Markant Oxidesk Bike Review
It is neither an upright bicycle desk like the FitDesk 2.0 nor an elliptical machine, and it feels as awkward to pedal as a platypus must feel when it sees itself categorized on the Freaks & Curiosities branch of the evolutionary chart of animal species.
The only bike desk that is equal parts bike and desk.
Extremely awkward to use, expensive, and constraining. Can't use your own desk with it.
Some of the WorkWhileWalking editors had a chance to try the Dutch-made Markant Oxidesk at the 2013 NEOCON trade show in Chicago where it was being debuted to the US market. Note that we review products like the Oxidesk to present a comprehensive view of the exercise desk market because people tend to lump them together with treadmill desks—even though they are not NEAT devices (and in the opinion of most medical experts are not nearly as productive, comfortable, or sustainable as walking workstations).
The Oxidesk was created in a joint venture between Holland-based Markant, Vormdrift and TNO, who apparently felt that exercising (i.e. sweating) while working in your dress clothes is an acceptable thing that sedentary office workers enjoy. They developed the platypus of exercise desks. It is neither an upright bicycle desk like the FitDesk 2.0 nor an elliptical machine, and it feels as awkward to pedal as a platypus must feel when it sees itself categorized on the Freaks & Curiosities branch of the evolutionary chart of animal species.
Because we’ve experienced the improvement in our focus from mild NEAT exercise compared to the degradation of performance during real exercise (faster than a 2.0 mph stroll), we know that exercising while working makes it very difficult to concentrate. Getting onto the Oxidesk’s super-sized saddle is much like mounting a horse in business attire, but with a desk blocking your way and making you go into a semi-squat in order to slide into position. Once mounted, users can slide the desk up and down or backwards and forwards by loosening and then tightening a knob placed low enough on the desk’s mounting post to give them a good back stretch—how convenient. The posture attained while sitting on the Oxidesk is remarkably similar to the posture of riding one of those fixed-gear bicycles around Amsterdam, which is not a particularly comfortable position for very long. All this seems like a setup for numerous musculoskeletal issues down the road.
None of our reviewers could get over the unnatural pedaling motion that is required when using the Oxidesk. Whereas the beauty of the treadmill desk solution is that everyone already knows how to walk, working on an Oxident first requires the user to learn a new leg motion that they’ve never experienced before, nor will they—hopefully—ever experience again. If Oxidesk filed any patents on this crank design, they are probably fairly safe from having them copycatted by competitors.
When asked how the Oxidesk compares to a treadmill desk, the young salespeople in their booth just spouted misinformation like, “You can’t maintain any typing accuracy on a treadmill workstation, whereas on this, you can.” Sure, if you’re walking faster than the recommended top-end speed of 2 mph, this is true, but at that speed, you’re also exercising, which isn’t the point of using a treadmill desk.
To be blunt, the bottom line for us is that Markant should stick with what it knows best—manufacturing beautiful European office furniture—and set this duck-billed platypus free in the Tasmanian wild where it belongs.
If You Still Really Want a Desk Bike
We totally recognize that thousands of mini elliptical trainers and under desk cycles are sold each month, largely to cycling enthusiasts who want to keep working those quads while they’re on the job. From an office fitness standpoint, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind, but one thing’s for sure: The design of the product and the ergonomic setup of your workstation are paramount to success. If you haven’t yet, check out our round-ups of Bike Desk Reviews, as well as the related Desk Cycle Reviews, before choosing the best product for your particular needs.
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.