REVIEW – I spend a minimum of six to seven hours Monday through Friday sitting at my desk at work. I work out four days a week using a spin cycle at home. I also have a New Year’s resolution to step up my strength training game (which is currently zero!) to doing something with weights or bands four times a week starting next year. I jumped at the chance to decrease the amount of idle time on my body by testing out this under desk exercise bike. Do I piss off my coworkers with excessive noise? Is it difficult to use? Do I even use it? Read on to find out!
What is it?
The Sportneer Armchair Exercise Bike is a small bicycle pedal type device that is designed to sit under a desk or next to your chair at home and allow you to get some type of exercise while sitting on your chair. The user manual even recommends using it as an arm exerciser by placing it on a desk and pedaling it with your hands.
What’s in the box?
The following items came in the box.
- Instruction manual in German and English
- The main unit
- Base stabilizer platforms for the front and back of the main unit
- two pedals
- One rubber mat to use if you have hardwood floors or tile to prevent slipping. I did not use this since I had the bike on the carpet.
- One wrench and one Allen key. Five screws and five washers.
- 10% off your next order and a guarantee on your satisfaction and replacement of the product if it is defective card
Design and features
Setup of the device was pretty simple. I used the included Allen key to install the front and back base plates to the main device. I used two screws and washers for the front and two for the back. The above picture shows the front plate and how it is installed under the device. I was left with one spare screw and washer.
I next had to install the pedals onto the main device. They go on exactly like pedals would on any bicycle. They simply screw into the pedal arms. The included wrench was used to tighten the pedals onto the device. The above picture shows one of the holes a pedal screws into.
I now had a completely assembled device. It probably took me all of 15 minutes. It took me that long because I took the time to take pictures! As a side note, the pedal straps can be adjusted by using a Phillips head screwdriver on the outside of each pedal and moving the straps into one of three additional holes. The picture shows the straps at their largest setting. The straps can also be completely removed if you wish by using a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the two screws on the inside of each pedal.
The above picture shows the display unit on the device. The display will show you these items in the following order:
- Pedal Count for the current session
- Total Pedal Count
- Calories Burned
When you start to pedal, the display goes into the ‘scan’ mode where it will display each item for a few seconds, then switch automatically to the next one. You can press the red button at any time to stop the scan mode and the display will stay fixed on the last item displayed. You can also press and hold the red button and it will reset all of the display items to zero except the total count. Finally, you can press scan multiple times to get to the display you want quickly. I will note that the max pedal count is only 9,999 then it resets to zero. This is a drag because I easily exceeded that count in a single day. It should also be noted that the calorie count is really a very broad guess. It has nowhere to take in your sex, bodyweight or heart rate.
The above picture shows the back of the display. This is where you would insert the single double A battery that it requires. Notice the long bar hanging down from it. That rests against the side of the internal wheel. I assume there is a magnet in it and a corresponding magnet on the wheel. This is how it measures the pedal count and distance. That is exactly how a lot of cadence, speed and distance computers work on real bicycles.
The above picture shows the inside of the bike. You can see the nylon band that is around the wheel. This hole is where the display inserts.
The above picture shows the tension adjustment for the bike. Turning it to the right will result in more resistance (it tightens the band on the wheel) and turning it left gives you less.
Here is a picture of the bike under my desk at work. I found that I do not use the pedal straps at all. It is too cumbersome to use them under the desk. If I had the bike out in the open, I would be using them for sure. I use clips on my road bicycle and on my spin bicycle. I do not find that the straps hit the floor at all when I use the bike.
It took some trial and error, but I have found a way to use the bike almost every day at work. The first thing I had to do was to replace my desk chair with wheels with a chair with no wheels. I thought this would result in me being uncomfortable. Luckily for me the chair I found (basic four-legged chair with a cushioned seat and back) fits me perfectly and actually forces me to sit more upright. No more slouching allowed! The second thing was finding the ideal distance under the desk where I could still type but not be hitting my knees on the desk. I ended up bringing the bike quite a bit closer to the front than the picture shows above.
I now have two videos to show you how the bike works. This first one below shows you the display values on the bike. I am pressing the red button to force the display to go through the various display items. I start with time, go to distance, pedal count, total count, and calories burned.
This next video shows you the noise level of the bike. The bike is much quieter now that I have ridden it for several days. I do not even notice the sound anymore and I have not received any complaints from my cubemates!
What I like
- Seems to be well built
- Easy to put together
- It is quiet
- It is inexpensive
What needs to be improved
- The display could be improved to allow up to 100,000 on the total count.
I think this under-desk pedal bike is a keeper for me. It forces better posture and I actually get some exercise. Normally I am cold in my office. I no longer need my heater or jacket when I use the bike, but I am not a big sweat ball either. If you are setting yourself a New Year’s resolution to get more exercise, I recommend getting yourself this bike. It is a cheap device and works well to keep me moving throughout the day. The bonus is that it does not upset my coworkers.