Phil & Ted's Dash Inline Baby stroller review

I hate “this thing”:http://www.philandteds.com/dash_index.htm! The only good things I can say about it is that 1) it has inflatable tires which are more comfortable on streets, 2) it carries two kids in a narrow footprint and 3) has a small turning radius. Surprisingly, those 3 things beat out every other double stroller on the market — it doesn’t take much! That’s all the thought that was put into this because everything else about it is annoying. Their instructions are so terse (and try so hard to be cute and clever) and it is next to impossible to fold the thing without hurting yourself in one way or the other. If you’re not pinching your fingers in the locking mechanism, you’re banging your shins with a steel bar. And when folding it, you scratch both the bottom and the handle on the sidewalk because it’s impossible to fold without the footpad smacking the pavement and then to lock the front wheel assembly down, you have to rest it on the handle. So when you unfold it to push it, you grab a scuffed and dirty handle; a handle that is sure to be worn out in no time and require replacement.

If I didn’t hate this thing enough, I was about to explore new depths in hatred for this product and its designers…

We bought their travel bag to pack it up to take on airplanes. Gay told me that she read reviews of it that recommended practicing it several times because it’s so tricky to put in the bag. I thought “How hard can it be to put something in a bag?!” I wisely took her advice and tried it today. It doesn’t come with any instructions which must mean that it’s simple. After 15 minutes of trying, I couldn’t figure it out. I gave up and took a break. Maybe staring at it for 30 minutes will make it obvious. I imagined hearing “Final boarding for flight 1234” as I struggle with this contraption at the airport. I tried again without luck. The best I could do was to take the front wheel off and fold the handle all the way down to the wheel-locking position. If I do that, I can pull and tug at the bag and stretch the zipper to its maximum and it fits, barely. But when I said “wheel-locking position” I meant it. The wheels were then locked so the wheels don’t turn, so you have to drag the bag through the airport rather than roll it. Could this possibly be correct?

Fortunately, no. I went to their web site but couldn’t find any information about how to use this bag properly. They think they’re such great designers that their products don’t need instructions, I guess. But they’re wrong — it has to be the first time in human history that a bag needs operating instructions!! I then Googled thinking someone must have figured this out and has documented it. I didn’t find anyone explain how to do it, but I did find the phrase “How come I can’t wheel my dash buggy in the travel bag?” in Google’s results. Yeah, good question! I wonder who asked it? Why Phil & Ted themselves asked it and answered it — that link went way into “their own FAQ”:http://www.philandteds.com/faqs/faqbuggy.htm#16:

bq. How come I can’t wheel my dash buggy in the travel bag?

bq. When the dash buggy is folded as normal for placement in the travel bag, the brakes will engage. To resolve this, you simply need to reverse the two rear wheels: take each rear wheel and axle off, using the push pins as normal. Turn each wheel around so the brake holder now faces away from the buggy, and put the wheels back on in this position, using the axles. You can now trundle your travel bag along.

Ah hah! Why, of course, who wouldn’t instantly realize that you should reverse the way the wheels are installed?!?

When you take off the wheels, you get your hands dirty with grease. So you get to sit on an airplane for hours with grease on your hands. When you land, you get to reverse the whole process, getting more grease on your hands.

Check out how difficult it is to remove the axle… first, you push the axle in which releases it from the stroller:

Why I hate the Phil & Ted's Dash Stroller

Then you have to push the axle in two more times to get it off the wheel. You do this by holding the axle and pushing the end in. That only gets it half way out of the wheel, so you have to do it again to get it all the way out:

Why I hate the Phil & Ted's Dash Stroller

Then you have grease on your hands:

Why I hate the Phil & Ted's Dash Stroller

And again, you have to reverse the wheels, so the left goes on the right and the right goes on the left. Easy and obvious, eh? This reversal requirement means that you can’t pop a wheel off (even if it were that easy) and immediately put it back on and doing the same to the other. You have to remove both first and then switch them. Imagine yourself in the airport luggage area with your wheel-less stroller, two wheels and two axles sprawled all over the floor. I don’t know why they required this and for the life of me, I can’t even figure out how they prevented the axle and wheels from going back into the same side in the stroller. The axles and wheels are identical, why can’t the wheel just flip over and go into the same side?! It’s as if they intentionally designed it to require the wheels be swapped!

