Blix Packa Review
Cons: Heavy, shorter range (without optional 2nd battery), long turning radius, difficult to transport due to size and weight
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$1,599 List||$1,699 List||$2,175 List||$899 List||$1,599 List|
|Pros||Sleek design, fully-featured, 400 lb weight limit, excellent stability, dual battery capable||Excellent finish quality, sleek battery integration, excellent range, 28 mph top pedal-assisted speed, comfortable ride||Fast, quiet, smooth, fully-featured, good distance range||Reasonable price, no assembly required, folding design, big tires increase versatility, Class 2 or Class 3 capable||Smooth, quiet, powerful, fully-featured|
|Cons||Heavy, shorter range (without optional 2nd battery), long turning radius, difficult to transport due to size and weight||Doesn't come with lights, limited handlebar height adjustability||More expensive, not the fastest in the test||Small wheels, handling can feel a little twitchy||Heavy, 20 mph top speed|
|Bottom Line||A well-designed, competitively priced utility e-bike for transporting kids or other cargo||Impressive performance across the board make this one of the best e-bikes we've ever tested||A well-rounded and versatile e-bike that was among the best we tested||This quality Class 2 and Class 3 capable folding electric bike is highly versatile and affordable too||A well-rounded and competitive performance at a reasonable price|
|Rating Categories||Blix Packa||Aventon Level Step-Thru||Magnum Metro||Lectric XP Step-Thru||Rad Power RadCity 4|
|Specs||Blix Packa||Aventon Level...||Magnum Metro||Lectric XP Step-Thru||Rad Power RadCity 4|
|Battery Size (Wh)||500 (with dual battery capability for up to 1,171 Wh)||672||624||500||672|
|Motor Power||750W||500W (750W peak)||500W||500W||750W|
|E-Bike Class||Class 2||Class 3 (Can be configured in Class 1 and 2)||Class 3 (Can be configured in Class 1 and 2)||Class 2 and 3 capable||Class 2|
|Number of pedal assist settings||5||5||6||5||5|
|Top speed throttle||20||20||20||20||20|
|Top speed pedal-assist||20||28||25||20(up to 28)||20|
|Measured Distance Range (throttle-only test)||19.2 miles||28.4 miles||28.68 miles||23.68 miles||26 miles|
|Distance Range (claimed)||70 claimed||40 miles average||30-60 miles||Up to 45+||Up to 45+|
|Frame material||Aluminum||6061 Aluminum Alloy||Aluminum||Aluminum||6061 Aluminum|
|Maximum rider weight (lbs)||400 lbs total capacity (up to 200 lbs in cargo)||250 lbs total (up to 55 lbs on rear rack)||265 lbs||275 lbs (up to 55 on rear rack)||275 lbs|
|Measured Weight (w/o pedals, Medium)||78.5 lbs||60.6 lbs||59.4 lbs||62.2 lbs||63.3 lbs|
|Drivetrain||Shimano 7-speed||Shimano Acera 8-speed||Shimano Altus 7-speed||Shimano Tourney 7-speed||Shimano Altus 7-speed|
|Brakes||Tektro MD-M300 Mechanical Disc||Bengal Ares 3 Hydraulic Disc||Tektro Mechanical Disc||Tektro Mechanical Disc||Tektro Mechanical Disc|
|Additional features||Fenders, front and rear lights, USB charging, kickstand, bell, puncture resistant tires, smart mounting points for accessories, dual battery capability||75mm suspension fork, front and rear fenders, rear cargo rack||Suspension fork, front/rear lights, rear rack, front/rear fenders, suspension seatpost||Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights||Cargo Rack, Integrated Brake Light, Puncture Resistant Tires, Headlight, Digital display|
|Warranty||1 year||Lifetime on frame, 1 year on components||1-year||1 year||1 year|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Blix is a Santa Cruz, CA based company that has been producing and selling electric bikes since 2014. They make a range of styles including folding, cruiser, commuter, and utility bikes, all of which are offered at competitive prices. We bought the Packa cargo bike to see how it would compare to the rest of our diverse test selection. This bike's high weight limit, cargo-carrying capacity, dual battery capability, stability, and comfort certainly help it stand out from the crowd. It doesn't have the most impressive range (with just the single battery), and it's not very convenient to transport, but we feel this utilitarian model is a great car replacement for those who need extra space for carrying kids or other cargo, and its a solid value to boot.
