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Shaving arms?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Shaving arms?

Old 08-17-17, 12:05 PM
  #1  
blazin
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Shaving arms?

In this, my third year of biking, I shaved my legs. And I like it.

I mostly did it to get all those sweet watts my follicular forest had been denying me, and because all the cool kids do it. But what made me a convert was the significantly increased ease of applying sunscreen and washing off dirt (I relish both the road and gravel varietals of cycling). I also feel like, though I cannot prove, that my legs stay cooler as sweat evaporates more quickly without a tightly woven blanket to keep it trapped close to the skin.

All of which lead me to think: would not all of these benefits also apply to those other, long forsaken, T-rex-like, shriveled cyclists' appendages, i.e. arms? They get sunscreened and dirty and sweaty too, after all. And they must have some role to play in aerodynamism. So why don't we shave them as well? Or maybe you do shave your arms? Tell me all about it! Hirsute arms want to know...
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Old 08-17-17, 12:39 PM
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I shave my legs, mostly out of tradition and vanity, a bit less so for ease sunscreen/embrocation application. Shaving my arms probably would have some benefit, but not much, and personally I can't be arsed.
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Old 08-17-17, 01:02 PM
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it appears some pros do. and some pros don't. so we don't have a definitive answer.
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Old 08-17-17, 01:10 PM
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I say shave one side and not the other and see if your bike starts to pull to one direction.
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Old 08-17-17, 01:29 PM
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Without concrete datapoints, I can only assume your feelings are placebo.
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Old 08-17-17, 01:35 PM
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Has it not been proven that shaved legs are faster? I was certain I read that somewhere. It follows that if shaved legs improve performance, then shaved arms would add another increment of speed. We can trust the science,, right?
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Old 08-17-17, 01:36 PM
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So if I subscribe to this theory, would it be easier to apply chamois cream if I shave my..........**********????


Asking for a friend..
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Old 08-17-17, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Capo72 View Post
So if I subscribe to this theory, would it be easier to apply chamois cream if I shave my..........**********????


Asking for a friend..

Yes, but stubble- not good.
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Old 08-17-17, 02:37 PM
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My son races and has been shaving his arms since being a Cat 3. If they aren't shaved (usually) he wears sleeves.
We were buying lots of razors before he could shave his face.

Says they are
more aero
clean up better
look more vascular
the massage thing is less of a deal for the arms, but also a factor.

Last edited by Doge; 08-17-17 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 08-17-17, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
I say shave one side and not the other and see if your bike starts to pull to one direction.
Originally Posted by berner View Post
Has it not been proven that shaved legs are faster? I was certain I read that somewhere. It follows that if shaved legs improve performance, then shaved arms would add another increment of speed. We can trust the science,, right?

I could test both these questions with one experiment: shave one arm and allow hair to regrow on the opposite leg. If the bike then pulls in the direction of the hairy leg/shaved arm, that means hairless legs give more aero benefit than arms, and vice versa. Brilliant!
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Old 08-17-17, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
I say shave one side and not the other and see if your bike starts to pull to one direction.


I laughed way too hard at this.
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Old 08-17-17, 03:25 PM
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see, Specialized Win Tunnel videos on youtube. They cover this.

They SAY there is an aero benefit to shaving legs (big) and to shaving arms (much smaller). In the past, I shaved legs for gravel racing and it probably kept me from carrying 20 lbs. of accumulated mud at the 2015 Dirty Kanza 200. (With shaved legs, 98% of the mud falls off right away.) Thanks to the Win Tunnel report, I shaved both arms and legs for road races this year . . . it didn't make me noticeably faster. But can anyone "notice" the 1 sec. per 25 miles that shaved legs, aero wheels, aero bikes, skin suits, etc. supposedly give you? (No. They can't.) So who, in the absence of a wind tunnel test, really knows if it makes a difference? (Nobody.)

