Thursday, April 11, 2013

BAM Gear: Chariot Cougar 2 Stroller+Bike Trailer

So what happens when you want to do outdoorsy shit with your kids, integrating them into your outdoorsy healthy lifestyle - mainly because you're legally not allowed to leave your kids at home while you go and enjoy the great outdoors... Well, you go out and buy an outdoorsy stroller thing. Now, you may be ask yourself "why did BAD buy another stroller when he already has the BOB duallie?" Well let me ask you this - can the BOB duallie take your kids fucking skiing? Can you attach the duallie to a dirt bike or ATV or even a horse? No, and neither can the Chariot Cougar 2 - but it can attach to a mountain bike. 

That's one of shortfalls of the BOB duallie - is that there is a lack of options for converting it into an bike trailer. In terms of bike trailers, there are much much more cheaper offerings; however, I always say - buy the best you can afford. We owned a CCM (canadian tire special) bike trailer prior to this and when compared with the Chariot 2 the construction is night and day as is the materials used. Is the chariot worth $800 + $100 (for the bike attachment)? I don't know. It technically functions the same as a $100 bike trailer - but you won't get the oohs and ahhs from the hottie moms nor be the subject of jealousy for the lululemon-wearing dads. I do have to admit, its like the Range Rover of bike trailers - it gets your kids from point a to point b (just like a Kia Sportage would), but it gets them there with adjustable suspension, roll cage frame, 5 point harness, sunshades, integrated helmet space, load carriage, and so on. 

Yes I know I`m a bit tongue and cheek on this piece because I`m of two minds on it. I do know the Duallie is the cat`s meow mainly because it did offer great off-roading capabilities with that as a single purpose push stroller. The Chariot is mean to be dual role - push, pull. So there are some tradeoffs I think. I`ll get to those in a moment. 

But for now, here are the specs as posted on their site:
• Multi-Sport Capabilities
• Aerodynamic Design
• CAS™ Suspension
• Adjustable Handlebar
• Anodized Aluminum Roll Cage Frame
• 3M™ Reflective Material
• Five Point Child Safety Harness
• Partial Window Venting
• Weather Cover
• Sunshade
• Tinted Windows
• Padded Seating
• Shoulder Harness
• Integrated Helmet Space
• Back Wheels with Quick-Release Axle
• Parking Brake
• VersaWing™ Technology
• Patented ezFold™
• Click n’ Store™
• Rear Storage
Number of Children:1 or 2
Weight capacity (kg/lbs):45 / 100
Starting configuration:CTS Ready Chassis
Weight (kg/lbs) :12.7 / 28
Shoulder width (cm/in):59 / 23.2
Sitting height (cm/in):67 / 26
Dimensions (cm/in LxWxH):118 x 80 x 107 | 46.5 x 31.5 x 42
Folded dimensions (cm/in LxWxH):107 x 80 x 28 | 42 x 31.5 x 11
Height w/o handlebar (cm/in):85
Handlebar heights (Low/High, cm|in):93/107 | 36.5/42
Door pass through (cm/in):80 / 31.5
Wheels:20" aluminium spoked
* Weight include handlebars.
Ok so let`s hit up some of these points. I`ll start with the storage. Unlike the BOB where the storage is underneath the seat, the chariot places their storage bin on the rear-side. This facilitates ease of access. it`s long enough to store the bike attachment when not in use. It also has webbing so you can, for example, attach your BAK`s bike and carry it if they`re too tired to ride the last 10kms. Oh, and the Chariot is a whole 5-6lbs lighter than the Duallie. For those of you in the army or humping shit all day, you know that oz = lbs when it comes to load carriage. 
The next thing I`d like to highlight is the longness of it. It sits at 118cm`s whereas the BOB duallie is at 148cm`s. For those of you with shorter trunk space, that extra foot can be used for things like a 2-4 or a 6er of Keith`s India Pale ale. In terms of width there`s only 2cm difference. For handlebar height, the BOB is not adjustable at 102cm while the Chariot is adjustable for your height-challenged to the height-enhanced. Sorry, if you`re a dwarf, you might as well ride in the damn thing and get snow white to run you around. Just for reference, the handlebars are set to my midriff area - I can use my fatty stomach to push the stroller while I drink my 2-4 of Keiths - er I mean, my nalgene bottle of water...For anybody who cares, that`s the Arc`teryx LEAF Bravo jacket. And yes it is the shit.

