Over the past two years, working out from home has become increasingly popular. As a result, the number of home exercise equipment options has exploded.
The Cubii elliptical is a relatively new product that offers an aerobic workout from the comfort of your desk, couch, or chair.
The Cubii is owned by Fitness Cubed, Inc. — a Chicago-based company that’s hoping to change how the world thinks about fitness.
According to CEO Arnav Dalmia, the company’s mission is to make staying active a way of life — not just a daily commitment to going to the gym.
As the company’s flagship product, the Cubii under-desk elliptical is designed to make exercise more accessible, regardless of your physical ability, age, or lifestyle.
The brand currently offers four under-desk elliptical models ranging in price, specifications, and features.
This article provides a critical and firsthand review of the Cubii under-desk elliptical products, including their ease of use, user experience, product design, and effectiveness as a workout tool.
- convenient size
- smooth, quiet operation
- ergonomic design
- easy to assemble
- appropriate for all fitness levels
- workout classes available on the Cubii Studio+ app
- Bluetooth connectivity available with the Cubii JR2+ model
- cost may be expensive for some budgets
- limited joints and muscles involved in the motion
- doesn’t provide the benefits of weight bearing exercises
- insufficient intensity for drastic changes to your fitness level
- workout can get tedious after 30 minutes of pedaling
- unlikely to be effective for serious improvements to body composition, muscle mass, or strength
The Cubii is an elliptical-style machine designed to fit under your desk and operated by pedaling with your feet. According to the Cubii website, the Cubii should only be used while you’re sitting down.
There are currently four models available, including:
- the Cubii JR1
- the Cubii JR2
- the Cubii JR2+
- the Cubii Go
Each model is compact and easily fits under most desks.
The pedaling motion of the Cubii is similar to that of a traditional elliptical machine. However, as the primary motion involves pushing with your feet and ankles, pedaling requires a much smaller range of motion at your knees and hip joints.
All Cubii devices include access to the company’s Cubii Studio+ companion app for your smartphone.
The Cubii Studio+ includes a range of pre-made workout programs, the ability to track your workouts, and the option to attend live workout classes. Keep in mind that some classes will also use equipment like a resistance band or dumbbells in addition to a Cubii elliptical.
Classes range in duration from 10 to 30 minutes, and class types include cardio, flexibility, strength, and mind-body workouts. The Cubii Studio+ subscription costs $7.99 per month or $74.99 for an annual subscription.
The Cubii product line currently includes four models, which are available directly through the company’s website.
While only the Cubii JR2+ offers Bluetooth capabilities, all of the devices include access to the Cubii Studio+ app. All Cubii models come with a 1-year warranty and can be returned for free within the first 30 days.
The company currently delivers to the United States and Canada, with free shipping available on orders over $49 to locations within the contiguous United States.
Here’s a closer look at the specs and features of each model.
The Cubii JR1 is the company’s original under-desk elliptical model.
Its straightforward design features a black body with two pedals and either aqua or purple flywheel.
The JR1 offers eight resistance levels, allowing you to match the intensity to your current fitness level and phase of your workout, such as a warmup or a more intense portion of your training session.
Depending on the intensity level, the company claims that the Cubii JR1 can burn up to 150 calories an hour, though the number of calories burned will vary by person and workout session.
The device also includes an easy-to-read LCD to keep you abreast of your progress during a workout, allowing you to track performance metrics, such as:
- calories burned
- distance traveled
- rotations per minute
- active time
The Cubii JR1 is fairly portable with a built-in handle on the frame. It also features an ergonomic design that readily fits under a desk, table, or in front of your couch.
It’s also fairly quiet, so you can use the machine without getting distracted by the sound of a fan or wheel.
Additional features include:
- free 7-day premium subscription to the Cubii Studio+ app
- display batteries
- nonslip workout mat
- wheel stoppers for your office chair
The retail price of the Cubii JR1 is $269, but it’s currently on sale for $189.
