Cubii - Product Review

Monday, January 18, 2016
I'm a knowledge worker. That means that my company pays me for what I know, and for applying that knowledge in a non-physical way.

What that means from a health perspective is that I sit on my ass all day, every day, in service to my knowledge. This puts me at higher risk for early death, cardio vascular disease, diabetes, and other unpleasant outcomes, even though I've been a conscientious exerciser for decades.

I'm not down with that.

But I'm not down with changing my profession to something physical, either - I'm good at what I do, and I make a good living. I'm not about to go work for minimum wage at the local library restocking shelves in order to fix this.

So now I'm using a Cubii.


The Cubii is an underdesk elliptical device. I sponsored the initial effort through Kickstarter, providing start up funding for the students who came up with the idea in exchange for my device. It arrived the last week in December, and I've been using it conscientiously for the last two weeks.

On a Positive Note

  • The Cubii is a sleek device, and heavy enough to stay in place during exercise. 
  • It's surprisingly quiet. It makes a low humming noise while in use, which brings up the ambient noise in my office, but does not interfere with my daily activities. I've used it during conference calls (including ones where I needed to speak often), and no one has given me any feedback about the noise. 
  • There's no kneeknocking - the device is designed in such a way that my knees don't bang on the underside of my desk during use. 
  • The tension control is mechanical, not electronic, and controlled by a dial on the top of the device. I consider this a plus, as I suspect it will last longer as a result of this design choice. 
  • It was easy to assemble, and they even included a phillips head screwdriver with the device.  
  • It provides a low stress way to get mild exercise that is non-impactful. I've been trying to get a case of plantar fasciitis on my left foot to heal for MONTHS, and I wanted something that would not aggravate that condition. 
  • It fits underneath my desk when not in use without interfering with my normal desk activities. 

On the Other Hand

  • The Cubii has its own application, which provides the usual metrics such as calories, strides, miles, and minutes. The application isn't bad, but it doesn't yet integrate with FitBit or other fitness applications. What this means for me is that I have to either wear my FitBit on my shoe, or log the steps/strides manually after each session into my FitBit account. The calorie calculator is also off, but the automated calculators on exercise gear are always off, so I don't really hold it against them.



  • The device came with two little plastic cups. The purpose of these cups is to secure the wheels of your desk chair to the floor so you don't roll around while pedaling. I use a bamboo desk mat in my home office, in order to spare the carpet, and these cups are not effective on that service. My desk chair slid around most annoyingly. In fairness, they may work better on industrial carpet (like you'd find in an office building), but I can't speak to that. 



  • So instead of using my desk chair, I brought up a folding chair from the basement and placed it on a small area rug for the purposes of using the device. I sit in the folding chair while pedaling, and the chair stays in place with no trouble. However, it's a PITA to change out the chair when I want to use the device, and the folding chair is considerably lower than my desk chair, which is awkward. Plus the lack of padding on the folding chair makes my butt ache, in the same way riding a bicycle will.


  • This device is pricey. A new device is $347.00, and since I don't know how long it will last, I don't know if that's a good value or not.

General Notes

  • For normal people, the tensioner is varied enough to meet your goals. At the lowest tension, there is no resistance at all, and pedaling is basically just rotating your feet. The highest tension will make you sweat (provided you pedal long enough). I got myself a small USB powered fan for my desk so when I pedal for hours on end, I can stay somewhat comfortable while working. Depending on your fitness level, YMMV.
  • I'm in decent shape from a cardiovascular perspective, and the highest I can get my heart rate on the highest resistance is about 105. This device will not replace normal gym time for those interested in increasing their cardio conditioning.
  • From a calorie burning perspective, I've found the device to be very effective, provided you have the desire and environment to use it throughout the day. I measured my calorie burn using a Polar heart rate monitor, and found that I burn about 175-200 calories an hour on the device. I try to use it 2.5 hours a day, which translates into 500 calories a day. That's an additional pound a week for weight loss, or a significant calorie boost for those who just like to eat tasty food. For me that's worth it, since I can accomplish that 500 calories deficit while being simultaneously productive in other ways. Such as writing product reviews.
  • From an environmental and usage perspective, I've found my ability to get that 2.5 hours in pretty easy, at least on work days. Over the course of a standard work day, I usually have at least 2 hours of conference calls that I need to be on, but that I don't lead. These can be training sessions, sales reviews, etc. and since I need to be actively listening (but not leading the discussion), the Cubii gives me a change to move during that time instead of just sitting there feeling my arteries harden.
  • I really like the flexibility of the device. I can set it up and use it during the conference calls mentioned above, or store it under the desk when I need to lead a call or concentrate heavily on a task. I considered a treadmill desk or a standing desk when I was putting my home office together, bur didn't like how it would lock me in to a specific configuration. There are times when I really need to go "heads down" and work on ONE TASK. This configuration allows me to do that when necessary, while also allowing me to engage in physical activity when I can. 
Overall, I'm happy with the Cubii, and intend to continue to use it. Q&A in the comments, for those interested.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been looking at the Cubii for a few months now, and it's been hard to find a review that didn't seem like a regurgitated press release. So, thanks for this. You hit all the points I wanted to know about. I think I'll wait until it syncs with Jawbone devices, as I just got an Up4 for xmas.

NikiSupy said...

It's March 14, 2016 and I just started looking into this product. Do you have any updates now that you've been using the product for about 2 months? I'd really looking for a way to boost my calorie burning (in additional to the gym). I used to have a decent walk from the train to my office. However, I've started a new that requires me to drive to the office due to location, and my walk is cut down to a few feet.

Anonymous said...

On a different review I saw a comment that it didn't work well for the reviewer's 5'11" coworker. Did you notice any issues for taller users? I'm 5'10" and curious about the device, but don't want to commit to something that may not work for me.

Janiece said...

I'm only 5'4", so I can't comment on the height issue.

Anonymous said...

Question regarding the resistance adjustment on the device and reporting of the resistance with the iPhone App.

I understand the tension control is mechanical, not electronic, however when you manually change the tension control on the Cubii, does it update the resistance level DISPLAYED within the APP to show the appropriate resistance level you selected manually on teh Cubii OR do you manually need to update the level on the device also?

Janiece said...

You have to update the resistance level on the app also.