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TreadDesk Tread & GeekDesk Max Review

After 6 months of using a standup desk, and then 12 months of using an older Smooth treadmill with a knocked together 2x4 & OSB desk I decided it was time to make a transition to a better setup. 

One of the things that prompted me to look at the GeekDesk, was that for the entire time since I switched to a standup desk I had no way of sitting down at all during the day. Working from home meant that I would often be walking and standing for 10+ hours a day. In the last few monts I started to develop quite a bit of pain in my feet, around my arches. I experimented with different shoes, but I came to the conclusion that I just needed to sit down every now and again. 

 

Geek Desk Max

When I ordered my Geek Desk, small frame, there was a several week backlog. A few weeks into ordering Geek Desk contacted me to say it would be another 6 weeks, or I could upgrade to the Geek Desk Max. Although this added $200, I decided to go ahead and upgrade to the Max. To save money I decided to supply my own desktop. 

It arrived very well packaged in two parcels. It is heavy, but manageable. Assembly was simple, and the instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow. It took me about an hour to get everything put together, and I was able to do so without assistance. 

This beast is solid, and well constructed! I have to say I am very impressed. I started off my adding my old OSB craptastic desktop onto the GeekDesk so I could decide on any changes to the layout of the desk prior to making the final desktop. 

The first run was a little disappointing, the motor appeared to jam or the controller errored when trying to raise the desk. This seemed to be a one-off glitch and I haven't seen it since in two months of operation.

The electronic controls allow of four preset heights, free form up and down buttons, and a display indicating the current height. I thought this would really be a unnecessary gimmick, but in practice it is incredibly useful. I now switch between a walking and sitting position several times a day, using two of the presets, and I have a third preset for when my wife is using the desk.

The GeekDesk is rated at 275lb capacity and the upgraded Max is rated at 325lb. I would estimate my desktop weighs about 75lbs, plus another 60lbs in computer equipment. I don't think either desk would struggle to move that amount of weight. 

There is a slight wobble in the desk when it is extended up to 47", my preferred desktop height when walking. This is due to the fact there are no cross braces between the front and the back, something that wouldn't be possible in this moving desk design. It doesn't move enough to distract you when working, and I'm not concerned. My desktop design is a little back heavy, which may also be contributing to this. 

The small desk frame is plenty wide enough to fit a treadmill platform underneath. 

Cost: $755 including shipping.

Desktop


My desktop is made from an Ikea VIKA BYSKE table top, which is 61"x29.5"x1 1/8", two sets of Ikea CAPITA Stainless Steel Brackets, an Ikea SIGNUM cable management tray and set of SIGNUM cable hole covers. 

I cut approximately 10" off one end of the desk, and cut this 10" section in half to make two platforms for my iMac & Monitor. 
Cost: $130
TreadDesk Tread

For the last year I've been using an older Smooth treadmill I bought from craigslist for $200. It was incredibly solid and very quiet, I suspect it was a $1000 treadmill when new. The tread split just a few weeks after I bought it, but I duct taped it and continued to use it. I eventually bought a replacement  walking belt, but didn't have the time or energy to replace it. I also wanted to remove the arms and the console so I could fit it under a GeekDesk. In the end I knew I simply would never get around to dismantling it and decided to buy a TreadDesk Tread. 
Initial impressions:
It arrived well packaged, but is incredible heavy, it is impossible to lift it by yourself. There were a few scuffs on the motor housing cover, but no damage otherwise. It comes with a thick foam pad to placed underneath the unit. The pad is undersized by amount two inches in each dimension, which means the feet of the treadmill overhang on each side. Seems like such a trivial mistake to make given the quality of the pad, and the cost of the treadmill. 
The display console is freaking huge, I have no idea why they made it so damned large. It takes up considerable space on the desk, its not a deal breaker it just looks stupid and cheap. Again, given the cost of this unit they could do better. The controls are simple to use, the display is big (see above) and easy to read
First time I started up the tread and tried to walk on it, the belt slipped like crazy and I almost fell over. When I contacted they support they said a number of people had complained about the same problem in this shipment. They felt it was probably because of the heat wave temperatures being seen around the country and that the  belt probably stretched during shipment. 
I had to adjust the tension on the belt a number of times before it stopped slipping. It no longer slips but it does make a squeaking noise when I walk. Support said this was normal and would go away after a week or so of use. I'm now almost two months in of daily usage and it still makes noises. I have lubricated the tread, but still some squeaking. I'm 215lb's, and the unit is rated for 320 so I don't think thats the problem, although it does make less noise when my wife 140lbs tested it. 
Other than the squeak the unit is well built, has a low profile which will make it easier to build a false floor around it, and looks pretty good. It is speed limited to 4mph, but I walk at 2.5mph when working. The console tracks time, distance and calories, it can circle through the modes or be set to display just one. The console is supplied with a sturdy metal bracket which holds the console at a good display angle.
When I'm sitting I use an old yoga mat over the tread to protect the belt. Eventually I will be building a raised floor around the tread so I can slide my chair out of the way without having to lift it. It will also make a more stable, wider area for the chair wheels to sit. 
Overall I'm mildly disappointed, but suspect I would make the purchase again, as there aren't many treads out there that have a separate console and low profile deck. My main concern is the squeaking, is this reducing the life of the unit?  
Cost: $971.50 ($840 + $131.50 shipping)
Summary

After two months of usage, I can confirm that switching between walking/standing and sitting during the day has made a big difference in both the pain in the feet and also the distance I walk every day. Prior to getting the GeekDesk adjustable desk I was walking an average of 5 miles day, I'm now average 9-10 miles a day by alternating between walking an hour, sitting an hour etc. 
The GeekDesk is awesome, I love it. The TreadDesk Tread is good, not great, but good. I'll update on how the TreadDesk Tread is doing in Six months. 
Total Cost: $1856.50 plus varnish, plus time. 

As of today I've walked 641 miles during work hours this year, I'm about 200 miles behind schedule for the year, but if I walk just 6.75 miles a work day for the rest of the year I'll meet my goal for 1020 miles.
 

Views: 3292

Comment by J B Wyatt on January 4, 2013 at 9:19am

hi,

i have almost the exact setup. i bought the geekdesk top however.  my experience with the treaddesk was much improved when i raised the front legs by a SMALL amount. 

i consulted the treaddesk people and they said it was ok, but they recommended a 2x4 - too much!  

i spent many years running on treadmills and a small incline makes a huge difference.  i raised the front by about 7/8 of an inch and the feeling is much more natural now.

joseph wyatt

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