The Bugaboo Bee buggy has been given a makeover, and we’ve been trying it out over the past few weeks for our Bugaboo Bee 5 review. So how did we get on with the new model of the city pram from Bugaboo; is it still the queen bee of lightweight, urban prams?
The Bugaboo Bee 5 is small, light and designed for urban use (the full spec and details are here). With over 100 different parts there are some significant changes with the new Bee 5 from the last version and we’ve been putting it through its paces for the past few weeks before it went on general sale at the start of the month.
I was genuinely excited to be asked to try it out as we’ve been long-time Bugaboo fans. We bought the Bugaboo Bee+ as our first pram – during my first pregnancy – which is scarily nearly six years ago now – because we wanted a pram that was small, light and would work well on public transport as we didn’t have a car (most people I knew in London had one for those reasons).
And it’s worked really well for us. Our original Bee has lasted us from the newborn stage – where we used it in rear-facing mode, with the soft cocoon and with the car seat clipped in – through to front facing fully-sitting-up toddler-mode, and then again for our second baby, with the buggy board. As I always use the Bee as the benchmark for any other prams we try, when we were offered the Bugaboo Bee 5 review I was intrigued by the changes and if it could still measure up to its predecessor.
So what’s new with the Bugaboo Bee 5? As well as retaining many of the brilliant original features there’s several different ones too. Here’s the buzz on what’s different (#dadjoke):
- The Bee 5 has improved front wheels and suspension and an extra-padded seat, for a smoother push and a more comfortable ride. This has made the biggest difference to us – more on that later
- The seat extends longer (meaning it will last longer for super-tall children)
- Improved straps; there’s still a five point harness safety harness but now has four separate straps to clip in rather than just two
- Changes to the frame and fabric – there’s a bigger hood with a zipped extension section, leather handle and integrated attachment points for the pram accessories. And an all-important pocket for the rain cover
- More options to customise the colours of the fabric and wheels. We were sent the grey fabric design, which I love – if this had been around when we bought ours this is the colour we would have gone for.
Bugaboo set us a series of challenges with the Bee (taking it to the city, out to a cafe and to some new places in our area). And as well all of these it has it’s been everywhere with us, from the school run and the everyday crawl to the shop as well as on the bus, train, tube and overground train. It’s been out to lunch, in to museums and even gone 135 metres over London on the London Eye.
So after our extensive Bugaboo Bee 5 review over the past few weeks, here’s what we thought and five of the stand-out reasons why it’s – still – the perfect city pram for us:
It’s light: 8.7kg in fact. The Bee has always been Buagboo’s lightweight pram and the new Bugaboo Bee 5 is no different. Why is having a lightweight pram important? If you use a pram around towns or cities it’s likely you’ll need to carry it at some point, be that in shops or up and down station steps as a lot of stations don’t have step-free access (I’m looking at YOU, Victoria Underground Station. And most of the London transport network). The Bugaboo Bee is designed so you can carry it easily and I can really do this, even with a toddler in it at the moment.
It is easy to use on public transport: Again, this is important because we use public transport to get around. The Bugaboo Bee 5 is small enough that it’s easy to get on and off the bus, tubes and trains, thin enough that it can fit on the aisle and easy to park without blocking and the aisle (especially with the adjustable handle). You can easily fit it in the back of a black cab, too.
If you need to fold it on public transport – or anywhere else, like when we went on the London Eye – there’s a simple fold mechanism. It doesn’t fold as compactly as an umbrella fold, but the handle means it’s easy to carry around on your shoulder.
It’s small: The Bugaboo Bee 5 is a narrow pram that fits down bus aisles and into pram parks and around shops and in restaurants and coffee shops (this is important as you’ll probably spend a lot of time doing this when you first have a baby. Yet I’ve always found the Bee shopping basket to be big enough to cram in all the stuff and it’s even – miraculously – slightly bigger on the Bee5.
It handles really well: The Bee has always steered one-handed and had good suspension (which is great for London pavements) but the improved suspension on the Bugaboo Bee 5 is the biggest difference I noticed. It handles curbs, steps and bumps in the road so much easier. Which is good if you have a sleeping baby you don’t want to wake up and for when you have a passenger on the buggy board.
It’s comfortable for children: One of the other big differences is the new seat, which is extra padded with lots of insulations making it a lot more comfortable to sit on if you’re in the pram a lot. Florence also loves the longer hood, too.
There’s also a new improved buggy board we’ve been trying out, too – which even comes with a seat. Anyone who’s ever used a Bugaboo buggy board knows you have to walk slightly awkwardly behind and to the side of it. But, great news – the new version is narrower, meaning it’s easier to walk along it. It does mean your passenger stands to the left though, which makes it more difficult to steer, especially on sloping surfaces, as the weight is now unbalanced. However, it does flips up into the pram when you’re not using it which is SO USEFUL.
In the interests of balance, any negatives? It’s not one for off-road (although neither are we, to be fair! But we have taken it on walks and it’s been fine). It’s light but not as lightweight or compact as an umbrella fold, so you’ll get the most use of it from birth.
The price of the Bugaboo Bee 5 starts from £699 which puts it in the higher-end bracket, although we’ve used our Bugaboo constantly and with two children, so it’s given good value for money.
We thought the pram was the bee’s knees, and if you need a small, lightweight pram for city use, swarm down to the shops to check this one out.