You will probably want to carry grease with you on vacation because it won’t take long until the axle has no more grease on it and the wheels stop turning easily and/or you ruin the axle. But realistically, once you’ve done this once, you will prefer to avoid this hassle and leave the wheels on backwards. This is dangerous because you lose the ability to put a brake on the wheels. It’s a classic example of idiotic design by designers who just don’t think (or don’t think well).

The thing is that if the bag was only slightly larger, you could put it in without putting the handle in the wheel-locking position and then you wouldn’t need to take the wheels off and put them on backwards. This torture device and its bag were designed this way to save them 10 or 20 square inches of material in the travel bag that costs $60. For crying out loud, Phil & Ted, charge $61 for the bag, use the extra pennies to make it a tiny bit bigger and make your customers not hate you for your lousy design. Or allow the handle to the stroller to stick out of the bag, which wouldn’t add anything to the cost of the bag. In fact, it’d be less expensive because you wouldn’t need to put that extra handle on the bag.

Phil and Ted, assuming someone named Phil and someone named Ted were stupid enough to put their real names on this poorly-designed thing, deserve one of Dante’s Inferno punishments. My suggestion is they be put at an airport gate minutes before their flight leaves and forced to collapse and un-collapse their product and put it in this bag over and over for eternity.

19 thoughts on “Phil & Ted's Dash Inline Baby stroller review

  1. How can you walk with the doubles kit installed? I have a long stride and having it poke that far back would drive me nuts. Poor kid would get his head kicked unless the push handle extends.

  2. Thankfully, it doesn’t stick out that far so it doesn’t happen a lot, but you do bang it on occassion. You learn to take shorter strides or bend over more to push it so it’s farther out in front of you.

    A nice feature is that the back seat can be moved to the front so it faces backwards (and towards you and blocks the view for the other kid), but this brings me to another gripe: it requires two extra pieces to mount it in front. And they can’t be attached anywhere on the stroller so they’re always available. So you have to carry them with you separately in the chance you want to use it. What’s so amazingly poor about this part of the design is that they could have easily made it fit the front bar just as it attaches to the back without extra pieces had they even considered it for a second.

  3. Lighter fluid and a match is the answer!! I guess they assume that you have baby wipes to clean up your hands! And that you can do this all while watching your kids run around also!

  4. Nice information.That’s awesome!!! I look for strollers for new baby.I see many web about this but your web is the best for me.Thank you.

  5. I just bought one and am absolutely livid. Here I am sitting by the lap top writing this and the new Phil&Ted’s stroller is spread out on the living room floor. Where’s the rear axle? Nowhere to be seen, we paid and arm and a leg and it’s fine apart from the fact that THE WHEELS CAN”T BE ATTACHED! It’s of absolutely no value. How can they sell the thing without the rear wheel axles? The mind boggles.

  6. I have to find a way to get my Dash stroller in the airplane and thought about the travel bag. but it sounds like it’s hardly not managable to do at the airport with two kids waiting for you to get done. what do you suggest??

  7. The Dash definitely needs a makeover. how about the brake? if you engage the brake, the stroller still rolls around. pretty dangerous. I’m happy to have a Phil and Ted , but am thinking that they are way overpriced for what they are.

  8. You can do it while 2 kids are waiting for you if they can wait 10-15 minutes and you can find plenty of room somewhere. But practice it several times before you get to the airport so you have the hang of it.

    It is dangerous when the brake doesn’t engage. We’re on our trip and I didn’t bother to put the wheels back on properly so I’ve been using it without a brake. After a near accident with a cyclist while I was taking a photo, I finally reversed wheels. And I had grease all over my hands that even a baby wipe doesn’t take off.

