If you enjoy running or jogging and you want to take your child with you, then you’ll need a jogging stroller. When you’re choosing a jogging stroller, you will likely encounter the puzzling question: why do some joggers have a swivel front wheel while some have a front wheel that’s fixed?
In this article, we take a closer look at what sets a jogging stroller apart from a regular one. Also, we investigate the fixed vs. swivel wheel question and look at why that’s so important.
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What makes a jogging stroller a jogging stroller?
In the past, parents used the regular, four-wheeled stroller for jogging, as well as for running errands. But the old-style shopping cart wheels on these strollers meant that the vehicle had an alarming tendency to skitter in every direction when taken on uneven, bumpy surfaces. So, unless you planned on jogging on smooth, flat surfaces only, you were somewhat limited in where you could go.
Over the last ten years or so, specialist jogging and all-terrain strollers have been designed that can cope with the roughest of surfaces, including snow and deep sand. Modern jogging strollers are lightweight and have three wheels, shock absorbers, and five-point safety harnesses. Some even include sun canopies and bottle holders for both the passenger and parent. Most have sufficient storage space for your keys, cell phone, and even a small diaper bag.
Where jogging strollers differ is that some have fixed front wheels and some have front wheels that swivel.
Fixed wheel strollers
Some jogging strollers have a fixed front wheel, but why is this?
Well, many manufacturers maintain that a fixed front wheel is just about the most important safety feature of a jogging stroller. That’s because the faster the stroller is moving, the more susceptible the front wheel is to wobbling.
If no mechanism locks the wheel into position, the wobble becomes more violent. And, that wobble can potentially cause the stroller to veer sharply off course or even flip over. Therefore, for the stroller to remain stable and safe, you should not move at more than a strolling pace if the front wheel can’t be locked.
That said, a fixed wheel stroller takes some getting used to, especially when negotiating turns. You’ll need to lift the front wheel by applying pressure to the handlebars. Alternatively, you can turn the stroller via a push/push method.
Fixed wheel strollers tend to have longer base dimensions. That increased front-to-back length gives better stability and a smoother ride. For that reason, these strollers are designed so that you can remove all the wheels. Such functionality is usually incorporated via a bike quick-release lever, to enable easy transport by car.
Swivel Front Wheel Stroller
The other style of jogging stroller you can buy is the swivel front wheel design with a locking option.
The design of these strollers includes a front wheel with a 360 degree swivel. That’s perfect for turning the stroller without having to lift the front wheel! You also have the option to lock the front wheel when necessary. So, when you’re just strolling with your little one, you can enjoy the easier steering that you get with the swivel front wheel. When you want to move faster, you lock the wheel to increase the stroller’s stability.
Swivel front wheel jogging strollers are popular because they are very versatile. Many feature a carrycot that you can add, as well as a car seat adapter. That means that you can use the stroller for a newborn as well as an older child. So, if you don’t want to buy a regular stroller and a jogging stroller, a design with a swivel front wheel could be the answer.
As you look over what jogging strollers are currently on the market, you’ll notice a variation in wheel width.
Wider-wheeled strollers tend to give you more space for carrying essentials. Additionally, they provide a broader seat that will be more comfortable for larger children. Also, strollers with wide-spaced wheels are typically more stable than narrower-wheeled designs.
However, if you’re short of storage space, you’d be better with a narrow-spaced wheel design. Also, narrow strollers are easier to fit through café and store doors. And they’re easier to maneuver when jogging or walking down narrow trails and sidewalks.
Wrapping it up
If you want a jogging stroller that you’re going to use purely when you’re out running or jogging with your child, then you should choose one with a fixed front wheel. That will give you greater stability and easier steering, although learning to turn the stroller smoothly takes some practice.
However, if you’re looking for a stroller to use around town or to stroll through the park with an occasional run thrown in, choose a jogger that has a swivel front wheel with a locking option.