Benefits of shaving legs (cycling)

Many people asked about the benefits of shaving your legs. I was surprised by the aero benefits of shaving legs. According to this video, in tests at Specialized wind tunnel, one rider saved an estimated 82 seconds saved in a 40km time trial. The average for less hairy cyclists was still close to a minute. I suppose it’s always worth remembering that an estimate 90% of aero drag comes from your body not bike. The good news is that a razor is an awful lot cheaper than buying a new bike. You would have to spend a lot money to get 82 seconds saving from a new bike.

Would be interesting to know about shaving arms. Something never done in the pro peleton. Though, I know Chris Boardman said he shaved his arms for the world hour record attempt.

I’ve updated my posts – ways to improve aerodynamics, which had nearly 20 ideas, but no mention of this – which has probably highest benefit / cost.

Just in case you need it:

Other reasons to shave legs include:

A picture tells a thousand words
  • Easier to get massage
  • Easier to clean wounds after falling on the road.
  • Aesthetics – looks good. Hair and lyrca don’t look so good.
  • Hair can brush against frame. Shaved legs have a better feel.

Best way to shave legs?

  • I bought an epilator, which plucks hair out. I haven’t used it for over a year. It is painful to do, and then I get itchy legs from ingrowing hair.
  • Waxing. I did try waxing once or twice, but it was a mess and essentially a failure.
  • I tried razor blade, but cut myself and gave up that.
  • I now use an electric shaver, you have to do it every few days, but is relatively quick and least troublesome.

Mind you it never stopped Granville Sydney winning 6 national hill climb titles. He apparently never shaved his legs. I suppose aerodynamics are not so important up 25% gradients.


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