DeskCycle Review

Pedal While You Work with Under-Desk Bike

DeskCycle. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Do you want to increase the physical activity and calories you burn while sitting? The DeskCycle lets you pedal away silently while you sit at your desk or in a chair. It has a low pedal height so it can fit under desks. If you are afraid of the increased health risks of sitting still, this exerciser is a nice, affordable solution.

If your main exercise is walking or running, the DeskCycle can work the opposing leg muscles that don't get a workout from those activities. This can help you keep your body in balance and benefit your walking and running.

DeskCycle requires no power hook-up, so you can use it anywhere. It arrives needing very little assembly and includes the single tool you need to do it. You only need to attach the front and back legs, pedals, and display. It is portable, so you can move it around your home easily.

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A Cycle Under the Desk?

The DeskCycle touts its low profile, saying it will fit under desks as low as 27 inches. I had to adjust my chair height and experiment with positioning it further under the desk to get it to a comfortable place where my knees didn't hit the desk. But eventually I found a good combination so I could use it while writing this review.

DeskCycle has a wide range of pedal resistance. You can set it for easy, non-distracting motion or rack it up through seven additional resistance settings so you are giving your quadriceps a real workout. You adjust the tension with a knob at the back of the machine, closest for you to bend over and reach.

The guts of the DeskCycle are a magnetic resistance mechanism. I was very impressed with how smooth and silent it was. This was motivating for me to use it, as I don't distract others with noise.

I used the DeskCycle on carpet with a desk chair that has wheels and had no problem with it staying in place while I cycled. If you are using it on a wood or tile floor and a wheeled desk chair, you may have some problems with it all staying in place. DeskCycle includes a tether to attach to your chair to prevent this.

The pedals are comfortable to use in stocking feet or even barefoot. I found that to be a big plus for my home office, where I often don't wear shoes.

Display Computer

You can use the included display computer either on the DeskCycle or using a desk display stand, so you can put it on top of your desk. It has a 10-foot extension cable. The display shows your speed in miles per hour on the top line. On the bottom line, you can view distance, calories, or exercise time. These accumulate as you pedal. You can reset whenever you wish. They have a disclaimer about the calorie measure, namely that it is based on maximum effort. They have a free online calculator to get a better estimate.

In addition to the display, you can use free software to track your workouts.

One drawback is that you won't get any pedometer steps logged while using the DeskCycle. If you want to get a step equivalent for the activity you put into using it, use my Pedometer Steps Equivalents Chart for the cycling speed shown.

Comparison Between Deskcycle, FitDesk, and Other Products

Previously I bought a FitDesk, an upright cycle desk with a small work surface big enough for a laptop. I didn't like being separated from my full desktop computer and its two screens, so it wasn't a good solution for me. Also, it didn't have enough range of tension on the pedals, and I wasn't satisfied that I was getting enough of a workout.

FitDesk wasn't very portable to move around my home or office, and it wasn't easily stowed away out of sight. With DeskCycle, I can use it and hide it easily. It weighs about 23 pounds, so you can carry it around and up and down stairs in your home. But it wouldn't be something you'd want to take to the office and back every day.

As a walker, I might want to use a treadmill desk, but if you don't already own the treadmill, they are very expensive. I wanted a cycle solution as it allows me to use my regular desk and gives me the cross-training exercise I need. I walk a lot, so I need to cycle to be in balance and for my knee health.

I did not get any motion sickness while using the DeskCycle, which can be a problem for me on the treadmill. A stable sitting position meant no up and down motion for my upper body that could affect my ability to focus on my computer screen.

Bottom Line on the DeskCycle

I found the DeskCycle to be an excellent solution for both getting a cycling workout and decreasing my sedentary time. The manufacturer provided a sample for me to use to review, which I purchased after giving it a try-out. It fits perfectly into my work style and takes up no space in my office.

A study using a seated under-desk elliptical pedal device found overweight office workers benefited from using it. They pedaled an average of 50 minutes per day, burning an estimated average of 107 calories. They had no increase in muscle or bone pain or discomfort. They had fewer missed days of work due to sickness and reported improvements in concentration on their work.

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2 Sources
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  1. Ando R, Kondo S, Katayama K, Ishida K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of the knee and hip extensor muscles during high-intensity interval and moderate-intensity constant cycling. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 2019;44:64-69. doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2018.11.012

  2. Carr LJ, Leonhard C, Tucker S, Fethke N, Benzo R, Gerr F. Total Worker Health Intervention Increases Activity of Sedentary Workers. Am J Prev Med. 2015;50(1):9-17. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2015.06.022

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.