Forum home Road cycling forum Campaign

Junior gear restriction

AndymaxyAndymaxy Posts: 197
edited August 2017 in Campaign
Rather than talking about how to get the gear properly blocked and that stuff, I want to discuss the fairness of junior gear restrictions.

So a little about myself first, I'm 17, I've only been cycling for a year and have only one road race under the belt, but I have been running for quite a while, so I have a good aerobic base to start with.

I did road race recently, and I was super excited for it, only to arrive and the starting line and find out my bike isn't legal.
After "blocking" my gears, I was allowed to race. And even tho it my first race, i found myself right in the front of the pack, and constantly spinning out. And I had no gear to sprint whatsoever, so I didn't even bother. The race was a cat4/5 by the way.

Two fairness issues here
1. As a junior, I was racing against adults who are unrestricted
2. Usac rules have same gear restriction for ages 6-18, so some kids using shorter cranks are actually spinning way faster than me

Now usac says the purpose of gear restriction is help young cyclists develop good cadence and avoid injury.
Well, as a runner I can tell you cycling is pretty much a injury free sport(not including injury from crashes obviously)there's no point of such rules, younger riders should learn to develop their own cadence, rather than being forced to take cadences higher than what they would've liked. Some people are spinners, some taller guys likes to grind, and that's all normal.

Lastly, let's just think about this, if we implement a stride length restriction on runners and tell everyone who ever has the fastest cadence would win, is that fair?

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Andymaxy wrote:

    Two fairness issues here
    1. As a junior, I was racing against adults who are unrestricted
    2. Usac rules have same gear restriction for ages 6-18, so some kids using shorter cranks are actually spinning way faster than me

    1. The restriction is not designed to accommodate juniors riding in adult events. So either race junior events, or accept it.
    2. Shorter cranks will not mean a higher cadence. 100rpm in 52/14 is still 29mph, regardless of crank length.

    I'm baffled that the restriction is the same for all youth categories though. Makes no sense.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    Imposter wrote:
    I'm baffled that the restriction is the same for all youth categories though. Makes no sense.

    There are different age categories and restrictions in the UK ... which does make more sense.

    BC says:
    Why have gear restrictions?
    • It ensures all riders compete together on a fair and equal standing
    • It helps to reduce the risk of overuse injuries and avoid strength imbalances in young riders; it may also help riders to develop good pedalling technique
    • It encourages young riders to race using tactics as opposed to using bigger gears to go faster. This will help to support the riders in learning new techniques which they will need throughout their competitive career

    Not sure I agree with point 1 - it's probably a throwback to more restrictive kit.
    Point 2a is important - I assume there's medical evidence/advice to back that up.
    Point 2b is also important - but do gear restrictions really do that?
    Point3 - well er ... isn't it the fastest person over a set distance who wins? Ah - actually I can see where they're getting at.

    OP - perhaps, whilst you're on restricted gearing and you find you can't contetst the sprint due to competing adults having no restrictions - you need to address the last lap or two (or last mile or two) differently - you're not going to win on a sprint, so don't try - but nothing stopping you from going on a solo or small break-away - use different techniques to get in front at a point they're not expecting it.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    slowbike wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    I'm baffled that the restriction is the same for all youth categories though. Makes no sense.

    There are different age categories and restrictions in the UK ... which does make more sense.

    Yes, I know that. The OP is from USA, and my comment was referring to the US system.

    The principal (and most effective) reason for gear restrictions for UK youth riders is (in my opinion) to level the playing field in terms of rollout, given that in many of the younger youth categories, you can have riders on 26", 650c and 700c wheels all in the same age group. Having the same rollout means no wheel size has an advantage.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    Imposter wrote:
    Yes, I know that. The OP is from USA, and my comment was referring to the US system.

    The principal (and most effective) reason for gear restrictions for UK youth riders is (in my opinion) to level the playing field in terms of rollout, given that in many of the younger youth categories, you can have riders on 26", 650c and 700c wheels all in the same age group. Having the same rollout means no wheel size has an advantage.
    I was just clarifying! ;)

    Hmm - yes - different wheel sizes - makes sense - stops any pressure on riding a bike too big just to get bigger wheels
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    slowbike wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Yes, I know that. The OP is from USA, and my comment was referring to the US system.

