JUMP TO:

BUY NOW:

  • Amazon.com
  • Wiggle

RAD Cycling Trainer Desk: For when you just can’t justify the Wahoo KICKR Desk Price

Lifeline-RAD-Cycling-TrainerDesk

Want the Wahoo KICKR Desk (which work with any brand trainer), but can’t exactly justify spending $250 on an indoor trainer desk? No problem, there’s an alternative – the RAD Cycling Desk, also branded as the Lifeline Cycling Trainer Desk, Conquer Cycling Trainer Desk, as well as some truly special brand names. This ‘I can’t decide what I want to be called desk’, is almost a direct knock-off of the KICKR Desk.

The difference though? It actually has more features…for less than half the price.

Look, I’m no fan of direct knock-offs. I think there’s valid reasons why you should support the engineering pipeline of companies that do that original innovating. But, there’s also a point in time for every company to innovate on existing designs or address noted shortcomings. Yes, I love the Wahoo KICKR Desk I bought nearly 5 years ago, as does almost everyone that buys one (despite the price). But in that initial review there were only two complaints I had with the original Wahoo design. Both of which could easily have been rectified down the road in minor revisions. Neither happened. Instead, a mostly no-name company was apparently this listening. And implemented both of them, for half the price.

And so, because obviously I need two KICKR/Wannabe KICKR desks in the DCR Cave, I went out and bought another one (at full price too). This time the Lifeline Cycling Trainer Desk. And thus, this is my review of that desk. Note: I’ve never talked to said random company. I assume they have 32 other names in various countries they go by.

Now, if you’d like to see this thing in action, then just hit play below. Everything’s better with action.

I’ll try my hardest to keep this review shorter than 12,000 words. But realistically, I can’t make any promises. The TDLR: It’s better than the KICKR Desk in most ways that matter but isn’t quite as sexy. If desks can be sexy. But hey, it costs less than half as much in most countries, and I’ve been using it for most of this year, side by side with the KICKR Desk.

What’s in the box:

DSC_3311

There is no fancy box here. It’s just a cardboard box imprinted with the product name and the retailer it was destined for. As well as the Sharpie’d quantity for that lot. In my case, I bought mine (at full price) from Chain Reaction, which is owned by Wiggle. It was the only place I could find it earlier this year in Europe in-stock. Now though, it’s in a boatload of places under different names (all linked at the end). In the US, you can get it on Amazon. Perhaps those boxes say ‘Amazon’ on the side.

DSC_3314

After I removed all the parts, here’s what I’ve got:

DSC_3316

Basically there’s the following things:

– Table top
– Floor base (the u-shaped thing)
– Legs (pretty obvious)
– Three Wheels
– Four bolts
– Allen key and wrench
– A quick-start manual you might actually read

Here’s a close look at those pieces for fun:

And, the unboxing section is done.

Setup:

DSC_3321

Putting together is pretty straightforward. In my case, I selected to do so on the most awkward surface I had – the unboxing table. I wouldn’t recommend building a rolling table on top of another table. Poor life events can happen that way. But that’s how I roll.

I put the wheels on first (stupid idea), then put the legs on.

DSC_3328

On the bright side, the wheels do have locks on them, which helps…assuming all those legs actually fit on our table top.

Then I stuck the legs on:

DSC_3330 DSC_3331

About the only quirky part here was inserting the table top into the base. It didn’t lock at first, but I think that was just user error. Once it locked in by pressing the buttons, then it was nice and crispy from there on out.

DSC_3335

Total DCR install time: 10 minutes including taking a pile of unnecessary photos and shooting video too. Normal person assembly time: 3 minutes tops.

Daily Usage:

DSC_9845

The whole point of a trainer desk is simply a place to stash all your crap while you ride. That could be things like nutrition, but also stuff like a laptop,  tablet, your phone, or Haribo. In my situation my primary use cases are:

A) Hold my iPad for training apps (special groove to keep it upright)
B) Place to stick my phone, sometimes charging too
C) Place to stash the 18 extra bike computers I’m recording data from
D) Place to stash Apple TV remote

Plus of course, sometimes things like cameras or whatever else I need to have up there.

And yes, since the days of the KICKR Desk people have selected all sorts of hospital side-table desk & musical instruments things that are cheaper, as well as other contraptions. All of which is cool. I think the point of this desk is basically splitting the difference for something that’s purpose-built, but won’t set you back as much as a mid-range GPS watch.

DSC_9857

(The above $7 Apple TV remote case is amazeballs for trainers, it’s a non-slipper silicone that goes around it, while including a strap. It also often hangs on my handlebars.)