Cubii JR1 at a glance
Dimensions: 23 × 17.5 × 10 inches (58.4 × 44.5 × 25.4 centimeters)
Weight: 27 pounds (12.3 kg)
Features: 8 resistance levels, LCD screen, comes with workout mat and wheel stoppers
- lower price
- includes everything needed to get started exercising
- multiple color options
- flywheel does not have the smoothest function
- no Bluetooth capability
- heavier and more awkward than newer models
The Cubii JR2 includes the same features as the JR1, but with a few upgrades.
One of the most significant improvements over the JR1 is the JR2’s ZeroGravitii Flywheel, which provides an even smoother and quieter workout experience.
It’s also the only Cubii model that includes adjustable foot straps, which significantly improve the experience of pedaling on the elliptical.
As with the JR1, the Cubii JR2 includes an LCD, batteries, a nonslip workout mat, and a 7-day subscription to the Cubii Studio+ premium app.
However, the attachable ChairLock included in the JR2 is a slight upgrade from the wheel stoppers provided with the JR1, making it even easier to stop your office chair from rolling.
The Cubii JR2 features a black frame with neon green coloring on the flywheel.
Finally, the JR2 is 25% lighter than the JR1. It’s also roughly 10% more compact.
The retail price of the Cubii JR2 is $279, though it’s currently on sale for $199.
Cubii JR2 at a glance
Dimensions: 22.2 × 11.8 × 11.6 in. (56.4 × 30 × 29.5 cm)
Weight: 18.9 lbs. (8.6 kg)
Features: 8 resistance levels, LCD screen, adjustable foot straps, comes with workout mat and ChairLock
- lightweight and compact
- securely attaches via ChairLock
- ZeroGravitii Flywheel offers smoother and quieter operation
- less durable than sturdier models
- no Bluetooth capability
- only one color choice
The Cubii JR2+ is the most advanced and expensive model in the Cubii under-desk elliptical lineup.
In terms of design, the JR2+ is ergonomically different than the other models, as it’s smaller and features pedals with rubberized padding, though it doesn’t come with foot straps.
Another major difference is that the JR2+ is the only model that offers Bluetooth connectivity for syncing your data with fitness apps, including the Cubii Studio+. It also syncs with the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Healthkit.
The Cubii JR2+ is available in aqua color only.
Cubii JR2+ at a glance
Dimensions: 22 x 11.5 x 11.5 in. (55.9 x 29.2 x 29.2 cm)
Weight: < 20lbs. (9 kg)
Features: 8 resistance levels, LCD screen, Bluetooth, comes with attachable wheel cup
- combines durability and portability
- Bluetooth enabled
- smooth design
- only one color option
The Cubii Go stands out from the other Cubii models, as it’s ready to use out of the box — no assembly required.
It’s also equipped with the largest ZeroGravitii flywheel, allowing for the smoothest operation possible.
Another notable difference is the backlit LCD, which allows you to easily view your workout metrics in low-light settings, such as under a desk.
Unlike the separate stoppers included with the JR models, the Go comes with a built-in office chair wheel cup.
The Cubii Go features a gray body with an orange flywheel, and it has a retractable handle for increased portability.
It’s also roughly 25% lighter than the JR1 model.
Cubii Go at a glance
Dimensions: 24.5 × 17.5 × 9 in. (62.2 × 44.5 × 23 cm)
Weight: 19.4 lbs. (8.8 kg)
Features: 8 resistance levels, backlit LCD screen, retractable handle, wheels, built-in wheel cup
- extremely portable
- smooth ZeroGravitii Flywheel
- no Bluetooth connectivity
- high price for value
- only one color option
Additional Cubii products
Cubii also plans to release a TotalBody+ elliptical that features built-in resistance bands, so you can work your upper body while you pedal.
In addition to the under-desk ellipticals, the Cubii website offers several accessories, such as:
- Studio+ Premium Subscription
- Getting Started reference cards
- Comfii Fit workout Tees
- Squishii grip strengthener bundle
- dumbbell bundle
- hand weight bundle
- Cushii lumbar cushion
- pedal straps
- Cubii workout mat
Replacement pedals and LCDs are also available for purchase online.