The Packa has a notably smooth, stable, and comfortable ride quality that is a result of its length, weight, and high volume tires. It's far from the most maneuverable bike we tested, though that's to be expected for a bike of this size. Its got a comfortable seated pedaling position, loads of handlebar and seat height adjustability, and comes with lots of user-friendly features.
The Packa has a low step-thru frame that makes getting on and off the bike relatively easy. The seatpost has a large range of adjustability, as does the handlebar with an adjustable angle stem that makes for quick and easy changes to its height and position. Blix claims a rider height range of 5'1" to 6'3", and our six-foot-tall tester with long legs had no problem finding a comfortable fit. Additionally, the large padded seat is quite agreeable and we found the faux leather ergonomic grips to be quite comfortable as well.
Being as long and heavy as the Packa is gives it very impressive stability at speed and an ultra-smooth ride on straightaways and through medium and large radius turns. Of course, this length has the adverse effect of making it feel a bit big and bulky, and super short turns aren't really its thing. You need a little extra room if you're making a u-turn or backing it out of its parking spot. Its 24-inch wheels come with high volume 2.4-inch wide tires that provide a good bit of damping over small bumps and cracks in the road. Given the fact that it has a rigid frame, however, super rough roads and potholes still feel pretty jarring. This big bike doesn't stop on a dime, but the mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear do a good job of slowing and stopping this heavyweight. Another thing worth mentioning is that the Packa is quite difficult to transport due to its size and weight. At 78.5 lbs, it's heavier than virtually any bike rack can handle in addition to the fact that it's also too long to fit in any bike rack's trays. Lifting it into a truck bed is no simple task either. This bike simply isn't ideal for bringing along on trips, or anyone who needs to bring it up or down stairs for storage either.
Blix loaded the Packa with useful features that help to enhance the rider experience. It comes with front and rear fenders, a bell integrated into the brake levers, USB charging from the display, and head and tail lights. The tail light also functions as a brake light when it is on, and it lights up even brighter when the brakes are applied. The back end of the bike has a large platform, as well as large footrests, and Blix sells a variety of accessories like kids seats, baskets, and cargo racks so you can customize it to suit your needs.
The Packa comes with a 500Wh battery integrated into the downtube of the frame, and it has a unique dual battery capability. Blix gives you the option to purchase it with dual batteries, adding an additional 672Wh for a total of 1,171Wh. Adding the dual battery option bumps the price of the bike up by a few hundred dollars, but easily extends this bike's range by more than double. This is a really exciting feature for those who may carry lots of cargo or travel long distances regularly. That said, we didn't purchase the 2nd battery, and we performed our range test using only the included 500Wh downtube battery.
With the 500Wh (48V, 10.4Ah) downtube battery, we were able to ride the Packa using the throttle only for 19.2 miles with 1,065 feet of elevation gain/loss with a 14.9 mph average speed. This is a fair amount shy of the high bar set by other models we tested, most of which have 624 or 672Wh batteries. It stands to reason that it would travel a shorter distance with 20-25% less battery. Additionally, the Packa is quite heavy. This bike weighs 78.5 lbs, which is 25-30 lbs more than the competition, another factor that could lead to a decrease in range. Overall, we think it performed reasonably well given its weight and smaller battery capacity, but we'd suggest the dual battery for those looking for a greater range.
With a robust 750W peak output direct drive rear hub motor, the Packa is no slouch in the power department. This Class 2 e-bike has a top speed of 20 mph using both the throttle and pedal assist, so it isn't necessarily the fastest bike around, but we feel it's plenty fast for a utility/cargo style model. It has five levels of pedal assistance to support your pedaling efforts, and the throttle power also corresponds to the chosen assist level.
The Packa has 5 levels of pedal assistance as well as a throttle that easily get this bike up to its top speed of 20 mph on flat terrain. The pedal assistance is based on a cadence sensor, so it starts delivering power after about a quarter-turn of the cranks and it continues as long as the cranks are turning regardless of how much effort you're putting in. The 5 levels of support provide a great range, whether you want to putt along at 10 mph in level 1 or zoom down the road at 20 mph in level 5. While pedaling, shifts between levels feel smooth, with noticeable changes in support between them. It is worth noting, however, that there is a bit of drag noticeable from the motor, particularly when trying to pedal this bike with no assist.
