This post may contain affiliate links, which help to keep Discerning Cyclist rolling. Learn more.
For those who work a sedentary job, for example in an office, it can be difficult to achieve the NHS-recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. An under the desk bike could be the perfect solution!
Long hours combined with a lengthy commute, home responsibilities, and more can make finding time to move your body difficult. This is a challenge which has led some people to consider options for exercising while at work, particularly in the case of people who work from home.
Under desk treadmills, for example, have been praised as a great opportunity to get your step count up while catching up on emails, but they can be costly, need a fair amount of space, and require investment in a standing desk, which isn’t always possible.
Another solution is an under the desk bike. These nifty contraptions are compact, portable, and fit easily under a standard desk – meaning you can get your blood pumping and burn some calories while working at your desk.
Intrigued? In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of an under the desk bike and guide you towards the best under the desk bikes for you to purchase for your office.
What is an “Under the Desk” Bike?
As the name suggests, an under the desk bike is a pedal contraption that you can use under your desk while working. It can help increase your heart rate and burn calories whether you’re at the office, working from home, or even watching TV.
By pedalling while you work, you can work towards strengthening the muscles of the lower body and get your blood flowing. Some people say it even helps their concentration.
Styles of under the desk bikes vary, from small portable machines that you use in your regular office chair, to larger fitness machines not unlike exercise bikes you might find in the gym.
There are a range of options available, so when choosing an under the desk bike, you may wish to consider how much space you have available, and whether you intend to just use the bike at home or take it to the office with you.
Under the Desk Bikes Benefits
People who use under the desk bikes have reported a wide range of benefits, from improved concentration, an increased daily calorie burn, increased productivity and a reduction in back pain.
Considering that a largely sedentary lifestyle has been associated with health risks like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and more, any little changes that get your body moving could make a real difference.
Here are some of the main benefits of using an under the desk bike:
- Increased circulation
- Increased calorie burn
- Fat loss
- Boost in productivity
- Improved joint mobility
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Mood improvement thanks to endorphin release from exercise
- Improved concentration
- Weight loss
- Improved posture
- Toned legs
- Less fidgeting while working
How Many Calories Do You Burn with an Under Desk Bike?
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that workers using under desk bikes for an average of 50 minutes a day burned an extra 107 calories a day, adding up to over 500 calories a week.
However, if you were to cycle for more than 50 minutes a day — even as much as your entire work day — you could burn significantly more calories.
Results will, of course, vary depending on the style of under desk bike you use, the amount of effort you put into under desk cycling, and how much you cycle while working. Your height and weight will also affect how many calories you burn in a session.
You’re not likely to see the same results as you would with, for example, a Peloton bike or an outdoor bike ride, but you’ll certainly burn more calories than you would if you weren’t cycling at all.
To find out more about how many calories you could burn in a session of cycling, try our Cycling Calories Calculator.
Discerning Cyclist’s expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing cycling products so you don’t have to.
Testing stylish gear since 2012
Hundreds of hands-on product tests
Unfiltered opinions from experienced cyclists
Best Under-Desk Elliptical Bikes [Top 3]
✅ Suitable for arms and legs
✅ 8 resistance levels
✅ Carry handle
- 🇬🇧 £105
- 🇺🇸 $103
- 🇪🇺 €107
The Sunny Health and Fitness Under Desk Bike really packs a punch.
First of all, it’s designed to be used for both hands and feet, and the pedals/handles are adjustable to suit each purpose. This is great if, for example, you like to pedal with your legs while working, but would like to work out your arms while you watch TV in the evenings.
It has eight levels of tension so you can customise your workout, helping build muscles and tone your arms and legs.
An easy-to-read LCD displays time, speed, distance, and calories burned so you can track your exercise regime, and it is very quiet.
Unlike some other under desk bikes on the market, the Sunny Health and Fitness Under Desk Bike has a carry handle for easy transportation. However, it does weigh 9.5kg, so it might not be suitable for carrying to and from the office.
It’s battery powered, so you don’t need to find a power outlet to plug it into, and uses AA batteries — included when you purchase — which keep it going for several months.
Finally, a non-slip base keeps the machine in place while you pedal, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding out from under your feet.
2. DeskCycle 2
✅ 8 resistance levels
✅ Adjustable pedal height
- 🇬🇧 £161
- 🇺🇸 $219
- 🇪🇺 €277
The DeskCycle 2 has 8 resistance settings so you can increase or decrease your difficulty level, perfect for adjusting your workout as your muscles get stronger.
With adjustable pedal height and velcro straps, you can easily adapt the machine to make it comfortable and to suit your desk height, no matter where you are.
A key consideration when buying an under desk bike is how noisy it is: you don’t want to disrupt your colleagues with noisy whirring and pedalling sounds. Thankfully, the DeskCycle 2 is designed to be whisper quiet, so you won’t be distracting your office neighbours while you exercise.
The DeskCycle 2 also comes with an LCD display so you can track metrics like calories, speed, distance and time — essential for keeping an eye on your progress.
The only downside is that it doesn’t come with a handle, so it could be a bit tricky to transport.
The dimensions of the DeskCycle 2 are (L) 62 x (W) 51 x (H) 31 centimetres, and it weighs 10 kilograms.
Its colour is unobtrusive in a sleek white with black detailing, and it is battery powered so you don’t need to worry about finding a power outlet to plug it into.
✅ Affordable option
✅ LCD display
✅ Very light
- 🇬🇧 £31
- 🇺🇸 $46
- 🇪🇺 €46
If you’re looking for an affordable under desk bike, the AGM Mini Bike is perfect.
It’s cheap and cheerful but does the trick, with adjustable resistance levels, a built-in display and a compact, lightweight design.
The AGM Mini Bike is stylish and discreet in a classic black colour, and as it weighs just 3.63kg, it’s easy to carry around despite its lack of handle.
It has adjustable foot straps to suit your body and non-slip pedals, so you’ll know you’re secure while pedalling at work.
It features a large, easy-to-read LCD display showing RPM, time, speed, distance and calories burned, and you can adjust the resistance with a tension knob to make your workout easier or more challenging.
Importantly, the AGM Mini Bike is nice and quiet, so you won’t disturb your colleagues as you cycle.
It’s important to note that the AGM Mini Bike is designed for use on carpeted floor, so you may experience some sliding around if you use it on hard flooring.
Users say it’s really easy to assemble and doesn’t take up very much space, and considering its bargain price, this would be a great product for those wanting to experiment with an under desk bike without spending too much money.