It’s January, which – depending on where you live – means it’s cold, dark, and snowy. Getting outside for some fresh air and exercise isn’t always feasible this time of year.
I work a desk job from home and getting some physical activity into my day is hard enough as it is.
And although I work out three or four times a week, I often worry it’s not enough to stem the adverse effects that sitting all day may have on my health.
So I recently decided to invest in the Cubii JR1., a highly-rated under-desk small elliptical machine that you can use to pedal while you work.
And I am so impressed with it that I had to share my Cubii JR review with you! (Actually, I’m using it while I write this very review!)
If you are stuck at a desk for 8 hours every day like I am with limited time for physical activity, you’re going to be very interested in this!
Disclaimer: I was not paid or otherwise compensated to write this review. However, there are affiliate links in the following article which means I may make a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of them. These are my own honest opinions and thoughts on this product. Full disclosure here.
Cubii JR Review: An Overview of the Features
The Cubii JR is an elliptical machine for home. It’s very compact, with pedals that rotate no higher than 10 inches from the ground, which makes it perfect for under your desk. It can be used anywhere from home in a seated position. (The manufacturers are very clear that the Cubii can not be used while standing.)
The pedals rotate roughly a foot horizontally for each full cycle, or a stride length of roughly 6 inches per foot. Their patented flywheel is designed for a quiet, smooth ride and the textured pedals prevent slipping and are comfortable enough that you can pedal without shoes if you choose to.
You can also pedal forwards or in reverse to target different muscles.
It comes with a small LCD screen that runs on an LR44 battery. Using the buttons, you can view your stride, calories burned, distanced pedalled, total time, and RPM.
It also comes with a handle to help you move it around. But the unit is 27 lbs which, as it turns out, is a bit on the heavy side if you’re planning on schlepping it around the house much. (More on this later.)
Cubii also has its own app that you can use with your unit. However, the Cubii JR does not have bluetooth connectivity so if you intend to use it, you have to enter your data manually.
Cubii also makes another model called the Cubii Pro. This version is very similar to the Cubii JR except it has those Bluetooth capabilities the JR is lacking and is about $100 more expensive.
The extra connectivity did not seem worth it to me so I stuck with the JR model.
About the Cubii Brand
Cubii presents themselves as a customer-focused company with a mission to help the world see the exercise as a lifestyle, not a daily commitment.
They also believe wellness is something everyone should have access to, and have donated over 2500 of their Cubiis to those in need. They have also partnered with non-profits for fundraisers.
It’s worth mentioning because I always feel better about purchasing my products from socially conscious brands who want to give back!
The Order, Delivery, and Packaging
Honestly, I waffled a bit on whether or not to purchase the Cubii bike because the first thing you will notice is the price tag. It’s definitely one of the more expensive compact ellipticals on the market, but also one of the most highly rated.
I finally ordered my Cubii machine off of Amazon on a Thursday night, and it arrived at my house that Saturday afternoon. (Got to love those fast shipping times!)
I have to admit, the box was a bit bigger and heavier than I was expecting.
But from the moment I took it out of the box I could tell it was a high-quality product.
Everything was packaged in a way that secured and protected the contents. My Cubii JR came with:
- 2 pedals
- 4 screws
- 1 screwdriver
- 2 chair wheel stoppers
The first thing you see when you open the box is a large glossy page that shows you how to put the pedals on your Cubii. One thing that really jumped out at me was the quality of the screwdriver they include with the box.
Considering that the entire assembly involves just 4 screws, it seemed a tiny bit overkill, but at the same time I receive it as a clear message that they’ve spared no expense when it comes to the quality of this product, right down to the screwdriver.
It was super simple to put together and in about 5 minutes it was ready for its new home under my desk.
My Experience with Using the Cubii JR
Positioning the Cubii and Knee Clearance
The Cubii was a bit cumbersome to lug up the stairs but since I don’t plan on using it anywhere but my office, it wasn’t a big deal.
It took a little trial and error to get my chair and Cubii position just right. I lowered my chair slightly to make it more comfortable for pedaling but even if I hadn’t I would have a good 6 inches between my knees and the desk.
Even if my desk had one of those slide-out keyboard trays it would still be okay. Then again, my desk might be a bit on the higher side of average at 29.5 inches.
The Cubii does come with wheel blockers for rolling office chairs and I’m so glad they include these! They work perfectly with my chair and keep it in place the whole day I’m working and pedaling.
Tension Settings and Quiet Pedalling
I had to play around with the tension settings a bit to find a good balance so that I could be pedaling hard enough to burn calories, but not so vigorously that I got too sweaty or felt distracted from my work.
But once I settled in, I was happily working on my computer and pedalling away simultaneously.
The unit is super quiet and not at all distracting. It’s heavy enough that it doesn’t shift while I pedal, except for a little shifting when I tried it on the highest tension setting.