My wife hates the feel of my shaved legs and arms. As a result, my arms will likely remain unshaven from this point forward. My legs may even be unshaven for everything but "A" races. You gotta keep your priorities straight.
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Old 08-17-17, 03:27 PM
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Well, the latest thing is dimples. A bit of a controversy about the Team Sky skinsuits which have these raised dimples on the arms of their skinsuits which supposedly improves aerodynamics.

So you should shave your arms like that. Leave little patches of hair to create a very aero dimpled pattern on your arms.

Last edited by smarkinson; 08-17-17 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Speeling korrecshuns
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Old 08-17-17, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by smarkinson View Post
Well, the latest thing is dimples. A bit if a controversy about the Team Sky skinsuits which have these raised dimples on the arms if their skinsuits which supposedly improves aerodynamics.

So you should shave your arms like that. Leave little patches of hair to create a very aero dimpled pattern on your arms.
There are line shaving patterns vs bootie aero article I saw recently. I'm trying to find it. But yea - there was a strip of hair down each ankle they thought managed the wind better.
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Old 08-17-17, 04:23 PM
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I do a 14.5 km loop quite often. Frequently enough to rule out wind and such. My PR has stood for two years now. The difference? It was the day after I shaved my legs. Anecdotal? Heck yeah. Almost definitive? Enough for me.
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Old 08-17-17, 05:35 PM
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I know it's marginal, but if I was a pro I'd shave it all Seconds matter. What about the beards you see sometimes...didn't seem to slow down Sagan though!
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Old 08-17-17, 06:15 PM
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After shaving my legs for a very long time, I tried shaving my arms earlier this summer.

Love it. I have no clue about aerodynamics, but it makes bug/sweat cleanup easier. Lotion application is also easier (sometimes my skin needs a bit of hydrating after a long ride in the sun). Shaved arms are a beautiful thing.
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Old 08-17-17, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PM City View Post
I know it's marginal, but if I was a pro I'd shave it all Seconds matter. What about the beards you see sometimes...didn't seem to slow down Sagan though!
Wiggins shaved he beard before his hour record attempt.
Sagan is not all that fast - he just wins a lot :-)
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Old 08-17-17, 06:54 PM
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My arms aren't very hairy or I would do it. The ease of applying sunscreen would make it worth it on its own. That's the main reason I shave my legs.


I don't even go full razor on my legs. I just use hair clippers without a guard. I've done that on my arms before, but it didn't make much of a difference. I wish my legs were like that.
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Old 08-17-17, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by PM City View Post
I know it's marginal, but if I was a pro I'd shave it all Seconds matter. What about the beards you see sometimes...didn't seem to slow down Sagan though!
If he shaved the beard, maybe he'd become a GC contender.
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Old 08-17-17, 08:05 PM
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I might consider shaving for sunscreen, bug repellent, cleanup and first aid stuff if I had enough arm and leg hair to matter. But I don't.

Aero? Wouldn't make any difference with me. I'd need to ride without my padded bar, phone and video camera mounts, and wear skin tight jerseys, shoes without laces, etc., before shaving would make any difference.

Years ago when I did shave it was for the sunscreen, quick cleanup after commuting, first aid, etc., not for any aero advantage. I figured the exposed cables and shoelaces on my Dettos would produce more drag than what little arm and leg hair I had (this was the 1970s).
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Old 08-17-17, 09:08 PM
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Can't be bothered to do either. My arms probably aren't even deserving of a shave..

Interesting comments about sunscreen and clean up after shaving. I hadn't considered that before.
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Old 08-18-17, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by PM City View Post
I know it's marginal, but if I was a pro I'd shave it all Seconds matter. What about the beards you see sometimes...didn't seem to slow down Sagan though!
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Old 08-18-17, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Capo72 View Post
So if I subscribe to this theory, would it be easier to apply chamois cream if I shave my..........**********????


Asking for a friend..
If you really care
About all that hair
Under there,
Then take your pair
And dip it in Nair!
Soon you'll be bare
As a pear.
Will you take this dare?
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