To provide an honest and firsthand review of the under-desk elliptical, Cubed Fitness agreed to send over a Cubii JR2 for me to try.
Assembly and setup
Assembling the device was fairly straightforward and took less than 10 minutes, though you do need a screwdriver to install the pedals.
As promised, the Cubii easily fit under my desk, and the chair stopper prevented my chair from rolling away.
Using the device
When it came time to actually use the device, I was impressed by the smoothness of the elliptical motion and how quietly the flywheel operates.
My only gripe was the short range of motion, as after 15 minutes, my legs felt the urge to move through a less restricted range of motion like you would on a traditional elliptical machine.
However, this is unavoidable because the Cubii is designed to be operated while sitting.
After pedaling for roughly 45 minutes at level 6, the display stated that I had burned 98 calories.
While the Cubii was relatively easy to use while working at the desk, it became distracting during tasks that required a level of focus.
The machine is probably better suited to being used while watching TV. However, you could get easily distracted by your show and stop pedaling, which of course would reduce your calorie burn.
I also found it difficult to get a substantial increase in my heart rate while using the Cubii, though this will vary depending on your fitness level.
Nevertheless, this does suggest that drastic improvements in aerobic endurance are unlikely with the Cubii.
Furthermore, although the Cubii operates surprisingly smoothly, I found it tedious and mentally difficult to pedal beyond 30 minutes.
This is a major downside, as you’d need to use the machine for longer periods of time to burn a higher number of calories.
Finally, compared with resistance training or jogging, the Cubii doesn’t stimulate the muscles in your lower body to any significant degree, making it unlikely to cause noticeable gains in muscle or drastic cardiovascular adaptations.
You may be wondering whether the Cubii is ultimately an effective way to exercise.
Unfortunately, Cubii products don’t live up to the hype of being a convenient and efficient way to get fit.
While it’s true that using the Cubii does burn calories, which can support weight loss, the overall number of calories burned is likely insufficient for any real change in body composition.
Cubii claims to burn up to 150 calories per hour with nonstop use. Compared with other mainstream forms of exercise like weight training, jogging, or interval training, this is less than half of what you would expect to burn doing any of the aforementioned activities (
Plus, many snack foods easily contain more than 150 calories per serving. Therefore, without a focus on nutritional intervention, even burning those extra calories can easily be offset by a few handfuls of nuts or a bag of chips.
Of course, there’s more to fitness than just burning calories.
Unfortunately, Cubii fails to stack up in those departments as well.
Improving your cardiovascular fitness requires sustaining an elevated heart rate for a given amount of time. However, at least from my experience, the Cubii doesn’t provide enough intensity to cause a meaningful increase in heart rate.
Furthermore, if you’ve performed moderate or intense exercise, you can attest to how difficult it would be to get office work done while sweating and breathing hard.
Another downside of the Cubii is the lack of weight bearing inherent in this exercise modality.
Research suggests that weight-bearing exercises, including traditional weight training, jogging, and walking, can improve bone mineral density, which is a vital health marker when it comes to aging (
This lack of weight bearing means the Cubii falls short of providing many of the benefits associated with other forms of exercise.
However, there are some positive aspects of using the Cubii.
For example, if you don’t find the pedaling motion distracting, using the Cubii will allow you to burn more calories than you would sitting at your desk.
Similarly, if you tend to fidget or get restless, the Cubii could help you get the wiggles out while working or watching a movie.
Plus, several of the classes offered on the Cubii Studio+ app also use dumbbells or a resistance band, which may help make using the Cubii more of a full-body workout.
Additionally, when combined with a nutrition plan from a healthcare professional, the extra calorie burn could help you lose weight over time.
Finally, the Cubii could also be a good alternative if you’re unable to bear weight or perform other forms of exercise.
