Until now, Mountain Buggy’s side-by-side Duet has been a two-seater that wasn’t as adaptable as the “single + second seat” double strollers it competes with. But the new model fixes that.
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The updated Duet ($999) can now be bought as a single stroller with a generous shopping basket taking the place of the second seat. As your family grows, you replace the shopping basket with a compatible capsule car seat, second seat or a carrycot. The carrycot can be used either as a regular lie-flat carrycot or as a parent-facing seat.
I took the Duet for a spin with one child and then two. The Duet’s best feature is its narrowness. It’s 63cm at its widest point, the same as Mountain Buggy’s Urban Jungle single model. The side basket can be loaded with up to 18kg and the basket underneath fits another 5kg of stuff, more than enough for groceries and library books. If walking’s your main mode of transport this set-up could suit you well.
Carrying one child or two, I found the Duet easy to manoeuvre and, most importantly, slim enough to fit through doorways and down the aisles at my local supermarket. Getting up and over kerbs was reasonably easy with one child but took more effort with two – an issue with the combined weight of my children rather than the buggy!
My favourite new feature on the Duet was the secondary handbrake. The Duet has foot-operated brakes for when you’ve parked up, but the handbrake was a huge help when guiding the weight of the buggy plus two children down steep hills.
Once I’d had a bit of practice, I found the Duet easy to set up and pack away. It’s a double stroller so it’s understandably awkward to lift and carry when folded but it’s reasonably slim when folded and it didn’t take up as much boot space as I expected.
The five-point harness on the Duet has four separate buckle tongues that can accidently be fitted into any of the four slots but my four-year-old was able to correctly secure her younger brother so it’s not difficult to use.
The harnesses snuggly fitted both my one-year-old and four-year-old and were easy to adjust. The shoulder height of the harness is adjusted by slipping the straps through guides that sit behind the padded seat cover.
Mountain Buggy’s added five centimetres to the Duet’s seat height, which means it comfortably accommodates older children with longer legs (as long as they’re under the 18kg weight limit).
Aesthetic appeal is as important as usability when choosing a stroller. The nylon canvas of earlier Duet models has been swapped for a softer fabric that looks and feels like cotton but is 100% polyester. You can choose from four colours, including a stylish black with white grid pattern.
Like all Mountain Buggies, accessories aren’t included so if you want a sun or rain cover you’ll have to add these to the $999 ticket price. But even factoring extras in, it’s considerably cheaper than Bugaboo’s Donkey, which is a similarly adaptable side-by-side stroller.
Would I buy it for a first baby and use it as a single? Probably not. With only one child on board it feels like you’re pushing a “wide load” due to the width of the handle bar and because the seats sit over the wheels (rather than between them like on the Urban Jungle). I also think it’s better to buy the buggy that suits you best now rather than thinking too far ahead. But for twins or two kids of different ages it’s a great option that could last you several years thanks to the extra head room and its ability to adapt between single and double modes.
Our writer received this stroller on loan for this First Look. First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.
By Libby Manley