Mountain Buggy Duet Review by SW
When the Mountain Buggy Duet arrived, I was taken back by the size of the box, Compact side by side? Really? The box was huge! I dragged it into my hallway, the narrowest part of the house, and the point at which a pushchair has to be able to move freely down to get in and out of the house through the front or back door. ‘Hmm, maybe I’ve made a mistake, this one isnt going to fit through’ I thought.
But i decided to give it a chance, unpackaged it and wrestled it out of the box. Unless you tilt the box on its side, unpackaging the duet is a two person job due to the long fold and how heavy it is. So being on my own as hubby was at work, I put the box on its side and dragged it out.
I had to look at the instructions to figure out the retractable axles to fit the back wheels, as my last MB was pre-2010 and these axles didnt exist. With some fiddling about, I managed to get the rear and front wheels fitted easily.
Unfolding and folding the Duet is very easy, just undo the clip thats situated around the handled bar, and lift the handle up. Nice and easy. To fold, just lower the handle slightly, make sure the front wheels are pointing outwards (pulling the buggy back a little puts the front wheels in the correct position), lift the two catches either side of the footplate and down it goes, lovely!. Wrap the strap round the rear axle, clip it together, and the Mb duet will then stand up easily for storage.
The hoods were a little fiddly to fit, but I managed to get them on with no broken nails or swearing, which is always a bonus. I was very apprehensive as had heard tales and reviews of the hoods catching each other, holes in the hood, etc etc. But fortunately, I have no hole in my hoods, and they appear to move freely and independently of each other.
So now, I had it set up, and was just looking at it. Do i try the children in it, or try through my impossible 70cm wide doorframe? I knew the duet measured 63cm wide at its widest point, but looking at it in the hallway, i thought ‘no way, it looks too big, have they sent me a duo by mistake?’ But i bit the bullet and approached the front door. It wheeled out! And back in! Without touching the doorframe once. Blimey, its a miracle! a side by side double I can actually get out of the house with!!
Once I got over the shock of that, I came back inside, and decided to see if it would go through the internal doors. Only just, but it did go through.
So the duet is perfect for people who have stupidly narrow doorways.
I decided to then familiarise myself with the harnesses. The twist and slide harnesses are great, especially if you have different sized children as they are so easy to adjust to each child. I have a 3 year old, and a 1year old. So for the 3year old I slide the harness to the top part, and for the 1year old I have it set on the middle part.
I sat the 1year old in his seat and he seemed to have ample room. Straight away he grabbed the bumper bar and grinned. I like the clip on the harness, the extra red button makes it very secure, especially if you have mini houdini’s. I did spot the easy to release clips up by the top of the straps, but have positioned the straps pads over those so they are hidden, and so far neither child has spotted them as a means for a quick escape.
So now, the 3year old. She is slightly smaller than average in height and weight, but still i thought she might be too big for the duet seat. Afterall if it can fit through my door easily where some tandems struggle, then the seat may not be suitable for her. Well, she fits in it fine. Its not the roomiest seat she has sat in, but she sits comfortable and has room to move. She is not wedged in at all. Her feet sit nicely on the footrest, no dangling legs or knees too high etc. The hood gives good clearance over her head and she is happy to have the hood over her, which she doesnt do with all buggies as she feels too enclosed.
Unfortunately due to the narrow seats, I am struggling to find accessories that fit well, So have taken to just piling blankets on each child in the cold weather to keep them warm. I am really hoping that Mountain Buggy do bring out seat liners and footmuffs designed to fit the smaller seats of the Duet.
So the children were in, with their coats on, so i thought I would put it to the ultimate test. The local small post office which is situated at the back of a small shop with narrow aisles. Usually I wont use this post office if I have a double pushchair with me, as Its a struggle to get a standard single down the aisle, and also hard to negotiate the front door there.
So with a deep breath, I went to the shop to post a parcel, I entered the shop easily with the Duet, and checked the aisle to make sure they were clear and started to push the Duet towards the counter. The lady at the counter, her eyes widened in shock and said ‘I cant believe you just pushed a double buggy down here, thats amazing!’ I laughed and agreed with her, because what else can you do?
On the way home, I noticed a rattling from the Duet. ‘what on earth is that noise, its really bugging me’ I stopped and had a look, and spotted it was the red caps on the brakes. I know these are a legal requirement in some countries, like Australia, but vowed to have a look when I got home to see if the caps could be removed easily.
I got home and parked the duet in the hallway, under the stairs out of the way. The dog looked a bit concerned to be sharing his space with a wheeled beast, but needs must. I took the children out and had another look at the brakes. The red caps looked very loose, so I took them off. No more rattling. They are stored safely and can be put back on at any time.
I had a look at the basket, to see what storage pockets were on it. None! What? I need those little pockets, for storing dog-poo bags, keys, mini pump, puncture kit, little bits and pieces that make life easier when out and about. Bit upset about that, but will sort out a handle bar console instead at some point in the future.
After deciding that this was def a keeper, I had a look at all the other issues that have been raised. The seat wires poking out, well I remember that on my pre 2010 models, and it has never concerned me. I can only see these when the pushchair is folded, and thats very rare. After 6years with Mb’s in the house, I have never had an issue with this ‘flaw’ and no poppers have ever broken from there.
The fabrics, they appear to be the same sort as older MB’s which have proved to be tough and durable over the years. I do miss the canvas that the very old MB’s had, but this is a good material that fits the rugged look of the pushchair. I think the padding is fine, and also means that there is no sagging of the material over time.
The finish on my duet seems fine, no rough edges etc. The handle is standard Mb handle, and the ridges dont bother me, but I am an MB veteran.
I do like the new style hoods, as they give more coverage than the older MB’s, and are a lot easier to remove than the old ones.
I love the Duet, its not 100% perfect, no double pushchair is perfect IMO, but it has made getting about a lot easier with 2 small children. I will be using it in the future with a new baby, 16month old and the Freerider on the back, so will be back for further review when that happens.
But for now, the Duet has earned its place in my buggy park, next to the dog basket under the stairs.
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