Countering the trend toward 4-wheeled carts, Bag Boy shows a new twist on the old three-wheeler, introducing its TriSwivel push cart with a pivoting front wheel. Bag Boy claims that the new front wheel “makes the cart feel like it has power steering,” and for once, we actually agree with the marketing literature. You don’t realize how often you need to pop up the front wheel of a traditional push cart as you traipse through a round until you don’t have to do it anymore. The TriSwivel is an absolute dream to push around the course, particularly on cart paths and fairways.
The TriSwivel is also easy to unfold, has some smart ergonomic design elements, and provides reasonable storage space. It’s a bit blocky when it’s folded up (about the size of a Clicgear 3.5+), can get a little squirrely when you push it off of a curb (you can mitigate this if you remember to lock the front wheel, as we describe below, but let’s face it, we’re lazy and can’t be bothered to flick that simple switch), and costs a whole lotta simoleons (now there’s a word that’s gone out of fashion – like moolah, loot and dough). But oh how sweet it is to cruise through the round without popping the front wheel up. The pivoting front wheel on the TriSwivel is like having four wheels on your suitcase – you don’t know you need it until you try it…and then you find you can’t live without it.
- Pivoting front wheel significantly reduces the effort required to push the cart around
- Adjustable Velcro straps available to firmly secure the bag at the top and the bottom
- Smooth rolling wheels
- Cha-ching! One of the most expensive carts we’ve tested
- Somewhat bulky when folded up
- Terrible instruction manual
Retail price: $269.95
Availability: No longer available, replaced by the Bag Boy Triswivel II, which is essentially the same as the original version
Amazon.com: Check price now
At 19 pounds (as tested), the Bag Boy TriSwivel is one of the heftier push carts tested (compare this to the lightest cart, the Tour Trek Tahoe, at 10.5 lbs., and the heaviest cart, the Sun Mountain Speed Cart V2, at 20 lbs.). The TriSwivel isn’t overly long or wide when it’s folded – it’s more akin to the ClicGear 3.5+ in being a bit of a block. Those with small trunks are going to have to get creative in fitting both the TriSwivel and a set of clubs, and anyone without an SUV or minivan (no, please don’t admit it if you actually have a minivan – we’d rather keep our illusions about our reader base) isn’t going to have much luck fitting TWO sets of clubs and two TriSwivels without taking up some of the back seat.
EASE OF SET-UP
The first thing to note about setting up the Bag Boy TriSwivel is that some assembly is required. The second thing is that whomever wrote the instruction manual is, shall we say, a big picture guy. By that we mean that there are some important things that the manual fails to mention. For example, the manual tells you that you need to insert each of the rear wheels into a little hole until they click and lock into place. What the manual fails to tell you is that when shipped, the axle of each rear wheel has a little rubber cover on it that you need to take OFF before you pop it into the hole. We kept staring at the wheel axle, and although we’re not engineering majors, even WE could see that it was far too large to fit into the receptacle (in the immortal words of Michael Scott from The Office – “that’s what she said”). Finally it occurred to us to try and yank the rubber part off (they’re on pretty tight, so we were definitely worried that they weren’t supposed to come off, and whether we were actually just breaking it), and doing so exposed the actual axle, now small enough to fit.
In addition, the instructions for installing the lower bag strap only mention installing the end of one strap – as it turns out, the overall strap is composed of two parts, and so you need to install one strap on each side. The orientation of the straps upon installation isn’t clarified in the instructions either. We found the best way to learn how to install the lower straps was to copy the way the upper straps (which come pre-installed) are situated.
The whole process took about 30 minutes to complete – which is disappointing, since if the instructions had just been well written, it would’ve taken no more than 5 minutes.
In any event, once we got the thing put together, the unfolding process for the TriSwivel was a piece of cake. All that is required are five easy steps – pull on the upper bracket to extend the cart, pivot the front wheel down into place, unlock the handle, pivot the handle to the desired spot, and re-lock the handle. Velcro straps at the top and bottom provide extra security in holding the golf bag in place (although we found that you don’t need to use them at all).
