Falling somewhere between sitting desk, sit-stand desk, and stationary gym equipment, the Flexispot Deskcise Pro V9 is essentially an upright exercise bike with an adjustable tabletop bolted to the front. It’s a fairly simple idea, but Flexispot takes their sit-stand-move concept a giant leap further with this desk-bike hybrid. Such an investment could have a lasting impact on your long-term health, depending on how you use it.
Bike Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
Desktop Weight Capacity: 110 pounds
Seat Height Range: 29.6 to 37.2 inches
Desktop Height Range: 34.5 to 47.2 inches
Desktop Size: 22.8 x 20 inches
Bike Size: 48.4 x 37.6 x 22.8 inches
Weight: 76 pounds
Just remember: on its own, a desk bike is no substitute for proper fitness and nutrition. Spinning your wheels with this caliber of equipment isn’t going to reverse the effects of an inactive lifestyle overnight. For certain demographics, however — such as middle-aged folks with mild leg complaints — standing desks (and under-desk bikes) can be an excellent tool to improve one’s quality of life.
Everyone has a fitness journey, and when it comes to professional productivity, an ergonomically sound workstation is a proverbial step in the right direction.
Reasons to get a desk bike (or standing desk)
The underlying principle is pretty simple here: sedentary stuff — like watching TV, web browsing, or checking emails — becomes instantly active when you throw an exercise bike into the mix. Plus, everyone is tethered to their tech these days, and the more time you spend hunched over a laptop keyboard with poor posture, the worse it is for your neck, spine, hips, and knees. From a holistic standpoint, an uncomfortable office space can become a ticking time bomb for potential injury — both short- and long-term.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the #1 cause of disability worldwide; half of all working Americans admit to back pain symptoms, accounting for more than 264 million lost workdays each year. And according to TheGoodBody.com, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend most of their office hours sitting down. At the end of the day, standing-centric habits are unequivocally healthier than hours of cramped, unhealthy posture.
To complement its products, Flexispot has an informative, well-researched wellness section on its website to help you create a more ergonomic lifestyle.
Editor’s note: As a 180-pound, 6-foot-3-inch 30-something with two ACL replacements in my left knee, sitting for long bouts of time is an uphill battle; I’m always more comfortable on my feet. I also underwent a 70-pound weight-loss transformation in my late 20s, and am well-attuned to the lifestyle changes that helped me get there. Transitioning from sedentary to sit-stand habits was pivotal in helping me drop the weight — and keep it off.
Flexispot makes two types of desk bikes in two different colors: black or white. The Deskcise Pro V9 model functions as an actual desk (albeit in miniature), as the 22.8 x 20-inch desktop is attached directly to the bike frame. The less expensive V9U, however, nixes the workspace attachment; you simply roll the frame underneath your table of choice to start pedaling away as you work.
In addition to the Pro V9 and V9U desk bikes, Flexispot offers a wide variety of other “sit-stand-move solutions”:
- Standing Desk Converters - These tabletop frames let you convert your existing desk into a sit-stand desk — minimal assembly required.
- Height Adjustable Desks - These portable workstations are big enough to replace your old desk, and they come in myriad shapes and sizes. (Electric and manual height-adjustment options available.)
- Standalone frames - These expandable frames can be attached to virtually any surface you please and are a godsend for any DIY workshop. (Three color options: white, black, and grey.)
Unlike full-size standing desks, which can take an hour or more to assemble, the Deskcise Pro V9 is ready out-of-the-box in just a few minutes. All you have to do is flip down the pedals, snap out the wheelbase, and attach the desktop piece with the included hex key. (Flexispot’s instruction manual vernacular is kind of adorable, by the way.)
Indeed, I had no problem setting this thing up in my living room. At 76 pounds, though, it’s not the most lightweight contraption; depending on your own upper body strength, snapping out those wheels and flipping the bike upright might be a two-person job.
The pedals have orange reflectors on them, which is neat-looking but also a curious design choice since you won’t exactly be taking this thing on the road; rubber pedal covers are included to provide better padding for naked toes.
Take note: the desktop scratches easily and is susceptible to damage on the corners if you’re not careful. For the price, I would have liked to see a heavier-duty workspace. (Or at least the option for a material upgrade.)
Design, comfort, and ease of use
The seat height is adjustable between 29.6 and 37.2 inches, and the desktop height moves between 34.5 to 47.2 inches high. This leaves lots of room for micro-customization, particularly since the desktop also slides forward and backward. Flexispot says these measurements are ideal for bodies between 5-foot-1 and 6-foot-2 tall. As someone on the taller end of these parameters, I’d be inclined to agree.
When it comes to your work surface, the bike’s 22.8 x 20-inch desktop is big enough for a 17-inch laptop (with room to spare), and the built-in wrist rest makes for a more ergonomic typing experience. You don’t have to use this bike exclusively for laptop chores, though; pedal away as you watch TV, read a book, or work on your next knitting project.
Adjusting the seat and desktop was a breeze; no sticky levers or clunky mechanisms to be found. The seat cushion could be more comfortable, however, depending on your body type. My boney butt started getting sore after 30 minutes or so, which served as an organic reminder to get up and walk around every now and then. (Granted, there’s a simple fix for this. And I’m certain the seat gets more comfortable with continued use.)