The first thing you’ll want to do is adjust the height of the desk. You’ll simply press the two blue buttons and then push/pull to adjust to where you want it.

DSC_9859

In general, you’ll want this to clear your handlebars, so that you can have it rest over the edge of it if you want to. Also, if you have a KICKR CLIMB, remember that’s going to go up and down, so do consider that elevation situation prior to your first ride (and find it goes up into the desk and throws your laptop, water bottle, and Haribo all over the ground). Further, if you have an Elite Sterzo or Sterzo Smart, consider that your handlebars will turn. My bike is probably about as tall as you’re gonna get height-wise, and it barely clears under the desk at it’s highest when I rotate the handlebars fully. But there’s no reason you really need to have it overlapping if you don’t want it.

DSC_9860

Meanwhile, down at the base are the wheels. This allows you to roll it front/backwards, useful if perhaps you just want your screen further out of the sweat drip-zone. And most notably, wheel locks.

DSC_9862

This is one of the two core features I found the Wahoo KICKR Desk lacked. It mattered to me when I reviewed it because in the Paris DCR Cave, the floor wasn’t level. So much so the KICKR Desk would literally roll away (no joke). So I had to always block it wish something so my desk wouldn’t end up on the other end of the cave.

DSC_9865

While we’re down here, you’ll see that the base bar structure is higher off the ground than the KICKR Desk. This is notable if you’re a Wahoo Headwind fan user *AND* also put your Headwind fan atop that base bar (that’s why there’s a cut-out in the Headwind design, it’s made to perfectly fit the KICKR Desk). So on the RAD/Lifeline desk it ends up just looking a bit weird.

DSC_9898 DSC_9899

That said, I don’t tend to use my fan there, since about the only thing it’ll then cool is my crotch. And while my junk’s hotness levels might be off the charts, I can’t say it’s a major priority compared to cooling my chest/head. So I tend to put the fans off to the side anyway.

Meanwhile, back up top desk-side, you’ve got the two towel holders, interestingly, the RAD/Lifeline desk has slightly larger towel holder slots, which is nice cause it makes it easier to actually get the towel back in again. Though, most times it just ends up on my handlebars anyway since the holes are on the ‘far side’ of things.

DSC_9874
(Above: KICKR Desk left, Lifeline desk right)

And then up front the two water bottle holders. Why do water bottle holders matter when the KICKR Desk doesn’t have them? Because, as any KICKR-desk owner will tell you, one slight bonk of the desk and off goes the water bottles. This solves that. Also, it makes for a great place to put snacks and such.

DSC_9887

Then there’s two sets of grooves. These allow you to place a tablet in there and have it stand up at a slight angle. Here’s the two positions. Note that you can fit a phone in there just fine, but not a phone with a case. I’ve never had my iPad fall out of it (or the KICKR desk for that matter), it’s pretty solid.

DSC_9867 DSC_9868

You’ll notice at the base of the grooves there’s cut-outs, so that you can wire a very slim cable up if you want. Or, they also act as drains if they fill with sweat or whatever, it’ll simply drain out and not become a swimming pool.

DSC_9870

Next, there’s the surface. It’s got a bit of a non-slip surface atop it, so that things don’t slid off. It’s the exact same surface as the KICKR Desk.

DSC_9871

Still, keep in mind my Wahoo KICKR Desk is just shy of 5 years old now, which is a @#$#@ crap-ton of trainer rides. So in the grand scheme of things it looks pretty good. It’s more that photographically close-up it’s not quite as sharp.

Finally, note that there’s no power in it. In my case, I just have a longer USB-C cord and longer Apple Lightning cord nearby that I can drag up there if I need to charge things. The SARIS TD-1 desk does have two USB ports and two AC outlets, super handy. In fact, it’s also sitting in my cave. Expect a review of that in a few weeks.

In any case, day to day wise I’m pretty darn happy with this variant.

Compared to KICKR Desk:

DSC_9878

So I’ve been using both decks, literally side by side, since earlier this year. Some days I’m at the RAD/Lifeline desk, and some days I’m at the KICKR Desk. It’s purely dependent on which bike or trainer spot I’m at.

