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An under desk bike is a mini bike, like a regular bike but without the tires and handle bar. It is portable and fits under a work desk. The user can burn some calories using it while working at his/her desk. It is especially great for buyers whose work require sitting for long periods. They can workout at the office without stopping or interfering with their desk responsibilities.
In this article, the top 10 of the best under desk bikes and elliptical will be reviewed extensively. It is a comprehensive buyer’s guide and is divided into two sections. This first section comprises of the side by side comparison of the top 10 under desk bikes and elliptical and their respective reviews. The section has the buyer’s guide which features what to consider when purchasing an under desk bike or elliptical, limitations, etc.
If you spend more of your active hours on the desk and barely have time to work out, this is the solution for your fitness. Also, if you are finding it difficult to keep up with an after work hours exercise schedule, the under desk bike is the way forward. The use of it, to be precise. An under desk bike can actually help you with weight loss and keep your mind active all day which can enhance your work. It is a useful work companion.
Table of Content
- 1 Our Best Choices
- 1.1 DeskCycle- Best Under Desk Bike
- 1.2 Best Under Desk Elliptical – Cubii
- 1.3 Cross Functional Elliptical Trainer – Stamina InMotion E-1000
- 1.4 FitDesk
- 1.5 Stamina InStride 15-0125 Folding Cycle
- 1.6 Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike (Model SF-B0418)
- 1.7 MagneTrainer ER (Extended Range)
- 1.8 Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser Model 10270KDRSV-1
- 1.9 Platinum Fitness FitSit Deluxe
- 1.10 Vive Pedal Exerciser
- 2 The Buyer’s Guide
- 2.1 Under Desk Bike: Definition
- 2.2 Buying an Under Desk bike or Elliptical: Factors to Consider
- 2.3 Difference Between Under Desk Bike & Under Desk Elliptical
- 2.4 How many Calories Can a user Burn With an Under Desk Bike or Elliptical?
- 2.5 Limitations of an Under Desk Bike
- 2.6 Promoting a Healthy Workplace
Our Best Choices
DeskCycle- Best Under Desk Bike
The DeskCycle is an under desk bike built strong- which makes firm and not slide around during use- with a magnetic resistance mechanism which makes it noiseless during operation. It has 8 adjustable resistance levels that can be set to fit the user’s preferences per time. You may choose to start from the highest to the lowest or vice versa. The highest level is the most strenuous to overcome while the lowest level is the least strenuous level to overcome.
One of the main features of the DeskCycle is the magnetic mechanism which facilitates its noiselessness. This makes it fit for use in an open office setting so the user can actually workout with disturbing others.
The DeskCycle has an LCD display right on top of it which shows the amount of calories burnt, exercise time (100minutes) speed and distance pedaled. When the DeskCycle is not in use, the LCD display becomes more or less a foot rest. This can easily damage or knock off the display.
- Magnetic resistance. The magnetic resistance gives the under desk bike a smooth and quiet operation. No worries about wear since there are no belts to wear out.
- Quiet. Makes it suitable for an open office setting as well. The pedals can be tightened as required, if they become loose given the user 100% assurance of noiselessness.
- Stable. It comes with a Velcro strap which you can loop around your chair and connect to the under desk bike although it is heavy enough to prevent sliding when in use. The primary function of the Velcro strap is to keep a wheeled chair from rolling around (many offices use chair with wheels) when the bike is in use.
- Simple assembly. It comes with a complete assembly tools and even its own wrench.
- Bidirectional. The DeskCycle features back pedaling. There is a blue poxy included in the package. Ensure it is applied when the back pedaling function is to be used.
- LCD display. Relatively put, the LCD appears cheaply made but it gets the job done. It looks cheap for the price of the under desk bike.
- No connectivity. The DeskCycle is not designed to allow devices to be connected to it remotely or directly. This is quite disadvantageous in this era of remote devices.
- Small Surface Area Pedals. This is a limitation, given the basic purpose of an under desk bike- exercise. The small surface area can limit the foot angles and number of muscles exercised per time. The surface area is like the size of a regular bike pedal unlike under desk elliptical, which has a larger surface foot pad.
