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Small Portable Pedal Exercisers - Smallest Exercise Bikes Under Desk

Updated on July 7, 2014

If you are wanting to get in shape but are put off by the size and bulkiness of regular exercise machines and just haven't the time to join a gym then a mini exercise bike might be just what you are looking for.

These small portable exercise bikes are designed for the home user who doesn't have a lot of space but still wants to enjoy all the benefits owning a stationary fitness bike can bring.

They are small enough to fit under a desk so you can get some exercise while you work, or in front of the TV so you can get in shape whilst you watch your favorite soaps...or whatever else it is you watch.

Don't let the size fool you however, these are just as powerful a workout machine as a regular full sized exercise bike. if you think about it, it's the pedals and the resistance which gives you a workout anyway, not the rest of the bike. These mini pedal exercizers are basically just that part of the bike with the seat, handlebars and frame discarded as unnecessary, which, they are!

If you are lacking in space then you want the smallest exercise bike you can find and these mini pedal bikes will fit your requirements very nicely. You just sit in a regular chair and pedal away the calories. The benefits do not stop there however, and the rest of this lens will explore some more of the advantages to owning one of these fitness machines and give some recommendations to which are the best mini exercise bikes on the market today.

Mini Exercise Bike Reviews

Reviews Of The Top Pedal Exercisers

If you are looking to buy a mini pedal exerciser then there are a couple of models which are highly recommended by their users.

The Best Mini Exercise Bike - If you want the best then go with the Magnetrainer ER which has a very smooth action and is well worth its price tag. This is a top of the line magnetic resistance model for around $170.

The Best Selling Mini Exercise Bike On Amazon - If the price of the Magentrainer ER is a little steep then another machine which is well reviewed by its users is the discounted Stamina InStride Cycle XL which is still a great little exercise bike if you accept its limitations. This is a great cheap pedal exerciser under $40.

The Best Mini Exercise Bike

MagneTrainer ER Mini Exercise Bike - Includes Large Pedals with Velcro Straps
MagneTrainer ER Mini Exercise Bike - Includes Large Pedals with Velcro Straps

The difference between a mini exercise cycle which creates resistance via the use of friction and a small pedal exerciser which generates resistance via magnetism, is quite marked and very obvious once you compare the machines. Users of the lightest pedal exercise bikes are often disappointed with the stability, inability to provide much resistance and general inability to 'go fast' or get any kind of intense workout from the machine. They tend to move around on carpet, tip sideways because they are so light and the pedal action gets choppy and jerky as you approach higher speed.

For many, this isn't an issue because they only want to pedal lightly with a little resistance as they watch TV or sit at a desk. For the rest of us, there's the Magnetrainer ER.

This is an excellent mini exercise bike which will more closely mimic the stationary or recumbent exercise bikes seen in the average gym. If you tried a manual friction resistance bike like the Stamina XL and were disappointed then this is where you should stop next on your search. It's a much better exerciser but is also comes with a price tag of over $100 more expensive to match. This is justified by the vastly improved quality of the machine in question.

This bike uses magnetic resistance to provide a more or less intense workout as you desire. This means for a much smoother action in the pedals no matter whether you are going fast or slow you do not get the choppy or jerking motion friction resistance often provides which is much kinder on your joints and muscles. This is important as you want sore legs and arms from a great workout not because jerking pedals have caused uneccessary strain. Resistance is controlled with a knob on the front of the bike and can be adjusted from almost nothing up to 160 watts of resistance with gradul intervals in between which is almost twice what similar mini exercise bikes offer.

The frame is made from steel with a heavy duty plastic cover which all leads to this unit coming in at around 23 pounds in weight. It's a little heavy but its still easy for most people to move around with ease and certainly much lighter than any full frame exercise bike. This heaviness however, means more stability and it feels very firm and sturdy when you use it. No wobbling and shaking to be found here. Some users still say it slips on carpet but that can be solved with the addition of a cheap yoga mat placed underneath before use.

It's quiet too as most magnetic resistance machines are as there is no scraping friction resistance and with this being a study unit, there's none of those unwanted extra noises from a jostling or bouncing frame or rattling pedals.

The Magnetrainer ER features a more advanced feedback monitor than you will find on cheap pedal exercisers. Here you will be able to see your workout time, distance travelled, speed and even an estimation of calories burned during your time spent working out. These are useful motivators and help you get a better and more repeatable workout from your machine.

You can even hook this up to a computer through a PC interface to automatically keep track of your exercise progress. Not only that, but it will connect to driving and racing games or the NetAthlon 2 cycling simulator software to add some fun interactivity to your time spent working out.

