If you are researching the best under desk bike or under desk elliptical to buy, you came to the right place! This buyer’s guide was designed for those who are doing their research before buying. It is packed with research and reviews of the top 10 best under desk bikes and ellipticals.
An under desk bike is the solution to staying active while working a sedentary office job.
An under desk bike is a portable mini bike that allows you burn calories while you work. As its name suggests, it is small enough to fit under your desk. You can exercise your legs and burn calories throughout the day.
In other words, it allows you to bring your workout to work. You can supplement your existing exercise routine while sitting in your office chair. Great concept, right?
This article is broken down into two sections.
The first section contains the reviews of the top 10 under desk bikes and under desk ellipticals. A side by side comparison is provided.
The second section contains a buyer’s guide which outlines considerations when buying an under desk bike, number or calories you can expect to burn, and their limitations, among other topics.
If you don’t get enough exercise and want to stay active, this may be just what you have been looking for. There are many benefits to exercising with an under desk bike including weight loss, keeping you mind actively engaged and focused (through physical activity), and better overall fitness.
If your job requires you to sit all day, consider an under desk exercise bike. Stay active and do your workout while you work!
Under Desk Bike and Under Desk Elliptical Comparison Table
The comparison table below outlines the key features of each of the top 10 under desk bikes and under desk ellipticals reviewed in this article.
|Price||Type||Resistance Levels||Pedal Height||Dimensions (L x W x H)||Weight|
|DeskCycle||Check Price on Amazon||Bike||8||10”||20” x |
|Cubii||Check Price on Amazon||Elliptical||8||10”||23.15” x |
|Stamina InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer||Check Price on Amazon||Elliptical||Indefinite||11”||24.5” x |
|FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical||Check Price on Amazon||Elliptical||8||8”||29” x |
|Stamina InStride Folding Cycle 15-0125||Check Price on Amazon||Bike||Indefinite||12.5”||18” x |
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418||Check Price on Amazon||Bike||8||14”||21.7” x |
|MagneTrainer MagER||Check Price on Amazon||Bike||Indefinite||~15”||16" x |
|Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser||Check Price on Amazon||Bike||Indefinite||12”||16.93" x |
|Platinum Fitness FitSit Deluxe||Check Price on Amazon||Bike||Indefinite||12.25”||15.25" x |
|Vive Pedal Exerciser||Check Price on Amazon||Bike||Indefinite||12.5”||16" x |
1. Best Under Desk Bike – DeskCycle
My favorite under desk bike is the DeskCycle. It is built with a very sturdy design that will not slide around while exercising. The DeskCycle features a magnetic resistance mechanism which makes it one of the quietest under desk bikes on the market.
The DeskCycle has 8 different resistance levels. You can adjust based on your level of endurance. Beginners or those looking for a light workout can set the resistance at a lower, less strenuous level. More athletic types and those looking to really break a sweat can set the resistance at a higher level. Many choose to work their way up to a higher resistance level throughout the day. You may prefer to start at a higher level and work your way down.
One of the key features of the DeskCycle is its magnetically driven resistance mechanism. Since the machine uses magnetic resistance, it is very quiet. In fact, you can’t really hear it at all. There are no parts touching each other to make noise. This makes it a great option for an open office environment where disturbing your neighbors would be a concern.
The LCD display shows your speed, exercise time (up to 100 minutes), calories burned, distance you have pedaled, and a scan function that will scan through each of these features.
The LCD display is my least favorite thing about this machine. It looks a little cheap based on the price of the bike. It also is mounted on the top of the machine. When you are not using the DeskCycle, it becomes a defacto foot rest. Knocking the display off with your foot is pretty easy to do.
2. Best Under Desk Elliptical – Cubii
The Cubii is my favorite under desk elliptical. It’s ergonomic, quiet, modern, and connected.
The Cubii is the brainchild of a couple of University of Chicago alumni who became accidental entrepreneurs. Arnav Dalmia, founder of the company that makes Cubii, requested a standing desk while working an internship during college. After being denied, he was determined to find a way to stay active while working. That’s when the idea of an under desk elliptical was born. A few years later they took the idea to Kickstarter where over 1,000 people pledged nearly $300k to get the project up and running.