    The principal (and most effective) reason for gear restrictions for UK youth riders is (in my opinion) to level the playing field in terms of rollout, given that in many of the younger youth categories, you can have riders on 26", 650c and 700c wheels all in the same age group. Having the same rollout means no wheel size has an advantage.
    I was just clarifying! ;)

    Hmm - yes - different wheel sizes - makes sense - stops any pressure on riding a bike too big just to get bigger wheels

    Sorry, might have come across a bit abrupt ;)

    I've never really seen the argument for knee damage, as it's going to be possible to over-stress your knees in any gear if you push hard enough from a low enough speed.
  • AndymaxyAndymaxy Posts: 197
    Imposter wrote:
    Andymaxy wrote:

    Two fairness issues here
    1. As a junior, I was racing against adults who are unrestricted
    2. Usac rules have same gear restriction for ages 6-18, so some kids using shorter cranks are actually spinning way faster than me

    1. The restriction is not designed to accommodate juniors riding in adult events. So either race junior events, or accept it.
    2. Shorter cranks will not mean a higher cadence. 100rpm in 52/14 is still 29mph, regardless of crank length.

    I'm baffled that the restriction is the same for all youth categories though. Makes no sense.

    It's scientifically proven that shorter cranks may help you spin at a higher cadence, so...
  • AndymaxyAndymaxy Posts: 197
    OP - perhaps, whilst you're on restricted gearing and you find you can't contetst the sprint due to competing adults having no restrictions - you need to address the last lap or two (or last mile or two) differently - you're not going to win on a sprint, so don't try - but nothing stopping you from going on a solo or small break-away - use different techniques to get in front at a point they're not expecting it.[/quote]

    That is a great point, but in lower cat races there are no proper strategy
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Andymaxy wrote:

    It's scientifically proven that shorter cranks may help you spin at a higher cadence, so...

    Read that back - and then give yourself a slap.
  • AndymaxyAndymaxy Posts: 197
    Imposter wrote:
    Andymaxy wrote:

    It's scientifically proven that shorter cranks may help you spin at a higher cadence, so...

    Read that back - and then give yourself a slap.

    By "may" I mean some people. Not everyone spin faster when they use shorter crank, but some people do.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,696
    Imposter wrote:
    Andymaxy wrote:

    It's scientifically proven that shorter cranks may help you spin at a higher cadence, so...

    Read that back - and then give yourself a slap.

    :D

    or to put it another way...
    It's scientifically proven that shorter cranks may not help you spin at a higher cadence
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    I'm just finishing off building my 11 year old daughter's Pinarello time trial bike with carbon wheels and full Campy Chorus. Drop bars until she gets used to it then TT bars.

    Needless to say she'll be running 11-21 and 53/39.

    I laugh in the face of junior gear restrictions.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    I'm just finishing off building my 11 year old daughter's Pinarello time trial bike with carbon wheels and full Campy Chorus. Drop bars until she gets used to it then TT bars.

    Needless to say she'll be running 11-21 and 53/39.

    I laugh in the face of junior gear restrictions.

    Aside from the fact that there's no gear restriction in CTT events anyway, will you also be laughing in the face of the CTT rules which prevent her from competing until she is 12..?
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    Andymaxy wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Andymaxy wrote:

    It's scientifically proven that shorter cranks may help you spin at a higher cadence, so...

    Read that back - and then give yourself a slap.

    By "may" I mean some people. Not everyone spin faster when they use shorter crank, but some people do.

    Some? 50%? :lol:
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    slowbike wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    I'm baffled that the restriction is the same for all youth categories though. Makes no sense.

    There are different age categories and restrictions in the UK ... which does make more sense.

    BC says:
    Why have gear restrictions?
    • It ensures all riders compete together on a fair and equal standing
    • It helps to reduce the risk of overuse injuries and avoid strength imbalances in young riders; it may also help riders to develop good pedalling technique
    • It encourages young riders to race using tactics as opposed to using bigger gears to go faster. This will help to support the riders in learning new techniques which they will need throughout their competitive career

    Not sure I agree with point 1 - it's probably a throwback to more restrictive kit.
    Point 2a is important - I assume there's medical evidence/advice to back that up.
    Point 2b is also important - but do gear restrictions really do that?
    Point3 - well er ... isn't it the fastest person over a set distance who wins? Ah - actually I can see where they're getting at.

    OP - perhaps, whilst you're on restricted gearing and you find you can't contetst the sprint due to competing adults having no restrictions - you need to address the last lap or two (or last mile or two) differently - you're not going to win on a sprint, so don't try - but nothing stopping you from going on a solo or small break-away - use different techniques to get in front at a point they're not expecting it.

    The avoiding injury and imbalance thing... you can mash pretty hard on 52x14 uphill.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    Imposter wrote:
    I'm just finishing off building my 11 year old daughter's Pinarello time trial bike with carbon wheels and full Campy Chorus. Drop bars until she gets used to it then TT bars.

    Needless to say she'll be running 11-21 and 53/39.

    I laugh in the face of junior gear restrictions.

    Aside from the fact that there's no gear restriction in CTT events anyway, will you also be laughing in the face of the CTT rules which prevent her from competing until she is 12..?

    Yes. I mock their puny rules.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
Sign In or Register to comment.