Last updated on April 5th, 2020 at 06:14 pm
Regardless of whether you’re stuck at home working due to the current situation the world is going through, or just want to get in some fitness while you’re playing video games or “working” after normal shifts; this post is for you.
Normally I do minimum 30 minutes of cardio a day. Normally.
That happens nearly every single day just because I will read while I do it and…well…I want to read…
Now I’ve been averaging about 60-180 minutes on the bike…daily.
But that doesn’t mean I’m going all out intensity like an absolute crazy person (so hold your comments about over training and being silly; it’s OKAY!).
I work, read, play video games and do essentially anything I would be doing at my desk (minus playing certain video games from my awesome PC setup with trip monitors….) while burning calories.
Yesterday I burned about 400 EXTRA calories (extra because I’m still training from home as well) just because I was moving my legs a bit while I worked.
If you guys want to really sync up and start training from home as well, I have a couple helpful articles already up, and will also share my current programming:
- Build Your Superhero Home Gym for Under $100
- This is the first of a 4 article series which will gradually go up in price.
- The Ultimate Calisthenics Workout and Guide
- A HUGE compilation of resources from the site all about bodyweight training and training from home; on top of FIVE Levels of a Progression Workout.
- This is my current programming.
But, okay, let me tell you a bit of what I’m currently working with.
The Best Bike Desk Setup
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These pictures show not only my current bike and bike desk setup that allows me to work while burning hundreds of calories, but also some of the upgrades I’ve added to my work from home, home gym.
And, don’t worry, I’ll go into detail about each choice I made while purchasing.
I’ll also be sharing some of the best alternative options I’ve come across along the way as well.
And, spoiler alert, if you’re looking for those, they’ll come after I discuss my current setup, which I personally think is the absolute best bike desk bang for your buck.
We’ll start with the most obvious: the bike.
After a bunch of research on the right bike to purchase, I narrowed it down to a two brands:
- Any Peloton Model
- One of the larger name brand bikes systems whose least expensive package starts around $2,200.
- High End Nordic Track
- Obviously most companies will have a range of prices (although Peloton’s “range” seems to only be “SUPER HIGH!” 😛 ), the Nordic Tracks that continued to come up in the top competitors list ranged from $1,000-2,000 like the one I linked to above, where their lower priced models seemed to fall to the side.
- Sunny Health and Fitness
- Like Nordic Track, Sunny Health and Fitness also has a ton of different styles and variations to their bikes; actually what felt like five times the amount. There are higher priced variations, like this one, that include a large device holder, or even some like this one, that are lower priced (not by much) than my choice; but oddly enough the range in prices competing with the top bikes were anywhere from $200-400 (even though some of their bikes sell for upwards of $1,500).
- The one I linked to above, this one, was my final choice show in the picture above, and I tell you more on WHY below. 🙂
- PSA: The one I’ve linked to as the one I purchased is model SF-B1423C and Chain Drive, but it is the closest model to what I chose that is currently available (I even checked other places like Walmart, etc.); but please note that the model I own is SF-b1423 BELT DRIVE and I only paid $225 (I think it’s normally $250), whereas the chain drive listed is showing $500-600+ at the moment due to lack of availability.
I scoured the internet for reviews and forums specifically there from users who had experience with multiple brands and seemed to be “bikers”.
Of course, there is a chance I missed one or two great options out there that could make a top five list, but I’ll share the simple alternatives later.
For example, I’ve seen that a Peloton desk addition is pretty simple and easy.
The issue is: Peloton and Nordic Track are usually thousands of dollars, so the fact that the desk addition is easy and fairly inexpensive (similar to something like this) does not make up for the fact that you just spent $2,000 extra on the bike.
So I researched some more to make sure my research was strong, and narrowed it down to Sunny Health and Fitness.
Then you come across about 2-4 different selections from SH&F you can choose from that I felt are within the class (good enough) that I’m wanted to achieve.
From there the main differences were:
- Belt Drive VS. Chain Drive
- I suggest doing research on this aspect for yourself, but after reading about the pros and cons of each side I decided it was best for me to go with a belt drive model.
- With or without Digital Display
- As I’ll show in a picture below, the bike comes with a digital monitor that does all the tracking I need. After choosing belt drive and that narrowing it down to 1-2 options, this felt like it closed the deal for me.
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Please disregard how dirty the monitor is. I took this picture while riding the bike with the desk above the monitor very quickly to give you guys an idea of what I’m talking about.
As you can see, without having to purchase an additional piece, the bike I comes with a tracker that shows: Time, Distance, Calories Burned, and Speed.
And, I don’t know about you, but even if some people don’t think this is that important, it’s absolutely necessary for me. It makes it super easy for me to mentally keep track of goals and daily checkpoints I’d like to hit.
To add to that point, I do want to make it clear that it is pretty easy to add a monitor to your setup yourself, but with the price ranges being so similar, and the belt drive already pushing me in that direction, it felt like an obvious choice to go with this one.
