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Blix Ultra E-Bike Review, 2023
Feb 14, 2023
Fat tire bikes aim to offer multipurpose functionality for a wide range of riders, with their tendency to feature high-powered motors, off-road capability, respectable range, and a comfortable ride. In our review of the Blix Ultra, we found that this aggressive-looking e-bike fills such a role in the company’s lineup, and is a bit of a departure from their usual style – or at least a merging of the features spread across their other models.
With a wide range of accessories to adapt its functionality, Bluetooth connectivity that allows its user to switch between Class 2 and Class 3 speed limits, an optional dual-battery configuration, and the bike’s 750W, 90Nm motor, the Blix Ultra is highly customizable and built for function. Its bold styling is a nice touch that suits its capabilities, and with quality construction and components, it should prove a reliable ride.
We cover all of the bike’s features, specs, and performance in our detailed review of the Blix Ultra below. Keep reading to see how this bike measures up!
Bike Category: Fat Tire / Hybrid Path
Class 2 E-Bike (Adjustable to Class 3): Pedal & Throttle Assist up to 20 MPH
Pedal Assist up to 28 MPH in Class 3 mode
Blix Ultra Video Review
The Ultra is largely customizable to the needs of its rider. This includes the option for an additional rear battery which extends the Ultra’s range, and many optional accessories for additional cargo/passenger capacity.
With Bluetooth connectivity, the Ultra can switch easily between Class 2 and Class 3 speeds through the Blix Bike app.
For those looking for speed, the Ultra has steady acceleration and can reach high top speeds even at low PAS settings.
Fat tires and a front suspension give the Ultra off-road capability.
The Ultra features an aggressive visual design that matches its speed and power, while also providing a functional middle ground between a high step and step thru frame.
All of the Ultra’s controls are well-placed and easy to reach from the grips.
With an optional cargo rack in place, the Ultra’s motor and PAS system feel tuned to move added weight.
The Ultra’s minimalistic display keeps size down, but also limits the amount of information immediately available.
A longer wheelbase means greater stability, but also a larger turning radius.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: 48V, 672 Wh front battery, with additional optional 48V, 672 Wh rear battery
Display: Minimal handlebar mounted display, Bluetooth enabled
Motor: 750W geared rear hub motor w/ 90 Nm torque
Headlight: Integrated 80 Lux, powered by main battery
Brakes: ZOOM hydraulic disc brakes w/ 180 mm rotors
Fenders: Not included
Fork: ZOOM 80 mm travel, w/ lockout
Frame: 6061 Aluminum alloy
Drivetrain: MICROSHIFT 8 speed, 11-32T rear cassette w/ thumb tap trigger shifter and derailleur
Saddle: Comfort padded
Handlebar: 680 mm, 30 mm rise, 31.8 mm clamp
Tires: Chaoyang Big Daddy 26” x 4” fat tires
Blix Ultra Review: E- Bike Overview
More often than not, a sturdy and smooth ride is a sign of quality. This experience is the first thing I noticed when taking the Blix Ultra out for a spin. This e-bike is long, stable, and solidly constructed; it reminded me a bit of my first car, a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville (that is, if the Bonneville were built more like a Jeep).
Off-road capability aside, one major difference here is that the Blix Ultra is FAST. Even at low pedal assist settings, the 750W motor provides plenty of acceleration, and enough assistance to quickly bring its rider up to the Class 2 speed limit of 20 miles per hour. The PAS system, however, is tuned to take advantage of one of the Ultra’s more high-tech features; the bike can connect to a phone through its Bluetooth functionality, offering the ability to easily change into Class 3 mode and unlock a top speed of 28 miles per hour.
The Ultra’s tuning also helps when the bike is equipped with any of the myriad available accessories allowing for additional cargo or passenger capacity. In my testing, I personally felt like the Ultra wanted to have some weight on the rear cargo rack that arrived with our test bike (note that this does not come standard on the base model), and that it also handled even better when additional weight balanced out the motor’s assistance.
Extended rides or multi-day adventures can benefit from another of the available customization options: the ability to add an additional rear battery. Blix claims a range of up to 80 miles in this configuration, and while we could not fully test this claim (our test bike was the single battery model, but other Blix models we’ve reviewed with two batteries are typically close to the claimed range), we were happy to see this option offered as not many fat tire e-bikes have this option.
In short, the Blix Ultra truly delivers on being a multipurpose bike. Its construction, integrated features, customization options, and specs make the bike as suitable for camping and off-road exploring as it is for a family tour around town. While there are a few minor things we would like to see changed, we were greatly impressed with this new addition to Blix’s lineup!
The Blix Ultra is equally capable roaming the back country as it is hitting the city streets.