The rotational radius (the crest or highest point to which the pedals rise) of the pedals is 10”. A stack of books or a box 10” tall can be used to determine if the DeskCycle will fit under your desk or not. Simple put the box or books under your desk. Place your foot on it, elevating your knees and check if they do not touch the underside of your table. If it doesn’t touch, then the DeskCycle is a pefect fit for you!
Best Under Desk Elliptical – Cubii
The Cubii was born from a denial of a request made by Armav Dalmia for a standing desk while as an intern in college. He decided to look for an alternative to stay active while working and came up with the idea of an elliptical.
The Cubii Under Desk Elliptical is ergonomic, silent in operation, modern and connected. Its pedals have wide surface areas, which is the main difference between an elliptical and a bike. The pedals of an elliptical is longer and their foot pads wider than that of an under desk bike. With the elliptical you can exercise your feet at different angles, working out more muscles in the process.
The Cubii is quiet and smooth, almost effortless during a workout. It is suitable for open offices where you can work out with irritating or disturbing your colleagues. It has an adjustable dial for regulating the resistance level. The Cubii has two attractive color combinations: grey and black, red and black. When pedaling at high resistance levels, the user can burn up to 150 calories per hour depending on a number of factors like weight of the user, revolutions per minute (RPM) of the pedaling action, etc.
This video, courtesy of Cubii, from CNBC by Diana Olick will show you a demonstration of the Cubii and provide more information on the product:
- Low knee clearance. Just 4 inches of space between your knees and the underside of your desk is all you need to keep your knees from hitting the underside of your desk when pedaling.
- Quiet. It is noiseless. This makes it possible for use in open office spaces and even while on conference calls!
- Wide and grip-friendly Pedals. This allows you to move your feet up and down the pedals to get different angles in order to exercise more muscles. The rubber grip keeps your feet from slipping on or off the pedals.
- Bluetooth connectivity. The Cubii has a Bluetooth feature that enables you to connect to your devices like your smart phones or fitness devices. An app is available for iOS and Android devices.
- Wheel stoppers. They keep your chair from rolling around during exercise with the Elliptical. They are included in the Cubii package and should be placed on the front wheels of the chair before commencement of exercise.
- Bidirectional. Pedal action can be backwards and forwards.
- Price. The retail price is more than most under desk elliptical in the market.. However, it is an investment on your health and its features are arguably worth the extra cost.
Setting up your Cubii is easy. All tools and accessories required for assembly is included. Here is a list of what you will find in the box upon arrival.
- The Cubii
- 2 pedals
- 4 screws
- 1 screwdriver
- 2 wheel stoppers for rolling chairs
- 1 micro-usb cable
- 1 power adapter
- Instruction Manual
Check this setup video for guidance courtesy of Cubii (by Fitness Cubed Inc.).
Cross Functional Elliptical Trainer – Stamina InMotion E-1000
The Stamina InMotion E-1000 Elliptical Trainer is cross functional in the sense that it can be used while in a sitting or standing position and can also be used as an under desk elliptical trainer. It is small in size, making it perfect for home and office use.
It employs a stair-climbing type of motion so there’s no significant stride. If you use a standing desk, you would find the Stamina InMotion E-1000 very useful. It may require a little getting use to (exercising with a standing desk) but once you get the hang it, you’ll be “sitting pretty” fitness wise. It is small enough to store in the closet and not constitute a space menace when not in use. It is also portable enough to carry about.
With its small size, it is a great alternative for a large elliptical trainer. Many people who buy full size trainers end up not using them and they become an eyesore and storage nightmare. This one is small enough to fit in the closet when not in use. It is also portable enough to carry with you wherever you go.
It has an electronic meter display which shows time (up to 100 minutes), distance (up to 1,000 miles), count (up to 9,999 stride), and calories burned (up to 1,000 Kcal) functions. This is displayed at intervals of six seconds.
- Standing Position Option. It can be used while standing as well as under the desk. This is the only Elliptical reviewed in this article that has this option and can be used as a full scale exercise machine like its contemporaries in the gym.
- Price. It is relatively and mostly affordable.
- Bidirectional. Forward and reverse motion available giving you more muscle exercising options.
- Weight limit. It can only be used as an under desk Elliptical for weightier users because the weight limit is 250 pounds. Only lighter users can engage it while standing.
