Does Shaving Your Legs Make You Faster? (The Truth)

Have you ever wondered if shaving your legs makes you a faster cyclist? Let’s dive into this hairy situation and uncover the truth behind this age-old tradition in the cycling community. Prepare to embark on a fascinating journey, learning about the potential aerodynamic benefits, muscle recovery, and psychological advantages of leg shaving.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover how the delicate dance of aerodynamics and air resistance plays a pivotal role in cycling performance and how your leg hair—or lack thereof—might impact your speed. We’ll also delve into the other ways you can improve your speed aside from shaving your legs. So, whether you’re a beginner cyclist or an experienced pro, strap on your helmet and prepare for a wild, hairless ride!

Does shaving your legs make cyclists faster? The claim that shaving makes you faster has been tested and proved to have some validity. However, the actual increase in speed gained by shaving your legs is minimal. Studies suggest saving around 60-80 seconds over 25 miles. While there is some evidence suggesting that leg shaving might provide minor aerodynamic benefits, its primary advantages lie in muscle recovery and psychological factors.

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Thumbnail for A Blog Post Titled Does Shaving Your Legs Make You Faster? (the Truth)

Why do cyclists shave their legs?

Cyclists shave their legs for several reasons, from enhancing their performance to following a tradition. Here are some key reasons why cyclists shave their legs:

1. Aerodynamics

One key factor is aerodynamics, as shaved legs may create less air resistance, allowing cyclists to achieve marginally better speeds. While the actual improvement might be minimal, every second counts in competitive cycling, and athletes often seek any advantage they can get.

Shaving can make it easier to clean and treat road rash injuries, decreasing the risk of infection.

2. Muscle recovery and reduced inflammation

Another reason for leg shaving is improved muscle recovery and reduced inflammation. Shaving can make it easier to clean and treat road rash injuries, decreasing the risk of infection. Additionally, having shaved legs can make post-ride massages more comfortable and efficient, as well as aid in the application of compression garments.

3. Psychological benefits

The placebo effect of shaving the legs gives cyclists a heightened sense of pride in their appearance, which can contribute to a more positive self-image. This can lead to increased confidence and motivation during training and competitions. The psychological effect of believing in these benefits can have a positive impact on a cyclist’s performance.

4. Cultural reasons

Leg shaving is a long-standing tradition in the cycling community, and cyclists often adopt the practice to feel more connected to the sport and its culture. By participating in this tradition, cyclists can experience camaraderie with their fellow athletes, ultimately enhancing their overall experience and enjoyment of cycling.

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My favorite bike (at the moment):

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This is my daily ride, my trusty Black Label It’s lightweight and beautifully crafted. It looks like a beast and rides like one too. I upgraded the saddle, but everything else is pretty much as it was out of the box. I highly recommend it.

What are the potential aerodynamic benefits of leg shaving?

Scientific research on the effects of leg shaving on sports performance, particularly in cycling, is limited. However, there have been a few studies that attempted to quantify the potential benefits of leg shaving.

One notable study conducted by Specialized Bicycle Components in their in-house wind tunnel found that shaving legs reduced drag and saved around 70 seconds over a 30-mile time trial. This suggests a measurable, albeit small, improvement in performance due to reduced air resistance.

Image of a man riding a bicycle during daytime. Source: unsplash
Image of a man riding a bicycle during daytime. Source: unsplash

The potential aerodynamic benefits of leg shaving lie in the reduction of air resistance. When cyclists shave their legs, they remove hair that can create drag as they pedal through the air.

This reduction in drag may result in a marginal improvement in aerodynamics, enabling cyclists to achieve slightly better speeds. Although the improvement is not substantial, professional cyclists often seek any advantage they can get in competitive racing, making even small gains noteworthy.

What are some alternative ways to improve your speed?

Here are seven alternative ways to improve your speed and overall cycling performance, which may have a more significant impact than leg shaving:

1. Training

Consistent and structured training, including interval workouts, hill training, and endurance rides, will help build your strength, speed, and stamina.

2. Proper bike fit

Ensuring your bike is properly fitted to your body dimensions can improve comfort, efficiency, and power transfer while cycling.

3. Aerodynamic equipment

Invest in aerodynamic helmets, clothing, and bike components to reduce air resistance and improve speed.

4. Bike maintenance

Regularly maintain your bike to ensure optimal performance, including keeping tires properly inflated, cleaning and lubricating the chain, and checking the brakes.

5. Pacing

Learn how to pace yourself during rides and races, balancing your effort to conserve energy and maintain speed throughout the event.

6. Nutrition

Focus on a balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients and energy for training and recovery. Stay hydrated before, during, and after your rides.

7. Improve pedaling technique

Work on your pedaling efficiency and cadence to optimize power transfer and minimize wasted energy.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called “Do Cyclists Need To Shave Their Legs?” from the Global Cycling Network YouTube channel.

A video called “Do Cyclists Need To Shave Their Legs?” from the Global Cycling Network YouTube channel.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions about how leg shaving affects cyclists’ speed? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions:

How much faster can a cyclist become by shaving their legs?

The actual speed increase gained by shaving your legs is minimal, with some studies suggesting saving around 60-80 seconds over 25 miles.

Is it necessary for beginner cyclists to shave their legs?

For beginner cyclists, it’s not strictly necessary to shave your legs. It’s more important to focus on improving cycling skills, fitness, and proper equipment. However, if a beginner cyclist wants to embrace the cycling culture and experience potential benefits, they can choose to shave their legs.

Are there any downsides to shaving your legs as a cyclist?

Some potential downsides to shaving your legs include skin irritation, ingrown hairs, and the time-consuming nature of maintaining hair-free legs. To minimize these issues, follow proper shaving techniques and use appropriate products for skin care.


Well, folks, we’ve reached the end of our hair-raising adventure. Did you find the answer to the burning question, “Does shaving your legs make you faster?” Perhaps it’s not a groundbreaking revelation, but every little bit helps when you’re trying to shave off seconds from your race time.

So, have we scratched the surface of all things leg-shaving, or is there a hair of doubt still lingering in your mind? Let me know in the comments section below—I read and reply to every comment. If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and be sure to check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on cycling. Thanks for reading, and may your legs be as smooth as your ride!

Key takeaways

This article answered the question, “does shaving your legs make you faster?” Here are some key takeaways:

  • Shaving legs may provide minimal aerodynamic benefits for cyclists.
  • Leg shaving could potentially improve muscle recovery and reduce inflammation.
  • Psychological advantages, like increased confidence and self-image, may boost performance.
  • Professional cyclists often shave their legs, but the practice isn’t strictly necessary for beginners.
  • Proper shaving techniques and skin care are essential to minimize potential downsides.

Helpful resources

Bradley Knight Image
Written by Bradley Knight, Staff Writer

Hey there! My name is Bradley, and I've been riding fixed for years. I love all the joy and pain that comes with this unique style of cycling and the passionate community that drives it. If you love fixed-gear bikes, this is the place for you.

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