- An elegant folding electric bike available in three classic colors (green, black, cream) with matching silver accents all across the frame including the stem, handlebar, chainring, rear rack, seat post, and sturdy alloy pedals
- Safe and durable with plastic fenders from SKS that have flexible mud-flap ends, puncture resistant tires from Kenda with reflective sidewall stripes, and premium integrated lights from Spanninga
- Fast folding design with magnetic clasps keep the bike from unfolding on the go, you can trolly the bike around when half-folded, canvas carry bag with shoulder strap makes transport clean and easy
- Two battery size options allows for longer rides and the packs work with other Blix models like the Vika Travel and Aveny, faster than average 3 amp charger, two-step on/off process, no bottle cage bosses, heavier than some other folders because of the battery capacity
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The Blix Vika+ is a classically styled, step-thru, folding electric bike with upgraded drivetrain hardware, a full accessories package, and a quiet but powerful geared hub motor drive system. It’s one of my favorite folding models on the market right now because it hits a reasonable price point but is still sold through dealers. That means you can go for a test ride, see the three different colors in person, and get help with maintenance and support down the road if needed. I’ve reviewed the Vika Plus two other times, heard positive testimonials from dealers across the US (as I travel for reviews), and recently covered the new Vika Travel… it’s an even smaller folding ebike for people who want to completely minimize weight and size. The really cool part about the Blix lineup is that many models utilize the same battery pack interface, so you could get a Vika Travel, the Vika+, or maybe the full sized Aveny or Stockholm and share the packs between them. Folding electric bikes tend to be easier to mount and stand over, for petite riders, because they often use 20″ wheels, as is the case here. The Blix Vika+ is built around a wave “step-thru” frame that is much lower than the average folding electric bike, but they have reinforced the downtube with a gusset plate near the head tube and a mini top-tube near the bottom bracket. This increases strength and stability, it also helps to balance out any rear cargo you might add to the back rack. I appreciated the plastic chain guide, which will prevent chain drops and also keep your pant legs or dress ends clean and snag-free. The kickstand is positioned out of the way on the left, so it won’t collide with the crank arm when walking the bike backwards. The stem offers adjustable height, so the bike can comfortably accommodate a wide range of riders, but don’t go too high or it will stretch the cables! I think Blix has chosen their cable wrap solution really well here because it looks clean and didn’t get in the way when folding… they utilize threaded metal connectors with rubber washers vs. the cheaper plastic press fit plugs. One of my favorite upgrades is actually the Wellgo metal folding pedals; they match the silver accents and provide more strength and surface area than the majority of other pedals I see on folding products. The bike isn’t perfect, they have made some trade-offs to save weight or money, but overall it works very well. Some of the trade-offs that I perceive are mechanical rim brakes vs. hydraulic, which would be easier to actuate. Some folding ebikes use disc brakes, but the rotors can get bent more easily when folding and transporting, so the rim brakes are a decent choice here. There’s no suspension fork up front, but the sprung saddle and padded grips felt decent and this keeps the bike more steady and definitely lighter. Pedal assist is activated through a higher resolution 12-magnet cadence sensor, but Blix has gone with a large external sensor verses the newer internal sealed ones. And finally, the on/off procedure requires a button press on the top of the battery pack before activating the display, which takes a few extra seconds.
Driving this e-bike is a compact 350-watt nominally rated planetary geared hub motor, spoked into the rear wheel. Blix has refined all drive system hardware here, branding it as SpinTech. The motor felt smooth and quiet compared to similar offerings, and accelerated more gently because of its custom motor controller programming. I could hear a bit of whirring when operating at the highest level of assist, but it wasn’t bad at all, and the smaller 20-inch wheel size provides a mechanical advantage compared to 26″ on the full sized models that use the same motor. With the centrally mounted battery pack, the bike is very steady and even front to rear. Geared hub motors usually offer the advantages of instant power, efficient freewheeling (so they won’t slow you down when coasting), they don’t interfere with the pedaling drivetrain, and they can be used more easily with throttles. The Vika Plus utilizes a high resolution 12-magnet cadence sensor that is responsive in pedal assist along with a variable speed trigger throttle near the left grip. It gives you many ways to ride and eliminates the need for pedaling at all if you get tired or need to focus on balancing. The throttle is live as soon as the display panel is activated on and it overrides zero, 1, 2, 3, and 4 assist, so be careful mounting, dismounting, and folding the bike if you don’t turn it off first! If you utilize the throttle and the highest levels of assist frequently, it will cut down on your maximum potential range, and t his is where the upgraded battery option starts to makes sense… It’s a great choice if you plan to ride further, enjoy throttle mode without pedaling, or plan to carry more weight. I enjoyed the bike most in assist levels 2 and 3 and pedaling felt very natural and comfortable.
