When we say fitness is your life, we’re not saying that as hyperbole. You have to find time to keep yourself in shape. When you work at a desk all day looking at your computer screen, it’s not that easy. In many ways, the regular 9-5 day is gone and you’re working all the time, even when home. I’m here to tell you about an excellent option to keep you in-shape, the DeskCycle from 3D Innovations.
Options to Stay Fit At Your Desk
There are options out there to stay fit. One way is a standing desk. We’ve brought you coverage on standing desks before. As you know, Cali uses one called an UpDesk as her every day desk. If that’s not extreme enough for you, there are low-profile treadmills designed for use with a standing desk. However, those aren’t practical for all uses. While the results are undeniable, you have to have a certain amount of control over your space. If you’re stuck at a cubicle, a standing or treadmill desk is probably not an option. There are also people like myself who have had multiple leg injuries and standing up all day is not an option. You’re also going to be paying hundreds, if not the low thousands for such a setup. An under-desk exercise bike like the DeskCycle is an attractive option that can be had under $150.
At $149, I didn’t know what to expect. Inexpensive exercise products tend to be cheaply made and inadequate for a person of my size and strength. I’ve actually broken an upright bike before from riding it too hard. My current bike is an old all-metal Schwinn AirDyne that I inherited from my grandfather. It’s the kind of bike you see at high-end gyms. So let me assure you, I know a quality piece of exercise equipment. The DeskCycle is built to last. The bike itself is low profile. At its highest point, it’s just under a foot tall, two feet long, and about 20 inches wide. The casing is plastic, but that’s all that’s plastic. The semi-transparent top gives you a look at the inners and there’s a lot of precision machined metal parts in there. It shows when you pick it up because its not light at all, 25lbs in a very small area. In my experience, the old adage of being able to gauge the quality by the weight usually has something to it.
That’s confirmed when you start to ride it. The action is very smooth at all settings. It has eight of them by the way, from a very breezy initial setting to having enough resistance to satisfy me at the upper end. You can tailor your workout for endurance, strength-building, or anything in-between. The calories will add up and I was able to burn over 100 in minutes. The smoothness also has another benefit, your workout doesn’t bother your neighbors. It’s unbelievably quiet. There is also an included computer to track your progress. It can be either mounted on the bike, or there is a stand and extension cable to mount it on your desk. It’ll show you time, distance, speed, and calories burned. If it’s not big enough for you, there’s an optional computer with a larger screen. This bike is very full-featured for the incredibly small size.
Things You Should Know
According to Newton’s laws of motion, for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction. You’re probably wondering why I’m quoting physics in a review – we’re going to get to that in a second. Quite frankly, things don’t go well if you’re using a chair with casters. Even when pedaling down as recommended, either your chair, your bike (if it’s not up against a wall), or both will tend to slide. How much depends on how hard you’re pedaling and how much friction there is in the flooring. Either way, I would not recommend a standard office chair with this bike. That is doubly so with a 5-spoke design. You’ll typically not be able to get the DeskCycle under you as much as you’d like and that makes it both more prone to slide and harder to access your keyboard. If you’re going to use this, I highly recommend a 4-metal post chair without casters. I would also consider weights to keep it in place.
The other issue is height. While they say it can work with desks as low as 27 inches, I wouldn’t use that as your benchmark. This varies from person to person, but I would recommend that you have roughly a foot of room between the top of your thigh and the bottom of your desktop, or any drawers or moulding in the way. Less than that, you might end up banging your knee on the way up (as I do). Lastly, I didn’t care for the pedals that came with the bike. The straps got in the way for me and the weight tended to turn them upside down. Fortunately, though they use standard 9/16-inch threads so you can change those out for the off the shelf pedals of your choosing. Personally I would rate all of these as circumstance other than a flaw with the design.
The DeskCycle retails for $150 on Amazon. While there are cheaper entrants, the high quality and low profile design make it a steal. If you cannot afford or use a standing/treadmill desk, this is an excellent option for at-desk fitness. This is an absolute must buy and in my view worthy of the first Geek Beat Editor’s Choice Award of 2014. Stop reading this, go and buy one.
- Well Made
- Low Profile
- 8 modes of resistance from light to a fair bit of resistance
- Gives you a great workout
- Great alternative to standing or treadmill desks
- Useful computer that sits on your desk
- Pedals can be replaced by any standard 9/16-inch set
- May slide depending on your surface
- Doesn’t work as well when using office chairs with casters (especially five spoke models)
- Didn’t care for the stock pedals