Blix Vika+ Flex Review 2021


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Blix Vika+ Flex Review: Overview

What’s painted British racing green, folds in half and rides with all the enthusiasm and excitement of a peppy little go kart? The Blix Vika+ Flex electric folding bike does.

In this Blix Vika+ Flex review, Electric Bike Report takes an in-depth look at the Santa Cruz-based electric bike company’s electric folding bike by putting it through a gauntlet of tests. Those tests — including a hill test, range test and many more — are designed to demonstrate how well this bike performs in the real world so that you can make a better informed choice on if this is the right bike for you.

The Blix Vika+ Flex is a through-and-through electric folding bike designed for urban commuting and riders who need a compact, stowable and efficient mode of transportation. Blix recently updated the Vika in July of this year, so the version in this review is the most recent iteration of the bike with wider tires and a redesigned folding mechanism.

It’s an incredibly pleasant riding e-bike with quick handling, a surprisingly peppy 500W rear hub motor and an overall nicely done finish. And with a claimed weight of 55 lbs, it’s respectably light — an important factor for an e-bike designed to be folded up and stored in tight spaces.

Bike Category: Commuter/Folding electric bike

Bike Class: Class 2: PAS/Throttle assist up to 20 mph

Blix Vika+ Flex Video Review

Pro’s
  • It feels right that a folding bike — a quintessentially British thing — is painted British racing green.
  • The handling is very fun. The Vika+ feels like a cross between an e-bike and a go kart.
  • The battery life is in the upper echelon for folding e-bikes. These aren’t designed to be ridden long distances, but you could on the Vika+ Flex.
  • At 55 lbs, it’s reasonably light; light enough you could carry it up a short flight of stairs or roll it onto public transport.
  • The brakes stop impressively quick despite being mechanical disc brakes. This is likely thanks to the bike’s descently light weight.
Con’s
  • The cockpit is a little cramped for taller riders. I’m a lanky 6’1”, and I found myself scooching uncomfortably far back on the seat to give myself more room.
  • The folding mechanism is a little stiff, so you do have to put some oomph into the hinge.

ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES

  • Battery: 48V, 12.8Ah (614Wh) externally-mounted battery
  • Display: LCD with a USB charge port
  • Motor: 500W rear hub motor
  • Headlight: Integrated
  • Taillights: Integrated
  • Peal Assist: Five levels of pedal assist, cadence sensor
  • Range: Up to 45 miles claimed
  • Throttle: Thumb throttle

Weight & Dimensions

  • Battery weight: 7.5 lbs
  • Claimed weight: 55 lbs
  • Maximum rider weight: 270 lbs (rider + cargo)
  • Maximum load on rear rack: 55 lbs

Components & Accessories

  • Brakes: Tektro Aries mechanical brakes, 160mm rotors F/R
  • Fenders: Painted metal
  • Fork: Aluminum, rigid
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Tourney, 7-speed
  • Gearing: 52t chainring, 14-28t cassette
  • Grips: Ergonomic rubber
  • Saddle: Comfort saddle
  • Handlebar: Alloy riser bar
  • Kickstand: Included
  • Pedals: Included, foldable
  • Tires: Semi-slick road tires with a reflective strip and puncture resistance, 20” x 2.4”

Blix Vika+ Flex Performance Review

Acceleration / Speed

It’s a folding bike with the spirit of a go kart, the Blix Vika+ Flex has very snappy acceleration and holds speed well, especially in the higher pedal assist settings.

Part of that is courtesy of the 500W rear hub motor, which feels particularly spicy on a bike that’s several pounds lighter than your typical affordable e-bike, but that snappy feel is additionally thanks to the Vika’s small 20” wheels. Small wheels require less force to accelerate, meaning a motor’s torque goes further and feels even more pronounced than it would on a bike fitted with typical wheel sizes. That snappy acceleration, paired with a quick handling profile, is what gives the Vika+ its go kart-like feel.

The Vika+ Flex is a Class 2 e-bike, so both the throttle and pedal assistance are capped at 20 mph.

Range Test

The battery range of an electric bike is a very tricky thing to pin down accurately — factors like weather, rider weight, riding style and myriad more can have an outsized impact on how far an e-bike will go on a single charge.

