Bugaboo Buffalo Review by Best Buggy
The Bugaboo Buffalo is a beautiful looking, sturdy pushchair. It has a large reversible seat unit and comes with fabrics to convert the seat frame into a carrycot. The Bugaboo Buffalo can have car seat adaptors added to form a travel system. The Buffalo is a great all terrain pushchair with good storage options.
Our overall first impression is that the Buffalo does live up to its name – it is a beast of a pushchair. It is large, tall and imposing. The construction is sturdy with the chassis made from thick metal. The handlebar is dense foam and chunky. The fabrics are thick and good quality. The seat is high which offers a child a great view and good eye contact with their carer, when rear facing. The wheels are chunky with thick foam filled rubber tyres. However the rear wheels are heavy, which makes the Buffalo heavy to lift and carry, especially as a one piece fold. The Buffalo is a very beautiful pushchair – its stylish, looks smart, and it is easy to see why it has a top of the range price tag.
The Bugaboo Buffalo seat is a generous size and sits high up on the chassis (approx 61cms from floor to the seat pad). The Buffalo seat can both forward and reverse face. There are 3 recline positions in both directions. There is a very upright position, a lie flat position and a mid recline position. The recline is done using a lever at the rear of the seat. It is very easy to move the seat even with a heavy child on board. However the lie flat recline does leave the child with their head tilting slightly downwards. Also when reclining the seat flat parent facing, be careful not to go too far, as your child could end up fully head down, in a position which is used for folding.
The harness has a satin feel. It is very easy to adjust. The height adjustment is done using a simply slider which goes up and down a piece of webbing. It is simple then to pull the harness tight, or loosen it off to fit correctly. There are two thick harness pads which stay in place well, but there is no crotch strap cover. The buckle is a typical Bugaboo one. The harness is simple to do up, and is easy for an adult to open, although not too easy for a child.
The seat is well padded with a swing away bumper bar. The bumper bar can be quite tricky to remove and open - the buttons ‘catch’ if not fully depressed. However having a swing away bumper bar on the Buffalo is extremely useful, especially given the height of the Buffalo, as would make it hard to lift a heavier child up and over the top of a fixed bumper bar.
It is very easy to lift the seat (or carrycot) off by pressing in the two chunky white square buttons below the bumper bar and then using the bumper bar to lift the seat off the chassis. The seat release can be done one handed by releasing one button at a time, and then lifting the seat off.
The pushchair seat can be removed from the chassis and used as a seat on the floor for a child. We found this a really useful feature when we had our Cameleon. It saved having to take a floor chair for a non walking baby e.g. on a picnic or when visiting family.
The seat can hold a massive 23kgs of child. We have had Miss BB in the Buffalo seat, and we are able to report that even aged 5, and at the top end of this maximum weight, she was easy to push and manoeuvre. It was easy to lift her, and the pushchair, up kerbs. Although the seat size is generous, both our two children filled the seat. Admittedly both are older children, but Master BB is well under the maximum weight capacity and is small for his age. Miss BB is at the top end of the weight capacity and her head is over the top of the sun canopy when folded back. We have included photos of Miss BB, for illustration. However please remember most children of their ages will be walking. However Master BB can not yet walk, which is one reason for considering the maximum weight / height capacity of this pushchair. We do know of one Buffalo owner who has cut the foam on their Buffalo and moved the hood up higher for an older child, which works well. It is a shame that Bugaboo didn’t put two hood height settings on the Buffalo, as they did on the Donkey.
The Buffalo is like all the other Bugaboo pushchairs, because the pushchair comes with no hood or apron. The customer has the choice of the base colour – black or sand, and then to add on a set of tailored fabrics in a range of colours. This means that colours can be mixed and matched, or swapped with a new baby, or with a different season. The tailored fabrics contain the sun canopy and the carrycot apron. These are good quality fabrics which can be machine washed.
The sun canopy sits on rods which fit into a clamp which sit either side of the seat frame. The rods simply thread through loops on the canopy. Take care to make sure these go in the correct way around – our tip is to leave one side in the clamp and remove the other clamp. Otherwise you could end up with your hood looking odd! We found that the clamps are easy to knock off when carrying the seat, or for a child to push off the sides of the frame. We have heard of people who swap the clamps round so that they face downwards, which resolves this issue.
The Buffalo sun canopy at first glance has two fabric panels like the Donkey and Cameleon sun canopies. However the Buffalo hood has a hidden secret – there is an additional panel of fabric hiding behind a zip in the hood. Thus the Buffalo sun canopy is absolutely huge when fully open. Bugaboo canopies are large anyway, but the additional panel is very useful when a child is reclined because it gives extra cover, protection and darkness for a sleeping child. The only downside to this is that in carrycot mode, the hidden fabric hangs down from the hood.
The hood has a hole in the rear for the recline lever. However, we were constantly pushing the lever back through the hole which was a little annoying.
Carrycot and Car Seat
The Bugaboo Buffalo comes with carrycot fabrics in the box, thus there is no need to buy a carrycot. The carrycot fabrics attach to the frame of the Buffalo using velcro tabs. The sun canopy from the main pushchair is attached as the hood. The tailored fabric set includes an apron which zips onto the carrycot. Converting the carrycot is fairly quick. There are some photos of the carrycot conversion here on Best Buggy in our First Impressions Review .
The Bugaboo Buffalo carrycot is not designed for overnight sleeping. Bugaboo feel that it is more important that the carrycot fabrics are washable. However Bugaboo put a breathable liner inside their mattresses to improve air flow around the baby. The mattress is covered. The base of the carrycot is hard. The sides of the carrycot are kept rigid using tabs at each end of the carrycot which velcro into position. This means that the carrycot will remain rigid when placed on the floor.
