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If you hear rhythmic bumping and heavy breathing from my office cubicle, don’t worry, I’m just getting in my workout. At least that’s how it used to be. When the first wave of under desk bikes hit the market, you could tell instantly when someone had one in their office. They were inefficient, loud, and just plain obnoxious.
Now, however, a bunch of recently released under desk peddlers have revolutionized the at-work-exercise industry. At least that’s what I had heard. So I decided that, since I wasn’t getting any skinnier, I might as well put them to the test!
My first priority was simply to lose weight and I was in luck. Pedal exercisers are great for obese people looking to drop a couple (or more) pounds. However, their amazing benefits don’t end there! Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect to get from the best under desk bike (or other under desk exercise machine):
- Decreased joint pain
- Increased blood flow to feet and legs (varicose veins, poor circulation, etc.)
- More toned leg muscles
- Increases focus and productivity
- Improved cardiovascular health
- and the one everyone is looking for….weight loss!
So if you’re in a hurry (like maybe you’re reading this at work…) then here are our top options for the best under desk bikes. Just take my word for it and get the DeskCycle2. It fits under any desk, is quiet, has a wide range of adjustment, app compatibility & tracking, an LCD readout, and is available on Amazon. Not to mention is has significantly helped my knee pain and allowed me to lose almost 10 pounds in the last month!
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Characteristics of the Best Under Desk Bike
The reason that I even felt the need to write this article is that the average under desk cycle has some serious issues. They make noise, they don’t fit under most desks (especially if you have long legs), they don’t have significant resistance, and they slide around when you try to pedal them! Knowing those things, I set out around the office to try as many machines as I could before spending several hours at my computer doing research. The conclusion I came to is that the best under desk bike will have the following characteristics:
- It will be low to the ground.
- It will provide quiet and consistent resistance.
- It won’t shift or slide around when in use.
- It will have a readout and a way to store my progress.
- It has to be easy and comfortable to use
Armed with my list, I set out to find the corresponding machines and give them a workout! After researching more than a dozen under desk bikes, these are the 3 that made the final cut:
The Best Under Desk Bike: The DeskCycle 2
DeskCycle is the name is under desk peddlers. I was sold on their slim design and boatload of features when I read about them but, since purchasing, I’ve been blown away by the quality and ease of use. Here are some of the awesome features that I tell my coworkers about:
Smooth and quiet pedaling. Most cheaper peddlers have uneven resistance which results in a “catch” at the top or bottom of the pedaling cycle. This disrupts the whole experience and can be pretty unpleasant. DeskCycle uses magnetic resistance that is whisper quiet, stays even though the pedal stroke, and provides twice the resistance range of most under desk cycles!
Full Removable Display. Not only does the display show all the information you need, but it can also be removed from the cycle and placed on your desk! Now you won’t have to stop pedaling and bend down to check your calories, distance, etc.
Lowest Height. If you are taller than 5’6″ you’ll end up banging your knees on the bottom of your desk with most bikes. This is the shortest bike out there and can fit under desks as low as 27″. However, if you are a big and tall guy (like myself) you might have to raise your desk a bit (I used bed risers) so you can pedal more easily.
Adjustable Pedal Height: Speaking of pedaling more easily, the front leg on the DeskCycle is adjustable, meaning you get an inch of adjustment in pedal height to suit your legs!
App Integration: Not only does DeskCycle have an awesome web app to track your cycling, but it also integrates with FitBit (a huge plus for me) to track your calories and exercise throughout the day!
The only con I can think of when it comes to this under desk bike is the price. It is the best there is and, correspondingly, was the most expensive bike I tested. However, I paid $169 on Amazon (December 2019) which, in my opinion, is an excellent price for what you get.
The DeskCycle is way cheaper than a regular exercise and will last for years to come. Compared to the price I have paid on various diets, caffeine to keep me on task, and joint supplements for my knees, this is a steal! It is, without a doubt, the best under desk bike for the money!
So whether you are going to be using the machine under a desk, while watching a movie, or just for some rainy day exercise, it is an option that is hard to beat. The only reason I would recommend looking at another cycle is if this one is out of your price range. However, it has been worth every penny to me!
Alternate Option for the Best Portable Pedal Exerciser
If the DeskCycle isn’t for you (or you just want to save a couple of bucks) then you might want to consider the ANCHEER Under Desk Cycle. While it is missing a couple of great features (adjustable height, detachable screen, etc.) it is a very usable machine that thousands of people have used to improve their workday. In general, it has very similar features to the DeskCycle including:
- Smooth magnetic resistance with 8 levels so you’re always challenged.
- Workout display which will give you all the information you need quickly.
- Hefty frame and anti-skid feet ensure that the cycle won’t slide around when in use.
- 9.5″ max pedal height allows it to be used under a desk of 27″ if you’re 5’10” or shorter.
- App integration adds interest and accountability to your workout.
So, if you’re looking for a great under desk bike but can’t afford the DeskCycle2, the Ancheer is a great peddler at a great price! If it has all the features you want, pick one up today!
Best Budget Portable Mini Pedal Bike Exerciser
I hesitated to include this option on my list but I figured that, if you want a basic under desk cycle, you still want the best basic version there is! While it is obviously bare-bones, this cycle is a great option to get started on. It might slide a little when you pedal, it doesn’t have the fancy Bluetooth connections and isn’t as low as either of the above options. With that being said, you can still get almost all the benefits.
At this level, most under desk cycles are fairly similar in the features that they offer. The trick, then, becomes finding the one that is made of the best materials, is the most durable/reliable, and comes from a company that provides excellent customer service. This pedaler from Himaly checks all those boxes.
So, if you’re not sure what the best under desk exerciser for you will be, this is a great machine to get a feel for a cycle. You may find you prefer an under-desk elliptical such as the Cubii but the only way to know if to test them! So get one and start pedaling!
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Pedal Exerciser
Whatever the best under desk exercise bike was for your situation, there are three guidelines that, if followed, will ensure that you have a pleasant and productive time with your new exerciser:
- Don’t sweat. If you are sweating, you are working too hard. The purpose of an under desk exerciser is to increase your blood flow and calorie burning over the course of a day. Manufacturers suggest pedaling for around 4 hours of your workday so keep it low and slow. If you go too fast you’ll burn out and won’t be able to focus on the task at hand. If you need something to push yourself on, consider a heavy-duty treadmill as a home companion to your under desk bike.
- Use the included attachments. Be sure to use the included rope or strap that is designed to hold your chair and the under-desk peddler together. If you don’t, you’ll end up slowly rolling your chair back away from your desk.
- Use it consistently. If you don’t feel like you get much out of your cycle for the first day or two, don’t despair. It took me a week for it to become an enjoyable daily habit that didn’t distract me from my work-flow. It is now natural for me to sit down, start pedaling, and get work done!
That’s all there is to it! Now, would you believe I’ve burned an extra 600 calories while writing this article (I’m pedaling as I type)? Who would have thought that going to work would actually add some years to the end of my life?
So in conclusion, the DeskCycle 2 turned out to be the best not only the best under desk bike but the best under desk exerciser I’ve ever tried! Get one and give it a whirl. Happy exercising!