A lot of us are lucky enough to be working from home these days and doing so certainly comes with plenty of perks, but it can also make it harder to find the time/motivation to get your workout in.
Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a home gym, there’s something about being allowed to wear sweat pants 90% of the time that can really drain the urge to go exercise.
Hmm, someone should really look into that…
Anyway, there are things we can do to make it easier to stay active during the day and opting for an under desk exercise bike like the C3-GlowUp is one of ’em.
And as under desk bikes go, the C3 is easily one of the nicest ones around.
With a heavy-duty frame, a large adjustable seat, and 16 levels of resistance, the C3 is a lot more advanced than most competitors.
But it also costs quite a bit more too.
Is it worth the investment?
Well, that’s what I’m here to help you figure out.
In this review, I’ll go over everything the C3-GlowUp has to offer, as well as where it falls a bit short.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not this is the right under desk treadmill to add to your office.
The LifeSpan C3-GlowUp Under Desk Bike
LifeSpan’s a solid home fitness brand that also has a legit selection of office fitness products to choose from like desk bikes, under desk treadmills, standing desks, and all that good stuff.
As a brand, I think LifeSpan kinda cruises under the radar because we don’t seem to see or hear much from ’em in terms of publicity.
But when it comes to reasonably priced equipment, they can hold their own with the best of ’em.
Anyway, the C3-GlowUp (which I’ll be referring to as just the ‘C3’ from now on) is an under desk bike, meaning it’s designed to be used at a desk while working.
It’s also important to realize that the C3 doesn’t come with a desk – again, this is an “under desk” bike, not a “desk bike”.
The difference is subtle, but important – if you decide to get the C3, you’ll have to provide your own desk.
Speaking of which, the C3 is designed to be used with standing or height-adjustable desks, so if you’re planning on using this with a standard desk, it probably won’t fit (but more on size in a minute).
Let’s start things off with a rundown on the performance side of things.
- 16 magnetic resistance levels
- Offers a lot of resistance to work against
- 19 seat height options
- 400 lb weight limit
- Comes with console
- Great warranty
- Won’t fit standard desks
- Dated consoles
- May not be comfortable to use for extended durations
- Kind of expensive
I always start my bike reviews with a discussion on the resistance system and even though I realize most of us probably aren’t looking for a hardcore workout while working at our desks, I still think it’s worth talking about.
So, here we go.
With traditional exercise bikes, it makes sense to think about the flywheel weights and resistance mechanisms because these things play an important role in how smooth the bikes feel and how much resistance they can provide.
And even though desk bikes aren’t really designed for HIIT workouts and all that, they should still be able to provide a smooth pedaling motion and enough resistance to make you feel like you aren’t wasting your time.
LifeSpan doesn’t provide a flywheel weight for their C3, so I’m not sure how heavy it really is, but users seem to agree that the C3 offers a smooth pedaling motion.
What we do know is that this desk bike uses a magnetic resistance system and that it comes with 16 levels to work with.
This is a good amount of levels for a desk bike, giving you a lot of control over how intense your workouts are while sitting at your desk.
Something else worth noting is that the C3 has a max resistance of around 300 watts.
If you’re unfamiliar with cycling, this might not mean much to ya, but I can tell you from experience that that’s enough resistance to challenge most of us.
On my Peloton, for example, maintaining a watt output between 200 – 250 is challenging and anything over that is going to be for shorter durations only.
And I’m not an advanced cyclist or anything, but I’m a fairly fit guy who rides 2-3x a week.
Anyway, the point is that the C3 can offer a substantial amount of resistance, especially for an under desk bike.
Ok, so this bike scores pretty highly in the resistance department, but what about the rest of it?
Well, for starters, the C3 takes up a pretty small footprint – with physical dimensions of 27″ x 21″, this under desk bike should be able to fit in most offices easily.
And with 19 different seat adjustments, it should be able to accommodate most users who are between 5′ – 6’8″ tall.
But as I mentioned earlier, this bike is really designed to be used with height adjustable desks.