For example, if you have knee issues that make weight bearing difficult, the Cubii might be a good way to get some lower body movement without stressing your joints.
Additionally, if you can’t go outside and have no indoor workout area, using the Cubii could be a viable option.
If you think Cubii workouts may be a good fit for your goals and needs, you should still consult your healthcare professional before beginning an exercise program.
Overall, you should not rely on the Cubii as a primary method of exercise, though it may still be worth purchasing under certain circumstances.
For example, if you’re looking for a small boost to your calorie burn, don’t mind using an elliptical while working, or are unable to do other forms of exercise, the Cubii may be worth considering.
Additionally, the Cubii is a good option if you like to fidget while sitting or want to move while you work.
However, if your fitness goals include improved bone health, muscle building, weight loss, or major aerobic gains, the Cubii is unlikely to deliver what you need.
When it comes to alternatives to the Cubii products, there are a number of options on the market. Here’s a quick look at how the Cubii JR2+ compares to the DeskCycle2 and FlexiSpot All-in-One Desk Bike.
|Cubii JR2+||$299||22 x 11.5 x 11.5 in. (55.9 x 29.2 x 29.2 cm)||< 20lbs. (9 kg)||• elliptical movement
• under-desk position
• 8 resistance levels
• works with Cubii Studio+ and other apps
|DeskCycle 2||$147.99||10.2 x 24 x 20.1 in (26 x 61 x 51 cm)||23 lbs. (10.4 kg)||• cycling movement
• under-desk position
• can pedal forward and backward
• built-in straps
• 8 resistance levels
|FlexiSpot All-in-One Desk Bike||$409.99||37.6 x 22.8 x 48.4 in. (95.5 x 57.9 x 122.9 cm) at max height||51 lbs. (23 kg)||• cycling movement
• option to include a desktop
• 300-lb. (136.1-kg max weight capacity)
• 8 resistance levels
The DeskCycle 2 offers a similarly small, lightweight profile that fits right under your desk like the Cubii ellipticals, but the range of motion on the pedals is wider, and you can pedal both forward and backward. The pedals also come with built-in straps.
If you want something closer to a stationary bike, you may want to check out the FlexiSpot All-in-One Desk Bike, which is essentially a small stationary bike that can be set up in front of a desk. You can also opt for a built-in desktop for an additional fee. It offers a larger range of motion than both the Cubii ellipticals and the DeskCycle.
While all three options have 8 resistance levels, only the Cubii JR2+ offers Bluetooth integration.
Is the Cubii as good as walking?
Working out on the Cubii does not provide the same benefits as walking. For example, you’re not bearing your own weight when you use the Cubii, so your muscle and joints aren’t challenged to the same degree as they would be during walking.
That said, using a Cubii elliptical or similar device may help increase overall physical activity levels, especially during otherwise sedentary activities like watching TV (
What muscles does the Cubii work?
The Cubii mimics the movement of a regular elliptical trainer without the upper body component. That said, the Cubii won’t work the glutes, hamstrings, and quads as much as a regular elliptical does because it can only be used while you’re seated.
Due to the angle at which your legs and feet fit into the pedals, the Cubii will primarily engage the muscles in your lower legs like your calves and tibialis anterior, which is the muscle that runs along your shin.
Is the Cubii good for older adults?
While using the Cubii can be a good way for older adults to get some movement in their daily routine, it should not be considered a replacement for a structured, comprehensive workout program that includes other components like resistance training, flexibility, and balance exercises (
With four models to choose from, the Cubii under-desk ellipticals are designed to provide an efficient way to burn calories without getting up from the couch.
However, as the machine has a limited range of motion and may not provide enough intensity, you’re unlikely to notice any meaningful improvements in your overall fitness.
Therefore, if you’re looking to gain muscle, improve your aerobic conditioning, or burn a significant number of calories, you’re better off purchasing a traditional elliptical machine.
Nevertheless, if the benefits of the Cubii are in line with your goals and you can afford to purchase the device, it’s worth giving the Cubii a try.
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