Sunday, December 17, 2023


The world’s leading cyclists started the Tour de France. To perform well, cyclists need power, stamina – and the right equipment. Racing bikes are lightweight and durable thanks to components made of high-performance materials, such as Tepex from LANXESS.

This year the Tour de France starts in Nice Moyen Pays, France. Three weeks later, on September 20, the grand finale will take place on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Throughout the 3,500-kilometer-long race, cyclists perform at unbelievable levels and exert power on the pedals. That’s what enables the frontrunners, in around 20 to 40 minutes, to exert values of 5.8 to 6 watt per kilogram of bodyweight. Something last year’s victor Egal Bernal is capable of. At his weight, that’s the equivalent of 417 watts.

Ultra-light and highly durable

In addition to cyclists’ strength and stamina, performances like these are made possible by lightweight racing bikes. Regulations state they may not weigh less than 6.8 kilograms, equivalent to seven liter of water. Fulfilling these requirements often necessitates components such as brake levers or gearshift parts made of ultra-light yet highly durable materials.

One material that fits the bill is Tepex. The high-performance composite, made by LANXESS, is based on thermoplastic polymers reinforced with glass or carbon fibers. This accounts for its remarkable strength and stiffness, and makes it extremely lightweight. Especially the latter is decisive for Tour de France cyclists when battling uphill in the Alps and Pyrenees as it allows them to exert less effort to turn the wheel.

Usable for series production

“Generally speaking, in sports and bicycle manufacturing, fiber composites have been state of the art for around 30 years,” said Dr. Michael Münker, Global Tepex Manager in LANXESS’s High Performance Materials business unit. “Thermoplastic composites like Tepex® enable us to use them for series production. Actually, they are used in all bicycle


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