Not long ago, you may have a seen a video doing the rounds on the net in which American bike manufacturers Specialized, tried to see what beards might have on aerodynamics with some wind tunnel testing. With beards proving popular right now in the professional peloton, as the likes of Luca Paolini and Bradley Wiggins lead the way in cyclists with face fuzz, Specialized discovered that having a beard made relatively no difference to aerodynamics whatsoever.
But the age-old body hair conundrum for cyclists is usually around whether to take a razor to the legs. On the odd occasion that you might meet someone who is in no way cycling inclined, they’re likely to ask why on earth you need to shave your legs for your sport. The usual answers will generally include something to with massages, it’s better for injuries, or it’s just the way it’s done in cycling, but the concept of it being more aerodynamic seemed either wrong, or so marginal it can’t be worth the hassle.
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Now though, the guys at Specialized have taken to the wind tunnel again to put it to the test. Observing their subject ten times on the bike with hairy legs and ten times without hairy legs over a 40km distance, the aerodynamics boffins at Specialized were able to show a maximum time advantage of 82 seconds on one ride, with an average saving of 70 seconds over all ten, which is an astonishing amount of time.
While the variables such as density of leg hair differing between people, for example, is loosely explained within the video, citing what they call the ‘Chewbacca scale’, it might not be universally applicable to anyone. But hey, we’re not scientists so it’s good enough for us.
If you ever needed validation about your leg shaving habit, this is about as good as you’re probably going to get, but don’t expect the outside world to understand.