- Feature complete folding electric bike (full length fenders, integrated LED lights) with a larger than average battery and two upgrade options for even long range rides
- Available in three classy colors (Green, Black and Cream) with beautiful fake leather touch points and silver accessories (rear rack, metal folding pedals, brake levers with rubberized edges)
- The seat post flips forward to make battery removal easier, no quick release on either wheel, you get pedal assist and throttle override but face a two-step power on process
- The throttle is on the left and pushes forward vs. down which takes some getting used to, The battery isn't as hidden as some other models and is more rear-oriented, the bike is kind of heavy at ~51 lbs due to all of the accessories
This is the second round of Blix Vika+ folding electric bikes I’ve seen and tested in the USA and it seems like they’ve improved on everything. You get full length fenders with mud flaps, a beautiful silver carry rack that matches the upgraded brake levers, chainring guide, folding pedals, stem, bars and seat post. The rear rack especially makes it more useful for commuting and a larger battery pack with higher quality Panasonic cells will go greater distances… and you even have the option to upgrade from 11 amp hours to 14.5 or 17.4! That’s amazing for a folding ebike and I love that the pack itself was refined so you don’t have to leave the key in while riding… just be careful unlocking it and sliding up because if you leave the key in then, it could hit the left seat stay and get bent.
The Vika+ Folding comes at a decent price considering the slightly above-average motor power and battery capacity. The downside of all the accessories mentioned earlier is that the bike isn’t especially light. Weighing in at ~51 lbs I’d definitely take the battery off before lifting (it weighs ~6.6 lbs) and one other gripe relating to transport is the lack of some sort of rubber band or magnetic clasp to keep it folded. In the video review above I discuss this and show the folding sequence which is fairly standard. There is a plastic cover lock that keeps the main frame latch from coming undone while riding. Unlike the E-Joe Epik and similar folders, the Vika+ design places the battery behind the seat tube vs. inside the downtube and this makes the bike more rear heavy and less stealthy but the pack is easier to remove and you can get those larger sizes.
The smaller 20″ wheels on this bike are extra strong with double walled rims and 13 gauge spokes. The tires are fairly standard with 1.75″ diameter but I love that they are upgraded Kendas with puncture protection and reflective sidewalls to keep you visible in traffic at dawn, dusk or night time conditions. Adding to the reflective tires is the option to get a cream colored frame (vs. darker black or green) and the two fully-integrated LED lights! These are high quality lights from Spanninga that run off the main battery pack and are controlled with a light sensor and the main LCD console.
Activating and operating the bike is intuitive but requires the pack to be pressed to “on” with a little rubber button at the top and then on again using the display panel+button pad near the left grip. Speaking of left grips… the grips are ergonomic and classy looking in faux leather (that match the saddle) and all of the electronic controls are on the left side, including the trigger throttle. I love that the throttle overrides assist at full power and that it can operate in zero for “throttle only” but prefer it to be mounted on the right and swivel down vs. up/forward. Blix probably chose this design so they could use more standard trigger shifters on the right that hang down below the grips. Many other folding ebikes in this price range use a cheaper SIS index shifter that sticks above the grip and provides more room for throttles including half-twist designs. Not a huge deal…
The bike offers seven gears with Shimano Acera components… pretty decent, and you get four levels of assist with level one reaching ~8 mph and level 4 hitting ~18 to 20 mph depending on your weight and conditions. I was amazed with the climbing ability of the bike using throttle only, it took me up some very steep hills in Laguna Beach. Pedal assist activated quickly and also cut out fast when I stopped pedaling thanks to its 12 magnet cadence sensor disc and you also get brake lever motor inhibitors that stop everything when pulled. The brakes themselves are more basic linear pull “v-brakes” from Tektro and they get the job done but squeal a bit more and could grind dirt into the rims if it’s wet outside. In closing, I love the metal folding pedals they chose from Wellgo and the integrated fenders. This bike will keep you clean and thanks to the plastic chain guide it should stay rolling even in rough conditions… but there isn’t a suspension shock so I’m glad that the saddle is sprung because otherwise the smaller wheels can feel pretty stiff when riding at higher speeds over cracks and bumpy paved streets. the 2016 Vika+ model reviewed here is capable of going faster than the 2015 version and now with the larger battery options you could end up going further so the saddle comfort is a big deal and even a seat post suspension with 27.2 mm diameter could be worth considering, just make sure it doesn’t land the saddle onto the top of the battery or pivot into it (if you use a long travel Thudbuster, consider the short travel version like this and really crank the seat tube collar down so the post doesn’t slide).
