Cycling is getting more and more popular in Iceland. Not only as a fashion or to serve practical needs, but also in the eyes of the government, with the local authorities in Reykjavík recently investing in cycling infrastructure. Although electric bikes are still a novelty to most Icelanders, the ones we met were very positive and open towards this new way of cycling. The people who took a test ride, always came back with a bright smile.
It was a great experience for us to be invited to the one and only specialized electric bike shop in Reykjavík called Rafhjól, meaning electric bike. Sölvi Oddson has completely dedicated his business to electric bikes and propulsion systems. And it all started as a personal hobby when he equipped a regular bike with a motor and made it so much faster and so much more fun to ride.
The sports and cycle-lover opened the shop in Reykjavík’s central district two years ago and has focused on selling the GO SwissDrive rear hub system as a DIY kit. This year, Sölvi has expanded the business and is also selling complete bikes, partly imported from China. Now the Rafhjol team also offers their own brand – Flying Viking – equipped with the GO SwissDrive unit. Last year, the shop sold around 500 DIY kits and bikes. This year’s season has started slow due to bad weather and an extremely long winter with a lot of snow.
We have seen the Icelanders walking around in shorts and t-shirts in 10 degrees Celsius, so we believe they don’t mind the cold that much. The chilly weather, to our experience seems to be more of a problem to the battery capacity, which reduces significantly in such temperatures.
On June 26th, we visited the Rafhjól shop and brought our eflow bikes along. Many people who follow Rafhjól on Facebook were there and our bikes were a great attraction to them. Test rides, stories and toasts filled a very nice evening, which was to continue in a beautiful SPA. Thanks again to the Rafhjól team for this warm welcome into the Icelandic world of electric bikes.