Blix Vika + Check: A robust e-bike that folds up and suits nearly anyplace

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Enlarge / The 2021 Blix Vika + foldable e-bike posing in a neighbour’s chic pants garden. Thank you, neighbor.

Sam Machkovech

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

Since then, however, the bicycle-savvy Ars employees have been testing and checking a number of high-quality e-bikes. In my case, I’ve had a few e-bike tests, sometimes with vehicles that weren’t entirely covered by Ars. The last time I reviewed the handsome VanMoof X3 was in 2020 and both appreciated its best aspects and described that it doesn’t suit some potential ebike use cases.

This year, when it was time to buy a new bike, I decided to get an e-bike, mostly because I want the freedom to keep riding in a single day without feeling exhausted or sweaty – especially in a hilly city like Seattle. I soon returned to Blix – this was a good bike at a good price, I kept thinking and found a used Blix Cruiser (the 2018 Aveny) at an even better price. It became my daily driver early this summer.

Shortly after I settled into a personal Blix groove, chance struck. I received an unsolicited loan offer from a certain bike manufacturer: “Do you remember the Vika? We updated it.”

  • Handlebars, LED information display and seven-speed gearshift. (More on this right handlebar shortly.)

    Sam Machkovech

  • Rubberized handlebar, throttle knob and up and down buttons for speed control.

    Sam Machkovech

  • A better zoom on the LED display, which is backlit for night driving.

    Sam Machkovech

  • This clasp creates the right balance between tightly closed and easy to release.

    Sam Machkovech

  • Rear wheel.

    Sam Machkovech

  • Built-in luggage rack.

    Sam Machkovech

  • Rear LEDs, turned off.

    Sam Machkovech

  • Rear LEDs, turned on.

    Sam Machkovech

  • Front LED. I forgot to point this down before taking the picture.

    Sam Machkovech

  • Zoom on the front wheel.

    Sam Machkovech

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

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This is a folding bike after all. This means that by default you are working with a tiny impeller: 20 inches in diameter as opposed to a standard 29 inches. As with other folding bikes, Blix makes up for this with a wider tire profile than even your average 2.4-inch mixed bike. As a commuter bike that is mainly used on roads but occasionally on wide roads and trails where I either ride over gravel or make a very wide curve, the tires and placement of the Vika + offer the right balance between small and agile. If you’re not used to it, a smaller bike can make sharp turns feel weird, so you may not want this as your lead option for BMX-style tricks. But I never felt out of control in sudden turns on this bike.

These are small tires compared to the other children in the school yard.Enlarge / These are small tires compared to the other children in the school yard.

Sam Machkovech

Yes, you’re going to look a little silly on a bike with smaller wheels – there’s something about an adult’s body on a bike with smaller wheels that always makes me hum that old circus organ ditty – but that feeling doesn’t fit slight physical pain. The Vika + ‘s suspension absorbs a surprisingly solid amount of bumps, and while its standard seat is a devaluation of older Blix leather options, its synthetic leather construction is still bold and cushiony enough to keep my tall, Irish Tuchus riding for several miles.

The built-in niceties include a powerful front light and bright rear wall with red LEDs, both of which can be controlled via the same system that controls the bike’s pedal assistance. The bike also has easy front and rear mounting options in case you want to attach an official Blix basket or luggage rack to both sides (in addition to the standard rack integrated into the frame). And its built-in bell next to the left throttle is easy to operate and pleasantly loud.

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