In general, at a high level, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference between them. But, you don’t come here for high-level differences. Here’s the nuances:

– RAD/Lifeline desk has two water bottle holders (Wahoo has none)
– RAD/Lifeline desk has wheel locks for uneven surfaces so it doesn’t roll away (like the DCR Paris Cave was) – Wahoo has none
– RAD/Lifeline desk has slightly larger towel holes than Wahoo
– Wahoo Desk has better and silkier wheels than RAD/Lifeline, which a professional rollerblader might notice. Didn’t matter to me.
– Wahoo Desk fits the Wahoo Headwind Fan perfectly (by design), so you can stick it over the front bar. The RAD/Lifeline desk is raised slightly too high. You can make it work, it’s just not pretty. That said, the fan works better when it’s not pointed at your crotch anyway, so I usually place it off to the side (for either desk)
– Wahoo’s frame base is definitely prettier being rounded surfaces versus the squared look of the RAD/Lifeline. Not sure if anyone would notice unless I said something.
– RAD/Lifeline desk’s wheels can actually rotate, useful when you need to rotate it out of a tight space, the KICKR desk only goes forward/backwards
– Non-slip textured surface is the same on both
– Tablet holder situation is the same on both
– Usable surface area is the same on both
– Max/min adjustable height is the same on both
– Both can withstand my entire body weight (see the video!)

As I said, I’ve been using both side by side for quite a while now, and probably even use the RAD/Lifeline desk more since it’s in the position closest to the wall (which is what I consider my primary trainer spot).

The biggest advantage for me is really the water bottle holders…but as noted, not actually for water bottles. Instead, I put my remotes in there most times. I just find it easier to grab. Also, sometimes I put nutrition in there. But yeah, I’ve one water bottle too.

Wrap-Up:

DSC_9897

In general, knock-offs across numerous consumer product categories tend to be lesser devices. Usually sacrificing something (often notable) in quality or functionality compared to the original products. Not always, but often. However, in this rare case, I think the RAD/Lifeline trainer desk is actually better than Wahoo’s KICKR Desk. Simply put, it’s got two water bottle holders and wheel locks that Wahoo lacks. These are functionally useful. Plus, obviously it’s roughly half the price of Wahoo’s option.

As for downsides, about the only thing I could possibly nitpick on is the base legs aren’t as pretty as the KICKR Desk. Also, if you have a Wahoo Headwind fan, it doesn’t fit over the legs of the RAD/Lifeline desk as seamlessly as the Wahoo KICKR desk. But frankly, if you spent $250 for the Wahoo fan, I have a funny feeling you might have already spent $250 for the KICKR Desk anyway.

Of course, I’d love to see Wahoo iterate on their desk. Not massively, just slightly. The two features added were ones I identified in my Wahoo KICKR Desk review 5 years ago. Nothing has changed in Wahoo’s Desk since then. I’d want those features incorporated, and most notably, some element of power. Specifically 1-2 international outlets, and then 2-3 USB ports.

But if you’re looking for a trainer desk, you won’t go wrong with this one. And I’ll probably even pick-up another too for home, since this one has pretty much exclusively lived at the DCR Cave.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Support the site:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

You’ll find the RAD/Lifeline/Confidence/Conquer/PPWear Cycling Trainer Desk on Amazon under either brand depending on which country you’re in. Here’s those specific links.

RAD Cycling Trainer Desk – Amazon US (blue accents)
Conquer Cycling Trainer Desk – Amazon US (orange accents)
RAD Cycling Trainer desk – Amazon Canada
Confidence Cycling Trainer Desk – Amazon UK
RAD Cycle Trainer Desk – Amazon Australia
PPWear Cycling Trainer Desk – Amazon France
PPWear Cycling Trainer Desk – Amazon Germany
PPWear Cycling Trainer Desk – Amazon Italy
PPWear Cycling Trainer Desk – Amazon Netherlands
PPWear Cycling Trainer Desk – Amazon Spain

For European/Australian/New Zealand readers, you can also pick up the unit via Wiggle at the links below, which helps support the site too (and, !

Lifeline Cycling Trainer Desk (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle) – [Back in stock!!!! best deal for Europe folks at 99GBP]

Or, anything else you pick up on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

54 Comments

  1. Mike

    Good wrap up. I’ve had the RAD desk for a couple of years now and love it. I also have a Headwind and “solved” the center placement issue with two scrap pieces of 2×4 on the ground underneath the center bar of the stand. It puts the Headwind in a position to hit my torso rather than crotch.

  2. MP

    I have that lifeline desk and can absolutely recommend it, it’s great

  3. Mike T

    Thanks for this comparison. I was just looking at the Kickr desk and the Saris TD-1 as potential birthday/Christmas items. Since my trainer is a Saris H3, the headwind isn’t much of an issue for me. The TD-1 seems like a product that would be clearly better than the Kickr desk, but just not worth it vs the $130 Amazon option. Maybe there will be a 20% Black Friday coupon somewhere that closes that gap enough to justify.

