Because the ebike universe explodes with choices and types all vying for a bit of the burgeoning market, I maintain coming again to an organization that I’ve appreciated however not often heard a lot about: Blix. My first brush with the California e-bike producer got here in 2018 once I was supplied a check journey 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 evaluate.
Since then, nonetheless, Ars’ bike-savviest staffers have been testing and reviewing quite a lot of high-quality e-bikes. In my case, I’ve had a couple of e-bike checks come and go, typically with automobiles not fairly meriting Ars protection. Most just lately I reviewed the good-looking VanMoof X3 in 2020, and I each appreciated its greatest features 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 need the liberty to journey 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 an excellent bike at an excellent worth, I stored 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 time.
Shortly after I would settled into a private Blix groove, serendipity struck. I obtained 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 a couple of slight shortcomings, it affirms my bias that Blix is an absolute contender for many entry-level ebike wants. It is a easy journey with a strong motor, high-capacity battery, and terribly handy folding gimmick that solely comes at the price of wanting such as you’ve run away from the ebike circus.
That is, in any case, a folding bike. Which means 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 sometimes on large streets and trails the place I’d both run over gravel or take a really large flip, the Vika+’s tires and placement strike the best stability between small and nimble. Should you’re not used to it, a smaller wheel could make sharp turns really feel humorous, so it’s possible 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 motorcycle with smaller wheels—there’s one thing about an grownup physique on a smaller-wheel bike that at all times makes me hum that previous circus pipe-organ ditty—however this sense is not matched with bodily discomfort. The Vika+’s suspension absorbs a surprisingly strong 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 huge, Irish tuchus glad over the course of multi-mile rides.
Constructed-in niceties embody a strong entrance mild and a vibrant rear panel of purple 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.