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Mountain Buggy Unirider

The Mountain Buggy Unirider arrived here yesterday at BBHQ. We ordered one as soon as details were released because it looked like a perfect, more grown up, and fun way to transport Master BB around this summer. The Unirider is so unique and seemed like a really great, interesting idea.

The Mountain Buggy Unirider has one large 12″ chunky air tyre with a parent handle. It is designed so that the parent pushes the child with both hands, whilst the child develops their balance on the one wheel.

The Unirider arrived in a small box and in 3 parts. It is quite surprising how very heavy the front wheel and housing are – don’t underestimate the weight because you can feel it on your arms later. The Unirider weighs just 3kgs but it does feel heavier to be honest.
We quickly built the Unirider, although we did scratch our heads because the flywheels wouldn’t spin onto the screws – we discovered that we hadn’t pushed the handle on hard enough into the groove. Once we did this, the screws protruded enough to put the flywheels on. The middle joint on the handle, rather disappointingly, requires an allen key to tighten it together. This means that it is not easy to detach the handle to chuck in the car. Yes, the flywheels at the bottom can be undone, but our concern would be that they really need to be very tight to ensure the safety of the product otherwise, we guess they could work loose. It did also take a few minutes to hold the handle in position and get these tight. It really is a shame that the handle wasn’t more easily detached or broken for transportation. The Unirider is approx 1.5 metres long when built – the unit behind in one of our indoor photos is exactly 1.5 metres long.

With the Unirider built we pumped up the wheel, and started to try it out. First without the children, who were still at school. Even with no child on board, the Unirider was tricky to push straight. We hadn’t banked on the amount of physical strength that was required to keep the Unirider straight. You definitely need to use both hands, which is something that I personally don’t enjoy doing (I am a one handed pram pusher!).

The children bounced home from school. Unfortunately, Master BB would not entertain the notion. We persuaded him onto the Unirider eventually, but he got straight off. He couldn’t work out where to put his feet and when we did get him back on, he simply wanted to paddle the Unirider along the floor like a ride on toy. This would not have been safe. Eventually, he quite forcefully said “no” and got off it.

Little Miss BB asked to have a go. At 23kg, she is still well under the 25kg maximum weight limit for the Unirider although at 123cm and with size 3 feet, she was really far too large for it. To be honest, it is a real shame that the Unirider wasn’t built taller for an older child, because we felt she was probably at a good age to ride it. She really wasn’t too sure at first and kept putting her feet down, but eventually she got moving. She didn’t want to go too fast though, and was a bit of a scaredy cat. Mr BB didn’t want to go too fast either. He was struggling to keep the Unirider running straight even at a slow walk. We absolutely take our hats off to the guy in the photo on the box who is running, because you would have to be seriously fit to run and keep the Unirider straight and the child balanced!

By this point we were causing quite a stir in the street. Everyone was intrigued by the bright yellow object on a stick! A friend offered to try the Unirider out with her 4 and a half year old son. He is very dinky but perfectly formed for his age (9th centile). To be honest, he was the perfect child for the Unirider. He is a bit of a daredevil with no fear; loves his balance bike; and is the right size to ride. He absolutely LOVED the Unirider and squealed with delight all the way down the street. His mum meanwhile is extremely fit and runs a lot. However, even she said it was giving her upper body quite a work out. So please do not underestimate how much this will work your body! It hurt my back too much to push and I struggled to keep the Unirider level.

To be honest, it didn’t live up to anticipation and was really was totally impractical for our family, and for what we had hoped we could do with it. It was too large to throw in the car unless it was undone each time. We aren’t fit enough or have the strength to push this for more than a few minutes, and all round the Unirider has been really disappointing. We strongly suggest that you are critical about your fitness levels, and your child’s level of daring before purchase. However, our 4 year old tester is very happy because we have given it to him to play with for a few weeks. We will add feedback from his family later.

We also highly recommend that your child wears a safety helmet. Amazingly we never saw this mentioned anywhere obvious on the packaging or paperwork, and it was only after we tried the Unirider out, and posted our images that we realised that the children in all the Mountain Buggy photos were wearing helmets. This could have been flagged up better by Mountain Buggy with a big warning notice if this is what is recommended. If we (usually very safety conscious) didn’t realise a helmet was required, then we doubt anyone else will!

Our videos of the children trying the Unirider out are here for Little Miss BB and here for our 4 year old friend on Facebook.

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