So, there are rear-axle parking brakes actuated via a push-poll toggle made of anodized aluminum. Push in to set it, pull out to unset it. Use your feet, your hands, or make your kid do it.


OK, moving on is what the CTS terms as their CAS or adjustable suspension. Much like the adjustable forks on your Rock shox, you can adjust it for weight or smoother ride or stiffer ride. Either way, there`s a nice ruler measure thingy, that you can slide the adjustable shocks for. This is mainly for your kids`comfort and in no way a safety thing. Just set it to the stiffest, and let your kids go AHAHAHAHAHAHAHhahahahahahaaha...

OK, let`s talk harnesses. If you`re just moving one kid, put them in the middle. If you have two kids, SxS them. The padded seat-belt cover hides the snap buckles. So the question is, is it any roomier than the Duallie. I think they`re about the same. The Duallie was a bit more compartmentalized so that each had their own sunshade, and sitting area - in case of duelling sisters. This one, well, they`s gonna fight. Some ear biting`s gonna happen bros so be forewarned.


Actually its not bad at all, my eldest BAK is almost 5 now, and although she prefers to be running and gunning on her own, when she`s pooped after the first 5kms, its a good place for her. The cool thing about the Chariot is that it integrates various levels of protective coverings, weather coverings, sunshades etc. This prevents the bugs from flying into their teeth when on a bike ride - something the Duallie could not guarantee. From this pic, you can see that they fit in there nice and cozy.  Rain or shine, BAM goes jogging with this thing, and she says its better than the Duallie for its lightness and its weather protection from inclement weather. Now, if you're doing trails that are wet and muddy, make sure you use the cover unless you want your kids to eat mud..
The bike attachment pieces are infinitely better than the Canadian tire special one, using stainless steel versus what was probably aluminum or some cheap bendable metal. The hitch arm is made of aluminum, and is mounted to your bike via Quick release on the bike`s axle. An extra tall safety flag and an approved reflector kit is also included. 

So what are few of the things I don`t like. Because its a 4 wheeler its not as maneuverable as the tri-wheel Duallie. It also uses a dense solid rubber on the front tires versus the air-pump bike tire kind. I can see this being an easy-wear item. Although it folds nice and flat, its not a one-handed operation - meaning you can`t be holding your infant and tearing this shit down at the same time. There`s a few edges to be weary of lest you pinch yourself or some shit.

Duallies are being sold at the 7 bills marks, and this is being sold at the 8 + 1 Benjamins mark. For an extra 2 Bs you get dual use. Think about it this way... The chariot integrates weather protection, whereas the Duallie requires a 80 dollar piece of plastic which is an afterthought design.

My recommendation, between the Duallie and this...get this one. Like I said, you can put ski`s on it.


11 comments:

  1. Great review, thanks!

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  2. I have the single Chariot CX-1 and I will say I am glad I got the one model up. It was used but pretty much brand new. Love the hand brake and the best feature in the summer is that in the CX models you can completely zip off the sides to leave mesh instead of one small corner. It gets hot in those things. One day when we need a double I will get the CX-2 for sure. I use my Chariot ALL THE TIME!

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    Replies
    1. Oh and you can get a jogging wheel for them too if you need, but it doesn't swivel.

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  3. Oh wow, this is so amazing. With the jogging wheel, it makes it more efficient and useful.

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  4. A great addition to Chariot family - the jogging wheel makes it easier to run and get around difficult terrain.

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  8. This kind of sounds like a wonderful stroller--and great benefits!

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Full Disclosure: Unless noted, Bad Ass Dad has not been compensated in any means to review this gear. It is all his own, procured through pro-channels, retail, or issuance.