- Slightly noisy. It is slightly noisy for an open office space. It is most likely to distract others in a very quiet office. Best suited for a private office.
- Stride length. It has a shorter stride length than most elliptical bikes, which can be limiting in the effects of the exercise.
It is quite easy to assemble. The main attachment to be done is connecting the pedals to the base and attaching the front plate and rear bar. All tools for assembly is included in the kit. It might take between 10 and 15 minutes to assemble completely.
The distance from the floor to the crest of the pedal swing is only 8”. Therefore, if you have a desk with a clearance of at least 25” between the floor and under desk, the FitDesk is a good fit for you. It is quite heavy, weighing 31 pounds, you can be certain it won’t be sliding around while in use. The heavier an under desk elliptical is, the firmer it will be during operations or exercise.
The magnetic resistance feature makes it virtually noiseless. The parts in the magnetic component are not connected so there is no touching of parts which can cause noise. This feature also eliminates jerking and makes the FitDesk run smoothly. This under desk elliptical can be used in quiet offices incognito- you will hardly know it’s there.
The electronic screen is detachable (it can be brought to the top of the desk) and displays multiple functions which include calories burnt, odometer, speed, distance covered and exercise time. The scanner displays current reading of all functions at intervals of 4seconds. The FitDesk has a foot shifter which is used to change the resistance or tension settings. Consequently, the tension setting is changed with the foot and not the hand. This is so convenient as you don’t have to bend down or reach under your desk to change the tension setting. There are eight (8) resistance or tension levels and just a shift with your foot changes the resistance. Wow! Cool.
The FitDesk may be heavy but moving it around is made very easy with the built-in wheels, so moving it from home to the office and back is convenient. It also features a base with hooks that lock the office chair in place to prevent the chair from sliding around when exercising. Additionally, the FitDesk comes with a foot massager, a small rolling bar in front of the machine, with some bumps to aid a foot massage. This is definitely a good deal!
- Low rotational crest advantageous for low clearance desks
- Noiseless due to magnetic resistance
- Change of resistance levels done with the foot. No bending, no reaching under with the hands
- The FitDesk is Lengthy. It may protrude from under the desk
- Detachable LCD screen may have a short extension wire which undermines that feature.
- Lubrication may be required early, maybe after a few months of use
Stamina InStride 15-0125 Folding Cycle
The Stamina 15-0125 InStride Folding Cycle is a compact portable exercise bike which can be used both under and on top the desk. The resistance mechanism has a “T” handle for increasing and decreasing the resistance level of the Cycle. The handle is turned clockwise for an increase and anti-clockwise for a decrease. The Stamina 15-0125 InStride Folding Cycle measures only 15.5”, just over a foot long! It is also very light in weight which allows it to be used on top of the desk as well. It can be used to exercise both lower and upper parts of the body because of its compact design and lightweight. It can be placed on top of the table to work out the arms (the pedaling is done with the hands in this case) while it is placed under the desk to work out the legs (the feet are used for pedaling here). It is noiseless enough to use in an open office (so don’t be bothered about disturbing others) and has rubber feet meant to prevent it from slipping around while exercising. The rubber feet doesn’t help much though, especially with hard floors due to its lightweight design but this can be checkmated by using it on a rubber mat or carpet or simply pushing it against the wall for firmness.
It has a monitor which displays the time spent working out so the user can track his/her progress. It delivered assembled, so it works right out from the packaging. It is price friendly and less expensive than the DeskCycle. However, price changes occur regularly so it is advised that you check the Amazon website for current prices of these products.
- Compact, lightweight & portable – good for use at home, work, and vacation
- Resistance levels can be adjusted to suit user’s capacity per time
- Can pedal forwards and backwards
- Upper and lower body can be exercised
- Not firm on hard floors like tile and hardwood floors. Slips around.
- Relatively low quality, as compared to other products with higher price tags.
- Can “jerk” when pedaling at higher resistance levels
The video below gives a clearer picture of the Stamina Instride 15-025 in action.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike (Model SF-B0418)
This mini exercise bike is multi-functional in that it can be used to work up the legs and arms as well. It can be used under the desk for the legs and above or on top the desk for the arms. It is magnetically driven ensuring smoothness and quietness in operation. This makes eligible for use in an open office with colleagues in close proximity.
