I’m a 40-year-old single dad with two kids and two jobs and not a ton of free time. I own a treadmill and a stationary bike, both of which I use begrudgingly. For me, exercise is less about a sense of personal accomplishment or the joys of physical fitness; it is merely a way to stave off the icy hand of death. I’m not running toward some lofty goal of a future 5k, I’m fleeing the inevitable breakdown of this fleshy husk as it approaches middle age. Plus, I like pizza and beer, and those calories have to go somewhere.
While I’ve never been a “fitness enthusiast,” I was a regular at a local gym for a number of years. The thing is, I was really only going for one thing: the elliptical. (I can lift heavy things at home, for God’s sake!) After a while, though, the cost and inconvenience became too much of a hassle. I switched over to exercising in my own house, where I can watch b-movies instead of 24-hour news channels and listen to thrash instead of house mixes of Top 40 tracks.
Still, I missed the smooth, precision-milled gliding of those old gym ellipticals, the almost effortless clockwork of my legs like pistons powering me forward but in no real direction at all. However, with neither the space nor the budget for my own elliptical machine, I instead relied on the aforementioned inferior options—but it just wasn’t the same.
Suffice it to say that when I first heard about Cubii, a small smart-elliptical that fits under your desk, I was intrigued but skeptical. Conceptually it made sense, you simply sit down and pedal while you work, but, in practice, it seemed problematic. Wouldn’t I bang my knees on the bottom of my desk? Would the noise be distracting to coworkers? What’s to keep me from, like, drifting backward on my fancy little rolling chair with each stride?
Of course, since I spend the bulk of my time here at GeekDad writing about video games and cartoons, I figured I could spare a couple of weeks to check out something with more tangible health benefits.
My Cubii arrived quickly in a single box, and I, like my local parcel carrier before me, immediately noticed that it was much heavier than it looked. After getting it inside and slicing open said box, I was both surprised and a little impressed.
Inside was no more than the elliptical itself, a pair of pedals, a slim quick start guide, and a handful of hardware. Assembling the device only took minutes—use the included screws and screwdriver to secure the pedals to the device and plug the Micro USB cable in to let it charge. I was a tad perplexed by a pair of black plastic disks but noticed them labeled as “Chair Wheel Stopper (x2)” in the guide, which at least answered one of my questions.
While my Cubii was powering up, I downloaded the companion app. The Bluetooth pairing and account creation walkthrough were also delightfully uncomplicated, and, once I had everything connected and the elliptical charged, I loaded up my car in anticipation of introducing my Cubii to my office the following morning.
It’s hard not to feel a little strange hauling a miniaturized piece of workout equipment into your building on a busy morning. Though, to their credit, my coworkers seemed more intrigued than bemused. I placed the Cubii under my desk, pulled my chair close and took a first few tentative steps…
And the thing actually worked.
Just like the hulking behemoths at the gym, my diminutive Cubii elliptical offered that same smooth stride—but without even having to stand up. Seated comfortably and with my chair at its normal height, I was able to simulate the simple joys of walking without that pesky habit of actually going anywhere.
Now, my chair didn’t actually move that much, even without the wheel stoppers, but, lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of sliding just one under the front caster; it keeps me from accidentally drifting while also not making it hard for me to swivel around to talk to the occasional office visitor. While there can be the odd “clunk” if don’t have my feet properly placed, the Cubii is impressively silent, with only the low “whoosh” of its internal workings ever rising above a whisper. Also, I’ve yet to knock my knees on my desk tray, which I think we can all agree is a plus.
The most wondrous thing about the Cubii, however, is that I actually continue to use it. While most exercise equipment seems to exist solely to migrate from house to house via the garage sale circuit—and I’ve relegated my home treadmill to the position of supplementary clothes closet on a couple of occasions—this elliptical functions so effortlessly that I sometimes forget I’m using it.
Boasting 8 levels of resistance, you can really work up a sweat with the Cubii—assuming your huffing and puffing doesn’t distract others on your mid-afternoon conference call—and it’s solidly weighted base keeps it in place even as your casual non-stroll becomes a more serious non-uphill-hike. Its companion app also does a great job mapping your progress, letting you set daily goals, setup fitness groups with other users, or even connect to your beloved Fitbit.
But the thing I like best about my Cubii, even more so than the fact that I actually use the thing, is where I use it. If I have a school event to rush to with the kids or a late dinner out with friends, I don’t have to feel guilty about not being able to carve out a ragged half-hour of cardio on my home equipment because I’ve already logged the odd mile or two between work meetings and faculty orientation sessions.
For desk jockeys like me, the Cubii is a smart device that makes smart sense. It lets you burn calories without burning through your free time. Just maybe go a little easy on it in the mornings, okay? That button-down needs to stay fresh for today’s business lunch.
The Cubii is available for the oddly specific price of $347, and it comes in both the flat black Noir and the flashier Chrome—to better coordinate with your office decor. You can purchase direct from mycubii.com, and if you follow this link you can enter your email address to receive a code for 10% off and free shipping. The Cubii is also available on Amazon. Just promise me you won’t cough up that extra $91 for assembly. Trust me; you got this.
Review materials provided by: Cubii