Thursday, May 28, 2009

Q&A Dreamer Design

Q: I need some stroller help! I just bought a new Dreamer Design Ditto Deluxe, 2007 model. It's the model with one-hand fold. Is anything on it likely to break? Anything I should know? I am worried since I can't get parts. If I need new wheels, can ANY bike store wheel work, or does it have to be a certain kind (no longer made)? Also, will this stroller turn? It's a fixed wheel, and I jog, but slowly. Actually I am walking now since baby #3 is due in 2 months.

A: I have the 2005 and 2006 Dreamer Design Ditto models, but not 2007 so I can't speak to the folding mechanism, specifically. I have a Kelty single stroller which has one-hand folding and the only problem I've had with that is that the handlebar padding getting a little torn and as it has aged, you have to make sure that it clicks into the locked position with the build-up of dirt, etc.

You probably will need to replace the tires every 1000-2000 miles, but your 16" stroller tires are just the same as a 16" children's bike, so they are easily found at a bicycle shop like Performance Bike or your local shop. Likewise, the innertubes (in case you get a flat) are easily found at a bike shop. With light-to-regular jogging on paved roads, I would not expect you to have a problem with the wheels or spokes themselves. I had to replace one of my wheels for becoming untrued (bent), but a bike mechanic can fix this if it is not too bad plus I take this stroller off-road and stuff so I'm sure that contributed to the problem. I did recently discover, however, that though they appear to be the same, the front tires from different brands are not necessarily interchangeable because of the quick release.

I have also replaced the brake cable and calipers (the parts that squeeze the wheel to make it stop) after about 2000 miles. They just got worn out and gunked up since I don't do a good job of cleaning off dirt, etc. after runs. When DD was in business, you could order the whole thing, but now you'll just have to get the parts at a bike shop. Just the same as a bicycle as well except that the cable is really long.

What IS likely to break on your Dreamer Design is the fabric. With each year, it seems like it becomes flimsier. Just check to make sure that all the nylon straps which support the seats are going around the frame so that the fabric is not supporting all the weight of the child.

This stroller turns GREAT! That is actually the #1 reason that I stuck with Dreamer Design despite the cons (such as going out of business). Because the back wheels are relatively far forward as compared to other strollers I've tried, it turns much easier than other fixed wheel strollers. You'll find it much easier to turn when you aren't pregnant anymore too. Though it can be annoying when you are walking, you would want to lock a swivel wheel into the fixed position for jogging anyway.

Two important cautions:
1. Also because of the back wheels being relatively forward, it is easy to tip over backwards if one of your kids stands up in his seat or if the stroller rolls backwards and hits a bump or even if you lean too hard on the handle while running uphill. Keep the kids buckled just in case.
2. You may experience this with 3 kids - the footrest looks like a really appealing seat for whichever kid doesn't get a real seat, but it will break the frame if you let the kid sit there because it is only welded together.

Good luck with #3...Third's a charm! I love having three.

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