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Home » Cycling » Should a Male Cyclist Shave His Legs? There Is No Short Answer, But Yes. Or No. How About Maybe?

Should a Male Cyclist Shave His Legs? There Is No Short Answer, But Yes. Or No. How About Maybe?

November 2021
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I got roped into shaving my legs by the internet (and being a little bit gullible). That may read funny, but it’s the God’s honest truth. First, The Rules (I know). Second, everything I read out there on the webz said if you don’t want to look like a noob, leg, meet razor, razor, meet leg. Commence with the shaving.

The first time I climbed into bed with my wife after shaving, she was all like, “Wait a second! I like it!” She gently, ahem, recommended the clean legs stay.

And so it’s been for the better part of a decade. The real question is why?

Now, back when I started shaving, we all kinda figured shaving the guns was more aerodynamic but there was no data on it. Today there is. Shaved versus hairy legs were tested in Specialized Bicycles’ wind tunnel and the analysis showed a significant benefit. This is a fantastic “why”. It was my “second” why.

Next up we’ve got the road rash theory. For those who regularly try to stop their bikes very quickly, with their body rather than the brakes, having shorn legs means its easier to pick out gravel and less painful for bandage removal. These are two big pluses. But how many crashes have I been involved in where I needed that perk? That would be zero. In a decade. This is mainly for racers. Oh, and it sounds good.

Finally, we’re going to go where the rubber meets the road. I’m going to be candid and honest where many won’t, possibly because it’s a little vain: Bro, shaved legs just look awesome. It is what it is. Go to a big group ride and look at the difference between those who do and those who don’t shave. That’s all you’ll need to see. The hairy dudes will look out of place – even if they can lay down the watts.

The tough part here, and this gets fun (and even a little “political” without having anything to do with politics), is that shaving the legs is entirely unnecessary in a club setting. Five years ago, everyone who threw their leg over a hybrid shaved. Nowadays, you’re down to 75% of the club ride. Heck, I know a few guys who refuse to shave simply to be the “anti-everybody else” guy, hence the “politics without politics” angle.

I will say the same thing I’ve always said; shave or don’t. Nobody really cares as long as you’re competent on your bike. Just know this: if you don’t, you’ll be working harder than all of the shaved dudes to go as fast as they do. Fair or not, it is what it is.

Smooth and sporty, baby. That’s how we roll. On the asphalt. If you’re only into gravel or mountain biking, please return your seat back to the proper position and prepare for landing. You guys stick with being a sasquatch.


9 Comments

  1. Tarot of the Missing says:

    Interesting!!

  2. Dave Talsma says:

    Shaving your legs is a moniker that your fast and you can back it up. When I did it for a while I felt like a poser. But I hate the look of gorilla legs.

    • bgddyjim says:

      See, I don’t think it’s that you’re fast or not (but I can understand why you might look at it like that). Either way, you’re no poser, Dave. You’re as real deal cyclist as they get.

  3. capejohn says:

    A few years ago a young rider in our club, mentioned that he does not use valve caps on his tires so he could ride faster. He shaves his legs also. In a crit that year he came in DFL.

  4. I first shaved my legs back when a TV crew were tagging along on a club ride for a story. I wanted to look the part! Then I realised I liked it. I don’t really care if people think it’s “weird” or “un-manly.” I think it looks good and it’s proven to save a watt or two. Hell, I’d probably keep shaving them even if I had to stop riding… 😂

  5. Oh and these days I’d say it’s probably a 50:50 split for shaved:hairy between all the males I ride with. Fewer seem to do it now for sure.

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