The Deskcise Pro V9 is supported by four stable, collapsible legs, which let you roll the bike from room to room with ease — but not too much ease; wheel movements could be smoother as I pushed it around, and they make some noise when in motion. The bike stayed put while I was pedaling, though, thanks to the internal gravity sensor that locks the wheels in place.
Burning calories while you work
Be warned: the Deskcise Pro V9 is not rated as a professional-grade exercise bike. (And if exercise is the #1 reason you’re shopping for a stationary bike, you may want one designed specially for the purpose.) So if you think this is going to replace those expensive spinning classes you take every weekend, think again.
That being said, it’s a fun change of pace to mix in some light cardio with daily office hours. My legs normally get stiff if I’m sitting still for too long, but it’s a pleasant option being able to pedal my way into a more comfortable leg position without actually standing up. I used the Deskcise Pro V9 as my secondary desk for two full weeks and was pleased with the additional functionality of my writing corner. (Since the whole thing is on wheels, the Pro V9 functions as a mobile table, whether I’m sitting at it or not — a useful addition to my freelance hustle.) You can pedal backward or forward to work different muscle groups in your legs; the internal resistance mechanisms work in both directions.
To put the Deskcise Pro V9 through its *ahem* paces, I used it on-and-off on a daily basis, not only to bike, but simply to perch on top of and stretch my limbs. (Just because you can bike doesn’t mean you have to, after all.) It’s not designed like a commercial exercise bike, so I didn’t treat it like one; it’s more of an office tool than a piece of gym equipment.
With eight resistance levels to choose from, the Pro V9 takes multitasking to another stratosphere; the built-in LCD display (powered by two AA batteries) keeps track of time, speed, calories burned, RPM, and distance/total distance. This is ideal for weight loss, by the way, which is all about the math. Unfortunately, the data collected during each workout can’t be stored or transferred anywhere, and there’s no workout summary at the end (ex, average RPM or speed); the LCD turns off if you stop pedaling for more than four minutes.
Test-driving the Deskcise Pro V9
From a fitness perspective, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this bike, but it can actually get your blood pumping; at the end of the day, it’s all about how you use it. During one testing session, for example, I took the Deskcise Pro V9 for a casual afternoon spin (adjusting the resistance between levels 3 and 6) while simultaneously writing this review. Here were my end-of-workout stats:
Total workout time: 60 minutes
Total calories burned: 228
Total distance: 9.44 miles
Total words typed: 448
Not bad for a semi-relaxing ride at the (home) office. Using this workout as a general baseline, let’s say I exercised on this desk bike on the regular for just one hour a day, 5 days a week. That’s a grand total of 4,560 extra calories burned every month — on top of whatever other exercises I do. For context, the average adult male expends roughly 2,000 to 3,000 calories every day just to exist. (It’s 1,600 to 2,400 calories for the average female). So from the perspective of my own personal physiology, in this scenario, I could potentially burn 2 full days worth of calories every month simply by adding a casual bike session to my daily routine. (While undergoing my own weight-loss transformation, this is the sort of data I’d use to create a calorie deficit between my gym routine and weekly nutritional intake.)
Note: I’d take the accuracy of these calorie readings with a grain of salt, since they’re calculated on category averages and not your own personal height/weight.
My bum started to ache around the 30-minute mark, and by 60 minutes, I was ready for a break. Still, the rubber pedal covers work well to protect my bare feet, and the desktop remained stable throughout. As advertised, the pedals barely make a sound when engaged, and movements feel smooth between gears. When you’re done cycling, the bike functions as an easy-to-move standing desk; just hop off the seat and adjust the workspace accordingly. It’s a great way to squeeze some casual cardio into your routine without sacrificing dedicated productivity time.
Who is this for?
It’s actually quite refreshing to mix office hours with daily fitness, and I can see lots of reasons to own one of these things. Off the top of my head, here are few types of people who might appreciate a desk bike:
- Anyone trying to avoid a sedentary lifestyle (ie, sitting too long on a regular basis)
- Busy parents (or office employees) who have trouble making time for the gym
- Freelancers who don’t have access to much exercise equipment
- Senior citizens with weaker legs
- Anyone recovering from knee surgery
You get the idea. To a large degree, the Deskcise Pro V9 is what you make of it; when utilized properly, it can absolutely complement a healthier lifestyle, no matter who you are. At its best, this is a highly useful piece of office equipment that doubles as a healthy piece of gym equipment. But how healthy is up to you.
The Deskcise Pro V9 isn’t exclusively for office work, either. Just like at the gym, you can use all that cycling time to catch up on your favorite TV shows, movies, magazines, or books. (To that end, I’d love to see a recumbent bike option from Flexispot for those with bad backs and limited mobility.)
Flexispot includes a one-year limited warranty that covers the frame, internal electronics, and other bike mechanisms.
For anyone concerned about an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, the Flexispot Deskcise Pro V9 could be just the office furniture you’ve been waiting for. Half desk, half stationary bike, the Deskcise Pro V9 is a deceivingly basic workstation that stays perfectly stable when in use, allowing you to burn through calories and emails simultaneously. It’s not a miracle machine when it comes to personal fitness, but overall, it’s a fantastic tool for holistic home office health.