ON COURSE IMPRESSIONS
- Where the Bag Boy TriSwivel really sets itself apart is how effortless it is to push it around the course. The pivoting front wheel makes minor course corrections as easy as walking in the direction you want to go – you don’t need to pop a wheelie (or several wheelies). When you first start using the TriSwivel, you may have a tendency to oversteer, but within a few holes, you’ll find that the cart maneuvers so easily that you can push it with one hand most of the time. There is a button near the handle that enables you to lock the front wheel so it is pointing straight ahead – this is handy if you are going straight up or down a hill. The wheels rolled easily, and the adjustability of the handle (see below) made the cart comfortable for users of all heights. The minor caveat is that when you are hopping down off of a curb, the cart gets a little squirrely. It never tipped over during our tests, but did make us nervous. This can be avoided if you just push the button to lock the front wheel.
- The brake lever is positioned to the left side of the push handle. We’re not sure if Bag Boy was listening to our previous reviews (more likely, it was their focus groups), but the TriSwivel brake is more intuitive in that you just pull it forward to engage the brake (in the Bag Boy Automatic and the Bag Boy Quad, pulling the lever forward releases the brakes, which didn’t make much sense to us). In addition, a nice design element is that there are red stripes on the lever so when it’s pulled forward, you immediately see the red and make the connection that the brake is engaged. Those of you who have used other carts and can never remember whether the brake is engaged when the lever is forward or back will appreciate the clever thinking by the good folks at Bag Boy.
- The TriSwivel features Bag Boy’s traditional brake mechanism – there are twelve gear notches around the wheel and the brake is a pin that inserts into the nearest notch to stop the wheel from rolling. Because there are so many notches, the brake is extremely easy to engage – you don’t need to nudge the cart forward or backward in order to get the brake to “click” in. While the Bag Boy Automatic and the Bag Boy Quad only have a brake on one of the rear wheels, activating the brake on the TriSwivel inserts pins into each of the rear wheels at the same time – presumably to stop the cart from turning downhill when parked on a side hill.
- The tires are made of solid foam, so there is no danger of winding up with a flat.
- The handle is great in that it pivots up or down to fit the height of the user, which made an appreciable difference in comfort. Bag Boy markets it as “unlimited” adjustability – in truth the handle seems to have a limited number of gear teeth into which it will lock, but there are at least 100 of those teeth, which should satisfy almost any user. We’ll just write off the “unlimited” description as poetic license.
The storage and accessories available on the Bag Boy Quad include:
- a reasonably sized valuables tray with a magnetic lid. The tray is was able to fit our “test case” of 2 golf balls, a GPS device (we even succeeded with the fairly “husky” Skycaddie SGXw!), an iPhone, a set of keys, and a wallet. There are little bungee ties in the tray, and it took us awhile to figure out that they’re there to hold down golf balls and keep them from rattling while you schlep around the course – nice touch!
- a large zippered storage pouch which is about the size of a shoe bag – and yes, we were able to fit a pair of golf shoes in the bag. The down side is that the storage pouch is attached to the rear frame of the TriSwivel, underneath the handle, so it isn’t readily accessible during play. In addition, there are no dividers within the pouch, so if you put in a hodgepodge of stuff, there’s no way to really organize it.
- a metal clip attached to the lid of the valuables tray that is designed to hold down a scorecard and secure a pencil. BagBoy describes this as their “deluxe” scorecard and pencil holder, and while it secured the scorecard just fine, it wasn’t very good at holding pencils, as they just kept sliding out. Which makes one wonder how bad the “standard” scorecard and pencil holder is…
- an umbrella mount that holds an umbrella upright to provide you with shelter when it’s raining. The design of the Bag Boy Quad requires the user to first unscrew a “nut” from the bottom of the holder, then pass the holder through the mount, then tighten the “nut” to secure the holder. We’re not huge fans of the way this was engineered, as other designs allow the user to just screw a holder directly into the cart. Not a big deal when it’s sunny, but the extra time might make a difference to you when a rain shower suddenly hits.
- a big boy-sized cup/bottle holder, which didn’t have any problems holding larger bottles
- six holes for storing extra tees
We still haven’t developed an appreciation for Bag Boy’s “Scion-esque” 3-spoke wheels, and the TriSwivel looks a bit more upright than other carts, so you’re probably not going to draw any appreciative looks for its styling. It’s available in four different colors – black, white, silver, and red.
The Bag Boy TriSwivel’s retail price of $269.95 places it as the most expensive golf push cart we tested. But on the plus side, the pivoting front wheel is a revelation, and the TriSwivel shows improvement over previous Bag Boy entries in storage and other features. It may cost a bit more than the others, but your back, shoulders and arms will appreciate the extra expense.