Under British Cycling rules, the maximum gear that can be selected and used on a bike must be within the stated roll back distance in the table below. It’s easier if the gear distances are marked out on the ground using a long tape measure. Regular organisers may have a roll back trough marked with the distances.
British Cycling have a quick guide: Youth Gear Restrictions: a guide for riders and parents
Please note that the rules on this page apply only to British Cycling events.
3.3 Gear Restrictions
3.3.1 In all road events (other than events promoted in accordance with T.R. 7.12) juniors shall be restricted to a maximum gear such that the distance covered per crank revolution is 7.93 metres. The gear restriction shall not apply to seniors.
3.3.2 In all events other than under the provisions of 3.3.3 below, Youth category riders shall be restricted to maximum gears as shown in the following table.
YOUTH CATEGORY GEAR RESTRICTIONS
|YOUTH A||6.93 metres||6.93 metres||7.93 metres|
|YOUTH B||6.45 metres||6.45 metres||7.40 metres|
|YOUTH C||6.05 metres||6.05 metres||6.94 metres|
|YOUTH D||5.40 metres for all events.|
|YOUTH E||5.10 metres for all events.|
3.3.3 For track and roller racing events where a Youth A, B or C rider has received dispensation to compete against riders of an older category, then the rider shall be permitted to utilise the gearing applicable to that older category.
To measure rollback distance:
To adjust gears, use the lockouts to prevent the chain from using one or more of the smallest sprockets, and on many bikes you may need lock out the larger front chain ring. For serious riders, a “schoolboy” rear cassette is an option as is a compact front chainset with specific chainrings to achieve the appropriate gearing.
There are many suggested combinations for tyres, chainring and sprocket combinations for the maximum gear. It very much depends on your bike and whether you want to spend money on specific chainrings and rear cassettes, or make do with your bike as it is. More serious racers will use specific combinations. Warning: If the gearing is very close to that allowed, a slightly larger tyre or even hot weather causing the tyre to enlarge can cause the roll back distance to be over the limit.
For 2016, the track rules for bikes has been extended to road and circuit racing for Youth B,C,D and E riders.
3.2.6 In all track events Youth B and younger riders shall conform to the following requirements, except where dispensation under T.R. 3.3.3 is supplied – Wheels shall have a maximum rim depth of 35mm, have minimum of 16 and a Maximum of 40 spokes. Spokes can be round, flattened or oval but must not exceed 10mm in width. Machines with dropped handlebars shall be used. Tri-bars, arm extensions and/or arm pads shall be prohibited
3.2.7 In all circuit events Youth B and younger riders shall conform to the following requirements: Wheels shall have a maximum rim depth of 35mm, have a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 40 spokes. Spokes can be round, flattened or oval but must not exceed 10mm in width. Tri-bars, arm extensions and/or arm pads shall be prohibited