The main difference between the Cubii and the DeskCycle is the Cubii is an under desk elliptical whereas the DeskCycle is an under desk bike. One of the main advantages of an under desk elliptical is the ability to exercise at different foot angles. This allows you to target specific muscles. Ellipticals have a long and wide pedal whereas under desk bikes have pedals like a bicycle.
Another major plus is it’s super quiet which ensures you will not disturb your neighbor. Especially if you work in an open office space. Trust me, your neighbor will appreciate that.
The Cubii was designed with ergonomics in mind. Its low profile and smooth operation will keep you comfortable pedaling throughout the day.
It has a very smooth motion. Even with the elliptical set at a higher resistance level, you can comfortably pedal without twisting your upper body. This will allow you to comfortably sit at your desk, type, and workout at the same time.
The Cubii has an adjustable dial near the base of the machine that allows you to set the desired amount of tension. There are 8 different resistance settings to choose from. If you turn it all the way up, expect to break a sweat.
With a higher resistance level, you can burn up to 150 calories an hour. This number varies based on your weight, RPM you are pedaling at, and a variety of other factors.
It comes in two color schemes – black and red / grey and black. Both are very sleek and modern looking. If you take it to the office, it will most definitely be the topic of conversation.
Below is a video of Diana Olick from CNBC demonstrating and discussing the Cubii. The video is courtesy of Cubii (by Fitness Cubed Inc.) on YouTube.
Below is a setup video courtesy of Cubii (by Fitness Cubed Inc.) on YouTube.
3. Cross Functional Elliptical Trainer – Stamina InMotion E-1000
My favorite cross functional elliptical trainer is the Stamina InMotion E-1000 Elliptical Trainer. By cross functional I mean it can be used while sitting down, standing up, and as an under desk elliptical trainer. Its small size makes it perfect for use at home or at the office.
Since it is an elliptical, there is no significant stride. It is more like a stair step type of motion.
It is designed to use both sitting down and standing up. This makes it a great compliment with a standing desk. Operating with a standing desk may take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it it’s pretty neat.
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.
The electronic meter display features 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. There is also a scan function that displays each of these every 6 seconds.
4. Under Desk Elliptical for Low Clearance Desks – FitDesk
If you have a desk with a low clearance, the best under desk elliptical is the FitDesk. The pedal height at its highest point is only 8”. This means if the underside of your desk is at least 25” tall, this machine will likely work for you.
Weighing in at 31 lbs., it is one of the heavier under desk ellipticals reviewed in this article. The weight is a very important consideration when purchasing an under desk elliptical. The heavier the unit, the less it will slide around while you are exercising.
It is a very quiet option for office use. It uses magnetic resistance. Since there are not parts connecting on the magnetic portion, it makes almost no noise at all. Another plus of it being magnetically driven is the smoothness of operation. You will find it is not as “jerky” as many of the other under desk ellipticals.
There are 8 different tension settings. The FitDesk elliptical has foot shifter which is another great feature. You do not have to change the tension settings with your hands; you do it with your foot without reaching under your desk.
The electronic display has six different functions. It can be detached from the elliptical and placed on your desk. The meter’s functions include exercise time, speed, distance, calories burned, odometer, and scan. The scan option displays each of these functions every 4 seconds.
Moving is a breeze. Since it is so heavy, it has built in wheels for transport. This makes moving from your home to office simple.
If you have a rolling chair, you can keep it from moving by placing the front wheel on the base of the machine. The base has a hook that will “lock” the wheel in place.
Finally, it comes complete with its own foot massager. The foot massager is a small rolling bar at the front of the machine with massaging “bumps”. Trust me, you’ll like it!
5. Stamina InStride 15-0125 Folding Cycle
The Stamina 15-0125 InStride Folding Cycle is a portable exercise bike that will easily fit under your desk.
It is a simple exercise bike.
Per the MSRP, it retails at a much lower price point than the DeskCycle under desk bike. Since pricing changes from day-to-day, you can follow this link to check the current price at amazon.com.
It is quiet enough to use at work. If you work in an open office or cubicle, you can rest assured this machine will not disturb your neighbor.
