Today we will tell the story of the first production carbon fiber bicycle and how it has revolutionized the Tour de France!
As with any sport, the competition to be the best leads to innovation everywhere possible, and as all composite lovers already know, carbon fiber can always help with that!
The first all carbon fiber commercially available production scale bicycle was the iconic Kestrel 4000, which was released in 1986. Before that, the utilization of carbon fibers by the cycling industry was limited to CFRP tubes glued to aluminum lugs.
1989 saw the start of the carbon fiber revolution in the Tour de France. Metal bikes continued to feature in the tour for a further decade but with dwindling success. The last Tour won on a steel bike took place in 1994, and the last non carbon fiber bike (this time made of aluminum), won the competition in 1998.
Carbon fiber composites allowed for further weight advantages and more aerodynamically shapes that weren’t possible with metals!