In the 1980s, Greg Lemond was the first Tour de France winner to ride a carbon fibre bike. This year, all competitors were riding carbon.

Unlike bikes made from steel, aluminum, or titanium, carbon fibre is light, strong, and flexible. It can be molded into a single, aerodynamic form, eliminating the need to glue and fuse joints together. Manufacturers are able to build strength where necessary, like around the cranks, while relying on flexibility for greater comfort in areas that don’t affect performance.

An epoxy layer over the carbon fibre creates what feels like a strong, plastic bicycle. One that’s beautifully light, aerodynamic, and fast.

But is it all too good to be true?