GearsIf your youngster is racing in British Cycling (BC) road/track/roller racing competitions they are governed by BC rules – this includes gear restrictions.

To help make the gear restrictions easier to understand Simon wrote this:

A number of different largest chain ring/smallest sprocket combinations will achieve the maximum allowable gear in your age category – some get slightly nearer to the limit than others.

The favoured Youth A combination tends to be 52×16 but the cheapest is probably 39×12 as most bikes are fitted with this combination as standard. You can of course ‘lock off’ your gears so you can’t get into the smallest sprockets (maybe the 11) or maybe the big chain ring but this will restrict the number of gears at your disposal eg. it might turn a 20 speed bike into an 8 speed if you lock off one chain ring and the two smallest sprockets, it may also get you too far under the limit which will put you at a disadvantage e.g. 53×17 would put at about 6.56 metres but 53×16 would roll out at about 7.00m and this is slightly too big for a Youth A rider.

Of course things like tyre size will affect the roll out and some testing is more exacting that others, the best is done in a channel so the roll out is measured in a straight line rather than a wonky one.

Before a race the Commissaire will perform a roll out test with your bike in its highest gear, only if it passes this test will you be allowed to race. Don’t change your gears after testing as they will test a few riders again after the finish.

Age category for the year. Roll out metres Approx Gear Inches Chain ring/Sprocket combinations that work.
Youth E  Under  8 at 1st Jan 5.10 metres 64 inch 39×16 / 41×17 / 43×18 / 48×19
Youth D  Under 10 at 1st Jan 5.40 metres 68 inch 41×16 / 43×17 / 46×18 / 49×19
Youth C  Under 12 at 1st Jan 6.05 metres 76 inch 39×14 / 42×15 / 45×16 / 48×17
Youth B  Under 14 at 1st Jan 6.45 metres 80 inch 39×13 / 42×14 / 45×15 / 51×17
Youth A  Under 16 at 1st Jan 6.93 metres 88 inch 39×12 / 42×13 / 47×15 / 52×16
Junior    Under 18 at 1st Jan 7.93 metres 100 inch 52×14

One Response to Gear Restrictions for Youth and Junior riders

  1. Bob Howe says:

    Great article! I have a spreadsheet for working out legal gear and tyre combinations. If anyone wants a copy just let me know.

Leave a Reply

See the most recent club rider results more ...
Coaching and cycle activities for youngsters aged 6-16 ... more
What's on when
The club calendar ... club activities are listed here ... more