Meet the Jopo, the laid-back chopper-style city bike the Finns have been zipping around on for decades.
With around 20,000 hitting the streets each year, it's the hottest selling bike in Finland (and in Scandinavia, according to their website). Originally introduced in 1965, the Jopo was re-released in 2002, and now comes in seven different variations, including an electric version, the Jopo Electric 3-Speed.
I recently took the single-speed Jopo for a two-hour test drive through the streets of Copenhagen, as a guest of VisitCopenhagen (Yup, Finnish bike in Denmark, go figure), and this is one super stylish bike.
It's the first year of the bike's launch in Denmark, and my bike came with a footbrake as well as a handbrake -- the latter is not normal for Finland, they told me, but meets Danish law.
The Jopo has Shimano gears, a rust-resistant "Rost Buster" chain, aluminum rims, and comes in nine colors: lime green, black, hot pink, white, yellow, dark blue, light blue, red, and light purple (my choice -- it went with my outfit). The big selling point for these bikes is that it's unisex, and fits anyone over the height of 136cm (4.5 feet) on the 45cm- (18 inch-) steel frame, age 10 and up.
Copenhagen's go-to bike blog Cycle Chic, known for its photos of stylish Danes on bikes, notes:
The Jopo is to the Finns what the old Schwinns are to Americans. Iconic bicycles that almost everyone can tell a story about. They are cheeky and playful and perfect for city cycling.
Our tour guide was the highly knowledgable Michael "Bike Mike" Sommerville of Bike Mike Tours, who says, "My ambition is to provide all my guests with an exciting, authentic, raw street soul experience of my hometown."
Mike gave us the kind of tour I like -- no mercy for stragglers and their photo ops. However, when I straggled myself, I quickly realized this bike isn't a speedster. The upright frame hits the muscles in a way that wasn't condusive to racing to keep up with Mike, even as a seasoned commuter biker. But as a sexy daily cruiser, particularly for those just popping around a non-hilly town for short (oh-so-stylish) trips, this is a great pick.
The single-gear I test-drove is priced at 2,999 DKK or about $500. Find European distributors of the Jopo here.