Valco Baby Runabout Tri Mode Twin Stroller: It Can Handle It All!

04/17/2009 at 10:30 AM ET
Valco Tri Mode Twin Stroller

If you are looking for a real walking/jogging/all-terrain ride, you’ll love the Valco Baby Runabout Tri Mode Twin Stroller ($699). With a featherlight push, it measures 29″ across and fits through standard doorways easily. Why is it called the Tri Mode? Because there are three wheel options: fixed, 45 degree angle (if you add a toddler seat) or swivel for total mobility. Colors for 2009 include Stone, Pistachio, Black, Plum and Scarlet.

Valco Tri Mode Twin Stroller folded

Putting it Together:

I found it pretty easy to put together —  just install the front and back wheels, the two canopies, and the two front bars. Valco also has a single long front bar you can order to replace the two front bars.

The Ride:

The Valco Baby Tri Mode Twin is a very smooth ride. The wheels are very large, so broken pavement, curbs and uneven terrain are not going to slow you down. The 12″ tires are air filled and an air pump is included (it’s stored in a little pouch behind the right seat). The handle is adjustable, so taller parents will be pleased. While the Tri Mode shines outside (since it’s large),  it’s tougher to navigate in smaller store aisles and restaurants. While it did fine in the local big coffee chain, I had a hard time turning it around in the narrow local pizza joint. To go between front wheel modes,  just turn the two dials on the metal footplate. But watch older/taller children’s feet with the dials — my son deliberately nudged the dial with his foot and it turned the swivel into the fixed position and I couldn’t get the stroller out of my elevator until I turned the dial again.

The Seats:

Both my tall 3 ½-year-old and my 14-month-old had plenty of room. Maximum passenger weight is 45 pounds. To recline the seat, squeeze the center release tab, and ease the seat down to the position you want. A car seat adaptor is available (but for only seat) — for Graco, Peg Perego, Maxi Cosi and Britax infant car seats. The seats come with head huggers (that can be easily removed) for use with infants.  To secure your child in the stroller, after you attach the 5-point harness, overlap the buckles so they form one complete buckle, then insert the buckle into the buckle housing. That’s pretty simple, but undoing the buckles is a little harder. Press down very firmly on the buckle prongs as you simultaneously press down on the release button on the buckle housing.


The Tri Mode has a lot of storage, with a two decent-sized baskets and storage pockets on the back of each canopy, as well as on each side of the stroller. The storage pockets on the back of the canopy both zip off and can be attached to the parent handles. No cupholder included, but I like the add-on Valco Universal Cup Holder.

Sun Exposure:

The canopy is generous and provided excellent coverage from the sun and wind. For more airflow behind your child, you can zip off the storage pockets on the back of each canopy. For more UV protection, you can purchase Valco’s Zip- In UV sun shade.

The Fold:

This is a multi-part, large fold. To fold: Make sure the hood is tilted back. Then release the locking clamps on both sides of the stroller. Then lift the red safety catch and swing the handles forward. Then press down on the rear basket tubes, this will disengage the frame locking hinges. Push the rear of the basket until the rear wheels move forward beneath the frame. Lock the frame closed by stretching the locking strap over the rivet on each side. To open: Unlock the locking straps, put your foot on the inside of the rear wheels, to stop them from moving, lift the handle upwards, then press down on the basket frame locking hinges to lock the frame open. Then secure the handle to the frame by attaching the locking clamps on both sides. Folding it was pretty easy to master, but the fold is larger than what I was used to. Make sure your car can store the Tri Mode Twin. It was hard to get in and out of my Toyota Camry, but it fit in my neighbor’s minivan easily.

Pros: The Tri Mode has amazing suspension, goes over curbs and broken sidewalks effortlessly, will fit older children well and will take a infant car seat. Also will take the add-on Valco Toddler Seat and the Valco Hitchiker board to transport older children. Good sun protection and storage.

Cons: It’s heavy at 33 lbs and may not fit easily in smaller car trunks, or navigate well in narrow store aisles. It’s not an errand in-and-out of the car stroller.

Verdict: If you plan on jogging or walking long distances with your children, or would like to transport more than two kids, the Tri Mode delivers.