At the lowest height setting, the C3 is still 36″ high, making it a lot taller than your average desk chair that’s 19-21″ high.
So again, the C3 will not fit with standard working desks.
In terms of the frame itself though, this bike is rock solid.
With an assembled weight of 94 lb, the C3 is very heavy for an under desk bike – for the sake of comparison, the Sit2Go F1 weighs in at around 60 lb.
Being this heavy is a good thing when it comes to structural integrity, but it is going to make this bike harder to move around the office.
There are a couple of transport wheels built-on, but some users still complain it’s difficult rolling it around as needed.
This extra bulk allows the C3 to have a much higher weight capacity though. With a limit of 400 lb, this under desk bike can handle users of all sizes.
Overall, when it comes to the frame, the C3 is easily one of the heaviest-duty under desk bikes on the market.
LifeSpan covers the C3-GlowUp Under Desk Bike with the following home warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year labor
This is a really good warranty for this product.
Hell, this is a really good warranty for most traditional exercise bikes, but it’s even better for an under desk model.
Ten years on the frame is longer than what most bike brands offer, as is 2 years on parts.
A year on labor is pretty standard stuff, so nothing too special going on there.
For the sake of comparison, the Sit2Go F1 mentioned earlier only comes with a 1 year warranty (as do most under desk bikes).
So, overall, the C3 comes with a very generous guarantee.
Choice of console- if you decide to buy the C3, you get to choose between their “retro” and “Omni-hub” consoles. The “retro” console looks like it’s straight from the ’80s and I don’t really mean that in a cool nostalgic way. It’s ugly and basic, but it can still help you track all the simple stats you might want to track (time, distance, calories, speed, etc). The Omni-hub isn’t much better, but it’s backlit and a little easier on the eyes. LifeSpan doesn’t tell us much about the differences between their consoles, but neither comes with any workout programs or advanced features.
Bluetooth- well, I take that back. The retro console is bluetooth compatible with LifeSpan’s fitness app for metric tracking and whatnot, but most users agree the bluetooth is difficult to work with and that the app is less than user friendly.
Height adjustable seat- the seat is height adjustable and comes with 19 adjustments to choose from. In terms of comfort, some folks find it comfortable, others find it very uncomfortable. What stands out to me is that there’s no backrest, which could make it difficult to sit on for extended periods while working at your desk.
At the time of writing this, LifeSpan has their C3-GlowUp listed for $999.
This is pretty expensive compared to all the small, super portable cyclers and other products that can be used as under desk bikes that go for a couple hundred bucks.
There actually aren’t that many comparable bikes out there to go over, but there are a couple I want to mention.
The Sit2Go F1 is similar to the C3, although it’s quite a bit cheaper (~$400), much lighter-duty, and comes with a much shorter warranty.
That said, it does come with an office chair style seat, which would make for much greater comfort while working.
There’s also LifeSpan’s own Solo Bike, which is around $500.
The Solo is much lighter, making it easier to move and it comes with a small backrest for added comfort. It’s also backed by the same great warranty, but it doesn’t come with a console.
Based on these few comps, the C3 is easily the heaviest-duty under desk bike I’ve come across.
Ok, that’s about all I got when it comes to the C3.
Honestly, I have mixed emotions about this one.
On the one hand, I appreciate how heavy-duty it is, how much resistance it can provide, and how awesome the warranty is; but on the other hand, I don’t think it would be that comfortable to use in the real world.
Without a backrest, I could see most folks having to rest their hands on the desk for balance/comfort while trying to work at their desks.
I can also imagine people starting to flex forward and ruining their posture while using this bike.
Either way, I could see the C3 being difficult to use for extended periods, especially while trying to get work done.
But in terms of performance, it’s easily the most advanced under desk bike out there at the moment.
So, if you’re looking for a durable bike that can provide some serious resistance, the C3 could make a lot of sense.
But if you’re looking for a comfortable bike to use for long durations throughout the work day, you should probably consider another option.