Bugaboo Buffalo – Best Buggy First Impressions Review
Best Buggy were very fortunate to be invited to Nurseryland in Wakefield, for a demo of the new Bugaboo Buffalo.
We have owned the Bugaboo Bee, Cameleon and Donkey, so we were very excited to see the Buffalo for the first time!
The Buffalo really is very similar to the Donkey. It has a similar chassis, the same wheels (although foam, not air filled), a similar handlebar and all round feel of the Donkey. However perceptually we felt much more comfortable with the Buffalo as a single pushchair, than the Donkey with the side basket did. To be honest, it is hard to believe seeing the Mono Donkey, Cameleon and Buffalo side by side, that they are all 60cms wide.
There also is a hint of the Cameleon in the seat legs.
The two big things which set the Buffalo out as different at first glance, are the higher seating position, and the 3 fold extended hood, but there are other key features such as the foam filled wheels, basket, bag clips and flat fold.
We have been told that the Buffalo seat unit is 10cms higher than the Cameleon seat unit. We didn’t get our tape measure out to check this, but the side by side comparison photos with the Cameleon and Donkey, do show that the carrycot (and thus also the seat frame) does sit higher on the Buffalo than on the other two pushchairs. The higher seating position is a positive, but we wouldn’t get too hung up on this when choosing which Bugaboo to buy. We often see parents worrying about how high the seat is. The Cameleon and Donkey in particular, both have seats at good heights.
The seat of the Bugaboo Buffalo suitable from 6 months old. The Buffalo seat is a generous size. We were unable to take our children to try in the Buffalo seat, but we have seen photos of larger toddlers in the seat looking great.
We did however measure the Buffalo seat unit. The seat back is taller than the Donkey seat, and is the same height as the Cameleon. However the difference in the hood style, and the seat height makes the Buffalo seat look taller than the Cameleon. The Buffalo seat is wider and deeper than the Donkey seat; but the Cameleon seat is deeper than the Buffalo seat. However the knee to footrest length is shorter than the Donkey.
What is absolutely FABULOUS is that the Bugaboo Buffalo has been certified to hold a HUGE 23kgs of child weight. Our eldest is very tall and heavy for her age (she is nearly 5 now) but she is nowhere near 23kgs!! WOW! This is superb for all those parents, like several in the Best Buggy Focus Group, who have school age children who still need the use of a pushchair for various reasons.
We love the adjustable harness – like the Donkey harness, the Buffalo harness height is easily altered by sliding the shoulder straps up and down. This makes it easy to differientate the harness for a young baby or older toddler. Like the Donkey, there are harness shoulder pads, but no crotch strap pad.
The seat has a button recline at the rear of the seat. The seat can be reclined into 3 positions when parent or forward facing.
We liked the red indicator to show that the seat and carrycot have been fitted correctly.
Like the Cameleon and Donkey, the Buffalo seat units can be removed from the chassis and used as a seat. When our eldest was small, we found this very useful on picnics.
The Buffalo carrycot fabrics are included in the box for use from birth to 6 months. The carrycot and seat fabrics can very easily be velcroed onto the Buffalo seat frame. When building the carrycot, there are two velcro support straps at the head end of the carrycot, and one velcro support strap at the foot end. It took literally minutes to convert the seat to a carrycot (and back again). The carrycot appeared to be a generous size. Like the Donkey carrycot, the Buffalo carrycot gets wider around the head, shoulders and arm area to allow a baby more room. We measured the carrycot as being 80cms long. It was 37cms wide in the centre of the carrycot and 40cms wide in the head area.
The carrycot, in line with the other Bugaboo carrycots, is not suitable for overnight sleeping. This is because Bugaboo apparently feel that machine washable fabrics are of more value to the customer, than a hard bodied side, which is required to pass UK safety testing for overnight sleeping. The Buffalo carrycot mattress has the 3 part mattress with a cover, inner mattress and an air flow layer.
