FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical Review
The FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical enters a market for under desk ellipticals where many units are positioned as 'jack-of-all-trades' devices, fit for the living room, weight room, or office. But the FitDesk does not make the mistake of spreading itself too thin, becoming a 'master of none'. It's designed for specifically for desk use, and operates well in many workspaces.
Lifetime frame, 1 year parts
29" L x 16" W x 11" H
Low pedal height rotation (but not as the company claims, the lowest). Uses a fluid shuffle motion found in larger elliptical machines. Built-in handle and wheels for easy transport. Includes a wheel lock to keep your caster-base office chair from rolling back as you pedal. Resistance level is changed with a foot lever. Has a built-in foot massage bar.
The unit is long; to function properly, it will likely stick out from behind the desk. Despite the built-in handle and wheels, it is bulky and cumbersome. Users report squeakiness during pedaling and sometimes knocking sounds. Manufacturer recommends using Pledge as a lubricant.
Designed with Purpose
The FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical competes with the likes of the Cubii, the Stamina InMotion Elliptical Trainer, and the j/fit Under Desk Elliptical Trainer, among other under desk elliptical units we’ve reviewed. In the case of the Cubii, that means being compared with a true office fitness product with "smart" capabilities like sending exercise stats directly to an app on your phone via a Bluetooth link.
Most other under desk ellipticals are positioned first as trainers for cycling enthusiasts who want to beef up their quads while watching TV. They can then be adapted to under-desk use while working at a computer, with varying degrees of success. But the FitDesk is a unit engineered specifically for desk use.
Thoughtful design and quality engineering went into making the FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical. It claims to have the shortest pedal rotation height on the market, (though we measured in the lab and it's exactly as high as the newer Cubii's pedals). This height benefit over other units definitely comes in handy when you’re trying to fit your unit underneath your desk. As you may have already surmised, hitting your knees on the underside of your desk is actually one of the biggest complaints from desk pedalers who haven't yet gotten the memo on switching to a height-adjustable desk (and preferably one with a keyboard tray for proper ergonomics). Before you buy an under desk elliptical, you'll definitely want to check out our primer on How to Set Up an Ergonomically Proper Desk Cycle.
Longer by (Too?) Much
The biggest issue we see with the FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical has to do with its ability to fit into your workstation. At 29 inches in length, the FitDesk is the longest desk cycle among the dozen competing units our review team has looked at. In fact, many users complain the unit sticks too far out from under their desks for them to sit comfortably and type; it pushes their chair placement back, requiring a lunge forward to reach the keyboard. Put the FitDesk towards the back of the desk and it might protrude out the other end. When there’s space for this, it works like a charm, but the problem is that many desks are against walls or have their own backs, and there is no space for the unit to stick out. The other thing we must point out is that the FitDesk elliptical weighs more than most; at 31 pounds, it's that much more cumbersome to move out of the way when you're done pedaling.
So, we have to qualify any recommendation for the FitDesk by saying that it is vitally important you do the measurements to make sure your unit will fit into your workstation. Once this has been determined, the FitDesk is an excellent option for the aspiring desk cyclist.
Full Elliptical Motion, etc.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical is that it actually uses the fluid shuffle motion found in larger elliptical machines you’ll encounter at the gym. Other products on the market offer abbreviated elliptical motions; they are shorter, and especially in the cheaper models, jerky and less fluid.
The FitDesk also packs a few more benefits. It has the ability to adjust tension by using a foot lever instead of reaching under your desk and using your hands. It also has a foot massage bar in case your feet get tired during the day and you want to rest for a moment and stretch them out. This seems like a good time to mention we don’t actually recommend pedaling all day. In fact, many users find pedaling and typing difficult, and especially task switching. Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) support the conclusion that pedaling is better done for short increments during the day while consuming content rather than producing it.
The designers of the FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical created a solid machine that does its job well. In case of squeakiness, the manufacturer claims you can use Pledge as a lubricant, but we'd strongly recommend against that and suggest a 100% silicon oil lubricant like we use on our treadmill desks. FitDesk even throws in a wheel lock to keep your rolling chair in place, and the unit comes with a handle and wheels for easier transport. Given the right space parameters at your desk, it will "fit" in just fine.
For kicks, our review staff created what we imagine is the world's first sit-stand-walk-pedal workstation. Check out the blog article on our Quad-Modal Office Fitness DreamStation. We integrated a Cubii with an iMovR Everest Dual-Tray desk, an iMovR ThermoTread GT office treadmill, a Tempo TreadTop Office Chair, and an EcoLast TreadTop Anti-Fatigue Mat to optimize movement during the workday.
If you do end up deciding to invest in a cycling workstation, definitely check out our primer on How to Set Up an Ergonomically Proper Desk Cycle to ensure a successful experience.
See our comprehensive Comparison Review of Desk Cycles and Bike Desks.