Why do cyclists shave their legs?

The real reasons behind those smooth legs

Trained eyes will be able to see a fellow cyclist from a fair distance, but it's probably not muscular legs that'll give the game away. There are several reasons why cyclists shave their legs, here are some of the most common.

Aerodynamic benefit 

In an age of wind tunnel testing, skinsuits and aerodynamic rims every little helps when it comes to dialling out air resistance.

Studies have shown that slippery, freshly shaven legs are significantly faster than the natural hairy alternative.

Below is a brilliant video of an experiment on this topic conducted by Specialized in its own wind tunnel facility.

Why do cyclists shave their legs?

It makes massage more comfortable

When taking advantage of the muscular relief a masseuse has to offer it pays to have less hair — less hair means less oil and potentially less pain.

It's easier to treat road rash

Removing plasters and bandages from crash damaged legs is never going to be a pleasant experience, but one thing that can significantly improve this is having fewer hairs to pull out along the way.

Tradition or because everyone else does

For over a century cyclists have been shaving their legs and as a result shaving your legs is seen by many as a sign of dedication and commitment to the sport, it's a way of ensuring a rider is perceived as a "serious cyclist".

It's the fashion, the tradition. How many hairy legs do you see poking out of Lycra nowadays?

Can you offer any other reasons as to why cyclists shave their legs? Just leave your comments in the box below.

This article was updated 3 November 2017

Oli Woodman

Section Editor, UK
With more than 10 years of experience riding mountain bikes, Oli knows the good from the bad when it comes to gear. He's a total bike nerd and loves few things more than fettling with spangly riding bits. Also, he seems to have a talent for crashing hard but emerging unscathed.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Loamy singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Marin Pine Mountain, Pinnacle Dolomite
  • Dream Bike: Honda RN01
  • Beer of Choice: Corona
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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