The Ultra’s cockpit layout was generally appreciated, though personally, I would prefer to see a couple of changes here. With all of the controls that e-bikes have to manage, handlebars can quickly feel cluttered, which can limit the accessibility of essential buttons and levers. With the Ultra, Blix took a much more minimalistic approach, which allows for easy reach of all of the bike’s controls. However, this comes with a tradeoff. As someone who prefers all relevant information being immediately available and easily readable, I feel conflicted about the small black-and-white display. The right button switches between speed, battery level, and PAS level, with the left buttons increasing or decreasing the PAS. While riding, I found myself wanting to see at least two of these three things at a time, so the display felt limiting despite the fact that it does briefly display changes in PAS level when set to show a different reading.
This brings me to the Ultra’s Bluetooth connectivity through the Blix Bike app. It’s a great addition to the bike, with a user-friendly, intuitive interface, and it honestly feels essential to getting the most out of the Ultra’s riding experience. As mentioned before, the app pairs with the bike to quickly enable changes from Class 2 to Class 3 mode, making it easy to transition from casual riding to destination-focused speed. The app also allows for wireless firmware updates, controls the PAS setting and headlight, displays a map with path-tracking capability that links with Strava, and generally functions as a full-size, traditional e-bike display showing speed, trip, PAS level, etc. With this expanded functionality, it seems as though Blix designed the Ultra with the app in mind, though the bike does not come with a phone mount (something I would highly recommend picking up). On the next iteration of the Ultra, I would love to see a phone mount included with the bike, or at least the option for a full-sized LCD display.
Another important aspect of the Ultra is its handling, both on dirt and paved surfaces, as well as both with and without cargo. The primary influencing factor here is the bike’s extended wheelbase. Again, that feature grants greater stability, but also results in wider turns. In my testing, I found that curves in the path required either a significant amount of slowing down, or a significant degree of leaning into turns at higher speeds.
The bike felt much more nimble with cargo weight added to the optional rear rack, though this brought up a few other points for discussion. For testing purposes, I strapped a sandbag from our studio to the rack, adding somewhere between 40-50 lbs to the bike. This weight seemed to balance out the Ultra’s hunger for speed, and enabled a higher degree of responsiveness from the steering. At higher speeds, I actually much preferred the bike’s tuning and handling with some weight, although the 26” wheels raised the center of gravity to a point where it felt tippy at low (or no) speed. This made maneuvering and mounting the bike from alongside it difficult (as is often the case when adding cargo to a non-cargo styled bike) but the thoughtful zigzag of the hybrid frame design offered some relief when stepping over.
Let’s dive into the Ultra’s cargo capacity. Blix offers a wide range of accessories to expand this feature, including both front and rear racks and baskets. Based on the rear rack on our test bike, I think it’s safe to assume that these are seriously well constructed. Cushions are also available for the rear rack for a second adult passenger, and the rack offers the ability to mount a child seat. Blix claims a maximum weight capacity on the rear rack of 150 lbs, which makes sense for an adult passenger who can help steady the bike, but from my experience, I recommend staying far under that with other cargo due to the high center of gravity.
One final note: I had the chance to test the Ultra on gravel, as well as on dirt paths with a considerable number of small hills, and I can confidently say that the bike handled it well. The added stability was appreciated, and the front suspension did a solid job of reducing the impacts on the trail’s bumpier stretches. The fat tires’ knobby treads made short work of any uphill segments, with no noticeable added resistance from the rougher terrain.