The Bugaboo Buffalo can take a Maxi Cosi Cabriofix or Pebble. There are also Britax car seat adaptors available.
Storage and Raincover
One of the benefits of the Bugaboo Buffalo is the storage. The Buffalo has a very large, deep basket which is certified to hold up to 10kgs. The centre access is obstructed by a bar above the basket. However it is possible to put large items into the basket by sliding them in from either side. The Buffalo basket takes all our school bags each day (5), plus a booster seat wedged in the top. The basket also has a large mesh pocket with a cover, which is ideal for storing the raincover or small bits and pieces securely. There are also two bag clips on the handlebars – one at either side. These can hold either 6kgs on one clip, or 6kgs across the two clips eg a shared handle, or the weight split between the two clips e.g. 2kgs one side and 4kgs on the other side. However in reality we have been unable to use these clips. They are too low down on the handlebar to be useful. Coats simply drag on the floor. Carrier bags don’t stretch far enough across. My handbag didn’t sit right on them. Even our Bugaboo bag looked silly stretched across. Its a great idea, however the clips needed to be much further up the handlebar to be useful.
Handlebar, Handling, Wheels and Brake
One of the best features of the Buffalo is the handlebar. It is thick and chunky and is covered in dense foam. It feels lovely to hold.
There is a safety strap in the centre of the handlebar to put over the user’s wrist. Rather strangely, I found myself using the wrist strap a lot on the Buffalo, whereas I never have done on other pushchairs. I think the weight of the Buffalo made me feel uneasy just letting go, like you can with other pushchairs when waiting on level ground.
We love the super extending handlebar. Our best guessimate is that the handlebar extends from approx 93.5cms up to a huge 112.5cms. This has to be one of the tallest handlebars we have seen.
What we like about the handlebar, is that when necessary, it is possible to drop the handlebar right down to give more space behind the pushchair, or to push it into a small gap when there is not much room e.g. in a bus or a busy school cloakroom.
The Bugaboo Buffalo has two large twelve inch wheels at the rear, and two lockable swivel ten inch wheels at the front. The wheels are good because they have thick chunky non puncture foam tyres which means the Buffalo can be taken off road, into snow etc. with no worry about getting a puncture. The downside of the wheels are that they are heavy. The rear wheels weigh a total of 5kgs. With these wheels off, there is quite definitely a difference in how the Buffalo feels to carry and lift. However the Buffalo is still lighter than the Mono Donkey by 1.1kgs.
The Buffalo is lovely to push and manoeuvre. It is responsive even with a heavy child in the seat. It was easy to tip up a kerb. It was great to push over rough ground. We tried the Buffalo out back to back with some other pushchairs currently at BBHQ, and surprisingly it was the best to tip up kerbs and one of the easiest to push.
The Buffalo’s front wheels can be locked forwards or backwards. Locking the wheels forwards gives a longer wheel base and greater stability over all terrain.
The Buffalo can also be used in 2 wheel mode and be towed along behind you. The two wheeled mode can only be used when the seat is parent facing. It is easy to release the handlebar using the buttons on either side, and then slide the Buffalo into 2 wheel pull along mode. We used the Buffalo like this a number of times. It was really handy to have. I also used it like this on the nursery run after drop off, when the seat was empty.
The Buffalo brake is situated down by the left hand rear wheel. It is a good size pedal and is decisive.
The Bugaboo Buffalo will fold as one piece, with the seat both forward and reverse facing. However, in reality, when we have asked around, nearly everyone folds their Buffalo as a two piece fold. We did do a one piece fold for some time, before coming to the conclusion that the Buffalo is simply too heavy and also unweidly to keep on lifting as one piece. There is no fold lock, and thus the wheels, handlebar or chassis can move during lifting. Each rear wheel weighs 2.5kgs which does add to the weight. We, including Mr BB, all struggled to lift the Buffalo in and out of the car. However, as two pieces the Buffalo is much more manageable and sensible, to fold and load into the car. Yes, it takes a second or so to attach the seat, but it takes less time than it did trying to lift something too heavy into the car, and manoevere the bulk around.
When folding the Buffalo forward facing, the seat needs reclining so that the hood nearly touches the handlebar. When parent facing, the seat needs moving to the downwards tilt position which we mentioned earlier, so that the foot end is up in the air, and the head end is pointing to the floor.
There are then 2 buttons on the handlebar – one at each side – which need depressing, as two sliders are moved towards you, and the handlebar can be lowered to the floor. Grabbing the central bar, or the footrest, will pull the Buffalo together to complete the fold.
To unfold, the same two buttons and sliders, need depressing and then pulling up towards you to release the handlebar. The Buffalo front wheels can then be flicked out so that it is standing upright.
The Bugaboo Buffalo is a beautiful pushchair. It does everything you could ever want from a pushchair and more. The seat is comfortable and a generous size. The basket is huge. The sun canopy is enormous. The push is amazing. The wheels should take you puncture free, anywhere you want to go. The carrycot, reversible seat and travel system options give the parent lots of choice. The quality of the Buffalo is clear to see. However the Bugaboo Buffalo is a heavy pushchair to lift into the car and to carry - but not to push. The Buffalo is also a large imposing pushchair with a long wheel base. We love that Bugaboo have combined everything a parent needs into one pushchair, and the Buffalo is absolutely the pushchair which could go anywhere, and do anything. As a walking pushchair the Buffalo is fabulous. However we at Best Buggy would like Bugaboo to now make a similar sturdy pushchair, but which is about 5kgs lighter, and a little more compact, to be our perfect pushchair! We will not be keeping our Buffalo because it is too big and heavy for us (and we are used to big and heavy pushchairs) to keep lifting in and out of our car.
With many thanks to Nurseryland in Wakefield, for their help with this review.
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