So with those two distinctions I was able to narrow it down to the perfect bike: Sunny Healthy and Fitness Indoor Cycling Bike, Belt Drive.
Since purchasing, I have made a few upgrades.
The obvious one being the desk and the seat that are both shown within the picture above.
I’ll break down all three upgrades that I’ve made, and why I made these choices:
- The Desk
- I went with RAD Cycle Adjustable Bike Desk and Workstation, as shown in the picture.
- This one took some measuring and planning considering it’s not specifically made for this bike. At first I was worried it wasn’t going to pull in far enough, or slant far enough, due to some bar being in the way or something. BUT, given Amazon being so great with returns, I decided to risk it. Boom, Pow, Smack; it works like a dang charm. It pulls in MORE than far enough (if you like having your desk up against your dang chest), and slides right over the handles with ease.
- Side Note: If you work from, or are planning on strictly using an iPad or some kind of tablet, what the bike comes with, and maybe even a cheap upgrade like this, should be more than enough. But, I use the desk for my laptop, reading, iPad and anything now because it makes it so comfortable I’m able to sit there for hours.
- Upgraded Seat
- I went with Sunlight Cloud-9 as shown in the picture.
- I don’t care what the reviews say. They’re lying. The seat is not comfortable enough to sit on for hours, which is why you see tons of people upgrading it in the reviews where they’re not telling you how amazing the regular seat is…
- For $20-$30 I sit on a Cloud and can comfortably work for a few hours without discomfort!
- Upgraded Pedals
- I went with SHIMANO PD bike pedals which I linked to above. Keep in mind, there are definitely better models if you want to REALLY upgrade.
- You know what? I’m not afraid to admit I only got these because I thought they were cool. I saw someone who completely customized their setup in the reviews and I was like “Dang! That’s cool! And it’s only $20-$30? SIGN. ME. UP!
- That being said, I’m actually really glad I did it. I was worried I wouldn’t like having my feet lock in place with the pedals that come with the bike, but I feel like I’m getting much more power and drive with the new ones.
- Floor Mats or Bike Mats
- This isn’t an upgrade, but I do want to mention it because I already have it. Even if we move the bike around the house (which we do, as I’ll show you below), we don’t leave it set up in other places; it always comes back to the mat.
- I have this gym mat, which I’ve also linked to above and in other articles; but I also linked to a Sunny Health and Fitness bike mat as well.
Oh, and to answer what some of you might be thinking: Yes, the desk is extremely easy to maneuver around just like the bike itself.
We move it around the house and in front of the TV all the time.
Here’s an example, with the right side being where we usually have it setup, and then the left of Ryan after having moved it around to watch My Hero Academia.
As I mentioned above: at the time of writing this article there is limited availability (due to COVID-19 and everyone wanting to purchase home gym equipment), so even the following list of alternatives is going to be very limited.
The good news is that there are still Sunny Health and Fitness [alternative options] available on Amazon, and also all the upgrades I’ve made, including the desk/workstation (which is the most important part after the bike), and the new seat and pedals, which should easily attach to most models.
That being said, I will do my very best to list some alternatives.
Alternative Cardio Workstation Setups
I want to start by linking to some alternatives that I ultimately decided to pass on, but feel I should still show you.
These are bike or even treadmill stations that already have the desk built into them, but I felt I was losing out on the quality of the bike itself to gain the desk setup, which all in all did not seem that great.
- FLEXISPOT Home Workstation Bike
- This one came up on my radar first when I began researching them, and some people did actually really like it; the issue with this and the two others I’ll link below is that you don’t really have the option to turn it up once you’re out of work mode.
- ExerWork Home Workstation Bike
- This one seems to be a cheaper variation of the one above, but will likely come with the same issues.
- FitDesk Folding Workstation Bike
- I’m honestly really only showing you guys this one because it folds up and there may be some people in need of something like this that are willing to take the loss of quality for the fact that it’s foldable AND has the station attached.
- Sunny Health and Fitness Mini Bike
- This one is another alternative you guys can consider. It’s a mini bike that goes under your desk and is just for your feet. Not my cup of tea, but everyone likes different tea, yah know?
- NordicTrack Desk Treadmill
- How could I not link to a NordicTrack option after telling you they came in the top slot among bikes? Couldn’t happen. Only issue is the price range again.
- ExerWork Treadmill with Desk Attached
- This one is the same brand as the second bike I linked to above. It actually seems pretty nice, but the price is a bit steep compared to what I’ve been suggesting.
- Treadmill Desk Attachment
- For those of you who might already have a treadmill and are just looking for an attachment or “upgrade” like I did with the desk for the bike; this may be an option for you.
Alright, that’s it!
I don’t want to give anymore options that I haven’t personally tried myself, so please do note that this below list is to give you ideas for alternatives, not that I specifically recommend them.
I specifically recommend the first variation that I”m calling “The Best”, if that was not clear.
Get to work, burn those calories, and enjoy!
SHJ’s Nick Fury