If you’re wondering, “what is a desk bike?”, then you’re not alone! Get the low down on one of the most bizarre looking pieces of equipment in this very article. This guide will bring you through the most popular types of desk bikes from start to finish and gives you a taster of how you can introduce some workplace fitness into you day.
So, you can exercise while working or watching TV? That can’t be right!
Let’s see what exactly is a desk bike, why are so many people investing in them and where can you even use them?
Plus, I divulge tips and tricks which will get you thinking whether you’re purchasing or using a desk bike.
Did you know? Cycling is linked to improved weight management, leg strength, cardiac health, as well as boosting energy levels and mental health. Source
What is a desk bike?
A desk bike is designed to encourage bodily movement by allowing you to pedal while you are stationary. They aim to keep you in an ergonomic position and cycle as you are sitting or standing at a desk. Desk bikes come in a number of styles including under desk bike, bike and chair combination and workstation bike desk. Desk bikes allow you to introduce activity to an otherwise static posture. This can range from a comfortable light resistance cycle to an intense workout. Desk bikes can be used in a range of locations including under your desk, while watching TV or performing activities in the kitchen or workshop.
What is the purpose of a desk bike?
The desk bike is designed to encourage movement when you sit by enabling you to pedal. This encourages an active sitting regime and allows you to adjust your posture from that of a traditional seating stance. It also encourages exercise movement which can lead to reduce calories, increase blood flow, increase energy levels, and can also contribute to your activity levels throughout the day.
Who are desk bikes suitable for?
Desk bikes can be used by anyone who has the mobility to cycle. This includes children at school, teenagers while studying, adults while working, people who want to exercise while performing stationery work, individuals looking to exercise without leaving their house or the older generation seeking to increase movement. There have even been bodybuilders who have purchased a desk bike to complete their cardio and people who wanted to increase their daily calorie expenditure and lose weight. That said, the desk bike does need to be suitable for your height and the minimum pedal height should enable you to cycle without hitting your knees off your desk.
Types of Desk Bikes
Stationary desk bikes generally fall into 3 main categories:
1. Under Desk Bikes: Fit under your existing desk and is used with your current chair.
2. Bike and Chair Desk: Incorporate both a chair and a bike which can be used beside an existing desk.
3. Workstation Bike Desks: Encompass both an exercise bike and chair with a desk attached.
All 3 options enable active sitting; however, as you move from option 1 – 3, the price of each option increase, become less portable, require greater assembly and more space than the former.
Under Desk Bikes
The under desk bike features 2 pedals along with an LCD screen and a tension control knob to adjust the difficulty of pedaling. These units are usually portable which allows you to move it between rooms or offices.
The compact size enables you to neatly fit it underneath your desk, under your bed or even in the bottom of your wardrobe or closet.
Bike and Chair Desk
These differ from the under desk bikes as there is a chair attached to the unit. So, instead of using your own chair or couch, you pedal from the attached chair. There are 2 types of bike and chair desks:
- Upright Bike and Chair Desk: These resemble a normal bike without any back support. They are also more challenging to use than a recumbent bike. You can position this item beside your existing desk provided that the height of your desk accommodates it. This is often more achievable if you own a standing desk.
- Recumbent Bike and Chair Desk: These are a lower version of the upright bike and feature a back rest for back support. The backrest may come in beneficial for people with back pain or if you intend to use the chair for longer periods. In terms of resistance, they are also easier to use than upright bikes, plus they are more comfortable too.
Workstation Bike Desks
The workstation bike desk is an all-encompassing product as it features the bike, chair and a desk. This unit positions you in an upright position while you pedal. These are the largest and usually the most expensive type of bike desks since they include all the bells and whistles (sadly, not literally).
Depending on the brand you opt for, they may or may not include a backrest and the desk can be both height-adjustable and removable.
Features on a desk bike
Pedals: These usually contain straps to secure your foot in place. If the under-desk bike is designed to be used for your arms, the pedals may also be used as hand grips for engaging muscles in your upper body.
Digital Monitor: Often in the form of an LCD screen, these track your speed, time, calories burnt (which I’d take with a pinch of salt) and distance.
Tension Control Adjustment: Depending on how hard you want to push yourself, you can increase the resistance with the twist of a knob. This is usually up to as many at 8 different tension levels.
Desktop: These are capable of fitting a laptop along with your water bottle or essential cup of tea. You could also utilize it for reading the newspaper, a book or working from your tablet or phone. However, if you require a large amount of space, the desktop may not be suitable.
Seat: While most desk bikes feature a standard seat, some bike desks will feature a gel seat which should offer more comfort to sit on.
Wheels: The wheels enable you to move the product through the room with ease, since lifting it is often out of the question. These are more commonly present on the bike and chair desk and workstation bike desks since they are larger and heavier to move.
Fitbit Compatible: Some desk bikes, such as DeskCycle, enable you to log your daily activity so you can track it and monitor your steps, calories, distance and minutes.
Tip: If space is a constraint, a folding desk bike can be stored more compactly.
Can you use a desk bike all day?
While some people claim that they can use a desk bike all day and not even notice, it is advisable as part of an active sitting regime to adjust your posture and get up from your seat on regular basis.
I have read some reviews where people have suggested that they can sit no longer than about 30 minutes before the seat on the bike desk starts to feel uncomfortable, however other people have claimed that they had no issue with it.
I suppose if you think about your own experience when sitting on a bike, you will probably be able to gauge how comfortable you would feel on it. Furthermore, investing in a gel seat will enhance your comfort levels. Plus it could prolong the duration which you would feel comfortable sitting on the seat.
Obviously, if you already have your own desk chair, this point is not applicable.
Where can I use a desk bike?
While they are conventionally advertised for use in office areas, desk bikes can be used in a broad range of environments.
Alternative locations you can use a desk bike at include:
- studying or working at a desk
- sewing machine
- while watching TV
- on the couch
- on their own in a room
- as a portable workstation
- outdoors in fine weather
- while gaming
- at a workshop
- at a bench
- at your kitchen table
- in a meeting room
Desk bikes are yet another low impact means of introducing motion into an otherwise inactive seating posture. Hopefully you found this guide valuable and learned something new! Do you own a desk bike or are you considering buying one?
If you’re eager to introduce activity into your workday, study, gaming or whatever stagnant activity you perform, then desk bikes are one of a myriad of ways to get moving.
I have been actively researching numerous ways to introduce motion into my relatively static desk work, here’s what I’ve looked into so far in order of preference:
- Standing desk converters
- Ergonomic chairs
- Standing desks
- Kneeling chairs
- Standing desk chairs
- Anti-fatigue mats
- Balance boards
My aim with this website is to help you on all matters related to your home office and your work area. With that in mind, if you have any questions or comments on the above, please drop them in the box below. I’d love to hear them!