Stamina InStride Folding Cycle Review
The most portable desk cycle we've reviewed so far, the Stamina InStride Folding Cycle probably belongs to a category of its own - in terms of weight, cost, and easy transport. It's a folding cycle for quick use on the go. But its strengths don't translate well to sustained use at a desk.
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18" L x 15" W x 13" H
Extremely inexpensive. Lightweight (6.2 lbs) and portable (folds up). Variable resistance settings. Comes with a timer.
Jerky motion due to lack of a flywheel. Squeaks with high tension. Friction based, so it generates a lot of heat. Cheap feel in general, especially the foot straps. No console for speed, distance, etc. Unit may slip away, especially at higher tension, requiring something to stabilize it.
A Foray into Folding Cycles
In every product category, it seems there’s a product that comes in as an ultra-budget option, beating the competition in terms of price and, well, not much else. That’s what we have here with the Stamina InStride Folding Cycle. But before we levy our judgment, it’s only fair to note that this is a folding cycle and may be competing in a bit of different domain; it's ultra-portable and pitched as a traveling companion as well as a desk partner. We’re reviewing desk cycles in terms of their applicability to office fitness, so we’re looking specifically at how these units operate under your desk while you work.
Cycle vs. Elliptical
The InStride cycle suffers from several drawbacks, including the fact that it is a cycling and not an elliptical unit. Elliptical units are safer for the knees in two ways. First, they are easier on the knees from a pressure standpoint; there’s less chance of aggravating old knee injuries, for instance. And second, they’re easier on the knees because you stand a better chance of not banging them against the bottom of your desk while you pedal; the elliptical motion doesn’t raise the knees as high as the normal cycle motion. So, right off the bat, the InStride Folding Cycle is knocked down a few points from the perspective of office fitness, because it offers a circular cycle motion.
Predictably Poor Quality
The main qualms we have with this folding cycle are unsurprising given its price. The quality necessary for sustained use simply isn’t there. There are complaints on Amazon about the short stride length; larger users, especially, find the motion uncomfortable. Criticism abounds about the unit being jerky due to the lack of a flywheel. And the scuttlebutt is that the product squeaks at higher tension levels. There’s no console to measure your speed or distance, and sometimes the unit will slip away if you’re pedaling at higher tensions. But the most alarming complaint is that the unit heats up due to friction from pedaling.
With an overall 3.5 stars on Amazon, this is the lowest rating by half a star we’ve seen for any of these desk cycle products. Reviewers point to an overall "cheap feel" of the unit and target the foot straps particularly as objects of their indignation. Readers should note that star ratings on Amazon can be misleading, and that 3.5 stars from verified customers translates to a D rating in our book.
If you’re in the market for a desk cycle unit, check out our Desk Cycle Comparison Review to get a feel for the other products out there; there may be one that better suits your needs. Whichever unit you decide to buy, be sure to check out our primer on How to Set Up an Ergonomically Proper Desk Cycle before you make a final purchase decision. But let’s end this review on a positive note. The Stamina InStride Folding Cycle is remarkably inexpensive ($30) and portable. It has variable resistance and comes with a timer, as well as a 90-day warranty.
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.
See our comprehensive Comparison Review of Desk Cycles and Bike Desks.