July 9, 2004

Chariot Carriers Take Vancouver

chariot_cougar_sx.jpgDT reader Hans pointed me to the Chariot, which, he reports, is the "craze-du-jour here in lovely Vancouver. (Even on the west coast of Canada, they're required to mix French and English. Keeps everybody calm.)

Anyway, the Chariot is a paradigm shift for strollers. Its Star Trek shuttle pod-like design shows its bike trailer origins. If it were just a jogger- and stroller-enabled bike trailer, it'd be enough. Did I mention there's a sidecar model? And by using a harness/hitch system, Chariots actually convert into, well, chariots for hiking and cross-country skiing. Naturally, you will be the horse.

chariot_cougar1.jpg

Except for the badass Concept Carrier, which is only available to drool over in a video, the Cougar SX is the most evolved model in the line. It features:
removable mesh side windows
two weather covers
extensively padded kiddy cockpit (my term, not theirs)
a five-way handle
and a rather cool-looking storage rack, and
fitted handlebar bag.

chariot_cougar_ski.jpgThere's a separate sling insert for infants. And "hydration kit" is apparently Canadian for "cup holder." Chariot claim it takes only 2.5 seconds to close the Cougar SX, and have video demos to prove it. [Hans says, "It's about the easiest thing I've ever packed."]

All this Cougar new coolness comes at a price: At REI, the less sleek Cougar 1 is sold a la carte starting at $335, while the
Cougar SX is only available as a complete kit--- for $950.

Like the New Zealander strollers I posted about earlier, Chariot cites the their specific geography as a major influence on their design. These strollers all began as individual responses to local conditions, which later find a like-minded --or aspirational--community around the world. This is the exact opposite approach taken by mass-market stroller companies, who graft various bundles of features and fabric onto a standardized frame.

4 Comments

It's not only Vancouver that has been hit by the craze. Sightings in Ottawa are on the rise. Only began noticing strollers about 9 months and 3 weeks ago. The Chariot has become the standard here.

- I work with many engineers. Those with kids have done all their research (great for me). The opinion is the chariot is the best (and only choice).
- Recently worked at a fund raising bike/run/blade event. Chariots outnumbered any other bike/jog stroller by about 4:1.

I was lucky enough to get a 2003 model used. They hold their re-sale value very well.

Cheers

We have a Chariot "Cougar" Model and it is the greatest thing ever. It is really not as big as it looks, and when you have the stroller wheels on its total footprint is no bigger than most standard strollers. We had a hand-me-down stroller that simply did not make the grade in the snow.

Highly recommended... especially for winter climates.

Is there anyone who is done with their chariot trailer/stroller with CAS or other shocked suspension and would like to sell it? If so email jmattern@houston.rr.com

I have a 2005 chariot cx-1, the strolling kit, the jogging kit, the biking kit and the infant sling. although it's annoying you have to buy all the kits separately (apparently starting in 2006 they come standard with brakes), this is the single greatest stroller in the world. (bugaboo's got nothing on this one - except maybe it's cheaper when you're all done!) i've been jogging my infant son in it since he was about 6 months, and biking shortly thereafter. he absolutely digs the stroller, falls right to sleep in there. still loves it at 1. my nanny loves it too. she says everyone is constantly asking her about it. it's particularly great in a cold place like chicago because you get full coverage for the kid when it's freezing outside. (in fact, i usually overdress him and he gets hot - but never complains). there's lots of room in there for toys - but who needs them when he's got a great view? (and a sunscreen to block out the sun, which you can employe as necessary).

my mom likes it because you can fully protect the kid from dogs (i don't worry about these things).

i think i might like the handle set up on the cougar et al better than the high tech one on the cx-1, but the rest of the features on the cx1 made it worth it. in the summer the full mesh - windows that open - will be critical.

they hydration kit is a waste.

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