The tension mechanism has a “T” handle that you can twist. You adjust the tension by “screwing” it to increase tension or “unscrewing” it to decrease tension.
It is very compact compared to some of the other under desk bikes on the market. It is 15.5” long. Just over a foot long is pretty compact!
One neat feature is it allows both upper body and lower body workouts. You can work out your legs by pedaling it like a bicycle. It is also small and lightweight enough to put on top of a desk or countertop to work out your arms. You can pedal with your hands to work out your arms and shoulders.
It has a battery powered monitor that shows the amount of time you have been working out. Nothing special here; it’s just a timer. It displays up to 100 minutes. If you set a goal for a certain number of minutes to work out, you can easily track the amount of time you have been pedaling. In that regard, it serves its purpose well.
It has rubber on the feet, but still slips on hard floors. This is because it is so lightweight. You will need to use it on carpet or a rubber mat for best results. An alternative is to push it up against the wall when exercising.
A bright spot is that no assembly is required. It comes pre-assembled and works right out of the box!
The video below shows the Stamina Instride 15-025 in action.
Video courtesy of staminafitness on YouTube.
6. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike (Model SF-B0418)
Like several of the other under desk exercise bikes reviewed in this article, the Sunny Health & Fitness model SF-B0418 exercise bike is magnetically driven. This helps ensure the smoothness and quietness of the machine’s operation.
It is suitable for an office environment. This under desk bike is very quiet and is not likely to disturb your neighbor, even if you work in a close proximity to them.
The Sunny mini exercise bike has 8 different resistance levels. You can adjust the resistance by “screwing” the knob tighter for a higher resistance level, and loosening it for a lower resistance level. The resistance level range is very well defined. At the highest resistance level, it really takes some effort to get it started. Effort in a good way, that is.
At 24 lbs., it is heavy enough to prevent slipping easily. There is rubber on the bottom of the legs to prevent slipping on hard floors. However, it is still a good idea to brace it against the back of your desk or the wall for extra stability.
This bike is multi-functional. You can work your legs by pedaling with your feet. It is also designed to work your arms by pedaling with your hands.
It is bidirectional. This means you can pedal forwards or backwards.
The battery powered LCD monitor has 5 different settings – time, speed, distance, odometer, and calories burned.
If using it under your desk, be sure it is high enough that you don’t hit your knees. The pedals are 14” high. This means if you stack up a pile of books 14” high under your desk and put your toe on them, your knee must not hit the underside of your desk. If it does, you will want to consider an under desk bike with lower pedals. The comparison chart has the pedal height of each under desk bike reviewed in this article.
7. MagneTrainer ER (Extended Range)
The MagneTrainer ER is manufactured by the same company as the DeskCycle (my top pick).
The “ER” in MagneTrainer ER stands for “extended range”. The MagneTrainer measures 16” long when it is not extended. When it is extended it measures 20” long.
Just like the DeskCycle, it is very quiet and suitable for use at the office.
One of the primary advantages of the MagneTrainer is it has 2x – 3x the resistance range of most of the other under desk bikes reviewed. There is a knob on the machine that you turn to increase or decrease the resistance. The resistance can be cranked all the way up to produce 170 watts. For comparison purposes, the DeskCycle maxes out at 130 watts. Both measurements are based on 60 RPM.
The MagneTrainer is one of the more stable bikes as a result of its weight and wide base. It weighs in at 22 lbs. The base is 15” wide. These two features together offer great stability when pedaling.
If you are using it on a hard floor, you may want to use the Velcro strap that is included. The strap wraps around the base of the machine and your chair.
A couple of tips to keep it from sliding is to pedal straight down and brace the bike against something. When you pedal, you may naturally push outward. Be sure to push straight down. This may take some getting used to. You can also push it up against a wall or the back of your desk to act as a brace.
Like most of the exercise bikes reviewed, it is bidirectional. This means you can pedal frontwards or backwards.
You can also workout your arms with the MagneTrainer. Set it on top of your desk and work the pedals with your hands. Many people have found this helpful for physical therapy applications.
The drawback of the MagneTrainer is its height. If you are using it at the office, your desk must be pretty tall. Desks with 34” – 36” between the floor and the underside of the desk works best. The pedal height is about 15”. This means when your foot is 15” high, your knees must still clear the underside of your desk.