The Sunny exercise bike has eight levels of resistance with a knob for turning up or down the resistance levels. It weighs 24 pounds and so heavy enough to prevent slipping on hard floors during exercise. It has a rubber base to this effect but it is better to push it against the back of your desk or wall for extra firmness.
It comes with a battery powered LCD monitor which displays time spent pedaling, speed, distance covered, calories burnt and odometer. The pedals can go backward and forward with a rotational crest of 14”. It is a good idea to do a test with an object that is 14” high to check if the Sunny mini exercise bike can be used under that particular desk. Place the object under the desk and put your feet on top of the object and check if your knee touches the underside of your desk. If it does, you might want to check other products with shorter pedal lengths or rotational crests for purchase. There is a chart further below in this article where comparison between exercise bikes is displayed. You can check for the product suitable for your under desk clearance.
- Exercises upper and lower body- arms and legs
- Open office friendly due to noiselessness
- Heavy and durable
- 14” pedals can make knees hit the underside of desk while exercising.
- Little documentation for support and the LCD display is difficult to operate.
MagneTrainer ER (Extended Range)
The MagneTrainer ER (Extended Range) is made by the manufacturers of the DeskCycle (top among the best reviewed in this artcle) and measures 16” long without the extension and 20” long with the extension. As with the DeskCycle, the MagneTrainer ER is noiseless and suitable for use in a closed and open office.
The MagneTrainer has an edge over most under desk bikes reviewed- features up to 3 times the resistance of other under desk bikes. It has a knob for regulating the resistance level and can be turned up to as high as 170watts whereas the DeskCycle boasts of a maximum resistance of 130watts. Both measurements are based on 60RPM (revolutions per minute).
It weighs 22pounds with a 15” wide base which gives it good stability when exercising. However, if it is being used on a hard floor, the Velcro strap (included in the product’s package) should be wrapped around the base of the machine and the chair. It pedals backward and forward and can also be used on top the desk to exercise the arms. .
The MagneTrainer has rotational crest (the highest point of pedal rotation) of 15” which means that you would require a desk with an under desk clearance of 34” – 36” in order to use it conveniently. As with other under desk bikes, you can test the eligibility of your desk by using a 15” high object like a box or stack of books. Put your feet on top and see if your knee touches the underside of your desk. If it does, you may want to visit the comparison chart further below to find a more suitable under desk bike. The LCD display shows the speed, exercise time, calories burnt and distance covered.
For sustained stability of the under desk bike when exercising, try to push downwards and not forwards. It may take some time to be able to master this, but you will get the hang of it after a few attempts. Another alternative is to push it (the under desk bike) against the wall or the back of your desk.
- Features a resistance range of 2-3 times other mini exercise bikes.
- 15” wide base gives extra stability
- Noiseless; convenient for office use
- Extends up to 20” long
- Requires a tall desk for use in the office
- Has the tendency to slide around when used on hard floors
You can check out this video showing the opening of the MagneTrainer
Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser Model 10270KDRSV-1
The Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser is a basic under desk bike primarily for medical purposes like surgery recovery and physical therapy. It weighs 6 pounds making it very prone to slipping when in use especially on hard floors. It is bi-directional, pedaling forwards and backwards. The tension can be adjusted using a knob on top of the machine.
The tension is not as spectacular as other under desk bikes like the Cubii or the DeskCycle but it is fair enough. It is made with a “silver vein” colored metal. “Silver vein” color is made up of a blend of silver and black color. The feet or legs of the Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser are made of rubber to prevent slipping. But the lightweight design of the machine will undermine this feature unless it is used on a carpet like surface. It rocks and even jerks as the rate of pedaling increases and produces a significant amount of heat as a result of friction, during operation. Be sure to wear protective clothing for your legs while using it.
It can also be used to work the arms especially for therapeutic purposes. Unlike other under desk bikes, it isn’t a great option for burning calories or weight loss. It is primarily for medical recovery purposes hence the lightweight design and few resistance options. It is a simple bike.
- One of the most affordable under desk bikes available. Retails at a very low price.