CBB Deal: Use code: CBBVAL5 for 5% off Valco Baby at Expires August 30, 2009.

— Nancy

Let’s Go Strolling’s Exclusive Boy/Girl Tri Mode Twin Stroller

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Showing 9 comments

hillary on

We are looking for a double all terrian for our 19 month old and newborn due in a month- this one just looks too big and too $$$. I like the bob duallie 12″ better, not as flashy looking, and weighs quite a bit less than the valco. The seats on the valco do look nice for a newborn and i like all the pockets, just too much stroller for us 🙂

Joanna on

I bought this stroller when I had my second daughter, we used it from birth. My older child is almost 4, my baby is 14 months now, and this stroller still works great. I would highly reccomend it. Also, my almost 3 year old loves the toddler seat, and my 5 year old loves the hitchhiker ride on, this stroller is great!

Hilary on

I don’t have any children, but I am a nanny to twin girls. Their parents purchased the Valco Baby Tri Mode Twin at the beginning of last summer. It was an okay stroller, but one of the wheels wobbled like a wheel on a grocery cart. They had to ship the stroller in numerous times and it was never able to be fixed. They wouldn’t just send them a new stroller, so they just ended up getting a BOB and are much happier. Regardless of the wheel issue, I really don’t think this stroller is worth the price they are selling them for.

Holly on

I spent more time researching double strollers than I did my house or my car! We went with the Valco for many reasons and have been extremely happy. Both of my kids (1 and 3 years) are >90th percentile for height and both have plenty of room to grow in this stroller. I have never had any trouble with my son changing the wheel mode. The biggest reason we bought the Valco over the Bob or Mountain Buggy Urban Double is because the Valco fit in my small Volvo trunk and neither the Bob nor the MB did – and I tested them all! –so I’m surprised the reviewer said she had trouble. As mentioned, the ride is smooth, storage is plentiful, and both my kids love riding in the stroller. I would highly recommend it.

Jackie on

I am wondering how practical the Hitchhiker is on the Valco. Would a 4 or 5 year old have enough room to stand without interfering with the handlebar?

Kim on

We actually just purchased this stroller yesterday! We picked it up and they put it together for us and off we went for the day. I have a two year old in the 100% for height and a 6 mth old that is also 100% for height, so we needed something that was going to work for both of them. Our single stroller is a bugaboo chameleon, so we were looking for something that maneuvered similar to that. The trimode is great! My husband is really tall, so he really enjoys the handlebar adjusting, and it easily fits through doors and turns 360 degrees with one hand. We had it out shopping outdoors and it was great! We researched for a long time (over 6mths!) for a stroller that was going to work for us. We originally had thought the bumbleride or the bob, but when we tried them out, we found that my son was too tall for them and was uncomfortable. His head would hit the visors and his legs were squished. The valco has tons of room for him and he can stretch his legs out without a problem. He even slept yesterday in the stroller…this is something he hasn’t done in about a year in the bugaboo! We know its quite expensive, but we feel that we will definitely get our use out of it! We love it!

CBB Nancy on

Hi Holly, this is Nancy, I reviewed the Valco. I have a 1995 Camry, with a very wide, yet shallow trunk. The Valco fit, but barely. The Mountain Buggy, which I tested last year, was really tight and a pain to get in my car. If someone has a wide and deep trunk, the Valco will fit much easier.

Jackie – can you get to a store that carries the hitchhiker (which I’ve heard great things about) and test your child on it/ with the Valco? The Valco’s handles will adjust up, you most likely you would be fine.

Cameron on

I am considering the Valco for my 16 week old twins and my 2 year old toddler but am not sure if it will fit in the back of our Honda Odyssey. Does anyone know.


Melissa on

I too am having a wobbling wheel problem with my valco. It is like a bad grocery cart. Valco sent me a new wheel but it didn’t help and now I have yet to hear anything back from them. At this point I would not recommend buying this stroller to anyone. It was very expensive, we’ve had it about 1 year, and it’s already junk if I can’t feel safe using it with my baby and toddler. For the price the customer service should be outstanding. Yet 3 weeks from our last communication and I have not heard anything.