For the most part, I pedal at a moderate pace between settings 2 and 3 for about 20 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day, totalling around 2 – 3 total hours of pedaling a day.
I’ve learned to dress light and comfortable because I do find it gets a bit warm pedalling for so long!
After a whole day, I really feel it engages my legs, bum, and even my core. That said, I don’t think it’s enough that it will necessarily strengthen those muscles.
Using the LCD Screen
One criticism I have is that it’s a bit hard to see the monitor under your desk as you use it. I do have a see-through glass topped desk, so if I lean back in my chair a bit I can glimpse down at it.
But if you have a normal opaque desk, you’d literally have to stoop your head under it to see the screen, and as far as I can tell there’s no backlight on the monitor which makes it hard to see in dim lighting.
Overall, the Cubii has quickly and effortlessly become an everyday part of my work day routine!
Now for the part of the Cubii JR review I’m sure you’re most interested in!
The Cubii takes the low and slow approach to fitness. You don’t burn calories very fast, but over the course of the day, it really adds up!
Although the Cubii comes with a small screen that shows how many calories you’re burning, I used my Apple Watch on the “other” exercise setting to keep track of my heart rate and to compare with the Cubii’s calorie tracker.
In 30 minutes my watch shows I burned 83 active calories, with moderate pedaling at setting 4. It was in line with what the digital monitor showed. (I am 113 lbs currently as I write this so keep in mind my active calorie burn per minute is lower than the average person.)
After an hour of active pedaling, my watch had me up to 169 active calories. My heart rate the whole time hovered around 100bpm. (My resting HR is right around 60.)
The calorie burn is about the same as I would burn after an hour of easy to moderate walking.
Just to test it out, I pedaled for a few minutes at level 8 and my heart rate got up to 140, which for me is about the same as when I’m briskly walking up a steep hill. (My HR for vigorous activity is typically in the 170s)
It’s in line with what I expected and frankly I am thrilled!
Because even if I pedal moderately for just an hour a day, 5 days a week, that’s 3400 calories a month which just about equates to 1 pound.
Not bad for to say that nothing in my daily routine needs to change for that extra calorie burn to happen.
When I use it on and off throughout the day I sometimes end up with over 600 active calories burned in a day of sitting!
Cubii JR Review Summary
I am extremely impressed with the Cubii JR and happy that I got over the sticker shock long enough to make the investment, because it’s really worth it! There’s no disputing that this is a quality piece of equipment.
Are you going to get ripped using it? No.
But can it help you stay active and lose weight? Yes.
Keep in mind that this unit is designed to help you keep active and burn extra calories while you sit. It’s probably not going to be very effective for improving your muscle mass or endurance. For that reason, I would recommend pairing it when a strength training routine.
But if burning calories is your goal, Cubii has got you covered. A little bit every day can definitely add up to weight loss over time!
Think of it this way: many people spend much more money on a full size elliptical that they never end up using, because it’s too much of a commitment.
But as someone with a desk job, the Cubii is something you can use every single day without having to change anything in your daily routine.
When it comes to fitness, there aren’t too many times in life when you can take the easy way and get results. But the Cubii JR offers a legitimate way to make physical activity easy.
That said, if the price point is just a little more than you’re ready to invest, you can also check out this guide to the best under desk bikes and ellipticals which lists several alternatives.
What did you think of my Cubii JR review? Are you thinking about trying an under-desk elliptical like the Cubii?
Let me know in the comments!
- No expense spared in the quality of this product, down to the tiny details like the screwdriver they give you to assemble the pedals
- Extremely quiet and easy to pedal without it distracting you from your work.
- Pedals rotate no more than 10” from the ground so it fits under most desks
- Low impact way to burn a high number of calories throughout the day
- Wheel stoppers are a godsend for users with rolling chairs
- Heavy and a bit cumbersome to lug around
- Expensive compared to other under desk ellipticals on the market
- Unit’s monitor is a bit small and hard to see – a backlight would have been nice
- Built for seated use only, which may deter those who would like the option to use while standing
In my opinion, yes! You’ll be hard pressed to find a compact elliptical for burning calories while you work that matches the Cubii JR in quality.
Cubii is good for burning calories while you work, by placing it under your desk and pedaling throughout the day. You can also use it in front of your couch while you’re watching TV or anywhere else at home where you usually sit for extended periods of time.
The JR is the entry level model with pretty much all the same features as the Pro, but the Pro has bluetooth which enables you to sync your Cubii’s data to the Cubii app on you phone. With the JR, data needs to be imputed manually.
Cubii can definitely help you lose weight if you use it enough. For best results you’ll want to combine it with a strength training regime. But even if you only use it for an hour or two per day and watch what you eat, you can lose weight this way.
One small downside to the Cubii is that you cannot use it while standing up.