But to get an idea of how far the e-bikes we review can go, we put them through a series of real-world range tests to see how far a bike will last on a single charge. We do two tests: One in the highest assist setting and another on the lowest setting that we deem gives the rider a descently detectable assist — or, in simpler terms, the lowest pedal assist level that the bike starts to feel like an e-bike. For the Blix Vika+ Flex, we chose to do that test in PAS 3.

In the highest pedal assist setting — PAS 5 — the Vika+ lasted 27.12 miles before the battery died. That’s a solid result considering Blix’s lowest advertised range for the Vika is 20 miles. Like many e-bikes we range test, I did notice the bike gradually reduced power as the battery neared empty. So if you try to kill the bike like we did, don’t expect the same amount of oomph from the motor at one bar of battery remaining as you had at full charge.

On PAS 3 — the “low assist” setting for the Vika’s range test — the bike lasted a very solid 43.28 miles before the battery ran empty. Considering Blix claims the Vika is capable of “up to 45 miles” per charge, that’s an awesome result from the mid-level PAS setting. To add some context, we were torn between low PAS range testing this bike on PAS 2 or PAS 3 but chose the latter because it gave a more reasonable amount of assist.

Circuit test

To get an idea of how each bike we review performs across its various pedal assist levels, we do timed laps on a one mile loop to determine how speed and power delivery changes from level to level.

We start with a lap with the assistance turned off and turn the power up by one on each consecutive lap. This gives us the bike’s power profile, or how it performs on each PAS level.

The Blix Vika+ Flex has a very uniform power profile, with the average speed of each lap around our circuit increasing by about 1 mph each time we upped the PAS setting. As we notice on most e-bikes with five PAS settings, the Vika’s lower power levels gave very little assistance — almost so little we could hardly tell the motor was working at all.

Small but mighty: It may not be the biggest bike, but boy does it sure ride like a big bike.

The handlepost is adjustable for riders of different heights.

Leather colored ergonomic grips tie the bike’s colors together and a Shimano RevoShift shifter handles gear changes.

Hill Test

On hills, the Blix Vika+ Flex performs nicely for a bike designed mostly with urban commuting in mind.

This is largely due to the relatively light bike being equipped with a stout 500W rear hub motor, but It’s also partially thanks to the Vika+’s 20-inch wheels. Small wheels take less force to turn and actually accelerate quicker than larger diameter wheels, so while it doesn’t increase torque the bike does gain speed quickly after steep sections.

To test the Vika’s climbing ability, we put the bike through two laps up a local steep lovingly called “Hell Hole.” It’s a one-third of a mile long climb out of the bottom of a canyon that pitches on average between 12 percent and 15 percent grade — much steeper than your average hill. We do two tests: The first on throttle only and the second on the maximum pedal assist level.

On the throttle-only test, the Vika+ Flex cleared the top of our test hill in 1:33.00 with an average speed of 11.7 mph. On maximum assist, the Vika climbed the hill in 1:29.00 with an average speed of 12.2 mph.

On average, the bike’s we’ve tested up Hell Hole typically clear the top with an average speed of 12.16 mph on throttle and 14.69 mph on PAS 5, so the Vika is a little slower of a climber than the average bike we’ve tested. But I have a hard time knocking the Vika for this, and that’s mostly because Hell Hole really is an extraordinarily steep hill. The fact the Vika — a bike purpose built for relatively flat urban environments — cleared the hill without much struggle is an impressive feat in itself. Any sense of speed I got was just a bonus.

Handling

The Blix Vika+ Flex rides like an e-bike built by a go kart designer; it’s snappy, quick and ridiculously fun.

Part of this is due to the Vika’s small 20-inch wheels (smaller wheels turn quicker) and the bike’s relatively steep 72.5 degree head angle. But despite its quick handling, the bike doesn’t feel overly quick. It’s very stable and feels planted in corners.

It’s not an e-bike I’d necessarily thow through a mountain-side chicane at 30 mph, but it feels plenty capable in tight situations where quick handling is key — situations like dodging traffic and pedestrians.

Ride Comfort/Geometry

No folding bike feels exactly like a traditional bike — they’ve all got little quirky characteristics — but the Vika+ Flex does a good job of closely replicating the feel of a full-sized e-bike without sacrificing portability.

