Specialized test aerodynamics of a beard – video

Hirsute or fuzz-free: Spesh tackles the big question

With its fancy wind tunnel, Specialized is equipped to answer the big questions of bike and rider aerodynamics – and one of those is the drag coefficient of a beard. It’s a question that keeps us awake at night too.

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Leaping past the perennial question of whether shaved legs are faster (please, please put that question to bed for us too, Specialized) the Californian company’s aerodynamicists, Chris Yu and Mark Cote, put a fuzzy subject – Joe Self – in the tunnel before and after he’d had a shave, to check out what happens to the drag coefficient.

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According to Yu, beard or no beard makes a negligible difference – over 40km there would be about a one second difference in favour of the smooth shaven Self. It means riders in the real world – hipsters, Luca Paolini and Bradley Wiggins – can rest easy that their beard is not really affecting their marginal gains.