Under Desk Treadmill vs Bikes: Which One is Better?

Under Desk Treadmill vs Bikes: Which One is Better?

Key Takeaways

  • Under-desk treadmills offer a convenient way to stay active even when you're stuck at a desk.
  • Bikes are usually quieter and can be easier to use while watching TV.
  • Both types of equipment have adjustable settings to fit different fitness levels and preferences.
  • Considering your space, budget, and fitness goals will help you decide which is the best option for you.


At SOLE Fitness, we're proud to offer the best exercise bikes for your home. Our equipment is built to meet the highest standards of quality and performance—perfect for individuals looking to stay active comfortably. With an emphasis on convenience, durability, and user-friendly design, our bikes support a healthy and productive lifestyle for fitness enthusiasts of all levels.

Featured Products

  • SOLE Bikes come in various models designed for an effective lower-body workout. They feature heavy-duty flywheels and adjustable resistance to simulate outdoor cycling challenges, making them ideal for intense lower-body exercises like toning the glutes. Competitively priced, these bikes have solid build and meticulous design to ensure a comfortable, effective workout session every time.
  • At the time of writing, we don’t have any under-desk treadmill.


What Sets Under Desk Treadmills and Bikes Apart

Workout Intensity and Type

Under-desk treadmills are designed for low-intensity, low-impact activities like gentle walking while working at a standing desk. They are not suitable for high-intensity running or jogging, as they have a lower top speed (usually around 4 mph) compared to regular treadmills. Under-desk treadmills are best suited for brisk walks that can help improve cardiovascular health, mood, and productivity, while still enabling users to focus on their work.

Exercise bikes offer a more intense workout compared to under-desk treadmills due to their adjustable resistance and flywheel weight. The resistance on exercise bikes can be increased to provide a challenging workout that targets the leg muscles even more. The flywheel, which is the weighted wheel that provides momentum and resistance, is designed for more demanding pedaling motion. This combination of adjustable resistance and heavier flywheel enables users to achieve a higher-intensity workout, which is beneficial for building muscle strength and endurance in the lower body. 

Impact and Footwear

Bikes are low-impact exercises, which means they are easier on the joints and do not require specialized footwear like running shoes. This makes them a better option for those who want to avoid the stress and potential injuries associated with running. 

Space and Noise

Under-desk treadmills are designed to be more compact and space-efficient compared to exercise bikes. 

On the other hand, exercise bikes typically require more storage space because they are taller and wider. Additionally, some exercise bikes may have wheels, pedals, or more substantial frames, further increasing their footprint. 

Both under-desk treadmills and bikes are generally quiet machines and can be used while you’re working or watching TV.

Comfort Level

Under-desk treadmills are not uncomfortable, but of course, you have to stand while using them. So if you prefer to sit, then exercise bikes are a better choice. 

Exercise bikes often have adjustable seats and handlebars for a more comfortable and ergonomic riding position. This allows for proper body alignment and reduces strain on the back, neck, and shoulders. For example, the SOLE LCR is a recumbent bike that has a supportive back and adjustable seat.

Advanced Technological Features

Most under-desk treadmills have basic technological features to track critical workout metrics such as calories burned and distance covered. 

Exercise bikes often come equipped with advanced tech features such as large, high-definition touchscreens like our SOLE LCB model that provide access to a variety of preloaded apps, virtual workout classes, and interactive training programs. These screens can connect to WiFi so you can stream content, follow along with live or on-demand classes, and compete on leaderboards. 

For example, all SOLE bikes can be used with the SOLE+ Fitness app for hundreds of on-demand workout videos and the Kinomap app for a more interactive session. 

Top Features of Under Desk Treadmills

  • Compact Design: Under-desk treadmills are designed to be compact and portable. They often have foldable or slim profiles that allow for easy storage when not in use.
  • Quiet Operation: Under-desk treadmills are designed to operate with minimal noise—ideal for use in shared spaces or during work calls.  
  • Tech Features: Under-desk treadmills may include basic tech features like LED screens that display metrics such as time, distance, steps, and calories burned. 
  • Adjustable Speed: Most under-desk treadmills have an adjustable speed between 0.5 to 4 mph so that users can concentrate on work while still walking. 

Top Features of Bikes

  • Flywheel Weight: The weighted flywheel system provides a smooth, momentum-driven pedaling experience, simulating outdoor uphill cycling to maximize calorie burn and enhance leg strength and endurance. For example, SOLE LCR has the heaviest flywheel weight of 31 lbs which should help you target major leg muscles like quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
  • Comfortable and Adjustable Seating: SOLE recumbent bikes—the LCR and R92—feature wide, padded seats for optimal lower back and thigh support for extended cycling sessions. Many other SOLE bikes have four-way adjustable seats that move up/down and fore/aft for efficient and comfortable pedaling.
  • Varied Resistance Settings: SOLE bikes come with adjustable resistance levels, so users can gradually increase workout intensity and strength training, accommodating all fitness levels and goals.
  • Smooth Pedaling Mechanism: SOLE bikes have a smooth pedaling mechanism that reduces joint stress, providing a comfortable and continuous motion that minimizes impact on the knees and hips.
  • Compatible with SOLE + Fitness App: This app offers over 3,000 exercise classes and allows users to monitor key workout metrics like distance, speed, time, and calories burned. This real-time feedback helps maintain motivation, adjust intensity levels, and track progress to achieve fitness goals.

