Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Shave your arms and ride faster!

Specialized say that hair-free arms will save you time on the bike

Specialized have run a wind tunnel test that says shaving your arms will make you faster on the bike.

How much faster? On their test volunteer, the result suggested a time saving of 19secs over 40km (25 miles) in their test conditions.

Specialized have their own wind tunnel, called the Win Tunnel, at their HQ in Morgan Hill, California, and they have run several experiments lately to measure the aero impact of different factors such as clothing, disc brakes (compared with rim brakes), beards (no, really!), and hairy versus shaved legs. 

This time they’ve put a volunteer with moderately hairy arms on a bike in the wind tunnel, then got him to shave his arms and repeat the test in the same conditions. He wore a short sleeved cycling jersey for the experiment and was on a road bike.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll finish 19secs ahead of the bunch in a road race simply by taking a razor to your arm hair; a thousand other factors come into play there. But if you’re after every advantage you can get, well, now you know what you need to do. You'll have to spend your life wandering around with bare arms, mind, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices!

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Latest Comments

  • Dr Winston 1 sec ago

    I had this discussion elsewhere (BTW you missed Caruso off your list). The only thing I can think of is that they want to have a decent team in...

  • Sam3 5 min 59 sec ago

    If you are around people and needing to ring bell, you're probably on the hoods, manoeuvring ...and without enough time to take one hand off and...

  • Philh68 15 min 39 sec ago

    March in the bike lane, obviously. I can hear them already: "what do we want, more traffic. When do we want it, now!"...

  • wycombewheeler 42 min 51 sec ago

    Hunt wheels are suitable for centrelock rotors which I prefer to 6 bolt, I don't see how a centre lock rotor could not be compatible. Perhaps you...

  • Nigel Garrage 1 hour 7 min ago

    I'm delighted to set the record straight for you - safety reasons were given as the underlying factor for being on the pavement, but the cargo bike...

  • TheBillder 1 hour 59 min ago

    Underrated, Dave. He also invented working with a shyster financier to repackage invoice factoring into "possible invoice if we actually had this...

  • biker phil 2 hours 8 min ago

    The 911 clip isn't a near miss, the driver did attempt to pull out, yes. But as soon as the driver clocked the cyclist, they stopped.

  • TheBillder 2 hours 21 min ago

    Nigel, as you know, luck does not come into it. If you can't afford to subscribe to the Telegraph (Belfast?) then obviously you don't work hard...

  • hennie 2 hours 29 min ago

    I'm waiting for a June delivery but only paid early May. Having now read the reviews (why didn't I do that before?) I think it's more likely to be...

  • Dave Dave 3 hours 27 min ago

    I haven't been to Bath in years. I'm amazed to find out it hasn't been closed to traffic by now (at least to the standard of central Cambridge and...