I was pushing the Volo down the street the other day, listening to the hard, plastic wheels clacking along the sidewalk. That one inside wheel looks a little wobbly, is it cracking? Wonder if I should take it to the Maclaren Showroom in SoHo and get some replacements? Hmm, wonder what it would take for someone to make some aftermarket wheels for this rig? Maybe in that dense, spongy, smooth-riding rubber from the Bugaboo Bee?
Now I'm not bragging when I say that, with its early, far-reaching reporting on Bugaboo-worthy cupholders, Daddy Types pioneered coverage of high-performance stroller accessories. [Seriously, who'd brag about something like that?] There was The Gunslinger, available in chromed steel, with or without bullets. And my all-time favorite, the three-ringed elegance of the humbly named-but-revolutionary Motorcycle Drink Thing... Anyway, point is, I know a thing or two about performance accessories.
At least I thought I did until Airborne Mini came along. Airborne Mini is a research and design outfit specializing in engineering "improvements for exclusive parenting tools." In other words, they make off-the-charts accessories and performance parts--for strollers. It's the same guys working with Iacono Design, who you may know from such insanely stylin' strollers as The Roddler [which was first reported on DT back when it was still known as the Pinstripe Prep Harmony].
Like custom car and chopper parts that are Iacono's stock in trade, Airborne Mini's stroller cupholders, brackets, buggy boards, and wheels are milled from solid blocks of 6061 aluminum billet. There's a drop axle kit to give your rig a "more aggressive stance." And all this is only available, at least for now, for the original Bugaboo Frog/Gecko/Cameleon.
Never mind that, though they dazzle, those front wheels look like they give up a lot of suspension and turning radius performance compared to the Bugaboo originals. Assuming they're real, of course. The douchiness of Airborne Mini's sales pitch makes me wonder if the whole thing isn't just a roundabout publicity ploy designed to underscore the Roddler's awesomeness. I must quote in full:
Dear Bugaboo drivers,So I can't tell. But those Roddler guys have always thrown me off. They like to play, they love extreme design, and irreverence is part of their game, so I wouldn't be surprised either way. The lack of pricing info and product specs, the Photoshoppy reflections in the product shots--hell, the almost total lack of product shots bigger than a postage stamp--it all makes me think Airborne Mini is still in the Great Idea, Let's Go To The Shop And Mock One Up stage.
We are sorry that the release of the Roddler and trike has caused you so much post purchase dissonance. We have made sure to make amends. To take the sting out of the demotion to second coolest we are making you the first to benefit from our next release.
UPDATE: OH, they are real, alright. Engineering artist Joe Iacono just sent me a bunch of photos. Stay tuned.
And while I can't imagine the performance hit a set of those donks would have on our Bugaboo, a milled aluminum skateboard does sound tempting. And if I those billet blanks come small and light enough for our Maclaren, I hope they'll be generous enough to consider the "third tier" [sic] of the stroller market soon.
Airborne Mini Tuning [airbornemini.com via dt reader nelson]