The stock battery for the Blix Vika+ is a 36 volt 11 amp hour 396 watt hour size. This is average or maybe even a little above average for the 2018 timeframe. I was talking to the founder, Pontus Malmberg, about battery size choices, and he explained that the seat tube packs are interchangeable, so you can actually upgrade to a 36 volt 17.5 amp hour for just $200 at the time of purchase or $599 separately. I’m not convinced that the upgraded pack would be necessary for most riders because the stock battery charger is lightweight at just 1.3 lbs and faster than average, putting out 3 amps. You could easily bring the charger along in a backpack or trunk bag and use it to top-off at work, school, a friend’s house, or a restaurant as you explore new destinations. Being able to quickly and easily remove the battery is fantastic, and I appreciated the molded handle feature at the top; it felt secure in my hand. To maximize the lifespan of the battery, always store it in a cool dry location (avoid extreme heat and cold) and try to maintain at least 20% capacity because going all the way to zero can strain the cells. If you do drain it completely, just charge it up again as soon as you can. The charging port for the battery is raised up on the right side, so you won’t be vulnerable to the crank arms and pedals snagging, which is something I see with many other products. The primary drawback to this battery in my opinion, is that you must power it on separately from the display panel as mentioned earlier. This two-step process takes a bit more time and can be frustrating if you forget and hop onto the bike without first reaching down to activate the battery. Also, it’s too bad that the battery pack and display do not have USB ports for charging portable electronics on the go. This is something I have seen on a few competing products and it’s nice to have if you plan on using a phone for GPS… especially if you upgrade to the 17.5 amp hour battery.
Turning the bike on requires that first step of activating the battery and then a second power button press on top of the display panel. The LCD is beautiful, large enough to be seen and read clearly while riding, but not overly crowded with buttons and wires. The cockpit is actually very clean considering that both brakes have motor inhibitors, there are trigger shifters on the right, and the display and throttle! That’s a lot of wires, but they are all wrapped up with plastic spiral tubing. The connector points use metal threaded locks with rubber washers to keep water out and should be more durable as you fold and unfold the bike repeatedly. The display itself isn’t removable and could get scratched at the bike rack or while folding and transporting, but you could simply put a sock or microbag over it as a solution. The display doesn’t swivel easily and could produce some glare if the sun is positioned behind and above you, but I found that it was fairly easy to read and use. The power button doubles as a mode button, allowing you to cycle through trip stats like current speed, average speed, max speed, and distance. The up and down buttons allow you to adjust assist levels, and the menu goes from 4 back to 0 so you can basically save clicks by going “around” instead of all the way back down or up. Hold the up arrow to activate the LCD backlighting and integrated headlight. Hold up and down to enter into the settings menu and change units. It’s all fairly standard and intuitive, but the buttons aren’t quite as reachable as they would be without the trigger throttle also mounted on the left side of the handlebar. You do have to reach over a bit, and I’d probably use more of a “set it and forget it” approach with assist level 2 for efficiency and occasional throttle override for help starting and climbing. Ebikes like this are great, because it’s not so inconvenient to stop and you really don’t have to pedal if you need a break or are trying to stay balanced. I really like how the throttle is setup. There are always trade-offs when it comes to organization and simplicity vs. features but I love where Blix ended up. However, I wish that the Vika+ had included a little flick bell in the left brake lever like the Vika Travel has, it’s useful but doesn’t add clutter or push the throttle and display further out with an aftermarket bell.
Blix is doing a great job growing their dealer network and refining their product line. The Vika Plus is one of their most popular bikes, and I can definitely see why. It’s beautiful but not overpriced, the components are all upgraded, and safety and strength have really been taken into consideration. Many women and smaller riders opt for folding bikes like this for everyday use, because of how approachable they are. The step-thru frame is incredibly low but weight is positioned well and the battery is easy to remove for charging or transport because of the flip-up saddle mount. As I was learning about this updated model, I asked Pontus about the name of the company and some history. He’s originally from Sweeden and was inspired by the vintage European bicycle designs that he saw growing up. The name Blix means lightening and Vika means fold. It was cool to see how much attention he and his team have paid to user experience here, including a nicer tool set and a canvas carrying bag. I’ve heard that some busses and subways won’t allow bikes onboard unless they are bagged. When you combine the easy folding, magnetic clasp design, and utilize the bag, this bike becomes very easy to transport. Just be careful with the display and the motor power cable on the right side, so they won’t get scratched up or bent. These are standard considerations with nearly every folding e-bike I’ve tested. It’s worth noting that the base of the frame, below the bottom bracket, is very well protected by a metal support strut that will keep the plastic chain guide from making contact with the ground. We didn’t show it in the video (sorry) but the Vika Plus can be towed around when half-folded, and that’s a lot easier to do than lifting it up since the bike does weigh nearly 50 lbs. Big thanks to Blix for partnering with me on this review and to Pontus for hanging out with me and bringing multiple bikes to test back to back. I’ll do my best to answer questions in the comments below and I welcome you to connect with owners and share your own experiences in the Blix forums.