A wide range of accessories such as the rear cargo rack offer customization options for a multitude of purposes.
The front suspension and fat tires give the bike off-road capability.
Blix Ultra Review: Circuit Speed Test
The Blix Ultra features a powerful 750W rear hub motor with cadence sensors, and a 5-stage pedal assist system (PAS) that really delivers on acceleration and speed. Many e-bikes feel relatively underpowered in low PAS settings, and we were happy to see that this was not the case here. Even at PAS 1, it is possible to quickly get up to high speeds on the Ultra, with added boosts in assistance for easier pedaling and hill climbing as the PAS level is increased.
It is worth mentioning that the Ultra responds differently than some other e-bikes with rear hub motors. Instead of the cadence sensors triggering an initial and potentially surprising boost of speed, the Ultra’s assistance builds slower and more naturally in line with the rider’s pedaling. This may sound somewhat contradictory with what I mentioned previously about speed, but think of it like this: the Ultra feels like a bike first, and an e-bike second. To come at it from another angle, the motor helps you to do what you’re already doing, instead of doing the work for you.
The data we gathered when testing the Blix Ultra reinforced the previously described riding experience. Assistance from the motor is present and noticeable at PAS 1, with steady increases at PAS 2 and 3. We performed our measured testing with the Ultra in Class 2 mode due to the fact that it ships in this setting, however, the bike’s pedal assist system seems to be tuned for the higher Class 3 speeds it can easily switch over to. In Class 2 mode, the steady increases present in lower settings become more gradual and tapered bumps in assistance at PAS levels 4 and 5. In my experience, the differences in PAS 4 and 5 are most noticeable when going uphill.
The 4″ wide tires have a good tread pattern for taking a bite out of looser dirt trails
The 750W, 90Nm rear hub motor and 8-speed cassette give the rider plenty of power and flexibility.
The front, semi-integrated 672 Wh battery provides solid range on its own, with the option to add a second rear battery for even greater distance.
Blix Ultra Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
To get an idea of the Blix Ultra’s range under real-world conditions, we performed two tests wherein we rode the bike continuously until the battery expired. In the first test, we pedaled with only minimal assistance from the motor, allowing us to gauge the maximum distance the bike can travel. In the second test, we kicked the pedal assist level up to its highest setting, which gave us a good estimate of its minimum distance potential. We then compare this to the range stated by the manufacturer, either validating or refuting (more like debating) that claim. Our test results are a ballpark figure, since there are so many factors that affect range: rider/cargo weight, terrain, weather, etc.
The Ultra is a bit of an unusual case. Blix’s marketing focuses on the extended range granted by the dual battery option, while the bike that we received for our testing was the single-battery configuration. With either model, the batteries are the same. Both the front and rear batteries are specced as 48V, 672 Wh capacity, with a combined claimed range of up to 80 miles. A quick note here: we noticed when charging the battery we received that its label listed a capacity of only 640 Wh. We have reached out to Blix about the discrepancy, and will include an update to this review once we get clarification.
For the purposes of our testing, we cut the claimed range evenly in half to 40 miles, since we were dealing with only a single battery. The absence of weight from a second battery could potentially impact the accuracy of that split, but again, we’re going for a ballpark figure. Note also that we did not measure results with any added cargo weight on the bike.
Ultimately, we were impressed with the results we saw. The unladen, cargo-rack-equipped, single battery Ultra traveled a distance of 24.26 miles in PAS 5, and 51.7 miles in PAS 1. Considering that the bike is absolutely functional in PAS 1, this suggests that with the additional second battery, the bike could substantially exceed the claimed 80 mile range.
Another thing to note: in higher PAS settings, the battery does deplete relatively quickly since you are traveling so fast. Fortunately, with the aforementioned functionality in lower settings, the only time we felt the need to go above PAS 3 was when climbing hills.
Blix Ultra Review: Hill Test
Our test hill, described in the graphic above, proves a real challenge to many e-bikes. While short, it is certainly on the extreme end of something a rider would encounter in the wild. Because of this, we consider a bike to have reliable hill climbing ability if it successfully makes it up the slope.
On both of our tests, one using only the Ultra’s throttle, and the other in PAS 5, the Ultra definitely passed – though this result may be slightly misleading. This is not to say that the bike struggles to get uphill; it doesn’t. But it does offer the rider a bit more control over the uphill experience.
I mentioned previously that the Blix Ultra feels like a bike first, and an e-bike second; this is most apparent when dealing with hills. The bike absolutely has the capability of handling hills well, as demonstrated during our testing, but in anything except PAS 5, the Ultra does make you work for it. The bike seems optimized for speed on flat ground in the lower levels, but the torque for climbing steep hills doesn’t fully seem to kick in until the PAS 4-5 range.