An Overview of SOLE Bikes

Now, let’s see the top features of SOLE bikes: 

Bike Type


Flywheel Weight

Resistance Range & Type

Other Features


Recumbent Exercise Bike Series


31 lbs

40 levels; Magnetic

Padded backrest, adjustable seat, cushioned pedal



20 lbs

20 levels; Eddy current brake

Padded backrest, adjustable seat, cushioned pedal


Upright Exercise Bikes Series


27 lbs

40 levels; Magnetic

Cushioned gel seat with both vertical and horizontal adjustment options; cushioned pedal



20 lbs

20 levels; Eddy current brake

Cushioned gel seat with both vertical and horizontal adjustment options; cushioned pedal


Indoor Cycling Bike Series


35 lbs

100 levels; Magnetic

Adjustable seat and handlebars that move up and down as well as fore and aft, SPD/Toe Clip pedal



35 lbs

100 levels; Magnetic

Adjustable seat and handlebars that adjust vertically and horizontally, SPD/Toe Clip pedal 



Pros and Cons: A Balanced View

Pros of Using an Under Desk Treadmill

  • Increased Activity and Health Benefits: Under-desk treadmills can significantly increase daily physical activity and help reduce the negative health effects associated with prolonged sitting. This can lead to improved cardiovascular health, weight management, and overall well-being.
  • Improved Productivity and Ergonomics: Using an under-desk treadmill can enhance productivity by providing a change of pace and helping to maintain a healthy posture. 
  • Fairly Inexpensive and Space-Efficient: Under-desk treadmills are generally more affordable compared to exercise bikes and take up less space due to their compact design.

Cons of Using an Under Desk Treadmill

  • Limited Speed and Intensity: Under-desk treadmills are designed for low-intensity walking and typically have limited speed capacities, so they are not suitable for high-intensity workouts or for those who want to run or sprint.
  • Sweaty and Distracting: Walking on an under-desk treadmill can still cause sweating, which may be distracting or inconvenient for some users, especially in professional settings.
  • Learning Curve and Potential Injuries: There is a learning curve to walking while typing, which can take time to master. Improper posture or inadequate setup can also lead to injuries such as neck pain or joint strain.

Pros of Using a Bike

  • Boosts Cardio and Stamina: Exercise bikes are an efficient tool for enhancing your heart and lung health, which further increases your stamina, lowers blood pressure, improves memory, and reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Aids Weight Loss: Exercise bikes provide an effective workout to shed extra pounds and burn fat.
  • Strengthens the Lower Body: Exercise bikes strengthen the entire lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, and hip flexors, and can even enhance core muscles.

Cons of Using a Bike

  • Expensive: Exercise bikes can be heavy on your wallet, especially high-end ones, which may have more features but also come with a higher cost.
  • Can be Monotonous: Exercise bikes are pretty limited in terms of movement; the paddling can get repetitive and users may lose interest.
  • Requires Space: They take up a lot of space and may not be suitable for those with limited storage space. 

Expert Opinion: Our Take on Choosing Between Under Desk Treadmills or Bikes

An under-desk treadmill is ideal for individuals who want to incorporate physical activity into their work routine, especially those looking to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting. It is suitable for users seeking a low-impact way to stay active, improve circulation, and boost productivity while working at a desk.

SOLE exercise bikes are ideal for individuals seeking a low-impact, versatile workout that can be tailored to their fitness level and goals. They are suitable for beginners, those looking to improve cardiovascular health, and cyclists training for outdoor events.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the price ranges for SOLE bikes?

SOLE bikes come in a variety of price points to fit different budgets. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,099.99 to $1,799.99, depending on the features and quality of the equipment.

How does an under-desk treadmill differ from a traditional treadmill in terms of usage and space?

An under-desk treadmill is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a sitting or standing desk. It's typically more compact and has a lower maximum speed, making it ideal for multitasking while working. A traditional treadmill is more suited for dedicated workout sessions.

Which SOLE bike is most suitable for tight spaces?

The SOLE B94 is the smallest with an assembled dimension of 48"L x 23"W x 60"H. On the other hand, the SOLE SB1200 is the largest with an assembled dimension of 57"L x 21"W x 63"H. 

Can I transition from sitting to standing while using the SOLE bikes?

While SOLE Bikes are designed to be used in a seated position, you can easily transition from sitting to standing when you need a break from cycling. However, the bikes themselves are not meant to be used while standing.

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