April 17, 2009 10:30 AM

Valco Tri Mode Twin Stroller

If you are looking for a real walking/jogging/all-terrain ride, you’ll love the Valco Baby Runabout Tri Mode Twin Stroller ($699). With a featherlight push, it measures 29″ across and fits through standard doorways easily. Why is it called the Tri Mode? Because there are three wheel options: fixed, 45 degree angle (if you add a toddler seat) or swivel for total mobility. Colors for 2009 include Stone, Pistachio, Black, Plum and Scarlet.

Valco Tri Mode Twin Stroller folded

Putting it Together:

I found it pretty easy to put together —  just install the front and back wheels, the two canopies, and the two front bars. Valco also has a single long front bar you can order to replace the two front bars.

The Ride:

The Valco Baby Tri Mode Twin is a very smooth ride. The wheels are very large, so broken pavement, curbs and uneven terrain are not going to slow you down. The 12″ tires are air filled and an air pump is included (it’s stored in a little pouch behind the right seat). The handle is adjustable, so taller parents will be pleased. While the Tri Mode shines outside (since it’s large),  it’s tougher to navigate in smaller store aisles and restaurants. While it did fine in the local big coffee chain, I had a hard time turning it around in the narrow local pizza joint. To go between front wheel modes,  just turn the two dials on the metal footplate. But watch older/taller children’s feet with the dials — my son deliberately nudged the dial with his foot and it turned the swivel into the fixed position and I couldn’t get the stroller out of my elevator until I turned the dial again.

The Seats:

Both my tall 3 ½-year-old and my 14-month-old had plenty of room. Maximum passenger weight is 45 pounds. To recline the seat, squeeze the center release tab, and ease the seat down to the position you want. A car seat adaptor is available (but for only seat) — for Graco, Peg Perego, Maxi Cosi and Britax infant car seats. The seats come with head huggers (that can be easily removed) for use with infants.  To secure your child in the stroller, after you attach the 5-point harness, overlap the buckles so they form one complete buckle, then insert the buckle into the buckle housing. That’s pretty simple, but undoing the buckles is a little harder. Press down very firmly on the buckle prongs as you simultaneously press down on the release button on the buckle housing.

Storage:

The Tri Mode has a lot of storage, with a two decent-sized baskets and storage pockets on the back of each canopy, as well as on each side of the stroller. The storage pockets on the back of the canopy both zip off and can be attached to the parent handles. No cupholder included, but I like the add-on Valco Universal Cup Holder.

Sun Exposure:

The canopy is generous and provided excellent coverage from the sun and wind. For more airflow behind your child, you can zip off the storage pockets on the back of each canopy. For more UV protection, you can purchase Valco’s Zip- In UV sun shade.

The Fold:

This is a multi-part, large fold. To fold: Make sure the hood is tilted back. Then release the locking clamps on both sides of the stroller. Then lift the red safety catch and swing the handles forward. Then press down on the rear basket tubes, this will disengage the frame locking hinges. Push the rear of the basket until the rear wheels move forward beneath the frame. Lock the frame closed by stretching the locking strap over the rivet on each side. To open: Unlock the locking straps, put your foot on the inside of the rear wheels, to stop them from moving, lift the handle upwards, then press down on the basket frame locking hinges to lock the frame open. Then secure the handle to the frame by attaching the locking clamps on both sides. Folding it was pretty easy to master, but the fold is larger than what I was used to. Make sure your car can store the Tri Mode Twin. It was hard to get in and out of my Toyota Camry, but it fit in my neighbor’s minivan easily.

Pros: The Tri Mode has amazing suspension, goes over curbs and broken sidewalks effortlessly, will fit older children well and will take a infant car seat. Also will take the add-on Valco Toddler Seat and the Valco Hitchiker board to transport older children. Good sun protection and storage.

Cons: It’s heavy at 33 lbs and may not fit easily in smaller car trunks, or navigate well in narrow store aisles. It’s not an errand in-and-out of the car stroller.

Verdict: If you plan on jogging or walking long distances with your children, or would like to transport more than two kids, the Tri Mode delivers.

CBB Deal: Use code: CBBVAL5 for 5% off Valco Baby at Letsgostrolling.com. Expires August 30, 2009.

— Nancy

Let’s Go Strolling’s Exclusive Boy/Girl Tri Mode Twin Stroller

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