This is a top of the line mini exercise bike which comes at a great price to the home consumer.


The Best Selling Mini Pedal Exerciser on Amazon

Stamina 15-0120 InStride Cycle XL
Stamina 15-0120 InStride Cycle XL

Stamina makes great low priced exercise machines for the home user and this is no exception. The Stamina InStride Cycle XL is an inexpensive pedal exerciser built around a lightweight but rugged tubular steel frame. This seatless exercise bike does away with the bulky handbars, seats and other unecessary elements to provide just the core pedal and resistance elements of a standard exercise bike. Instead of a seat you can use a standard dining chair (or other seat) and pedal away with either your hands or feet in a forward or backward motion. Non slip rubber feet prevent the unit from moving when in use and the wide base is designed to help prevent tipping to either side. Users of the Stamina InStride XL cycle are impressed by the price but caution it is not going to replace vigorous exercise and the lightness does produce some instability and slipping on carpeted surfaces. It does have an exercise timer but there is no way to measure things like speed, calories, distance etc. which more expensive models can do. It is also not designed for you to pedal like a madman either, for a more intense workout you will need a heavier more expensive machine, but for a general light workout this machine will fit most the bill for most users.


A Quick Owner Video Of The Stamina Instride In Action

Mini Elliptical Trainer - Try A Hybrid Option

Stamina 55-1610 InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer
Stamina 55-1610 InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer

OK so it's not a mini bike as such, but if you are in the market for a small sized exercise machine for the home then it's worth taking a look at this mini elliptical trainer as well. No, you can't pedal this with your hands like you can with the mini pedal exercise machines on this page but for a lower body workout it is highly recommended. You can also combine it with resistance bands and hand weights as the video which follows shows, to get a full body workout.

What you are basically buying here is an elliptical machine without the arms or front console. You are getting the chassis and the pedals which not only makes it much cheaper, far more portable and easy to stow away when not in use, but is also still capable of packing a workout punch and all for under $100.

The oscillating non-slip pedals move in the elliptical motion you are used to and provide the same low impact workout a full sized cross trainer provides but in a much more compact elliptical machine.

You can use this either seated or standing up on the machine. If you suffer from balance problems then your should probably stay seated as you can still take advantage of the great sedentary exercise you can do with this mini elliptical machine.


Is An Exercise Bike Better Than A Mini Pedal Bike?

Pedal Exercizer vs Gym Bike

A full sized exercise bike more closely resembles the kind of fitness machine you will see in a regular fitness club and may have owned in the past. These are quite large, quite bulky machines which were initially the norm if you wanted an exercise cycle.

However, if you really think about it, this type of fitness machine is really just a pair of pedals attached to a flywheel which provides resistance which allows you to intensify or relax your workout. The handlebars, seat and other parts of an exercise bike are in reality, pretty superfluous to the actual workout providing part of the machine.

A mini pedal exercizer takes that extra stuff and throws it away, leaving you will a much smaller fitness machine which ultimately does exactly the same job!

It's Also A Hand Exercise Bike

Pedal Exercisers Work The Upper Body Too

The nice difference between a mini pedal exercise cycle and a full sized gym bike is that this type can be used for working out both the lower AND upper body area when used as a hand bike.

A regular gym bike is a great exercise machine for toning and strengthening your legs and thighs and for losing calories but to work out your upper body you will need to turn to an alternative fitness machine and who has the space at home for multiple pieces of bulky gym equipment?

A small portable exercise bike on the other hand can be used to work out both legs and arms. For an upper body exercise simply pick up the mini cycle and place it on a deck or table. Then grab the foot pedals with you hands and pedal away with your arms instead and hey presto, you have a hand cycle instead. This is a great upper body exercise which can again be performed in the comfort of your own home and doesn't require a lot of space to use. It will strengthen your arms, biceps, triceps and burn calories in the process of giving you a great cardiovascular workout.

A Portable Desk Exercise Bike Is Great For Travel Too

Sometimes traveling on holiday or away on business trips means putting your workout routine on hold. This can be a fatal blow because when you come back from that vacation it is often difficult to get back into the swing of things and worst case scenario is you might stop working out altogether!

Thankfully a mini exercising bike is there to rescue you again. They are small and light enough to fit in the trunk of your car and the smallest exercise bike is small and light enough to fit in a suitcase with ease. There are even folding mini bikes which fold down flat and save space that way.