- Backwards and forward pedaling
- Suitable for users who are recovering from a medical condition.
- Too basic. Hardly any extras
- Cannot be folded for storage
- Wobbles if the pedaling is fast
- Generates heat during exercise
Platinum Fitness FitSit Deluxe
The FitSit Deluxe is a simple and basic mini exercise bike. It comes in a variety of colors which include blue, green, pink, yellow, and orange. It can be used in the office since it is noiseless and has a rotational crest (highest point in pedal rotation axis) of 12.25”. As with other under desk bikes, it is advisable to test the compatibility of the machine with the clearance of the intended desk by using an object with a height of 12.25”. Place the object under your desk and put your foot on it. If your knee is not touching the underside of your desk then you are good to go with the FitSit Deluxe.
The tension options aren’t much, but are still adjustable with a knob on top of the machine. It comes with a Velcro anchor strap which can be used to attach the under desk bike to the chair. This will keep the under desk bike from sliding around during exercise or pedaling especially on hard floors. The FitSit deluxe weighs 7 pounds (this is considered lightweight) hence the need for a strap to keep it firm during an exercise session.
The pedals are 4” wide and have adjustable straps also which make them fit a number of foot sizes. However, the pedals may be small for extra large footed people with shoe size 13 and above; can be managed but may not be convenient.
It doesn’t get heated up due to friction as much as the Drive Medical pedal exerciser. It gets a little warm though during use but not hot. A technological feature ensures this. It is bi-directional (rotates forward and backwards), making it suitable for exercising the arms and can be folded for portability and easy storage. It measures 15.25”x 10.5”x 6.5” when folded. The LCD monitor is battery powered and displays RPM (revolutions per minute), calories burned, and exercise time and number of revolutions.
- Adequate technological measure taking to prevent overheating
- Variety of colors to choose from
- Easy transportation and storage
- Slides around when pedaling on hard floors except with the use of strap.
- Users with extra large feet may find pedals too small
To see a practical demonstration of the FitSit deluxe, play the video below.
Vive Pedal Exerciser
The Vive Pedal Exerciser is bi-directional mini bike with a wallet friendly price as compared to other under desk bikes. It is firmly built and mechanically driven unlike most desk bikes which are magnetically driven. It can be used on top the desk to exercise the arms; it is quiet in operation even with the mechanically driven pedals.
The knob, with which the resistance level is regulated, is fixed on top of the machine. The resistance can be tuned to fit the work out capacity of the user per time. It has rubber feet and weighs 13 pounds. Both features make the Vedal Pedal Exerciser relatively steady when pedaling especially on hard floors. It may not be as steady as the DeskCycle but it’s fair enough.
It is smooth in operation (pedaling) as its magnetically driven counterparts and noiseless as well. This makes it good for office use. It has a rotational clearance or crest of 10.5”, which implies that your under desk clearance must be high enough to accommodate the machine when your foot is on the pedal at its crest. Your knees must be clear of the desk’s underside. You can measure this using a stack of books or any other object of same height with the rotational crest and in this case, 10.5”. Put the stack of books it under your desk and place your feet on it; if your knee touches the underside of your desk, then it will certainly do so when using the bike.
The LCD screen or monitor is powered by batteries and displays RPM, odometer (up to 9999 miles), exercise time, distance covered and number of calories burnt.
- It is noiseless enough to use in the office
- Built strong, heavy and durable
- Compatible with hardwood and tiled floors
- Mechanically driven thus may require maintenance relatively often
- The LCD display is difficult to read under a desk because it doesn’t light up
The Buyer’s Guide
Under Desk Bike: Definition
An under desk bike is a mini exercise bike designed to fit under a desk with shorter strides or rotational axis than that of regular exercise bikes. It is a manifestation of the new “deskercise” trend, which means to exercise while sitting at your desk.
It is also official as well known institution have incorporated exercise during work through under desk bikes.
Buying an Under Desk bike or Elliptical: Factors to Consider
Here are factors to consider when buying an under desk bike or elliptical. They are summarized below:
- Quietness. Ensure that it is as noiseless as possible since it will be used in the office. Quietness is sacrosanct in most offices so mutual respect for each other’s convenience and organizational policies in such matters, should be given.