There are also Maxi Cosi car seat adaptors to fit the Buffalo. We believe there are Britax car seat adaptors too, however at this stage we do not know if they are UK approved.
The Bugaboo Buffalo has a 3 panel hood. The first two panels look just like a Donkey hood. They look very similar when open, and I believe the clamps can interchange, and also the Donkey and Buffalo hoods interchange (but dont quote us on that because we haven’t tried ourselves!). The surprise with the Buffalo comes at the rear of the hood, where a zip can be opened, thus revealing a 3rd panel to the hood. This allows the Buffalo hood to come right down, right over the bumper bar of the Buffalo seat unit. Thus, the hood will offer excellent protection for a child from bitter winds or hot sun. We loved how the Buffalo became very dark inside with the hood right down which will make the Buffalo great for a child to sleep in – much darker than under the Cameleon hood. We think the new Buffalo hood is especially fab for a younger child. However we are pleased that the third hood panel zips away because we have always found the Donkey and Cameleon hoods to be quite big enough for our children, so it was lovely to see that there isn’t the excess fabric panel on view on top if not required!
The Bugaboo Buffalo has a hinged, swing away bumper bar. It is fab to see this feature on the Buffalo, especially given the higher weight limit on this pushchair because lifting a heavier child up and over a bumper bar is difficult. We love this bumper bar!
Storage – Basket and Bag Clips
Bugaboo in our opinion really have come up trumps with the Buffalo storage. The Buffalo has a huge basket – it is deep and accessible even when the Buffalo is in carrycot mode. The basket is certified to hold up to 10kgs. We love that the basket has a mesh covered pocket similar to the Donkey one, as this was really useful for smaller bits and pieces e.g. keys, phone etc. or for storing the raincover in permanently. We also like that the basket has a good overall depth i.e. it is not deep on one side and shallow on the other like the Donkey.
The Buffalo also has 2 bag clips. These are situated in the middle of the Donkey handle near the handle extension clips and the fold buttons. These clips together are certified to hold 6kgs of bags. This can be 6kgs across both clips e.g. a bag hung from both clips by its strap; or it could be a 4kgs bag on one side and 2kgs bag on the other; or it could be one 6kgs bag on one side and nothing on the other side i.e. weight does not have to be equal on both sides as long as the total is no more than 6kgs. We suggest that the clips would be really handy for coats too. The only downside is that these bag clips are quite low down. To be fair, the bag in the photo really needed the strap shortening so that it hung higher up on the chassis, and the height should not pose an issue for most changing bags. To be honest, we are completely fed up of having bags sliding down handles, so these clips are a feature that we love!
The Buffalo will come in a choice of black or sand bases. There are tailored fabrics in red, pink, off-white, petrol blue, royal blue and black. However there will be no sand hood for the Buffalo.
The Bugaboo Buffalo has 2 lockable swivel 10 inch tyres at the front, and two 12 inch tyres at the back. The tyres are exactly the same as the Donkey wheels – we queried this because written on the Buffalo tyres are air pressures. However the Buffalo tyres are not air tyres, but have been filled with a special foam that apparently creates lots of air pockets inside the tyre, and thus the value has been sealed off. This gives the Buffalo puncture resistant wheels, which makes the Buffalo a robust pushchair for heading off road with. There is no fear of getting a puncture miles from anywhere! Phew!
The downside to foam filled wheels is that they weigh 2.5kgs per wheel. This adds an additional 5kgs to the overall weight of the pushchair. This may not mean anything much to you, but the other (small) pushchair in the boot of our car is only 5.8kgs! The Buffalo did feel on the heavy side to lift into the car boot. However the difference in weight was VERY obvious when the rep popped the large side wheels off. If lifting and carrying the Buffalo is an issue, the wheels would be really simple to remove and pop back on.