    Looking forward to when the TD-1 review comes out

  4. Frank

    Love my lifeline desk, i have been using some hand made desk which was really badly made.. this one is perfect

  5. Broward

    Can we take a moment to recognize this desk is so outstanding, a lady in jeans and running shoes is just killing it on their Amazon page! That’s impressive!

    • Mike T

      There is also the bit where nothing in that photo shopped pic is actually in perspective and the trainer isn’t plugged in.
      Look at the size of the legs on the desk vs the length of the bike (especially since the desk is further away).

    • Technically…I think that’s an old mag or fluid trainer, since you can see the cable running from the frameup to the handlebars. Or…that could be a snake. Unsure.

  6. Georg

    The trainer table in all its confusing name variations is unavailable (out of stock) in all stores in Germany and Europe as a whole. Too bad, but thanks anyway for the review. Maybe there will be a new table from Wahoo to replace the one that has been on the market for 5 years now.

    • Patrik

      Search amazon uk for “Confidence Fitness Adjustable Height Treadmill Desk”. 120£ shipped and in stock. Same thing, different name.

  7. Mike

    Dumb question, but did they do better with the push buttons for raising and lowering the unit? My only complaint about the Wahoo desk is trying to adjust it up/down for my wife and I.

  8. Michael

    Your Amazon (US) links have no honor. They both go to Canada, and the Canada, UK, and Spain links appear to be borked, but I didn’t try them.

    Clicked the US link, changed the URL to .com instead of .ca, hope you get your affiliate.

    • Yeah, fighting Amazon’s ever-clever re-direction links is almost impossible. I can do some minor stuff, but for the most part it’ll redirect to the correct Amazon country based on your current shipping address.

      Of course, it doesn’t always do so correctly.

      The good news is that as part of that, it does manage to keep the affiliate tracking bit, even if it sends you to an unexpected land. I appreciate it!

  9. John

    Great Review. Perfect timing as it is getting cold already. One small note. It may time for new DC Rainmaker Bibs. Surprised those made it by the girl!

    • Haha…yeah, I pulled ‘stock’ footage from the last 7 months of indoor trainer/bike videos for those segments. I realized the other day that the only reason I hadn’t finished this darn review was that I was too lazy to re-setup the camera for a bunch of trainers showing me riding it.

      …then I remembered I have tons of that footage already. So, good news is new kits came in about two weeks ago. 🙂

  10. Heinrich Hurtz

    Of course you can attach a power strip to your table…something like this one that includes USB charging ports.

    link to amazon.com

    • Mike T

      Kind of sad that for the $130+ generic power strip, extension cord and cable ties you may already have+ double sided tape, you can beat a $250 desk (Kickr Desk) and probably a $320 desk (Saris TD-1).

      It just feels like someone just needs to try a bit harder.

  11. Barrie Gibson

    It looks lovely but I don’t think it would be big enough for me because on top of the ironing board that I currently use, I have a laptop connected to a 24 inch monitor plus a phone (don’t want to miss a text !) plus mp3 plus water bottle plus oddments such as electrolyte gel for the heart rate strap. Granted the gel doesn’t have to live there but for me the indoor cycle is the only place I use the heart rate strap (goes odd when I run with it) so it is sensible to have it there.

  12. JD

    Besides your wheels-on-last tip I also suggest you leave the leg base bolts slightly loose until you slide the table top on. Otherwise you may find yourself struggling to line things up. 🙂

  13. Tanner

    I used the RAD desk for about 2 years. I do have a potential downside to add to your list. I dont know if it is also an issue with the wahoo desk or not.

    The RAD desk 3 wheel design does have potential “tipping” ability if you have kids. One time my youngest stepped on the front of the desk while I was riding, the desk tipped over and I had to grab my computer before it slid off. Probably not an issue for most people, but just a caution if you have kids that play around while you ride.

    I ended up just stacking 2x4s under both edges so it wouldnt tip if someone stood on it 😁

    • Jay

      Great idea! I have had my ipad flown across the garage 2x times due to my kiddos doing that exact thing. Luckily it was an old ipad in one of those otterbox/lifeproof cases so no damage.

  14. Oskars

    Does anyone have any idea when Tacx Flow smart will be back in stock?

  15. Tim

    Nice refresh on this table! I bought one about 6-months ago and it was delivered and packaged well and I had zero issues setting it up.

  16. Tori

    Have been looking at something sturdy like this for my rollers.

    Whats the width between the legs? Will it wrap a 58cm wide Elite E-motion rollers?

    And what is the height up the the underside of the table?

  17. Jose

    Minutes after reading your review, I ordered the desk via the Amazon link, and it arrived today! I threw a power brick on top for charging devices and after one Zwift session I’ve pretty much determined that this desk is awesome. My old set up was a couple of repurposed mic stands with iPhone/iPad holders and the desk can’t even be compared.
    I think it also might have taken me just as long to unpack than it did to actually put together.