Vacation is the one time even the most dedicated among us let our diet and healthy eating regiments go out the window so it's nice to be able to burn of some of those extra calories before bed. These are virtually noiseless so for a hotel exercise machine you can be assured of not bothering the other guests. If you are staying with family you can even slip in a quick workout in a bedroom without them even knowing about it.

Work Out Anywhere Around The Home

Turn Every Room Into Your Personal Gym

Mini exercising bikes really are the go anywhere solution to your workout needs. Anywhere you can sit become a place you can exercise

So, workout in your bedroom sitting on the edge of the bed or on a bedroom chair. Or put it under a desk and workout while you work. You may have heard of treadmill desks which allow you to walk your way to good health standing at your desk all day well, a miniature pedal exerciser is enmity cheaper and more comfortable alternative. Forget standing, here you can sit and cycle and it fan cost under 20 bucks rather than 500 plus for a treadmill desk!

These are so lightweight you can use them wherever you like. A favorite location is on the couch in front of the tv watching you favorite television programs. If it's a nice day take it out to the garden and work on your tan as you tone your body. The options are endless.

Mini PC Magnetic Bike Trainer

Should I Get A Manual Or Motorized Pedal Exerciser?

Sooner or later you will have to chose between a manual pedal exerciser which uses tension resistance to tighten up the pedals and make a workout harder or lighter or whether to go with a motorized electric pedal bike which mains powered and uses the more flexible magnetic resistance to do the same thing.

Bottom line: motorized mini exercise bikes are better than resistive pedal exercisers but you will also pay 3 or 4 times the price for them.

The long version: The popular type are the non-powered portable leg exercisers and they are the cheapest of the two options and you do not have to be near a power source to use them. Electric pedal bikes are also heavier due to the motor which makes them less portable and less desirable amongst older people who do not want to lift heavy weights.

That said, aside from being cheap and light that's where the benefits end. If that's all you can afford then they do get the job done but the magnetic resistance mini cycle trainers do the job better.

The cheap resistive mini bike use friction to provide resistance and this can be quite jerky at the higher resistance levels which is not good for your joints and the tension can slip over time meaning your need to keep retightening it. A good motorized pedal exerciser, on the other hand, offers a wider range of resistance levels and a smooth pedal action which is kinder on your joints and muscles.

Small exercise bikes can feel too light and unstable unless you opt of a more expensive model. There are hollow tube frame mini bikes for around the $20 mark but they are so light they can tip and lift off the desk as you work out. Lightweight is great, but not when it comes at the expense of usability. Some of the more expensive motorized pedal bikes are bulkier and more stable but just by default, the motor in a motorised exercise bike trainer adds weight and makes for a more sturdy cycle in all cases.

The best exercise machines for older people

You will often see these mini exercise cycles in rehab facilities and old people's homes. That's because they offer a low impact means of working out the lower and upper body and getting in some light cardio exercise without over exerting or having to clamber onto an exercise machine when the person's balance may not be as stable as it used to be.

A pedal exerciser machine can be used by an older person from the comfort of their favorite chair or from the edge of their bed if they choose. This makes them n ideal geriatric exercise machine.

It's the best exercise machine for an apartment or condo

If you live in a small apartment condo or mobile home then the idea of owning your own exercise bike or other fitness machine probably hasn't crossed your mind in any serious form.

Got One? Want One?? Something Else???

Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    LadyDuck 4 years ago

    Very informative lens, I have a small exercise bike very similar to the MagneTrainer. I need it to reinforce my right arm that I broke in an accident. It really works, after a couple of training I am doing much better now.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    Great stuff! Keep sharing such things with us!

  • kabbalah lm profile image

    kabbalah lm 4 years ago

    First time I've seen these. Great idea

  • Rosanna Grace profile image

    Rosanna Grace 4 years ago

    very informative, thank you :0)

  • plecasso lm profile image

    plecasso lm 4 years ago

    good lens with great information

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    Very cool. Never knew these existed! Thanks for sharing!

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    These are all so cute! Great stuff.

  • LittleLindaPinda profile image

    Little Linda Pinda 4 years ago from Florida

    Great invention.

  • sasta10 lm profile image

    sasta10 lm 4 years ago

    I have one at home, great for micro workout. Thanks for sharing.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    I've never actually used one, I'd try it though! *blessed by a squid angel*

  • mihgasper profile image

    Miha Gasper 4 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

    These mini exercise bikes look great: portable, but powerful. Thumbs up!

