The 10 Best Bike Desks
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in January of 2018. If you're worried about the amount of time you spend sitting, but aren't comfortable standing for hours on end, there are other healthy options. Bike desks are a great way to sneak in a little cardio without having to stop at the gym on the way home from work. Our selection includes foldable and under-desk offerings for when space is an issue, as well as larger models for home use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 25, 2020:
We made a pretty significant overhaul to this ranking with a particular notion in mind, and that's that a bike desk is a desk first, and a bike second. That basically means that we wanted to make sure the majority of this ranking consisted of offerings that provided users with both a cycling device and, even more importantly, a surface for performing some kind of work. And if readers want a wider selection of under-desk bikes and ellipticals, we have a list for that, as well.
Now, we did keep two important models that are technically incomplete by those standards in the DeskCycle Exerciser and the Wahoo Kickr. The DeskCycle model is important because it's got a low profile, it's quiet, and its reliable. Those are all things you want in an under-desk model, especially if you plan to take it into your office. And the Wahoo deserves a spot for being the ideal companion to a cyclist who needs consistency in their training, and wants to use their own road or racing bike suspended in a dedicated bike trainer.
New to the list is the Exerpeutic 2500, which offers a lot of adjustability and a very comfortable ride for people who might not be particularly athletic, though tall people have been known to bump their knees against the underside of the desk portion. The Sunny Health & Fitness Recumbent is a similar model to this, but one that offers a bit more knee clearance.
April 27, 2019:
Scientists are only beginning to understand just how unhealthy it is to sit down for too long. It harms circulation, causes undue fatigue, and can instigate swelling and even deep vein thrombosis. To combat the menace of being seated, you can place a small pedal exerciser under your desk at work, or you can actually sit on an exercise bike that itself doubles as a desk.
For the former option, the DeskCycle Exerciser is a pretty well-known choice. It works well in part because it's so low-profile, thus keeping most people from hitting their knees on their desk during use. The MagneTrainer and Sunny Health Mini are decent alternatives that are worth checking out if the most popular one doesn't work for you. They're a little taller, but they're just as quiet and work very well. Meanwhile, the Vive is a good choice if it'll only see limited use, or if you want to try one out without making a huge investment, as it's one of the few models that's reasonably priced.
If you're looking for something a little more involved, there are plenty of options, though they're generally quite a bit pricier. The Wahoo Kickr is probably the most literal interpretation of the term "bike desk," as you actually park your bike on top of it and pedal away. If you don't want to use your bike all day, it also functions as a standing desk. If you ride your bike to work, it may even be a viable choice.
The Flexispot is the best looking and one of the most refined options, but it's also one of the most expensive. Exerpeutic makes a few different models, and their ExerWork 1000 is possibly the most ergonomically designed. The FitDesk and Sunny Health Recumbent allow for a little bit more relaxed posture, though not everybody can use them for long periods of time. Finally, the LifeSpan is just about the most straightforward, but its lack of resistance adjustment makes it unsuitable for some users.
The Benefits Of Using A Bike Desk
That being said, there are deadlines to meet and projects to finish.
Your colleagues may giggle a bit when they see you pedaling away beneath your desk, but you'll find you're quickly unfazed by that since the perks of this item far outweigh any teasing from coworkers. Research has found that in recent years, the amount of time Americans spend sedentary has increased significantly. In addition to this having obvious physical health implications, like the risk of weight gain and poor circulation, it can even increase one's chances of developing anxiety and depression. That being said, there are deadlines to meet and projects to finish. So when you simply have to be at your desk for X amount of hours a day, a bike desk allows you to be active, even with a computer in front of you.
There's another surprise perk of using a bike desk that doesn't pertain to your health but actually to your comfort in the office. Unless you're the CEO or boss, you may have little say over the thermostat in your workplace. Perhaps the person in charge runs hot and likes to keep the temperature at a frigid 68 degrees. Meanwhile, you're wearing a parka all day so the cold air doesn't distract you from your work. Cycling at your desk will naturally warm you up. There's nothing like moving those muscles to shake the cold away — you experience it every time you go for a jog on a freezing day, and find yourself slowly removing layers as you heat up.
In addition to unfair thermostat politics distracting you from your work, your own nervous energy could also be a disturbance. There have actually been incidents of teachers installing bike desks beneath students' desks to keep them from fidgeting in class. This isn't just an issue for teens; many adults don't ever outgrow that nervous energy. If you are struggling with it during the workday, a bike desk can help. Since you typically need your hands to type on your laptop and draft documents, it can be difficult to use a stress ball to express your nerves at your desk. A desk cycle is the perfect way to release nervous energy without interfering with your productivity.
Choosing The Best Bike Desk For You
Since you are more than likely putting your bike in a work area and not in a spacious home gym, size will be a major consideration when choosing the best model for your needs. If you work from home — which by the way may actually be more productive than working from a central office — then you can use a full-sized bike desk that truly lives up to the product's name. These are all-in-one units that have actual work surfaces attached to them. You can find models with large desks that can accommodate your computer, staplers, pens, and more, or some with smaller work surfaces that are truly meant to hold just a laptop. Either way, this style may be able to eliminate the need for you to buy a traditional desk.
Regardless of whether you go for a full-size model or a compact option, there are some features that will enhance your experience with a bike desk.
If you do work at an office with colleagues, you may not have the freedom to bring in your own desk, as everyone has standard issued work surfaces. In that case, you're a good candidate for a bike desk that only has the cycling component and not an attached work surface. These slide easily beneath most traditional desks, so onlookers may not even know they're there. Some even fold up for storage, allowing you to quickly hide it if a boss or client is about to make an unexpected visit.
Regardless of whether you go for a full-size model or a compact option, there are some features that will enhance your experience with a bike desk. A variety of resistance settings is a bonus, allowing you to increase or decrease the challenge when you see fit. An anti-slip base is very important, especially for those times you are going full-throttle, pushing your bike to its limits. Make sure the seat is comfortably padded, too. You may even want one with a backrest, providing a comfortable chair even when you aren't using the cycling portion. If you want the gym experience at your desk, there are even some models that show important stats like your heart rate and distance covered.
Other Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk
Once you've set up your bike desk, you may find yourself itching to fit some other exercises in during your workday, and you should, since exercise can boost your mental performance. Plus, you don't want your leg muscles to be the only thing looking toned on your body, so incorporating some other exercises is a smart idea. For stronger abs, try seated leg raises. You can easily do these at your desk chair. Simply sit up straight, extend one leg so that it is parallel to the floor, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this on the other side, back and forth. You'll soon feel the burn in your abs.
For this exercise, scoot to the very edge of the seat, with your legs extended out in front of you, heels on the floor.
If you want to work out your arms, you can do chair dips at the office. You'll want to make sure to use a stationary chair for this, as wheeled office chairs may roll away from you. For this exercise, scoot to the very edge of the seat, with your legs extended out in front of you, heels on the floor. Stabilize yourself by gripping edge of the seat with your hands and slide your bottom off the chair, keeping it elevated in the air. Then use your arms to lower your bottom towards the floor, and back up again, repeatedly.
This one may seem a little weird, but when you want to release some frustration towards that annoying coworker or problem you are having trouble solving, you can shadow box at your desk. While seated, simply hold your fists up, ready to box. Punch one hand towards the air, as if you're hitting a punching bag, rapidly for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other hand. It's a healthy way to relieve stress and get in some quick cardio.