The Buffalo is still 1.1kgs lighter than the Donkey in Mono mode. To be honest, the Buffalo seemed very light to push – very similar to the Donkey which is very exciting because the Donkey is beautiful to push and manoeuvre, and we have no reason to believe the Buffalo is any different. However we admit that we did not give the Buffalo a good test run, and we look forward to trying a Buffalo out in real life soon.
The Bugaboo Buffalo wheels can lock either in front of the pushchair, or underneath the pushchair. Locking the wheels forward gives greater stability especially on very uneven ground.
Two Wheel Mode
The Buffalo slid VERY easily into the two wheel, pull along mode! Amazing! To use the Buffalo in two wheel mode, the seat needs to be parent facing. The Buffalo should be easy to pull along a beach or through snow or across very rough terrain.
The fold was what most surprised us about the Buffalo. First of all the speed at which the Buffalo can be folded and unfolded (see our video), but also at the compact size of the fold.
The Bugaboo Buffalo can fold easily with the seat still attached either parent facing or forward facing. The seat position needs to be as close to the handlebar as possible whether in forward or rear facing mode (see photos). So in forward facing mode, the seat needs semi reclining so that the hood practically touches the handlebar. In rear facing mode, the foot end of the seat unit needs to be pointing up in the air (head end down) to almost touch the handlebar, before folding.
The Buffalo can be folded and unfolded really quickly. It can also be folding to a freestanding position. Our first reaction, as others who have seen our folding demo video, is “ouch” that will damage the handlebar. However Bugaboo have thought about this issue, and have added small raised up plastic stoppers in the centre of the handlebar – either side of the wrist strap – which on the demo model at least, were taking the strain of being folded on surfaces like the rough tarmac that we were on. Yes these were a little scratched, but better these being scratched than the handlebar – we did examine the handlebar and the demo model looked fine. The Buffalo can also be folded to the floor if preferred. We did this, and it was easy to fold.
What we absolutely did not expect, was that the Buffalo fold is flatter than the Cameleon fold! Even with the wheels on, the Cameleon still sits higher when folded. The Cameleon is one of the few pushchairs which fitted under the roof of our convertible car (the Bee didn’t fit!), so we suspect that the Buffalo would have fitted easily too. The side by side comparison photos here are really interesting to look at if the fold is important to you.
There is no chassis lock on the Buffalo which to be honest is a shame, however, we also did not expect one based on the Donkey. The Buffalo can freestand very nicely without needing a chassis lock. It didn’t appear to slide apart when folded which is good.
Brake and Handlebar
We are once again bemused by the left footed Bugaboo designer who has put the brake on the opposite side to all other pushchair manufacturers. We had better get practising standing on our right leg before we get our Buffalo! The brake appears to be the same as the Donkey brake pedal, and is easy to apply and disengage.
The handlebar is covered with dense foam. We have discussed the ‘stoppers’ on the handlebar to protect it when folding. It is bliss not to have an extension clip under your hand on the handle (like the Donkey has).
The handlebar extends out to a tall height – it was a tiny bit shorter than the Cameleon when fully extended. However the angle of the handlebar is slightly different, thus there should be plenty of room to accommodate a long stride. There are lots of notches on the Buffalo handle, so there should be a height to suit everyone. We love that the handle can be dropped very low down, to make the overall length of the Buffalo more compact when using public transport, or waiting in a small space.
Overall Initial Impressions
All round it was love at first sight for us. The Buffalo was everything we hoped it would be. We loved the Donkey in Mono mode, but the side basket always perceptionally made the Donkey seem wide.. The huge underneath storage basket makes up for the loss of the side basket, and in our opinion (and we know Donkey fans may not agree), we much prefer the Buffalo as a single. The Buffalo seems to have the positive features from the Donkey, plus some great features from the Cameleon combined with new unique Buffalo features like the hoods and all round off road wheels.
PLEASE Bugaboo, will you now take our pre-order for a Buffalo :)
With many thanks to Nurseryland, Wakefield, and to Tim from Bugaboo for allowing us to take these photos.
Other Bugaboo Buffalo Reviews: