A Bob jogging stroller

Update: In July 2019 the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of the replacement thru-bolt axle offered by Britax as a remedy for consumers who own a BOB jogging stroller manufactured between January 2009 and September 2015. The replacement thru-bolt can fracture during use. For full details, see "Britax Recalls Replacement Thru-Bolt Axles for BOB Jogging Strollers." The story below was originally published March 30, 2018. 


The Bob jogging stroller is at the center of a lawsuit after the company that makes it refused to order a recall over what the government’s product safety regulator considers a “substantial product hazard.”

The issue? The front wheel can detach as the stroller is being pushed, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission says that when the wheel detaches, the front fork on the stroller frame can dig into the terrain, stopping the stroller abruptly and potentially causing serious injury to a child and/or an adult pushing the stroller.

If you own one of these strollers, we have advice on how to secure the wheel properly. More on that below. The CPSC’s complaint says that almost 500,000 of these strollers were made from December 2011 through September 2015, plus an unknown number were manufactured between 1997 and 2011. The lawsuit does not cover strollers made after September 2015.

A 'Rare' Action

The CPSC suit seeks to force Britax, which owns the Bob brand, to recall the strollers. The agency in its press release didn’t advise consumers to stop using Bob jogging strollers built through September 2015. But the complaint does seek an order to stop the company from distributing affected models, and also requests that Britax alert the public and produce a remedy for what the agency deems a defect in design.

Britax told Consumer Reports that it didn’t voluntarily recall the jogging strollers because “there is no defect in these products, and they are safe when used as instructed.”

“It’s rare for the CPSC to need to sue a company to force a recall,” says William Wallace, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports. Many companies voluntarily recall products, sometimes at the CPSC’s recommendation.

In a press release, the CPSC says that approximately 200 complaints have been filed by consumers since January 2012 and that it has received at least 97 reports of injuries to children and adults. Britax says that “with more than half a million products in the market for 20 years, the number of reported injuries is very low.”

Don Huber, director of product safety at Consumer Reports, feels differently. “Manufacturers have voluntarily recalled products where there were no reported injuries,” he says. “Given the volume and severity of these injuries, we think the wheel detachment on these models is a real cause for concern, particularly because after its own investigation, the CPSC deemed these strollers worthy of a recall.”

The CPSC declined to comment beyond the lawsuit. 

Bob's Evolving Wheel Design

At the heart of the suit is the mechanism that attaches the front wheel to the stroller’s frame. Bob models covered by the CPSC lawsuit use a quick-release mechanism similar to those found on many bicycles. Attaching the wheel to the frame requires holding a lever and tightening the adjusting nut of the mechanism until a point of resistance, then closing the lever tightly. (See below for how to use a quick release, as well as a video detailing proper use.)

On Bob models sold between 1997 and September 2015, the quick-release mechanism sits within open-ended loops on the front fork of the frame. In 2015, the company redesigned its jogging strollers. Britax says this move was both to improve functionality and to comply with an industrywide update to safety standards set by ASTM International, a standard-setting organization, which affected strollers made after September of that year.

More on Product Safety

Among the design changes are a replacement of the open-ended loops (surrounding the quick-release mechanism) with closed loops to secure the bolt that holds the wheel to the frame.

The new design may help prevent a loosely closed quick-release mechanism from allowing the front wheel to accidentally detach—and may give someone pushing the stroller more time to react if it does detach. Consumer Reports has not tested this model, and none of the affected models currently appear in our ratings.

Neither Britax nor the CPSC would comment on whether there are any reports of incidents or injury since the 2015 redesign. A search of government databases conducted by CR did not find any reported incidents or injuries related to wheels detaching on the redesigned models.

Regardless of the suit, it’s imperative that consumers who own a jogging stroller with a quick-release mechanism familiarize themselves with the proper procedure for securing the wheel. It’s also important to inspect the wheel to ensure that it’s properly fastened before each use.

Securing a Quick-Release Stroller Wheel

For Bob Strollers Manufactured After September 2015

  1. With one hand, position the wheel between the open tines on the fork of the stroller frame. Line up the opening in the wheel with the holes on each of the fork ends.

  2. Slide the quick-release bolt through the open hole on the stroller frame, through the hole at the center of the wheel, and through the opposite side of the stroller frame.

  3. With the mechanism fully open, hold the lever and turn the adjusting nut clockwise while flipping the opposite lever toward the frame. Keep tightening the adjustment nut until you feel resistance when moving the lever.

  4. Flip the quick-release arm to the closed position until it can’t be moved further.

If you’ve done this correctly, you’ll feel resistance as you press the lever shut—and you’ll be left with an impression on the palm of your hand, as shown in the video above. If you have any doubts about whether you’ve secured the wheel properly, Consumer Reports advises taking the stroller and wheel to a bicycle shop for help. Britax also noted that consumers can call its customer service line at 888-427-4829 or go to bobgear.com for information on securing wheels properly.

For Bob Strollers Manufactured Before September 2015

  1. With one hand, position the wheel between the open tines on the fork of the stroller frame. Line up the spacings in the quick-release mechanism with the slots that catch the quick-release bolt.

  2. With the mechanism fully open and the the wheel positioned against the shoulder of the fork, hold the lever and turn the adjusting nut clockwise while flipping the opposite lever toward the frame. Keep tightening the adjustment nut until you feel resistance when moving the lever.

  3. Flip the quick-release arm to the closed position until it can’t be moved further.

Again, if you’ve done it correctly, you’ll feel resistance as you press the lever shut and you’ll be left with an impression on the palm of your hand. And, of course, the same advice applies—if you’re unsure, take your stroller and wheel to a bicycle shop or check with the manufacturer.