- Great visual presence thanks to integrated front and rear LED lights that run off the main battery pack… convenient and more reliable, as well as reflective tape on the sides of the tires
- Handsome design elements including matching faux leather saddle and grips, silver highlights on the rack, pedals, crank arms, chainring, stem, handlebar, spokes and rims and three frame colors (green, black and cream)
- Even though the brake and shifter cables and electronic wires aren’t integrated through the frame, I like the plastic wrap they used more than the mesh I’ve seen on other models… same thing with the battery pack, it’s not in-frame but it looks nice and is still kept low and center for improved balance
- I’m a huge fan of the optional battery upgrades going from standard 11 ah to 14.5 and 17.4 for $100 and $200 extra respectively, great for extending range and they all fit in the same spot… also they are using high quality Panasonic cells
- Strong 13 gauge spokes compliment the smaller wheels (which tend to be tougher) and even the folding pedals (which are metal) should hold up well if the bike tips or is tossed around during transport, larger platform pedals transfer more power due to stiffness and aren’t as slippery in wet conditions
- Intuitive folding mechanisms with secondary lock features to avoid accidental loosening during operation
- Integrated “balance bar” that supports the middle of the bike when folded, protects the front chain ring and keeps the unit stable
- Impressive climbing ability thanks to the 350 watt geared motor being mounted in a smaller diameter 20″ wheel
- Efficient hybrid tires should extend range and smooth out cracks given their large diameter but aren’t so thin that you miss out on some cushion at 1.75″ wide
- Blix electric bikes have been available now in the US for a couple of years and they offer a pretty good warranty and seem to work well with shops
- The price of the Blix Vika+ Foldable electric bike rose a bit since 2015 when I first reviewed it, likely due to the upgraded battery design which is more streamlined, the higher quality Panasonic cells and the extra amp hour of capacity (11 vs. 10 before)
- I love that you don’t have to leave the key in the battery pack now to operate the bike but be careful when removing the pack because if you leave the key in the locking point near the base and slide up, it could bend the key or break the core, turning the bike on is still a two step process (battery on then display on)
- It’s great to have pedal assist and throttle mode on this ebike but I’m more used to the throttle being on the right side and pushing down vs. up (this bike has the trigger on the left and you push forward for juice)
- Given the larger capacity battery and more powerful motor on the Vika+ along with the fenders and rack it isn’t especially light weight and you don’t get a suspension fork… usually that adds even more weight, consider a seat post suspension fit to 27.2 mm diameter to improve comfort for long rides over bumpy terrain (just make sure the edges of the post and saddle don’t come down on top of the battery when you’re bouncing up and down)
- The seat tube clamp kind of collides with the battery pack so I had to swivel it pointing up or down to get it fully locked in, the area is just a little crowded
- There are no bands or magnetic clasps to keep the bike together once you’ve folded it down, consider using your own bungee cord or other straps to keep it from rattling and clunking around during transport
- Lack of suspension fork or seat post shock can make the ride a little stiff given the smaller 20″ wheels which tend to fall into cracks and potholes rather than spanning them, the sprung saddle and padded grips helps
- Official Site: http://blixbike.com/collections/bikes/products/vikaplus-foldable
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/BNAYhpg3uBgr6epz8