Friday, May 30, 2014

The Beard Factor

What a relief. Specialized put its wind tunnel to work on a problem that has really had cyclists like me concerned for a while -- the question of whether or not having a beard affects a rider's performance. The verdict: it makes little-to-no difference.
The Win Tunnel: To Beard or Not To Beard (the picture is a link to the video)
I'm glad I don't have to shave my hirsute self to pick up a few more seconds on my work commute.

Specialized's aerodynamic experts, Chris Yu and Mark Cote, put the facial hair issue to the wind tunnel test to settle a debate that has raged among cyclists for generations -- though leg hair was not addressed for some reason (why not, Specialized?). They put a rider into the tunnel with his beard, then back into the tunnel after a shave and measured the differences in drag coefficient.

From the 1985 film American Flyers. Perhaps the facial-hairiest peloton since the 1890s.
Don't shave it, Wiggo.
Dave Zabriskie could occasionally be seen sporting some facial hair worthy of Snidely Whiplash.
According to Yu, the beard might make about a one-second difference over the course of 40 km -- a result they determined was negligible. Still, I'll bet some Cat. 4 racer out there will be convinced they need that minimal advantage anyhow. Not only that, but the effect of the extra weight of that facial hair is still up for debate. Come on, Specialized -- weight weenies want answers!

Not a lot of heavy reading today. Happy Friday.

2 comments:

  1. Wind tunnel or not, pro cyclists should not have beards, or wear black socks. Beards and black socks are worse than the drugs. Wiggins and Cavendish should be shaved dry!

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