4000 Kilometers Hardness Test

In June and July 2013, we went on our third pioneer trip to show what’s possible on electric bikes. Traveling between Iceland’s glaciers, hot springs and volcanos, we – the founders of Pedelec Adventures, Susanne Brüsch and Ondra Veltrusky and our team members Uwe Schlemender and Andreas Gutmann – faced the Nordic elements on speed-pedelecs provided by our main tour sponsor, eflow. 

Midsummer night ride at the glacier lagoon of Jökulsárlón (SB)
Midsummer night ride at the glacier lagoon of Jökulsárlón (SB)

In urban Reykjavík, on remote gravel roads in the West Fjords and in the rough terrain of the highlands, we challenged the all-round talent of the eflow bikes. Riding through Iceland’s amazing countryside with wind and rain hitting our faces in 24 hours of daylight and temperatures between 0 and 15 degrees Celsius, we put to test the rear hub motor and the latest battery pack technology from co-sponsor HiTech Energy using high-performance Lithium battery cells from Samsung SDI.

The eflow bikes were most fun on good roads and survived heavy terrain
After a month, the bikes and their electric propulsion system had survived a 4000-kilometer real-life vibration test. The bikes were most fun to ride on paved roads and smooth gravel surfaces at a pleasant traveling speed of up to 32 km/h. Thanks to the system’s high torque we could easily climb up inclines of 17 percent even on bumpy ground. Although the eflow bikes are primarily designed for urban surroundings, with small modifications, they withstood all the rough terrains of the highlands that included several hundred kilometers through the Krepputunga lava desert and crossing snow fields and rivers, sometimes in heavy rain.

eflow, 66°North rain clothing and Ortlieb backpacks tested to be perfectly waterproof
eflow, 66°North rain clothing and Ortlieb backpacks tested to be perfectly waterproof (SB)

Charging in remote areas remained a challenge
Charging the batteries at power outlets along the ring road, mostly at camp sites, was no problem. Traveling in a self-sufficient way in more remote areas, however, remained a challenge because solar panels were not efficient enough in Iceland’s unstable weather. That’s why we carried plenty of spare batteries and chargers, twelve in total. 

Fascinating diversity in landscapes
As nature-lovers we were most fascinated by the diverse Icelandic landscape from gigantic waterfalls, huge glaciers and snow-covered mountains, to black lava desert, green valleys and natural hot springs. All these spots and the sandy beaches and steep cliffs of the West Fjords made it more than worth trying to see most parts of the island. Standing in the desolate 50 sqkm large Askja crater with its crystal clear lake, or next to the luminous-blue icebergs that float through the glacier lagoon of Jökulsárlón were unforgettable moments. As was scuba diving between the European and American continental plates, in ice cold water wearing dry suits and then cycling back to the dive site on our bikes – in full diver’s gear. 

Instead of trading a pedelec for a horse ride like we did in Mongolia last year, we traded eflow for a flight. The pilot loved the ride just as much as we enjoyed the flight in a 4-person Russian Yak aircraft across the colorful mountains and volcanic landscapes of Landmannalaugar.

After a spectacular four weeks with 4000 kilometers covered on four bikes, us four team members are happy to share our unique experiences in this blog, in our film titled Iceland Challenge – eflow through ice and fire, in magazine articles and in live presentations at trade shows and other public events.