The DeskCycle, which is manufactured by the same company as the MagneTrainer, sits lower to the ground and is better for shorter desks.
The electronic display shows speed, distance, exercise time, and calories burned.
Below is an unboxing video courtesy of imfunkymonkey on YouTube.
The manufacturer of the MagneTrainer and DeskCycle does a good job at outlining the differences between the two here.
8. Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser Model 10270KDRSV-1
If you are looking for a basic under desk exercise bike, this one fits the bill. It is probably the most basic peddler you will find.
It is made by Drive Medical, a company known for health care equipment. Most people likely purchase this bike for physical therapy, surgery recovery, or other health related purposes. It can be used under the desk as well.
It is bidirectional. You can pedal forwards and backwards. This is a good option if you choose to work the machine with your hands. Working both ways provides your arms a good workout.
There is a knob on the top of the machine where you can adjust the tension. The tension is not nearly as great as the DeskCycle or Cubii, but it’s enough to tell a difference.
The unit is made out of metal. The color is “silver vein” per the manufacturer. “Silver vein” is a silver and black pattern similar to a sponge.
It has rubber feet to help prevent slipping. However, weighing in at under 6 lbs., expect it to slip unless you have it on a surface like carpet. Also, if you plan on pedaling fast, expect it to be “jerky” and “wobbly” by rocking from side to side.
A major downside of the machine is it can produce a significant amount of heat. This is caused by friction. When using it, be sure to wear long pants or a tall pair of socks.
Overall, if you are looking for a simple peddler, this is a good option. If you are more of an athletic type who is really looking to burn some calories, consider the DeskCycle or Cubii.
9. Platinum Fitness FitSit Deluxe
The FitSit Deluxe by Platinum Fitness is a pretty neat little under desk bike. It is a very simple and basic mini exercise bike. If something basic is all you are looking for then this one is a good option.
It comes in your choice of color – blue, green, pink, yellow, and orange.
It is quiet enough for the office and will fit under your desk. The highest point of the pedal is 12.25”. Based on this height, make sure there is enough room between your knee and the underside of your desk so your knees do not hit.
The tension can be adjusted by twisting the knob on the top of the machine. It does not have nearly as much tension as the DeskCycle, but about what you would expect for a bike that retails at this price.
A Velcro anchor strap is included with the bike. You can use the strap to attach the bike to your chair. This will prevent sliding when using the bike. Since it is so light weight (7 lbs.) expect it to slip and slide on a hard floor without it being strapped down.
The pedals have straps and they are adjustable. Depending on your foot size, you can adjust them for a custom fit. However, for men with large feet (13+ shoe size), the pedals may seem a bit small. The pedals are about 4” wide.
It features technology that is supposed to prevent it from heating up due to friction. It does not get as hot as the Drive Medical peddler, but it does get fairly warm.
It comes with a battery powered LCD monitor. The monitor displays time lapse, number of revolutions, calories burned, and RPM.
Like most mini bikes, it is bidirectional. You can pedal forwards or backwards. This is a good feature, especially when pedaling with your arms.
The unit folds up. This is nice when it comes to storing it, taking it back and forth between home and the office, or traveling. When the unit is folded it measures 15.25″ x 10.5″ x 6.5″.
Check out the video below to see the “FitSit” in action.
Video courtesy of Platinum Health LLC on YouTube.
10. Vive Pedal Exerciser
The Vive Pedal Exerciser is a solidly built mini exercise bike. The retail price per the manufacturer is much lower than some of the best bikes out there. This one certainly gives those bikes a run for their money.
This mini bike allows you to adjust the tension to a resistance level that works best for you. There is a tension knob on the front of the machine. You can turn it to apply more or less resistance for your workout.
It has rubber feet to help prevent slipping when using it on a hardwood or tile floor. The combination of rubber feet and its weight of 13 lbs. allows the machine to stay still when using it. Not as well as the DeskCycle, but most will find it sufficient.
The bike is driven mechanically. Several of this bike’s competitors are driven magnetically. It is still quiet enough to use in an office environment. It pedals as smoothly as its magnetic counterparts.
