Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller Review

December 7th, 2009

Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller

Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller

Pampered Tot is one of the largest Bugaboo Retailers in the USA. As a Dad to two young boys, I have had a 2006Bugaboo Cameleon for 4 years, and a 2009 Bugaboo Cameleon

for the past 6 months. With my experience as both a parent using one, and a retailer selling them, my goal is to give you enough practical information to help you decide if the Cameleon is right for you.

Let’s start with the version or model, since so many of our customers seem to be worried and confused about getting the latest Bugaboo Cameleon on the market. The significant model change was in the 2008 model year. In 2008, Bugaboo added foam wheels (replacing the air filled ones) and easier height adjustment clips for the handlebar (previously a fly-nut that you had to twist). They have not made any changes to the stroller in 2009 or 2010 (aside from the Bugaboo RED Special Edition Stroller which has a black Chassis).  So, any Cameleon made in 2007 or before is an older model. Anything made in or after 2008 is the new model.

The Bugaboo Cameleon comes in 4 Standard Base Colors (Sand, Red, Dark Grey, and Dark Brown) and one special edition Bugaboo RED Denim Base. These 5 Base colors can be matched up with any of the 9 Tailored Fabric Set colors to provide 45 possible color combinations.

Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller with Accessories

Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller with Accessories

What about functionality? Well, there isn’t much this thing can’t do. The stroller seat and bassinet can be placed on the stroller chassis in either direction, so you can have your child forward or backwards facing. Although, with the movable handle bar, there’s no need to move the seat. Unique to Bugaboo, the Cameleon (and Frog) stroller handlbar can flip forward or back, allowing you to change your child’s position and view without having to remove them from the stroller! It’s a bit harder to push when the larger fixed tires are in front, but it’s a nice feature to have when you want to change your child’s position without disturbing them. Shocks on the front wheels makes for a really smooth ride, not matter where you are. Large rear tires allow you to take this stroller anywhere. We take ours to the park, beach, and on unpaved terrain. It performs well on all surfaces. Add a height-adjustable handlbar for those really tall parents, and you’ve got a complete and comfortable ride for both child and parent.

We get asked about the bassinet feature quite a bit. It’s important to note that the bassinet and stroller seat share the same stroller seat frame. So, you will not be using both at the same time. Parents should be using bassinet and infant car seat (with a Bugaboo Car Seat Adatper) for the first 3 to 9 months, depending on the size of your child and their willingness to use them. Once they are big enough for the stroller seat, you will remove the bassinet from the seat frame and install the stroller seat fabric to it. It’s quick and easy, although not quick and easy enough to switch between the two, so be sure you are ready for the stroller seat before removing the bassinet.

There are so many accessories for this stroller, so you have to break them down into want vs. need. What you really need is a  Cup Holder

and, most importantly, the Car Seat Adapter . The cup holder is pretty self explanatory; It’s great for a coffee or a baby bottle. For the car seat adapter, you have 3 choices; The Graco SnugRide, Maxi Cosi Mico, and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP adapter. Bugaboo created all 3 so that parents could choose from amoung the best selection of car seats on the market.

Bugaboo Cameleon Footmuffs

Bugaboo Cameleon Footmuffs

The footmuff

is essential if you live in a cold climate. We thought we could get away with blankets instead. However, even in Southern California winters, the footmuff is a great item to have. The bottom half of the footmuff stays on the stroller seat like a seat linner (the seat straps poke through it, so they can be used with the footmuff), while the top half just zips up around the seat, creating a warm sealed sleeping bag.

The Sun Canopy

is a great add-on; not a neccessary purchase. However, if summer days are stiffling, your child will appreciate the extra ventilation of the side and top mesh windows. They’ll also appriciate being able to look through them, as it brings in some light and a provides a bit of a view! They come in 9 different colors, so it’s also a relatively inexpensive way to change the look of your Cameleon.

The Sun Shade

and Parasol are both meant to do the same thing; block the rays. However, they do so very differently. The Sun Shade is great because is blocks/protects your child no matter where your stroller is facing. It encloses your child in a cacoon-like pocket, completely sheltered from the

Bugaboo Cameleon Sun Canopy & Sun Shade

Bugaboo Cameleon Sun Canopy & Sun Shade

elements. It’s a little hard to see into the “caccoon” to check on your child, but easy for them to see out. The Bugaboo Parasol is great at shielding your child from the sun, but requires constant adjusting if you are moving in different directions. So, the sun shade is great because it doesn’t require any adjusting. However, if you want to see your child and have better airflow for them, I would recommend the parasol. We used the sun shade when our kids were born (they slept all the time, so it was great to have full coverage), and the parasol when they got a little older and wanted to look around.

The Wheeled Board

is great if you have 2 kids, or if your child gets restless and wants to stand up. Bugaboo just came out with a Universal Wheeled Board, which can be used with any Bugaboo Stroller. Installing it is really easy (2 plastic brackets, no screws). When using it, your child stands in back of the stroller and through the handle bar. The Wheeled Board gets in the way of your walking stride, so you will have to walk with a shorter stride or a little off to the side. When not in use there is a bungy cord draw string to pull it up, much like a draw-bridge so you are able to walk normally behind your stroller again.

Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller (Folded without wheels)

Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller (Folded without wheels)

So how big is it, really? Well, it’s not small, but it will fit into most 4-door and even hatchback car trunks. The 2-piece fold is a little frustrating at first, but shouldn’t deter you from buying one. After 2 or 3 tries, you won’t even notice it anymore. It’s easy to open, easy to put away, and rolls through the tightest spots at the supermarket and small retail shops. The underseat bag looks tiny, but is deceivingly massive. It’s a little tough to access, but has enough room to store just about anything you need for a quick stroll or a long day away from home. 

Hopefully, this has answered many of your questions about the Bugaboo Cameleon. In the 4 years that we’ve had ours, we’ve never had an issue with it. It’s a stylish workhorse. However, if you do have an issue, the stroller comes with a  great 2-year warranty (and the customer service is excellent).

Overall, the Bugaboo Cameleon is a great stroller. Very expensive…but worth the $979 price tag (I can’t believe I just wrote that…).

Post to Twitter

Tweet This Post

, , ,
Posted in Baby Products , Bugaboo , Product Reviews | 1 Comment »