It’s a plenty comfortable ride until about the 15 mile mark, where I personally started to notice the compactness of the frame. I’m a lanky 6’1”, and while I was able to raise the seat high enough to get a full leg extension, the space between my hips and the handlebars was a little short for my liking. This was fine on your typical ride, but it was something I began to pick up on during longer stints in the saddle. Take that gripe with a grain of salt, though: Folding bikes like the Blix Vika+ Flex are really built for shorter duration rides in cities or quick jaunts to the store in lieu of public transport. In those cases, the bike rides perfectly.

It’s not a bike I’d probably reach for if I were planning a long-haul recreational ride, but for urban commutes or rides that require transporting the bike in a tight space the Vika+ will do very well.

The Blix Vika+ Flex is a shockingly well handling e-bike. It corners and accelerates like a go kart but still feels very stable at speed.

It’s not just the frame that’s nicely painted; the fenders, rear rack and fork all match perfectly.

The Selle Royale HZ seat is the saddle of choice for Blix. It comes on most of their models.

Blix Vika+ Flex Specs/Features Review: Electric Components

Motor

The Blix Vika+ Flex’s 500W rear hub motor feels refreshingly spry for a folding bike. Blix doesn’t publish the motor’s torque, but I was impressed with how little it struggled on steeper hills — especially on just the throttle.

On flat land, the motor accelerated very quickly and held it’s speed easily. The only issue I had was during the throttle-only hill test when the motor made an audible straining noise on very steep sections. Add a little pedaling on top of the motor’s power, even just turning the cranks lightly, and that noise went away.

Battery

Blix outfitted the Vika+ with a 48V, 12.8Ah battery that makes for 614Wh of energy, a pretty solid amount when paired with the 500W motor.

The battery’s range is good, as we showed in the range test, and I appreciated its low-slung placement between the rear tire and seat tube. This helps keep the bike’s center of gravity low and is a relatively convenient place for charging.

Pedal Assist / Throttle

The Vika+ Flex comes with the relatively standard (for an affordable e-bike) five pedal assist settings and a thumb throttle on the left-hand side.

It also has a remarkably sensitive cadence sensor, which gives the bike one of the more responsive motor engagements of any affordable e-bike I’ve personally reviewed. Cadence sensors function by using magnets to detect whether you’re pedaling, and they sometimes take a full revolution of the crank (or more) to tell if you’ve stopped or started pedaling. The Vika engages the motor in about half a pedal stroke, which is really quick.

Display

The Blix Vika+ Flex has a fairly standard LCD display center mounted on the handlebars that pairs with a small touch pad on the left hand side. From there, you can adjust you PAS setting, turn the bike on and off and control other features.

The Vika’s display is pretty standard among affordable e-bikes — it’s large, easy to read and really gets into the important metrics like speed, battery life, distance and several other things that are nice to keep track of.

The 500W rear hub motor.

The 614Wh battery is nested in the space between the seat tube and rear wheel, helping keep the bike’s center of gravity low.

The center mounted black and white display is pretty standard issue on affordable electric bikes. It works well.

The Vika+ Flex’s thumb throttle is on the left side of the handlebars.

Blix Vika+ Flex Review: Components and Accessories

From it’s nicely painted frame to the thoughtfully chosen components package, we’ve been very pleased with the Blix Vika+ Flex’s build. It feels like a very refined electric bike built of quality components made to last.

Brakes

Blix outfitted the Vika+ Flex with a set of Tektro Aries mechanical disk brakes with 160mm rotors front and rear.

These brakes are incredibly common on the e-bikes we test, and though they can be a little tricky to set up correctly, they are super reliable and stop quickly.

To test the efficacy of the brakes we use the throttle to get the bike up to 20 mph and then jam on the brakes to see how quickly the bike will slow down. We do this test five times and then take the average stopping distance.

Across the five stops, the Blix Vika+ Flex came to a stop in a respectable 13-feet-9-inches. Those mechanical brakes grab hard, quickly causing the bike to skid and slow. I was actually pretty surprised at how good the brakes felt, especially considering that they’re not hydraulic.

Frame

Blix’s e-bikes are a little more elegant, a little nicer done than some of the other electric bikes we’ve tested at this price point. That’s really thanks to the clear care they’ve taken with their frames — particularly the paint job.