  • Faye Rutledge profile image

    Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

    My mom used one of these little exercise bikes when recuperating from knee replacement surgery.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    good work

  • Melissa Miotke profile image

    Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

    This is a great idea to do while you're working!

  • profile image

    MintySea 5 years ago

    Thanks for these tips. I wish I didn't give mine away

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago


  • Elyn MacInnis profile image

    Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

    I am going to remember this - I have read research that says that any sort of movement is better than sitting still. And that would mean a desk bicycle! Thanks for collecting all the good information! Blessings to you.

  • profile image

    Sojourn 5 years ago

    When I was spending most of my business day on conference calls at my desk, it was one of these small pedal exercise machines that kept me from getting fidgety and out of shape. They're really helpful.

  • mueedahmad profile image

    mueedahmad 5 years ago

    It looks so great. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Great info and lens. Thanks for this.

  • LaraineRoses profile image

    Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

    I can think of at least 3 people who could use one of these. What a great idea .. I'll pass this information along. Bookmarking this lens. Thank you. Angel blessings**

  • PaulWinter profile image

    PaulWinter 5 years ago

    I could do with one of these. They look like they take up much less room than a full sized exercise bike.

  • profile image

    EliteWeightGain 5 years ago

    Great info - nice to see others preaching about a healthy lifestyle. Little investments like one of these bits of equipment can really make a big difference to our lifestyle! Good lens my man :-)

  • peggygallyot profile image

    peggygallyot 5 years ago

    I would like one. It looks so cute.

  • Camden1 profile image

    Camden1 5 years ago

    I haven't heard of these mini exercise bikes - what a great idea!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    I don't have a small portable pedal exerciser but could see how one would be nice to have for those of us that can't get away from the computer. I do sit on a fitness ball most of the day and move to the recliner at night to keep working.

  • Johanna Eisler profile image

    Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

    These look great. I'd never seen them before. Thanks for the helpful education! :)

  • Ryan Will profile image

    Ryan Will 5 years ago

    Um never heard of these; however they look fantastic for helping me stay in shape at the office.

  • LouisaDembul profile image

    LouisaDembul 5 years ago

    I don't think I would bring a mini exercise bike with me on a vacation, but it's great for the office!

  • profile image

    sherioz 5 years ago

    What a fantastic idea!!

  • profile image

    RinchenChodron 5 years ago

    Yes, I recently bought one (not electric) and it does help me to be active also helps with the arms as well as legs. But I did enjoy this lens and may want to come back when I'm ready for an electric one.

  • norma-holt profile image

    norma-holt 5 years ago

    Great ideas here. I badly need something like this. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Health Matters, Hugs

  • BlogsWriter profile image

    BlogsWriter 5 years ago

    I love that they are small and portable.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    These provide great exercise. We have one at work.

  • cdevries profile image

    cdevries 5 years ago

    I've actually got one and kinda like it, but it doesn't work well with a swivel desk chair. (Think about it... Silly looking exercise!)

  • WriterJanis2 profile image

    WriterJanis2 5 years ago

    This sounds like a great way to exercise.

  • tricomanagement profile image

    tricomanagement 5 years ago

    have a small stepper - works great when the weather is bad

  • yourselfempowered profile image

    Odille Rault 5 years ago from Gloucester

    Brilliant idea! I didn't know about these mini-exercise bikes - I'm definitely going to have to get one! Blessed. :)

  • profile image

    anonquid99 5 years ago

    i add weights around my leg and it increases the heart rate

  • intermarks profile image

    intermarks 5 years ago

    I was thinking to buy a bike, and after seeing this lens, I have change my mind. I think I am gonna to get a mini exercise bike instead.

  • mommahawk profile image

    mommahawk 5 years ago

    I just seen an ad for this in the coupon inserts in the newspaper. It would be even more awesome if they made it wire to your computer or laptop for a free energy source.

  • Gypzeerose profile image

    Rose Jones 5 years ago

    This is perfect for both Internet writing and my job at the call center.

  • TLRaghavan profile image

    TLRaghavan 5 years ago

    At my age I can certainly use a lot more of exercise. Nice.

  • mySuccess8 profile image

    mySuccess8 5 years ago

    Interesting products for exercising in areas with very limited space. Thanks.

  • PTurner56 profile image

    PTurner56 5 years ago

    I wish I had know about these before I spent all that money on a full size exer-cycle! Great lens!

  • profile image

    kelli320 5 years ago

    Never knew these even existed. Interesting.

  • Patbinc profile image

    Patbinc 6 years ago

    Great lens...I can actually use it as a guide to the right equipment. Keep up the good work