Published on February 25th, 2020 | by Kyle Field0
The Blix Packa Is An Ebike That Can Haul The Entire Family Around (Review)
February 25th, 2020 by Kyle Field
The Blix Packa electric cargo bike is the brainchild of Blix Bikes founder and CEO Pontus Malmberg that seeks to bring together the best of electric bike technology and uber functional cargo bikes. It was initially launched with a campaign on IndieGogo that helped the company secure enough orders to ramp up production at an affordable price.
The Packa is unique in that it is a compact electric cargo bike that fits an impressive amount of functionality into a nose-to-tail footprint of 81 inches that’s just a hair longer than most traditional bikes. It does this while lowering the stepover height to what is one of the lowest step frames available on a cargo bike. That is a critical feature for riders hauling around serious amounts of weight, as it is not easy to dismount a bike with a traditional high top tube when there are two kids, a dog, or a load of groceries sitting on the extended rear rack.
The folks at Blix sent us a Packa for a few weeks so we could give it a legitimate run through the paces of life to see how it held up to the rigors of the real world, kids and all.
First and foremost, the Blix Packa is a fully configurable electric cargo bike and comes at an affordable entry price of just $1,599. The base price gets you the bike and the frame-integrated 48 volt, 10.4 amp-hour battery. The design is a slick way of integrating the battery into the look and feel of the bike and utilizing it as a structural element in a seamless way. It can be removed with a simple lever and can be locked in place for a bit of extra security.
For those looking for a bit more range, a second battery can be added, which slides into a mounting rack that sits just behind the seat tube on the frame. Adding the second battery gets you an extra 14 amp-hours for a total of 24.4 Ah, or 1,171 watt-hours on the bike’s 48 volt system. The dual battery option is a slick answer to the need for more range that many riders are otherwise stuck with.
Not only does it boost the range of the bike up to nearly 70 miles (112 kilometers) of assisted riding per charge, it opens up a host of other options for riders. For shorter rides, the larger battery can be disconnected and left at home or at a destination like the workplace. When the time comes to haul heavier loads like my kids after a long day at school, I could drop in the second battery and forget about how much charge is left on the bike on the way back home.
The Packa can be outfitted out with one of Blix’s selection of racks up front, thanks to the integrated Blix mount points. Panning to the rear of the bike, the extended rack in the back is where things start to get really interesting. The Packa can carry up to 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) of cargo on the integrated rear rack, with a total loading capacity of 400 pounds (181 kg) for the bike. Owners can install a flat platform for loads with larger footprints, add panniers of all shapes and sizes, clip on one or two Yepp Max child safety seats, or go full bore and add Blix’s VIP Section.
The VIP Section is a frame that mounts to the rear rack to make it more comfortable for a few mini humans to sit directly on the rear of the bike. They also sell pads for the rear riders to make it more comfortable. Our demo bike came with a large Blix Basket up front and a VIP Section in the rear with two of the seat pads. Our two boys, ages 8 and 10, fit comfortably on the rear of the bike in this configuration, although when fully loaded, we are admittedly pushing the 400-pound capacity of the frame itself.
At 205 pounds, stacking me on the Packa with our boys, backpacks, and a few tools for the road, we put this thing to the test. Thankfully, the Packa was up to the task and moved us around town to school, to the coffee shop, and more many times over.
The accessories let owners configure a purpose-built vehicle to suit their lives with the knowledge that the add-ons can be changed down the line. Parents with youngsters can purchase infant seats that clip right into the Packa’s rear rack. As they get older, the seats can be swapped out for a padded platform with the VIP section to protect them. When the kids are ready to bike alongside the Packa with the family, cargo baskets, platforms, or any number of Blix accessories let owners continue to increase the utility of the bike as needed.
Riding The Packa
At 72 pounds (32.6 kg) with 1 battery, or 79 lbs (35.8 kg) with 2 batteries, the Packa is a hefty bike, and it has to be to haul around all that cargo, but when in motion, it handles just like a standard bike. As a special bonus, as an ebike with tons of range, it pedals like a normal bike, too. It’s like having a tailwind behind you, so whether you’re heading up hill, riding around with a few hundred pounds of your closest friends, or just going to the beach for a leisurely afternoon with the surfboard, it’s all good.
The bike itself is more than capable, but I constantly find myself wishing regulations in the US allowed for more powerful motors, as the 750-watt maximum power from the Shengyi motor does prevent us from riding up the hill we live on when fully loaded. Either that or I just need to start doing more leg workouts. Yeah, it must be the motor.
The road-friendly stock tires on the Packa provide a nice balance of mostly road use with enough traction for the occasional stint in the sticks. Of course, as a cargo bike, the Packa isn’t really built to take on trails, but it sure looks and feels like it could if you were so inclined.
Up front, the display has a USB power outlet on the right side that lets riders charge their phones while riding. In my experience, this is best done with the help of a handlebar mount for the phone, but hey, you do you. It’s worth a reminder that with every new bike, be sure to go through and ensure that all of the bolts are properly tightened. It is a task that can also be outsourced to a local bike shop, as many have taken up the task of assembling direct-to-consumer bikes like Blix Bikes. I found mine to have a loose bolt holding the seat on which made for an awkward mid-trip mechanical pit stop.
The Packa features a smart bell that is integrated into the brake lever. These may seem silly, but when zooming along with traffic on the left and parked cars on the right, it can literally be a lifesaver. In my mind, audible, functional bells or horns are an essential component on all e-bikes.
The thumb throttle is one of my favorite additions to electrified cargo bikes, as they help the bike get up to speed after stopping at lights or intersections. It’s also a great way to take advantage of some of the extra power stored in the optional second battery on the Packa. Adding a second battery not only makes it possible to go farther with assistance from the motor, it also lets you have more fun leaning into the battery to go faster or take off faster from intersections.
Blix estimates the batteries will last 25,000 miles (40,000 km) of riding. Depending on how much you’re using the e-bike, that could be higher or lower.
Blix Packa Specs
- Battery 1: Samsung 48V/10.4Ah (on-down tube)
- Battery 2: Samsung 48V / 14Ah (additional)
- Motor: Shengyi rear hub-motor, 750W max output, Direct drive
- Display: LCD with USB port
- Throttle: Yes
- Controller: 48V
- Sensor: 12 magnet cadence sensor
- Charger: 2.5A / AC 120V-240V
- Shifter: Shimano 7-speed, Grip shift
- Crankset: 48T，170mm，with chain guide
- Freewheel: 14-34T
- Brakes: Tektro MD-M300 Mechanical Disc with 180mm Rotors
- Frame: 6061 Aluminum Alloy
- Fork: Rigid Steel, 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer
- Headset: Threadless, Straight 1-1/8″
- Wheel & Tire: 24” wheel, 2.4” puncture resistant tire with reflective stripe on sidewall
- Saddle: Comfort padded with elastomer springs, black
- Seatpost: 252mm alloy, 31.6mm diameter single bolt clamp
- Stem: Adjustable Angle, 100mm Length, 70mm Base Height, 25.4mm Clamp Diameter
- Handlebar: Swept-Back, 10mm Rise, 640mm Length
- Grip: Faux Leather, Stitched, Ergonomic
- Front Lights: integrated, fender mounted
- Rear Lights: Integrated, with brake light
- Fenders: PVC material, black
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