February 25, 2010

Bee Plus Or Bee Fixed?


Wow, DT commenter FOG lite just posted a link to a new Metropolis Magazine feature on Jaap de Boer, the designer behind the Bugaboo Bee--and the Bugaboo Bee Plus. It's a short, fascinating story, and it's full of frank, perceptive discussion about the Bee, its strengths and shortcomings, and the design process itself.

And there's a side-by-side comparison of the original and new designs which makes the improvements clearer--and also shows just how the design isn't just a bunch of little tweaks, but a comprehensive overhaul.

Part of me is stoked for the new stroller. Even though I prefer the quirky shape of the original Bee's canopy and the elegant complexity of the single piece seatback, those elements in particular turn out to have been examples of design trumping performance. Which, for a product that gets used as heavily as a stroller, becomes a cumulative problem; little quirks or annoyances pile up in your head until you start choosing the other stroller--or you start shopping for a new one.

Part of me, though, is trying not to feel like Bugaboo Bee buyers before now have all been chumps. I still love our original Frog--even more than the Cameleon we have now--but it's worth remembering that it's a pain-in-the-butt to fold and load into a taxi or car. The miracle-folding Bee was Bugaboo's way of addressing their first, awesome stroller's inherent design weakness. Also, it cost a lot less. So it's really a different thing altogether.

Either way, it's nice to hear a company engaging in a detailed, clear-eyed discussion of its product's design, their problems, and their solutions.

Born Again | A young Bugaboo designer gets a second chance at his first assignment. [


When my friend first told me that they were releasing a new Bee I have to admit that for a second I was wishing I could justify upgrading to the "plus" model. I would like the seat back of my current Bee maybe to be a little less curved, but overall I love the design, look, and function of my Bee.

People thought the original Bee looked like a wheel chair, with those star wheels is a dead ringer! I would also miss the wings on the stroller- what's to keep your kid's small toys and other things from falling out the side of the seat? Yes, I always have to remember to kind of fold the Bee so the wings don't get crushed (we have 2nd generation wings, the first ones were duds), but overall I think they're great. And I like our canopy as well.

My son is about to be three this week and in the 90th percentile and he still fits in the stroller (when his baby brother isn't riding in it) fine. Anyway, I guess this is just me declaring my love for the original (with 2nd generation wings) Bee! This is one of those cases where I'm glad I have the earlier model- same thing with our 2006 Scion xB :)

Unfortunately... it still "bee" ugly.
Just sayin'.

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