The Vika+ Flex we reviewed was painted British racing green, which felt oh-so-fitting on something so quintessentially British as a folding bike. That paint is rich, glossy and just looks a little nicer done than some other sub-$2,000 e-bikes we’ve reviewed. They also did a great job in designing the folding mechanism, a point on the bike that risks unwanted flex while riding.

Fork

Like the frame, the Vika’s steel fork was very nicely painted. It’s a pretty standard rigid fork, so there’s not much to say about it other than it gave a little over rough roads while still feeling plenty stiff in corners.

Drivetrain / Shifting

Shifting is handled by a 7-speed mixed Shimano groupset composed of a Tourney rear derailleur and a RevoShift twist-style shifter.

The Tourney rear derailleur is a pretty standard option at the sub-$2,000 level that works very nicely. What we don’t see often are twist-style shifters like the RevoShift, but it was a component I grew to really like. Unlike the typical thumb-actuated shifters we see on most e-bikes, the RevoShift changes gears by twisting a throttle-like grip back and forth. This makes for a very clean cockpit that’s pretty intuitive for new riders. The shifter also has a convenient indicator that tells you which gear you’re in.

The Vika+ Flex’s build package is pretty standard for the price — Shimano Tourney 7-speed and mechanical disk brakes — but there’s something about this bike that made them mesh together differently… in a good way.

Tektro Aires mechanical disk brakes with 160mm rotors front and rear handle stopping.

The Shimano Tourney 7-speed rear derailleur.

Contact Points / Comfortability

While the cockpit may be a little more compact than some other e-bikes, the Vika+ Flex’s cockpit was comfortable and put you in a riding position well suited for commuting.

The ergonomic grips are comfortable, the adjustable handlepost feels secure and the Selle Royale HZ saddle is supportive for all but the longest of rides. This is something we notice on most compact folding bikes, but the cockpit is a bit short for taller people like myself. But this is par for the course with folding bikes — we find most feel a little cramped for taller people.

Tires

The 20” x 2.4” semi-slick tires work nicely. They’re unbranded, but they appear to be a pair of CST Operative BMX tires, which likely helps with the bike’s good overall handling thanks to stiffer sidewalls and a tread pattern built for pavement.

These tires are also wider than the previous version of the Vika, with reflective sidewalls and puncture protection to ward off thorns.

Extras / Accessories

Aside from a bonus tote bag, the Blix Vika+ Flex comes with your standard rear rack, integrated lights and fenders front and rear. All these things (aside from the lights) are metal and carefully painted to match the color of the frame.

Additionally this bike (of course) folds, using a user-friendly mechanism that’s a little stiffer than some we’ve tested but is still better than your average folding mech. It feels safe, secure and, with a little practice, opens and closes very quickly.

Like most of the other metal parts on the bike, the rear rack is painted to match the frame.

The tires appear to be unbranded CST Operative BMX tires with a reflective strip and a puncture resistant liner.

The Blix Vika+ Flex folds into a very compact and portable package.

Blix Vika+ Flex Review: Summary / Where to Buy

A small package with a lot of punch, the Blix Vika+ Flex is a refreshingly usable and elegant electric folding bike.

Not only does if have go kart-like agility, the Vika+ is relatively light, easy to fold and boasts a very well done finish that, at least in the British racing green color we reviewed, feels like it belongs on a 1960’s European sports car. I’m not a cyclist who’d typically gravitate towards a folding e-bike, but I’ve found myself riding the Vika+ more and more even after its official test period with Electric Bike Report ended — it’s an exceptionally fun ride.

When Blix updated this bike earlier this year, they didn’t change a whole lot; simply giving the bike wider tires, updating the folding mechanism and better hiding the controller box. Those changes have seemingly made a good bike better by improving aesthetics and handling. It’s also refreshing to see a folding e-bike built with urban functionality in mind. At just 55 lbs and with the ability to fold down relatively small, I can actually see someone toting this bike up a flight of stairs or stashing it under their desk at work.

The Blix Vika+ Flex is sold online through the Blix website and is shipped directly to your door. Though, if you find yourself in the Santa Cruz area, you can visit the Blix Experience Center to test ride the bikes and even buy one in person.

Happy Riding, make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the Blix Vika+ Flex.



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