- Deep step-thru frame is low and approachable, the folding joint doesn’t get in the way of your shins or knees when pedaling like some other folders I have tested over the years
- Good weight distribution, the battery pack is centered on the frame vs. the rear rack, I also like how Blix has added a short top tube near the center of the frame and a gusset near the head tube to reduce flex
- The proprietary SpinTech display panel, motor controller, and hub motor itself are a cut above in my opinion, the bike feels smooth, runs quietly, and is easy to operate
- Easy to fold and transport, you can actually push or pull the bike around using the handlebar when it’s nearly folded… this could be handy for trains, I love that they include a protective cover and carrying bag for clean transport and storage (some busses won’t let you on with a bike unless it’s stored in a bag)
- I like the little magnets that help to keep the bike from coming unfolded, you could also use adjustable bungee cords to reduce vibration and the possibility of unfolding, or the bag :)
- Blix sells this model in three classy colors and has matched nearly all of the accents in silver vs. black and silver, it’s just a beautiful bike, even the grips and saddle are matched
- Wires are managed very well, there are extra wires for the display, throttle, and motor inhibitors on the brake levers, but they are wrapped cleanly and stay out of the way when folding/unfolding
- I’ve become a big fan of disc brakes, especially hydraulic, but the linear pull rim brakes here work well and and are probably tougher when folding… the rubber pads won’t squeak as much as a metallic disc brake caliper and if you accidentally bend disc brake rotors there can be some scraping noises and inconsistency when braking
- Despite not having a suspension fork and utilizing more efficient hybrid tires, the Vika Plus feels pretty comfortable thanks to the sprung saddle, padded grips, and adjustable-height stem
- I absolutely love the flip-up saddle mount because it allows for quick and easy removal of the battery pack, this is great for reducing the weight of the bike when lifting or charging/storing the battery separately to protect it
- The tires offer puncture protection, the chain is kept on track by plastic guides, and the fenders should keep you from getting dirty in rainy weather, there’s a lot of good utility and durability with this folding electric bicycle
- Safety is a priority for me, especially when traveling through new environments, so I love that Blix has included a front and rear light that both run off the main battery pack, that they offer a more visible cream frame color, and that the tires are reflective… folding ebikes tend to sit lower to the ground too, so anything to stay more visible is a good thing in my book
- Excellent kickstand position, you can walk the bike backwards (or pedal backwards) with the kickstand down and now get pedal locked… it seems minor but is something I really appreciate in tight conditions
- This is one of the only folding electric bikes I have ever seen with an optional battery upgrade, you go from a very reasonable 36 volt 11 amp hours all the way to 17.5 amp hours that can really increase range or provide more power for a heavier rider
- If you purchase the Vika+ and maybe a Vika Travel or other model with the SpinTech battery then you can swap packs between them, even if they are different sizes
- The electrical connectors for the display, throttle, and motor inhibitors are a bit tougher and well sealed against water, they are metal threaded connectors verses plastic press-fit on many other products
- I was really surprised and impressed at the trim level Blix chose for their derailleur, this uses Shimano Acera which is several steps up from Tourney and Altus that you see on many cheaper bikes, it should shift smoother and last longer
- The display panel is not removable, this means that it could get scratched at the bike rack or when folding and transporting, it may also take additional weather wear over time if you leave the bike outside… but very few displays are removable so this is only a minor gripe
- The smaller Blix Vika Travel has a bell built in to the left brake lever, and I really like that feature! I wish that the larger Vika+ had a bell too… but at least the levers are rubberized for comfort
- This isn’t the lightest folding ebike at ~49 lbs, but it does have one of the higher capacity batteries, a rear rack, integrated lights, and fenders… and that adds utility but also adds to the weight
- Minor gripe, the power cable that runs back to the hub motor is a bit exposed on the right hand side of the frame, this is common for hub motors (except Dapu which has a special tucked-in design), just be careful when folding and transporting so the cable doesn’t get snagged or bent… same thing with the derailleur and shifter cable back there
- Minor gripe, there are no bottle cage bosses on this electric bike, you’ll have to use the side bag, purchase a trunk bag with a bottle holster, or a bar mount cup holder
- Activating this bike is a two-step process, you have to begin with a power button on top of the battery and then press a second power button on top of the LCD display, this takes extra time and can be annoying if you mount the bike and forget to first activate the battery