    The stroller doesn’t need so much of a redesign as the travel bag does. If it were just a little bigger, it’d be pretty easy to pack up in the bag because the problems all start when you have to engage the brake. Note: you have to take the front wheel off too to get it in the bag because when the brake is engaged, the stroller can’t be locked into the collapsed position because the front wheel is in the way of the locked handle.

  9. help! i have a silver/black ring that doesn’t have a home on the DASH. I too found the instructions–cute or not– to be frustratingly unhelpful. ditto that with the website. any direction on what this crucial part is for would be welcome.

  10. FYI, I just bought a Dash, and had no problems flipping the wheels on the same side (i.e. I didn’t have to switch the left one with the right one when turning them around)

  11. I too am deeply frustrated with the Phil & Ted designs and customer service. Such an expensive stroller should be a dream to have. However, I am so addicted to the narrow in-line design that I cannot fathom buying another brand. My real desire is that another company will make an in-line jogger and put some more thought into smaller design issues like the travel bag, the brake system (a parking brake is great, but you really need a hand brake for slowing while going downhill), the sunshade and warranties.

  12. I came back from a trip to Hawaii with two kids and never get any problem like Rob263.
    No problem with the travel bag with the wheel flipped. No problem with the brake of the DASH.
    I suppose they assume you’re smart enough to think about the wheel when you taking it out of the bag…
    I love my Phil and Teds and such my wife and the kids…
    BTW we never bang the head of the kid in the back. Maybe it’s cause we are in the average size of person but it nerver happened. You have to know you’re not suppose to put a kids heavier than 20 pounds in the back. It’s not often to see a kid of 20 pounds 3 feet tall…

    Well the only think we don’t like is the top wich is to short. But we bought the sunshade.

    They are a bit pricey but they will last for a long time. I have a PEG PEREGO and a Chariot wich are both pricey to but they looked like new even after 4 years…

  13. So helpful! Thank you for the review. I am so happy I found your posting because I could not get my stroller to lock. It is because I had my tires switched. Most likely because the instructions SUCKED! The smallest pictures, not even in color, and no directions that actually made sense.

    I am figuring it all out. Not happy about not having instructions, especially for an expensive stroller. But happy to have the internet and people who post how to work this thing.

    So far I am happy with it for around the town and walking. I am about to go on my first trip with it, so we will see how it goes!

  14. Thanks for the instructions and pictures on how to take the Axle off! You were the first one that came up when I googled for instructions! Thanks again !!!!!

  15. Anyone have issues folding the dash? I have been using it ok for almost 10 months and suddenly it no longer folds…oh and the sun visor has fallen off and for some reason does not stay on when put back in the slots. Help!!

  16. Thank you so much for posting this. I love my Phil & Teds that I have had for almost 4 years now. the other week my husband filled up the tires at the gas station and popped the inter tube. Then he left me to go TDY with the flat tires. When I got them back from the bike shop I put them on backwards and could not figure out why the breaks did not work. I called him about the issue and he said to put the handle down. Of course I responded, “I’m not a moron.” I had been going around town with my three kids and no working breaks. I knew I was missing something. I’m glad it was that simple.
    I’m sorry it has not been a good experience for you. I thought opening and closing it was cumbersome at first, but then it got the hang of it with one sweeping motion where the handle nor the footrest touch the ground. We have minor scratches on the footrest. My husband did all the packing of the bag in the airport and he carried it with the strap. I think he put the wheels in the suite case for fear the frames would get bent. He never complained about it so I never though it was that big of a deal. I appreciate the blog. Now we will know what to do next time we travel. I just always assume it’s a problem with me, maybe that is why I don’t hate it.

    1. I don’t hate it, in fact, it’s my favorite stroller. I just hate traveling with it because it’s unnecessarily difficult to put in the bag due to poor design. Ours is an older model though, I understand they have improved it recently.

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