Personally, I don’t want to work very hard when pedaling uphill, so I would most likely switch up to PAS 5 or hit the throttle when in lower PAS levels. I learned to look at the Ultra’s approach to hills as a feature, and not a bug; it is easily adjusted to your own riding style, and has power where and when you need it.
The gearing range is adequate for going up hills and even a little help going down.
Close proximity to the left grip makes it easy to reach the throttle or increase the PAS setting.
A cutoff switch on the hydraulic disc brakes ensures that they will never be competing with the motor.
Blix Ultra Review: Safety and Brake Test
With the Blix Ultra’s cargo hauling capability, good brakes are at the top of the list of requirements when it comes to safety. E-bikes already travel at higher speeds than traditional bicycles, which makes them more difficult to slow and/or stop. Adding additional weight compounds that problem even further. The Ultra features ZOOM hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm rotors and motor cutoff functionality, which we appreciate seeing as a standard feature.
When assessing the Ultra’s performance in our Brake Test, we again kept the bike in Class 2 mode with no cargo, pedaled it up to 20 miles per hour and then came to a complete, controlled stop. We repeated this process three times and measured the stopping distance for each run, then averaged the results. With an average stopping distance of 22’8”, the Ultra was a bit on the high/slow end when comparing it to similar bikes we have tested. That said, it doesn’t feel like it has any trouble. The bike maintains its very solid and stable feeling regardless of the force applied to the brake levers.
Outside of our measured tests, I did load up the Ultra with some cargo to get a feel for its braking capabilities when under duress. The added weight did, as expected, extend the bike’s slowing, though it was still able to maintain its stability and controlled feel.
Additional safety features include reflectors, the integrated front LED headlight and the handlebar-mounted bell. For ease of use, the headlight can be activated with either the control pad on the left handlebar or the Blix Bike phone app. While I did not test the headlight at night, the 80 Lux rating seems adequate. Much of our testing is done on a series of local bike paths that are shared with pedestrians, so I appreciated the inclusion of the bell for signaling others on the trail. With the minimalistic cockpit layout (more on that below), it was also easy to access from the right handlebar grip.
Blix Ultra Review: Ride Comfort & Handling, Cockpit, and More
With the Blix Ultra’s heavy lean on functionality, it would have been easy for the bike to sacrifice some level of comfort. Fortunately, this is not the case; across the board, the Ultra was extremely comfortable even on longer rides.
The padded saddle felt great, offering support without impeding movement or creating too much friction when pedaling. The ergonomic sweep of the handlebars was similarly excellent, offering a natural feel that complemented the Ultra’s handling. Additionally, the bike’s riding position felt appropriate, being mostly upright with a slight forward angle.
The Ultra’s cockpit layout smartly distributes its controls for easy access.
The padded saddle is both supportive and comfortable.
The thumb shifter allows for quick, intuitive gear changes with the same motion.
The integrated front LED headlight and reflector offer safety and visibility.
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.
Blix Ultra Review: Summary / Where to Buy
The Blix Ultra both presents itself and ultimately succeeds at being a multipurpose e-bike. Its design, tuning, integrated features, and accessories all combine to create a machine that can be highly customized to the preferences of its rider. Over the course of my personal experience with the bike, I have often been reminded of the saying “A Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one,” and I think this truly exemplifies the Ultra.
The Ultra can go the distance with dual batteries, or it can just as easily stay closer to home with one. It can ride like a traditional bike at lower PAS levels, or swiftly carry its rider along at PAS 5 or on throttle alone. It can stick to restricted paths as a Class 2 e-bike, or fly along the road as a Class 3. It can haul camping gear across dirt and grass, or allow a friend to ride along through downtown. Its flexibility is key, and opens up a world of possibilities.
While I can’t say that the Ultra is a perfect bike, all in all, our critique is minimal. We would prefer to see a larger central display for a more easily visible, full spectrum of data, or at least an included phone mount when considering that the bike seems to encourage use of the highly functional Blix app. The Ultra’s carrying capacity is appreciated, and again, adds to the bike’s flexibility, but the high center of gravity is something to be aware and cautious of, especially when mounting (and even more especially with precious cargo).
Overall, the Blix Ultra boasts an impressive degree of potential. I had a lot of fun when taking advantage of its top speeds in Class 3 mode, but also appreciated the bike’s cargo capability and notable range under lower assistance settings. I happily recommend the Ultra for anyone who really wants a bike that can do a little bit of everything, and maybe anyone looking for that wind-in-your-hair, hands-in-the-air (don’t actually do that!) thrill.
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 Ultra.