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 road.cc 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.