The throttle is engaged by pressing the thumb paddle by the left grip, and it can be used on its own so you don't need to pedal at all, even from a complete stop. The throttle power corresponds to the chosen assist level, so it goes faster in the higher levels and vice versa. Using the throttle, we found it to feel relatively quick off the line with good acceleration in level 5, though it tended to bog down a bit on steeper or extended uphills where you should probably be pedaling a little anyway. Like most quality e-bikes, the Packa also has a walk mode, to push it along at walking pace, which is activated by pressing and holding the down button.
The Packa uses a display and controls that are comparable to most of the other bikes in this price range. The controls are intuitive in their use with good ergonomics, and the LCD display is large, easy to read, and shows your pertinent ride information at a glance. The batteries are removable, and charging can be done on or off the bike.
The majority of moderately priced e-bikes we've tested have similar controls to those found on the Packa. By the left grip, a small handlebar-mounted control unit has three buttons, power/mode, and up and down arrows. A thumb paddle throttle is situated next to the button controls. Their location next to the left grip makes them easy to reach with the thumb, and they are so simple in their function that you can typically use them without the need to look down. Once the power is turned on at the battery, the power/mode button turns on power to the display. The up and down arrows are used to shift between pedal-assist levels while the mode button scrolls through several data fields at the bottom of the screen. Pressing and holding the up arrow turns on the head and tail lights while pressing and holding the down arrow engages the walk mode.
The monochrome LCD display measures 3.25" long x 2" wide and is centered in the handlebar above the stem in an easy to see location. The angle of the screen can also be adjusted to optimize it for viewing. The screen shows several important pieces of data including remaining battery life, current speed, pedal assist level, and odometer/trip distance. Remaining battery life is displayed graphically at the top of the screen as a number of bars that turn off as the battery is depleted. Current speed is calculated from the bike's speed sensor and is shown in large numbers in the middle of the screen (this field can be charged to show average or max speed). Below that, the pedal-assist setting is displayed as a number 0-5. At the bottom of the screen is the odometer, and this field can be switched to show Trip A and Trip B distance instead. The display also has a USB port which can be used to charge a smartphone or similar device off the bike's battery.
The downtube battery fits nicely into a recess in the downtube of the frame. It can be unlocked with the included keys and removed for security or charging on or off the bike. Charging is pretty standard using the included charger. Simply plug the charging cord into the charging port. Blix claims a charging time of approximately 5 hours to replenish a depleted battery. The optional dual battery is keyed differently than the downtube battery, and it is also removable for security and charging.
Due to its size and weight, we were initially a little intimidated by the assembly of the Packa, but we quickly found it to be comparable to most of the other full-size bikes we tested. Detailed assembly instructions and videos are on the Blix website, and following them, we had the Packa together in around 40 minutes.
There are no two ways about it, the Packa is a large and heavy bike. As such, it comes in a larger bike box than most that weighs a few pounds more than the 78.5 lb assembled weight of the bike. Moving this box and removing the bike from the box is definitely a task for two people. Once out of the box and all the packing materials are removed, the Packa has the advantage of its two-footed kickstand that can support the bike before the front wheel is even on. This allows you to install the handlebar, pedals, seat/seatpost, front fender, and headlight without the bike tipping over in the process. Once the front wheel is on, the two foot platforms at the rear of the bike also need to be installed if you intend to use them. We found it to be relatively easy to complete the remaining assembly of the Packa by following the instructions and using the included tools, but we'd recommend users with limited bike knowledge to take theirs to a professional mechanic.
We feel the Packa is a great value. This bike is less expensive than comparable utility-style e-bikes on the market from popular brands, yet we don't think it makes any sacrifices in features or performance. In fact, this bike comes loaded with useful features, plus you can add the optional 2nd battery and a variety of cargo-carrying add-ons to make this the ultimate grocery-getter, kid hauler, or adventure wagon.
The Blix Packa is an excellent utility/cargo bike that is ideal for transporting kids, running errands, and carrying lots of cargo. This bike is competitively priced and boasts features and performance that are well worth the asking price. This bike is comfortable, smooth, and stable, and the dual battery capability gives you the option to have a massive battery storage capacity and distance range. With a 400 lb weight capacity and mounts for a variety of aftermarket racks, baskets, and kid's seats, this might just be the ultimate car replacement.
— Jeremy Benson