Because the ebike universe explodes with choices and types all vying for a bit of the burgeoning market, I hold coming again to an organization that I’ve favored however not often heard a lot about: Blix. My first brush with the California e-bike producer got here in 2018 once I was provided a check experience of its then-$1,599 Vika folding ebike mannequin. I loved my time with the Vika, however as a comparatively new ebike tester, I opted to not write up a novice evaluation.
Since then, nonetheless, Ars’ bike-savviest staffers have been testing and reviewing various high-quality e-bikes. In my case, I’ve had just a few e-bike exams come and go, typically with autos not fairly meriting Ars protection. Most not too long ago I reviewed the good-looking VanMoof X3 in 2020, and I each appreciated its greatest elements and described the way it did not match some potential ebike use instances.
When the time got here for me to purchase a brand new bike this yr, I opted for an ebike, largely as a result of I would like the liberty to experience farther in a single day with out feeling worn out or sweaty—particularly in a hilly metropolis like Seattle. I quickly circled again to Blix—that was a very good bike at a very good worth, I saved pondering, and I discovered a used Blix cruiser (the 2018 Aveny) for an excellent higher worth. It grew to become my each day rider on the outset of this summer season.
Shortly after I would settled into a private Blix groove, serendipity struck. I acquired an unsolicited mortgage provide from a sure bike producer: “Keep in mind the Vika? We have up to date it.”
I’ve since spent three weeks utilizing the 2021 Blix Vika+, MSRP $1,799, as my each day driver (edriver?). Regardless of just a few slight shortcomings, it affirms my bias that Blix is an absolute contender for many entry-level ebike wants. It is a easy experience with a robust motor, high-capacity battery, and terribly handy folding gimmick that solely comes at the price of trying such as you’ve run away from the ebike circus.
That is, in spite of everything, a folding bike. Meaning you are working with a diminutive wheel by default: 20 inches in diameter, versus a extra normal 29-inch wheel. Like with different folding bikes, Blix makes up for this with a wider tire tread than even a median mixed-use bike, measuring 2.4 inches. As a commuter bike, used totally on roads however often on extensive streets and trails the place I would both run over gravel or take a really extensive flip, the Vika+’s tires and placement strike the best stability between small and nimble. In the event you’re not used to it, a smaller wheel could make sharp turns really feel humorous, so chances are you’ll not need this as your lead possibility for BMX-style trickery. However I by no means felt uncontrolled on this bike in sudden-turn circumstances.
Sure, you may look just a little foolish on a motorbike with smaller wheels—there’s one thing about an grownup physique on a smaller-wheel bike that at all times makes me hum that outdated circus pipe-organ ditty—however this sense is not matched with bodily discomfort. The Vika+’s suspension absorbs a surprisingly stable quantity of bumpiness, and whereas its default seat is a downgrade from older Blix leather-based choices, its faux-leather development remains to be fats and cushiony sufficient to maintain my massive, Irish tuchus pleased over the course of multi-mile rides.
Constructed-in niceties embrace a robust entrance mild and a vivid rear panel of crimson LEDs, each controllable from the identical system that manages the bike’s pedal help. The bike additionally has easy-mounting choices on the back and front, do you have to want to connect an official Blix basket or rack to both aspect (along with the default rear rack constructed into the body). And its built-in bell is simple to flick, subsequent to the left-hand throttle, and it’s pleasingly loud.