under desk cycle
Try a mini bike from our list, if walking pads aren't your favourite means of getting some exercise in. Image Credit: Amazon

We've all heard of walking pads, or under-desk treadmills, that have kept the work-from-home community active. It's a win-win setup proven to boost productivity and burn calories, at your nine-to-five. Walking isn't everyone's cup of tea, though. Have you thought about cycling, instead? You can create your very own cycling workstation, with a mini under-desk bike.

Much like walking pads, these pedaling units slide under the desk and keep you updated on the distance cycled, calories burnt and other fitness data. "Under-desk bikes are like any cardio machine, where you can expect to release endorphins, and hormones that improve your mood and energy levels. They're also great for mobility and correcting posture," said Azeem Ashraf, a retail sales manager at Active Fitness Store in Dubai, with over 12 years of experience in the wellness and fitness industry.

A stationary bike lets you increase or decrease resistance or workout intensity levels. Ashraf says the higher the resistance, the more engaged your quads muscles will be. Otherwise, the most targeted muscle group is the calves. Clearly, this equipment does not substitute bikes or standard-sized cardio machines, but it's great for breaking the day's monotony and incorporating some movement at your desk.

In fact, pedaling as you work can relieve stress, too. A 2021 study in the UK-based journal Applied Ergonomics examined employees on stationery bikes during work meetings. Researchers found that stress and fatigue levels were significantly lower than in the control group of sedentary employees.

The best part is that the bike can be used during any other sitting activity, like watching TV, knitting and reading. It goes wherever you choose to take it. We compiled a list of the best-rated under-desk bikes on Amazon to help you stay active even when you're busy.

Make sure to order with Prime membership for free, next- or same-day delivery.

1. Best Overall: DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Exercise Bike and Pedal Exerciser


  • Adjustable pedal height
  • Low-rise form for low desks
  • Eight-level resistance
  • Tracks strides per minute, calories, time and distance
  • Very quiet


  • Slides on wooden floors

Rave reviews and testimonies on Amazon have helped crowned the DeskCycle 2 as our best pick. It's low-rise, so you can slide it under a desk as low as 27 inches. Choose from eight resistance settings for your preferred level of intensity, though the brand recommends level three or less when working, to keep you focused. The first thing reviewers notice is that it's silent and stays put on the ground. Your feet are strapped to the pedals with velcro, so there's no slipping, either. Senior users with arthritis have added the cardio machine to their daily routine for some light exercise. Others have bought it for their children to keep them engaged at their study desks. For a foolproof first purchase, this is a solid choice.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh126.31 for 12 months with select banks.

2. Best for Smooth Pedalling: FitDesk Under Desk Bike Pedal Machine


  • Eight magnetic resistance positions
  • Works under 26-inch desks
  • Meter tracks calories, speed and distance
  • Hands-free tension adjustment


  • No pedal straps

The FitDesk stationary bike works with even lower desks, at 26 inches. Similar to the DeskCycle 2, the bike has eight magnetic resistance positions, and the best part is that you can adjust the tension with your feet. Reviewers with sedentary jobs report back improved blood circulation in their legs and those who underwent knee surgery say it works just as well for physical therapy. It pedals very smoothly without any jerking. Some points to consider: If you have a rolling office chair, reviewers note that the bike can get in the way, and it could need maintenance after a few months, as a few users mention squeaking.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh92.82 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh86 and two years for Dh121.

3. Best Elliptical Bike: Cubii Junior Under Desk Elliptical Pedal Exerciser


  • Eight magnetic resistance levels
  • Quiet unit
  • Display for tracking calories, distance and more
  • Doesn't shift on the floor


  • Heavy

Another under-desk pedal equipment to consider is an elliptical bike that has a low profile. The Cubii unit tones abs, glutes and calves, with eight resistance levels and whisper-quiet operation. It has a built-in display for tracking real-time progress, counting strides, calories and the distance biked. Work-from-home users in the reviews comment on how it fits perfectly under the desk and even doubles as an inclined footrest when typing. The only gripe is that the unit is heavier than most, so it's difficult to move around, but the weight is also what helps the elliptical stay put on the floor. Reviewers appreciate the assembly tools that come with the order.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh49.49 for 12 months with select banks.

4. Best Budget: Vaunn Medical Under Desk Bike


  • Adjustable resistance
  • Folds in half
  • Lightweight at 2.4kgs
  • Low-maintenance unit


  • Clearance height should be higher than stated

Vaunn's under-desk bike does away with all the fanfare, and, instead, gives you a simple, skeleton structure that's lightweight, compact and foldable. For the bike to fit perfectly under the desk, the brand recommends a clearance height of 13 inches from the knee to the table. Weighing only 2.4kgs, the unit has an adjustable tension knob that provides just enough resistance for low-impact physical activity. Once done, fold it in half, carry it out of the room and tuck it under the bed or inside the closet. It's great for those not looking for a high-intensity spin session. Reviews say even if the bike is low-rise, their knees hit the underside. A solution some propose is to either push back the chair or work at a height-adjustable desk.

5. Best for Carpeted Floors: Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Under-Desk Bike


  • Quiet performance
  • Eight levels of resistance
  • Adjustable pedal straps
  • Tracks calories, distance, time and more


  • Slips on non-carpeted floor

The Sunny Health and Fitness under-desk bike is super compact, and has a non-slip grip and adjustable pedal straps. Move through eight levels of resistance and keep track of your calories, time, distance and more via the digital screen. Users note how its highest resistance level is less tense than expected, but it's just enough to get your heart rate going. It does stay put on carpeted floors and does even better with a rubber mat underneath. Reviewers who are recovering from surgeries and need light mobility therapy at home have also opted for the unit.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh29 and two years for Dh41.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.