    Many thanks for your review and insight!!

  18. Pia

    I don’t know about everybody else, but adding the Apple remote holder into your review was life changing for our household! The weight of the remote is so much better and less likely to accidentally throw it out, lost in the couch or dropped. Thanks for adding that!

    • “less likely to accidentally throw it out”

      I assume you mean out the window…towards the path of an impending bus, which will then be runover and crunched further by a steamroller.

      Or sorry, were you referring to something else?

  19. Kevin

    The genius of the apple remote case is you can finally tell which end is which without looking at it.

  20. J

    I have mine set up without the wheels and like that setup. I’m on carpet so no worries about the bolt heads for the legs protruding but swapping to some flat heads could solve that for hard surfaces

  21. Louis-Philippe Gauthier

    I have the Lifeline desk but it’s not high enough to go over my aero bars. Did anyone try drilling extra holes to have it higher?

    • Damian Botoulas

      Not trying to be funny, but have you pushed the blue buttons and lifted the legs all the way up? Mine goes about 50cm above my tri bars, plenty of space.

  22. Jeremiah

    “ That said, I don’t tend to use my fan there, since about the only thing it’ll then cool is my crotch. And while my junk’s hotness levels might be off the charts, I can’t say it’s a major priority compared to cooling my chest/head. So I tend to put the fans off to the side anyway.”

    Haha haha 😂 haha 😂 One of your best paragraphs short of the entire Love Sack review back in the day!

  23. Ned Ryerson

    I’ve used this exact desk for well over a year. It is everything and more that Rainmaker claims. I am totally satisfied and wouldn’t trade it for Wahoo’s offering. That coming from a Wahoo Fanboy who has a Kickr, Climb, Tickrs, and Element!

  24. BL

    I use an adjustable height medical “overbed” table for my trainer. It has wheels that lock, height adjusts, and it’s a table. Since it’s not for bikes it doesn’t have the cost multiplier and only costs $40 on amazon.

    link to amazon.com

  25. Bananachipz

    just got this table. Overall I love it. My only grip is a bit of “creaking” when you grab it and move it. Not a dealbreaker, as it’s not moving when you’re riding. Anyone else have this issue?

  26. Richard

    Back in stock at Wiggle! Just ordered it thanks to this review.

  27. Just as a quick heads up for Europe folks, Wiggle got more stock in today, so you can actually order it immediately now: link to awin1.com

    (And the above link helps support the site. Thanks!)

  28. Damian Botoulas

    Thanks DCR. Bought off Wiggle after your review, arrived today. Only issue I have is trying to get table top to click into place, seems like you had same issue. It keeps pushing the plastic inserts out so that I can’t lock it in. Most annoying.

    • Thanks for the support!

      Yeah, when mine was like that I just pressed the buttons in/out a few times and went up a level/down a level, and then it properly locked into place. I wish I had better advice than that. :-/

  29. HD

    It was out off stock when I checked wiggle though Planet X Bikes in the UK also have what looks like the same model & it’s £20 cheaper too, though you do have to pay delivery.
    link to planetx.co.uk

    • Patrik

      Seems to be everywhere, which is good. Just got mine delivered, from amazon co uk. Was 99£, has gone up 10£ since. Quality stuff, for the price. ( “Confidence Fitness Adjustable Height Treadmill Desk” )

  30. If you want change back from your US $100 – Confidence Fitness Adjustable Height Treadmill Desk is $99.99
    I just got one – blue trim like the Rad. link to amazon.com
    Amazon shows the Conquer with yellow trim. link to amazon.com
    The Confidence seems to eligible for: Spend $10 on small business, save $10 on Prime Day
    Valid for Prime Members only
    So Ray can almost get a Haribo 5oz packs 12 box for free.
    I have been looking for computer table that I could use with my under desk elliptical. This desk is high enough even in the fully down position. (Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider link to amazon.com)
    Fine print – the box the Confidence comes in says “Please keep packaging materials for manufacture warranty.”
    Thumbs down to Amazon when trying to search for: “treadmill desk” Their search is mostly miss.

  31. Toon

    I have exactly the same issue as posted in #49 and had no luck sofar getting it right. I was thinking cutting the little legs of the plastic inserts and glue them to the desk. Any other ideas? Still waiting for a replay of Wiggle.

    comment #49
    Only issue I have is trying to get table top to click into place, seems like you had same issue. It keeps pushing the plastic inserts out so that I can’t lock it in. Most annoying.