Bike trainer stand or under desk-pedal machine for cardio workout?
July 30, 2020 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Which type of indoor bike exerciser would you choose--a bike stand exerciser or under-desk pedal machine?

I need a space saving bike exercise machine for the winter months that will give me a good cardio workout. From Apr-Nov, I bike 11-15 miles a day, including a very steep hill that leaves me winded. In winter at the gym on a stationary bike, I bike 45 min. 11 miles or so at 8-10 resistance that leaves me sweaty. I'd like to be able to get a similar bike workout at home if possible without getting a a full indoor stationary cycle, which I have no room for. Here are the options I'm considering:

Bike stand exerciser with my current road bike:


Under desk cycle:

I welcome any other suggestions or alternatives. Thanks.
posted by Elsie to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you get the bike stand exerciser (more commonly known as a bike trainer) you can ride on Zwift or The Sufferfest or other apps, which will make your exercise more interesting/less dull. But you'll need to add in a speed sensor that will communicate with those apps.

If you want to get an even deeper experience, there are smart trainers which will cost more, but they will automatically adjust the difficulty like an exercise bike or to simulate climbing/different terrain. Note that due to the pandemic, a lot of these have low or no stock.
posted by meowzilla at 2:06 PM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Bike trainers are usually quite loud (though that one does say that it's quiet, I'd recommend watching some of the videos, because I think what they're saying is "relatively quiet for a trainer"). And they take a little while to set up/break down - you don't exactly just set the bike on it and ride, you generally have to lock some stuff in, arrange some stuff. A road bike on a trainer is usually going to take up more space than a stationary bike, so if you're looking to save space you will need to take the bike off the trainer when not in use (although if you generally park your bike in the house I guess you can just put the trainer where you currently put the bike, and certainly it will take up less space than a stationary bike during the outdoor-riding season).

Not saying "don't get a bike trainer" but just want to make sure you're aware of how they actually work in your home.
posted by mskyle at 2:15 PM on July 30, 2020

What did you do while riding the stationary bike? listen to music? read?

Consider how to adapt / include that activity, as stationary bikes at gyms usually have a stand or a screen etc. Perhaps the under-desk one will make that easy?
But I'd get the trainer. As noted above, get one that can interface with Zwift. And you may want a fan to help keep you cooler while you ride....

If you want a full cycling experience you can also get rollers.
posted by TDIpod at 2:35 PM on July 30, 2020

I'm not particularly an exercise cyclist, but I found myself locked down fully indoors and only with my folding bike easily accessible (a Brompton). And rollers were the perfect solution to that because they're so easy to put down in the middle of the floor (but near enough a wall to hold onto) and just start riding.

And you stay active and engaged because there's still plenty of balancing to be doing, and it's not that loud. It's really satisfying. So count me as a positive for rollers as being engaging and fun.
posted by ambrosen at 3:06 PM on July 30, 2020

I found the under desk pedaler didn’t do anything. I recommend the FitDesk, which I’ve been happy with. (Or the bike trainer thing.)
posted by music for skeletons at 5:02 PM on July 30, 2020

Best answer: I have that desk cycle -- I've been using it to help with recovering from knee surgery. It's well-made, solid, and very quiet. I see how someone with a desk job could benefit from it, but really it just feels like I'm sitting on my ass and moving my legs. The range of motion is limited compared to what you have with a recumbent stationary bike (the only bike I've been on in the last few years). The highest setting seems pretty stiff to me, but if you want real cardio, I think you're better off using your bike with a stand.
posted by wryly at 6:55 PM on July 31, 2020

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