m in Australia and I can’t seem to get any clear information about the Duet’s release here, I wondered if you could help shed any light on when it will be available? I want a side-by-side double NOW and the only option for my car is a BJ city mini, but I want all terrain. The Duet seems to be exactly what I need, but I don’t want to have to wait months to finally purchase.

    I would also love to know the folded dimensions.

    Thanks again, I will keep watching this space!


  8. Hi Laura, thank you for your comments. We were very thorough because on paper the Mountain Buggy Duet seemed like the dream double pushchair – mainly because of the width which is smaller than my tandem, with no compromise on seat size, and it takes carrycots and car seats! We wanted to see if it really was as good as we hoped and we weren’t disappointed. They are taking preorders for the Duet here in the UK at present. We are in contact directly with a Mountain Buggy representative who when we saw her last week said that she honestly did not know when the Duet is arriving here. However we have two indicators. Firstly some Mountain Buggy retailers are suggesting May as a delivery date. But secondly we know that the new Phil and Teds Verve will released here in the UK first. I don’t have a date for that either but I am trying to find out, so do come back to us. But my belief is the Verve will be released for sale shortly.
    Re folded size of the Duet. We were kicking ourselves for not getting this measurement. I have asked my Mountain Buggy rep to try to get these for us. But meanwhile we are speculating! We know the width of the Duet is 63.5cms. We also know the Duet is built on a slightly modified Mountain Buggy Swift chassis (it uses Swift carrycots) and that folded is 96cms x 56 cms x 30cms so my suspicion is that the folded size is similar but 63.5cms wide instead of 56cms wide. We also took photos of the Duet folded next to the Duo for comparisons and the Duo’s folded dimensions are: 104cm x 74cms x 39.5cms and we know the Duo is 74cms wide when open. I hope that helps for now but we are trying to get your questions answered for ourselves so as soon as we get some ‘official’ responses from Mountain Buggy we will come back and post them on here. I hope that the Duet will be in Australia soon too.

  9. Sarah

    Hi Jus

    Does the bar across the front come off? My current double (Nipper) doesnt have one and it strikes me that it would be a pain when trying to get a screaming wriggling tantrumming toddler into his seat…

    I want one…next step? win the lottery!

  10. Yes, if you look at the carrycot photos, the bar has to be removed to put them or the car seats onto the chassis. The harness buckles are apparently child proof too. I know the wriggling tantrumming toddler situation only too well! It’s the reason I have a double!

    BTW on the new 2011 Nipper 360 the bumper bar removes and is also hinged to allow easy access.

    LOL re winning the lottery. There were some wonderful new pushchairs on show and its hard to know which one I would rather have. But I think the Duet is really fab. I would have liked to see the new Nipper in a bit more detail and the Verve looks stunning.

  11. natalie

    Just ordered my duet, expecting twins in 4 weeks time! Just have a question regarding the carrycots. Do you know if the old mountain buggy carrycots would fit the duet as Ive seen a few second hand ones at really good prices, dont really want to pay full price for the new ones as they will probably only last for a few months. If not do you know of any soft carrycots that would work just as well.
    Many Thanks,

    • As far as I am aware (but I will try and check for you) the carrycots are the same as the Mountain Buggy Swift ones. I am sure a phone call to a Mountain Buggy retailer would confirm this for you otherwise. They simply clip onto the frame. If not, I know I have used a Bugaboo Cocoon successfully from a young age with my baby, and other people I know have used Petit Zia and Graco soft cots in the Baby Jogger City Mini, so I would think they may well fit the Duet too (but you would need to check the latter two). But personally I think the carrycots look great on the chassis and would be worth finding out more about.

      • Just to add, we now know that the Duet carrycots are NOT the same as the Swift ones. The Duet has its own carrycots with a central bar connector which the Swift carrycots do not have.

  12. Katherine

    Would any of you have an idea if I could attach the buggypod smorph to DUET? I will have twins soon, but have 18 months old who does not want walk that much yet when out.

    • Hi, until the Duet arrives, I don’t think anyone will know what will attach or where. The only stroller board that I know will definitely fit is the Freerider scooter.

      • Katherine

        Thank you.
        I spoke with the peppermint sales assistant and she said that because the DUET chassis is like swift chassis just a bit smaller the buggypod smorph would fit. Also she mentioned that swift carry cots are matching DUET. That is strange as I read in many places that those will be different.

  13. aspin

    How tall is the seat back? Would it fit older kids? What is.the measurement from back wheels to front wheels? I can find height of floor to handlebars and width but not length. Thanks.

    • Hi, the measurement I have for the seat back is 50cms from the back of the seat to the top of the seat.
      Length isn’t usually given by Mountain Buggy or Phil&Teds. I guess it partly depends on where you have the handlebar!
      I am hoping to get my Duet in a few days time so I can then take the length measurement for you and will take photos of my children in the seats.

    • The measurement open between the front of the front wheel (tucked under) and the back of the back wheel is approx 87cms. Open length with the wheels tucked under and the handlebar straight out ie maximum length is approx 117cms.

  14. Alice

    Hi, Has anyone actually got a duet yet? I’m keen but have some questions particularly about the folded (with wheels) dimensions. Thanks.

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