The highest point of the pedal measures 10.5” off the ground. If you plan on using it as an under desk bike, be sure to measure and make sure your knees will not hit your desk.
The Vive peddler has an AAA battery powered LCD monitor on the front of the machine. It displays the time (up to 100 minutes), odometer (up to 9999 miles), RPM (rotations per minute), distance (up to 100 miles), and number of calories burned.
On the back of the machine there is a handle. This makes it easy to carry from place to place, such as from your home to your office.
The bike is bidirectional meaning it will pedal both forwards and backwards.
Many people find that sitting it on a table and pedaling with their hands offers a great upper body workout as well.
Under Desk Bike Buyer’s Guide
I hope you found the under desk bike and under desk elliptical trainer reviews helpful and informative.
The remainder of the article will serve as a buyer’s guide for under desk bikes and ellipticals.
We have all heard about the dangers of sitting at a desk all day and the overall health effects of leading a sedentary lifestyle. According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, too much sitting may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The intent behind an under desk bike is not to replace gym time. It is simply meant to keep you active while working. It will keep the blood flowing and may even help with productivity and focus throughout the day. Even though it will not replace your normal workout routine at the gym, it is something, and we all know every little bit helps.
What is an Under Desk Bike?
Under desk bikes are part of the new trend known as “deskercise”. Deskercise means to exercise while sitting at your desk.
Under desk bikes are mini exercise bikes designed specifically for your work space. They are similar to a traditional exercise bike except more compact and have a shorter stride.
And yes, it’s a real thing. Organizations and colleges such as East Carolina University are incorporating exercise through work via under desk bikes. A participant in the program at ECU recorded burning 479 calories in one hour with an under desk bike.
With the sedentary lifestyle that many office workers have, it’s important to keep moving, especially while at work. According to WebMD, just 23 minutes of pedaling on an under desk bike can improve your health.
After a while, pedaling become second nature. You are sitting at your desk, getting work done, and working out at the same time. If you are like me, you will get so caught up in your work you won’t even realize you are exercising.
Considerations When Buying an Under Desk Bike or Elliptical
Before buying an under desk bike there are a few things you should consider. I have summarized each below.
- Under desk bike vs. elliptical. An under desk bike and an under desk elliptical are two separate classes of machines. See the section below for the difference between the two.
- Make sure it’s quiet. If working in an office environment, you will want to choose one that is quiet. In many offices, you can hear a pin drop. Be courteous to your coworkers and do not disturb.
- Pedal height. You do not want to bump your knees on the underside of your desk while pedaling. In the comparison table above, see the column “Pedal Height”. The value in this field is the highest point the pedal reaches. To see if the under desk bike will work with your desk, stack a pile of books that many inches high. Sit in your chair, put the tip of your toe on the books and see if your knee hits the underside of the desk. If your knee does not bump, you should be good to go.
- Adjustable resistance. Resistance, or tension, determines how hard it is to pedal. It is easier to pedal with a lower resistance. It is harder to pedal with a higher resistance. Set the resistance level to determine how strenuous your workout will be.
- Connectivity. Some under desk bikes connect to an app through your smartphone or other device, such as a Fitbit, via Bluetooth.
- Pedal dimensions. Under desk ellipticals have longer and wider pedals. This allows you to exercise in more positions. The larger pedals allow you to target and exercise different leg muscles. Pedaling with your toes, heel, and flat footed all work different muscles in your legs. Under desk bikes have pedals similar to a bicycle.
- Weight. The heavier the machine, the less it will slip and slide around while you are pedaling. Generally speaking, most of the more expensive and higher quality machines are heavier, while most of the cheaper ones are lighter.
- Price. You get what you pay for. The cheaper models don’t last as long and do not operate as smoothly as higher quality models such as the Cubii or DeskCycle.
Under Desk Bike vs. Under Desk Elliptical
An under desk bike and an under desk elliptical are very similar machines. They are about the same size and both are suitable for quiet office environments. They offer similar benefits from the standpoint of exercising while working.
The difference lies in the pedals and stride.
Under desk bikes have bicycle pedals. They are smaller and much more narrow than elliptical pedals. Men with larger feet may have trouble fitting them onto these mini bikes.
