The Sun Mountain Speed Cart V1 is based on the original Speed Cart design from 1999, which revolutionized (if you believe Sun Mountain’s marketing materials) golf push carts as we know them.
Unfortunately, 1999 was a long time ago in push cart years, and there are newer and better designs than the Speed Cart V1. Sun Mountain has updated the cart to some degree, adding a mesh net storage area and solid foam tires to replace the old tube tires (no more flats!), but the cart’s styling is dated, and it’s still really big when it’s folded up. At a retail price of $199, it isn’t outrageously expensive. But there are better options at the same price point, so it’s tough for us to recommend the cart with any real conviction.
But the Speed Cart V1 shouldn’t feel bad – it’s probably holding up better than anything else from 1999…(see, e.g., Jessica Simpson’s career, the value of an investment in Pets.com, or the amount that I can bench press)
Retail price: $199
- Intuitive process to unfold
- Wide wheelbase makes for stable performance
- Mesh netting storage area holds lots of assorted stuff
- Massive, even when it’s folded
- Dated styling
The biggest problem with the Speed Cart V1 isn’t its weight, although at 17 pounds (as tested), it isn’t exactly skinny. The real issue is the length of the cart (over three feet) even when it’s folded up. If you have a standard-sized car trunk, it will be a real challenge to fit both the Speed Cart V1 and a set of clubs at the same time. Instead, it’s going to take up pretty much most of the back seat. The length also makes it a little awkward to handle when it’s folded up. Forget about hauling two of these and two sets of clubs unless you have a pick-up truck or an SUV with the back seat folded down…
EASE OF SET-UP
The Sun Mountain Speed Cart V1 unfolds in 7 intuitive steps – loosen a knob, unfold the cart, then tighten the knob, then loosen a second knob, unfold the front wheel, tighten the second knob, then unfold the brackets. Done! The cart’s brackets wrap around the golf bag, and holds it secure without any need to attach any straps or bungee cords.
ON COURSE IMPRESSIONS
- The Speed Cart V1 has a wide rear wheelbase, so it stays stable across different terrain. One problem we experienced was that there isn’t much clearance under the front wheel, so when we were hopping over curbs, we often found ourselves scraping some plastic located behind the front wheel. We tried adjusting the clearance by locking the front wheel in a different position, but that seriously undermined the stability of the cart.
- The brake easily engages and disengages through lightly flicking a lever.
- The tires on the 2010 version of the Speed Cart V1 are made of foam, so you never have to worry that they’ll go flat.
- The handle can be adjusted to a wide variety of heights, but because of the way that the Speed Cart V1 is designed, raising the handle has the corresponding effect of narrowing the wheelbase of the rear axle, which can make the cart less stable.
- One minor annoyance with respect to the handle – because of the positioning of the umbrella holder, it bulges out awkwardly right in the center, which makes it uncomfortable to push with one hand.
The storage and accessories available on the Sun Mountain Speed Cart V1 include:
- a padded valuables tray (with a see-through lid) that was one of the smallest we saw – it flunked our test of fitting 2 golf balls, a GPS device, an iPhone, a set of keys and a wallet
- additional storage in the form of a mesh tray – Sun Mountain labels this as a tray for holding head-covers, but we found it more useful for holding all of the stuff that didn’t fit in the valuables tray
- an elastic band attached to the lid of the valuables tray designed to hold down a scorecard, which is also handy for holding down a GPS device
- 2 holes for storing pencils
- 4 holes for storing tees
- 2 holes for storing extra balls
- an umbrella mount that holds an umbrella upright to provide you with shelter when it’s raining
- 2 straps to hold a folded umbrella when it’s not in use (similar to those found on most golf carry bags today)
- a cup/bottle holder
The Speed Cart V1 doesn’t deliver much of a “wow” factor – the wire spokes on the wheels look a bit dated, and the colors and lines of the cart don’t provide much panache. It is, however, available in a wide range of colors: yellow, white, silver, red, orange, blue and black.
At $199.95, the Sun Mountain Speed Cart V1 is priced reasonably among the high-end carts, but it suffers a bit in terms of innovation. We think that there are more interesting options at comparable price points, including the Sun Mountain Micro Cart at the same price.