Blix Vika+ review: A powerful ebike that folds up and fits almost anywhere | GeekComparison

An electric bicycle of somewhat unusual proportions on a lawn in front of a fenced yard.
enlarge The 2021 Blix Vika+ foldable ebike, posed in a neighbor’s fancy pants yard. Thanks neighbor.

Sam Machkovech

As the ebike universe explodes with options and brands all vying for a slice of the burgeoning market, I keep coming back to a company I liked but rarely heard much about: Blix. My first introduction to the California e-bike manufacturer came in 2018 when I was offered a test ride of its then-$1,599 Vika folding ebike model. I enjoyed my time with the Vika, but as a relatively new ebike tester I chose not to write a novice review.

Since then, however, the bike-conscious Ars employees have tested and reviewed a number of high-quality e-bikes. In my case, I’ve had a few e-bike tests that have come and gone, sometimes with vehicles not quite deserving of Ars coverage. Most recently I reviewed the handsome VanMoof X3 in 2020, and I appreciated both its best aspects and how it didn’t fit in some potential ebike use cases.

When I had to buy a new bike this year, I chose an ebike, mainly because I want the freedom to ride further in one day without feeling exhausted or sweaty, especially in a hilly city like Seattle. I soon circled back to Blix –that was a good bike for a good price, I kept thinking, and I found a used Blix cruiser (the 2018 Aveny) for an even better price. It became my daily rider at the beginning of this summer.

Shortly after I settled into a personal Blix groove, the serendipity kicked in. I got an unsolicited loan offer from a certain bike manufacturer: “Remember the Vika? We’ve updated it.”

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Since then I’ve been using the 2021 Blix Vika+, MSRP $1,799, as my daily driver (edriver?) for three weeks. Despite a few minor flaws, it confirms my preconception that Blix is ​​an absolute competitor for most entry-level ebike needs. It’s a smooth ride with a powerful motor, high-capacity battery, and a terribly handy folding gimmick that only comes at the expense of looking like you’ve walked away from the ebike circus.

After all, this is a folding bike. That means you work with a small wheel as standard: 20 inches in diameter, as opposed to a more standard 29 inch wheel. As with other folding bikes, Blix makes up for this with a wider tire profile than even an average mixed-use bike, at 2.4 inches. As a commuter bike, mostly used on roads, but occasionally on wide streets and trails where I’m either riding on gravel or taking very wide turns, the Vika+’s tires and positioning strike the right balance between small and agile. If you’re not used to it, a smaller wheel can make tight corners weird, so you may not want this as your leading option for BMX-style cheating. But I never felt out of control on this bike in sudden cornering conditions.

These are small tires compared to the other kids in the schoolyard.
enlarge These are small tires compared to the other kids in the schoolyard.

Sam Machkovech

Yes, you do look a little crazy on a smaller wheeled bike – there’s something about a grown-up body on a smaller wheeled bike that always makes me hum that old circus pipe organ song – but this feeling doesn’t go hand in hand with physical discomfort. The Vika+’s suspension soaks up a surprisingly firm amount of bumps, and while the stock seat is a downgrade from older Blix leather options, the leatherette construction is still thick and cushioning enough to keep my big Irish tuchu happy over the course of multi-tasking. mile rides.

Built-in details include a powerful front light and a bright rear panel with red LEDs, both controlled from the same system that controls the bike’s pedal assist. The bike also has easy front and rear mounting options, should you wish to mount an official Blix basket or rack on either side (in addition to the standard rear rack built into the frame). And the built-in bell is easy to tap, next to the left throttle, and it’s pleasantly loud.

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