When we were pondering the Bugaboo, we figured we'd also want a super-lightweight stroller, too, something to just throw on when we headed out the door, or something easy to travel with.
We set our eyes on the lightest Maclaren, the Volo, pretty early, but we never actually felt we needed it. As it turned out, the Frog--or when flying, the Frog base and Maxi-Cosi Cabrio car seat--was all the travel stroller we needed. At least until the kid outgrew her car seat.
So the night before leaving for Sun Valley a couple of weeks ago, my wife picked up a carbon grey Volo on the way home. We love it. It's light, smooth, spare, and well-crafted. And to me, it's the best-looking minimalist umbrella-type stroller around.
It also handles very well. It's a breeze for traveling with a walking kid, one who doesn't have to be in a stroller 100% of the time while you're out. For airports, it turned out to be perfect; our cheapo Graco toddler car seat dropped right into the Volo seat, so with one hand on the gear and another on the kid--who definitely wanted to walk after being cooped up on the plane--moving around was about as easy as I can imagine it.
The downsides are probably predictable for a stripped-down stroller. The Volo doesn't recline like the bigger Macs. The lawnchair-like mesh seat is breezy, but not padded at all. The canopy's flimsy (but so are all Mac canopies). The real shocker for a Bugaboo driver was finding out how poorly the Volo handled any surface but hard, smooth, finished ones. Hardpacked earth was OK, but even grass or a firmly packed gravel walkway turned into a slog.
The other big annoyance: the stride. The unadjustable handles placed the stroller's sharp folding mechanism right in the way of both my and my wife's feet. [Once while hustling across a street, her foot actually got pulled in and stuck between the wheel and the frame. Getting eaten alive by a stroller is not a pleasant way to go, even if it IS in Sun Valley.] To walk with the thing, you have to shorten your gait, lean just enough to be annoying, or kick the stroller every damn step you take. The problem's diminished but not solved on both the Quest and the adjustable height Techno XT. It's really a difference of centimeters on the angle, though, the kind of thing some Mac engineers should fix across the board. [My siblings brought Macs, too, so we did a lot of side-by-side.]
Anyway, at around $100, five+ times the going rate of an typically disposable umbrella stroller and twice the price of a decent Chicco, the Volo is not the value leader in its category at all. But if fifty bucks plus or minus is not a major decision factor for you, the Volo is definitely a good buy.
Buy the 2005 Maclaren Volo at babystyle for $99, or get a 2004 Volo in either pale blue or oyster at babies r us/amazon for only $69. [Hm. Right now, there's even a $10 off promo for strollers over $40. Use code 913551 at checkout. updated hmm: I'm reminded the 2004 doesn't come with a canopy; you'd have to buy an accessory kit for another $39.]
Hello, Target has the Volo in Carbon for only $79 online, with free shipping.
Whoever buys the 2005 Volo in Peony earns only my quiet pity; and I only get $1.50 more, not even enough for the subway. Do us both a favor and steer clear.