Cubii – Savior or Sucker?
We rarely stray to review products that don’t fit squarely in our traditional area of reviews, namely treadmills and ellipticals but the exercise at work phenomenon has budged us out of our comfortable wheelhouse in the past to review treadmill desks and now it has for an “under the desk” elliptical.
The Cubii is a compact, well built, ultra quiet alternative for those who want to exercise at work and has the added benefits of being tech smart. As you all know, we approach all our reviews with a singular question in mind- “will it last?” and we will address that in the following review.
Getting the Cubii in, the first surprise was the weight of the box. When you normally see ellipticals, cycles, or steppers with the dimensions of the Cubii (18” wide x 10” tall x 23.5” long) you usually have a toy that can easily be moved with a single hand, by a two year old, with an iron deficiency. At nearly 35 lbs., you know the folks that developed the Cubii wanted to build a machine with dimensions that typically notates play equipment with some serious quality built into the machine.
The downside to building the Cubii with good materials is that it also costs a bunch of money to do so. Where you can normally find a mini stepper, for instance, in the $50 price range, the Cubii is $350 which if you were shopping for a desk treadmill would seem like a godsend but if you have been looking for a cheap exercise at work alternative, the price might send you to the doctor with chest pains.
Let’s assume you’ve been shopping for a desk treadmill and have found the affordable quality models cost $1500 and so you think the Cubii’s price now has hung the moon and stars. The first obstacle I found when first trying to use the Cubii after an easy and quick assembly was that my keyboard tray under my desk hit my knees when I tried to make a revolution. On their website, not hitting the desk was shown as a benefit so I went to an adjustable work desk we had bought for another test and it worked fine with the adjustable desk but if you are spending $350 for the Cubii and $1200 for the work desk, why not buy a desk treadmill and spend less?
The main reason I would still think about a Cubii is NOISE! No matter what you do, a treadmill desk will make a bit of noise and the cheap ones can be downright noisy! The Cubii solves that problem by a country mile. This is so well built that it makes no squeaks, rattles, or clunks when even used vigorously. The most you hear is an almost silent whoosh of the bearings.
To solve my desk issue, I just moved the test Cubii to the side of my desk because I read a bunch of reports and the like and whenever I read, I quickly spun my chair 45 degrees and used the Cubii while I was reading. Similar to the way I use a desk treadmill that I have in a nearby office except I can work on the laptop while using the treadmill desk.
You can adjust the workload on the machine so it will adapt with you if the machine gets too easy to use or if you have been sedentary and need to start off with a very easy setting. They promise these will link up with fitness trackers shortly but right now, you have to use the company’s app to link up to your smartphone and record activity or remind your friends how lazy they are.
Other than hitting my knees on the keyboard tray, the only two shortcomings that we noticed were both driven by the design they adopted. One is biomechanics and the other concern is long-term durability. Both of these are driven by the cycle drive system they adopted with the trailing arms articulating using a second axis with the use of skate wheels.
On the biomechanics side, I noted that my ankle really extended when the pedal was on its return path. With all that said, I have horrible ankles and with my use of the machine, I experienced no discomfort. My question would center on long-term use.
The second concern was the mount of the rotating mechanism to the frame brace. Even with the heavy materials they used, you can visually see the torque that the machine is under, especially with vigorous use. With that said, I would not see a long-term problem with this design because the machine is not having to support the weight of the user and so any load the mount point is experiencing is far less than a traditional elliptical that has to support the movement in addition to the weight of the user.
The Cubii is THE BEST compact exercise machine I have ever used! That’s saying a lot because I’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years and I’ve seen everything from Suzanne Somers’ Thighmaster to the Ab Rollers of the past 20 years and everything in between. Even though it does have a few shortcomings for those who are serious about long-term exercise at work, the Cubii delivers like FedEx. So, to answer my initial question, the Cubii is an exercise at work savior!