- Pedal height. You have to consider this to determine if you can use an under desk bike or elliptical at all. Get a measurement of the clearance between your knees and the underside of your desk that is comfortable for you and use it in picking a bike that will fit under your desk. Check for the pedal height that corresponds to the measurement you have.
- Adjustable tension. The tension or resistance settings determine how hard you need to work the pedals. So if you are really looking to burn off some calories, you should look up an under desk bike with the highest resistance level options.
- Connectivity. Some under desk bikes feature this option. Connection is usually through Bluetooth to a mobile device like a smart phone (an app is available to facilitate this) and other accessories.
- Pedal dimensions. This factor should be considered especially when you are looking forward to exercising as many muscles as possible. With an elliptical, you can place only your toes, back heels and flat foot to get different angles. This is because the pedal is wide enough but an under desk bike has pedals with the dimension of a regular bike.
- Weight. The weightier the machine the firmer it will be during exercise. Weightier machines are usually more expensive than lighter ones. So if you have zero tolerance for slipping while working out, consider a heavy machine.
- Price. This is strictly the buyer’s prerogative in this sense; expensive machines last longer and are smoother in operation as compared to less expensive machines.
Difference Between Under Desk Bike & Under Desk Elliptical
The only difference between an under desk bike and an elliptical is the pedals and stride. The stride or motion of an elliptical is similar to that of climbing a stair or jogging while that of a bike is the same motion as pedaling a bicycle. The pedals of an elliptical are larger and wider than that of a bike- the difference is significant.
How many Calories Can a user Burn With an Under Desk Bike or Elliptical?
About 1000 calories per workday is the ideal and expected, depending on resistance level, weight and age of user, etc. Using the DeskCycle online calculator, you can get a good idea of the amount of calories expected to be burnt. All that needs to be done is to input your parameters like height, weight, gender, etc. An example is shown in the table below. The values are calculated based on the criteria below.
- Age = 35 years old
- Workout time = 1 hour
- Resistance level = 8
- Distance = 7 miles
|Height||Weight (male)||Male (Calories Burned/Hour)||Weight (Female)||Female (Calories Burned/Hour)|
Limitations of an Under Desk Bike
The under desk bike can’t replace the regular exercise bikes function-wise. This makes its effect on the fitness of the user limited. This is not to say calories are not burnt or muscles not exercised while using them, they are actually, as the LCD display shows. However, the display can be inaccurate sometimes. Also, under desk bikes tend to slide around during a fast pedaling session with the exception of the DeskCycle and Cubii. But lighter weight machines will slide around on hard floors.
The primary function of an under desk bike is to keep the user active during work hours especially for jobs that require lengthy sitting periods. The use of under desk bikes can facilitate a healthy blood flow in the body, reducing cramps and fatigue in the process.
Promoting a Healthy Workplace
Organizations or employers usually provide health packages for their employees to keep them fit and productive. These health packages or benefits are mostly in effect outside the office or off work hours. This practice does not sustain or improve man hours as much as on the job exercise can. Many employees don’t work out after office hours and if they do, it may not be enough. The pressures of the job may influence them to develop a need-to-relax attitude towards after work hours. Many can hardly subscribe to a work out after working at the desk for hours as a way to keep fit and promote health. It is much easier to incorporate a work out activity during work hours than after. There is a work consciousness carried by employees when they are in the office and this consciousness can enable them workout during work hours.
The under desk bike or elliptical, provides a suitable platform to achieve this all important aspect of building and sustaining fitness. The compact build of under desk bikes and its noiselessness in operation makes it work friendly in the sense that it doesn’t distract the user and colleagues. With constant use, it can enhance focus which in turn reflects in productivity. It is imperative to practice exercise during work hours as this can forestall health breakdowns and recover lost man hours. An under desk bike can achieve this.
Keeping fit is primarily a preventive health measure. Employers can install under desk bikes in their offices and even incorporate “deskexercise” into their work policies. Apart from the fact that it is organizational policy, hardly anyone refuses an opportunity to stay healthy while working and enhance his/her productivity in the process. It is worth looking into. Get desk bikes, get employees using them and get more man hours!
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