Under desk ellipticals have significantly larger pedals than a bike. Think of the pedals almost like a platform. This is a better option for those with larger feet. The larger pedals also allow you to target different muscles in your legs. By setting your foot in different positions, you can work different parts of your legs. Foot positioning includes flat footed, tip toe, and heel.
The stride of an under desk bike is a rounding motion like pedaling a bicycle.
The stride of an under desk elliptical is like jogging or climbing up stairs.
How many Calories Can You Burn With an Under Desk Bike or Elliptical?
On average, you can expect to burn around 1,000 calories per workday depending on how long you pedal, distance, resistance level, weight, age, and other factors.
DeskCycle has a calculator specifically for their product. Even if you do not plan to use a DeskCycle, this calculator will still give you a general idea of what to expect. Just plug in your gender, height, weight, age, etc. to view the estimate.
The table below shows the estimated calories burned per hour using DeskCycle’s online calculator. The values are calculated based on the criteria below.
- Age = 35 years old
- Workout time = 1 hour
- Resistance level = 8
- Distance = 7 miles
|Height||Male Weight||Male (Calories Burned/Hour)||Female Weight||Female (Calories Burned/Hour)|
Limitations of an Under Desk Bike
To set expectations, an under desk bike will not (and is not meant to) replace your normal exercise routine. Additionally, they are not the full size exercise bikes that you would normally use for cardio workouts at the gym.
Higher end machines, such as the DeskCycle and Cubii, are heavier and do a good job at staying in place. However, lighter machines weighing less than about 10 lbs. are going to slip and slide if you pedal fast at all. If you buy a 5-pound bike, expect it to wobble back and forth and side on tile and hardwood floors.
The “calories burned” that show on the digital display is only an estimate. There are many factors at play to calculate an accurate reading. Do not rely on the LCD monitor to be 100% correct.
At the end of the day, under desk bikes are meant to help keep you active throughout the day. They do a great job at that. The idea behind them is to be doing something while sitting at your desk. Anything is better than nothing, right?
Throughout this article I have referred to these machines as either an “under desk bike” or “under desk elliptical”. This does not mean the only place you can use them is under your desk! Many folks use them while watching TV or reading a book.
The idea behind the machine is to stay active when you are doing an activity where you would otherwise be inactive.
Under desk bikes and elliptical trainers are popular with the elderly population. Many do not have the strength or opportunity to exercise as much as they would like. A small exercise bike is a great way for seniors to get some exercise in their day. Check with your doctor first to make sure strenuous activity is OK for your situation.
Under desk bikes are also used for physical therapy and rehabilitation purposes. Many people who have gone through rehab treatments may have used a mini pedal exerciser at their clinic. If you did, there is a good chance you used one that was reviewed in this article!
Many under desk bike models are not just meant to work out your legs. Did you know you can work out your arms and upper body, too? Just set it on a table and pedal with your arms. It offers a great upper body workout. Below are the bikes reviewed in this article that you can use with your hands.
- Stamina InStride Folding Cycle 15-0125
- Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser
- Platinum Fitness FitSit Deluxe
- Vive Pedal Exerciser
Promoting a Healthy Workplace
Employers can play a role in the health of their employees, too. For employers who are searching for ways to promote a healthy workplace, offering employees an under desk bike is a good way to do it.
Many companies have corporate wellness programs to promote the health of their employees. There is a direct correlation between wellness programs and health care costs of an organization.
According to CNBC, the “healthy office segment” is a $10 billion per year industry and is expected to rapidly grow year over year. The healthy office segment has to do with office furniture designed to keep you active while working.
Tell HR you would like to have a few in your office. Send them this link. Who knows, it might just work. 🙂
Under desk bikes are an investment in your health. Your health, of course, is always a wise investment.
Under desk bikes and office furniture geared towards fitness is a relatively new concept. You may be the first in your office to have anything like it. No matter what, it will certainly be a conversation piece.
Take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. Consider an under desk bike to exercise while you work. Your body will thank you for it.
Do you think under desk bikes are a neat idea? Share with your friends and co-workers on Facebook and see what they think! I’m sure their response will be interesting!