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Why is junior gearing restricted?(12 posts)

Why is junior gearing restricted?PseuZQ
Jan 12, 2003 10:43 PM
I often read that junior racers have a limit on the size of their largest gear. (Measured by overall inches or the minimum number of teeth on the smallest cog, I think?) Why is this? Is it to keep things competitive or some other reason?

Enquiring minds thank you.
Jan 13, 2003 7:08 AM
I heard about 25 years ago it was to save the knees.

I do it tooLC
Jan 13, 2003 9:46 AM
I do the same thing to myself in the off season. Forces me to spin more and if I know I don't have the gears to do it then i don't go off chasing rabbits in the distance.
Same reason curveballs are forbidden in Little LeagueAlex-in-Evanston
Jan 13, 2003 7:53 AM
You don't want the little guys to hurt their joints, be they knees or elbows.

ligaments and growthrollo tommassi
Jan 13, 2003 11:20 AM
it's primarily to keep knee joints from exploding, but also to aim at some leveling of the playing field in those age groups where muscle development can vary greatly from person to person.

A kid born in December is the same 'year age' as one born in January, but the Jan. kid is ahead of the game physically.

My big Crazy Idea has been to have junior races be singlespeed up until age 12 or even 14 (maybe fixed gear for the 14yr olds?) This would solve the parental dilemma of paying beaucoup bucks for a geared bike, and it would keep the sport affordable.
Jan 13, 2003 11:25 AM
That might be fine where you don't have hills (Chicago), unless you gear them really low. It would be tough out here for some of the routes we have. I can struggle in a 39x25 sometimes.

re: Why is junior gearing restricted?doog
Jan 13, 2003 3:27 PM
are you defining juniors as 18 and younger? i mean, when can joints handle the bigger gears?
Ah, this makes sense. Thanks. (nm)PseuZQ
Jan 13, 2003 8:53 PM
response from a juniorCharlesTT
Jan 14, 2003 10:28 PM
In California, Only the USCF races needed junior gears. What we would call the, regular, NCNCA races had no gear restrictions. The whole save our knees thing is over rated. I would push a 52x12 to attack or sprint, weather it was uphill or out of a corner in a crit. I never had any knee problems, as a result. I personally hate junior gears, and I am not the only junior that does.

The rules for the junior gearing, just to set it straight here is, one full revolution of the cranks in your biggest gear can be no longer than 26 feet. The easiest way to do this was with a 52x14 as the biggest gear. Now, if you had a triple CR, the big ring is already a 52. If you had a double CR you had a 53, which would NOT work. As far as the cassette, shimano ultegra makes em with a 14 as the smallest cog. If you use campy, you had to get a custom cassette.

This year NCNCA is no longer and all junior races will need junior gears, as all races will be under USCF ruling.
or a smaller chainringDougSloan
Jan 15, 2003 6:58 AM
A 52x14 is about the same as a 48x13, or you could drop down to a 44x12. Then you can use "normal" cassettes, and your gear spacing will be closer.

The hubris of the young,TJeanloz
Jan 16, 2003 8:17 AM
"The whole save our knee thing is over rated" - knee injuries that might occur cycling aren't like torn ACLs- they're repetitive stress injuries that you probably wouldn't even know you had until it was too late.

There are other reasons we have junior gearing. The primary one is that the UCI mandates junior gearing at all UCI races. So, if you were good enough to go to worlds, it would be a difficult adjustment to go from a 52x12 to a 52x14 top end for a single race. Another is that it keeps the racing more competitive, as juniors often vary widely in pure strength, but are typically much closer in aerobic capacity - so it levels the playing field in terms of rider development. But naturally, bigger, stronger kids feel like they're being cheated.
re: Why is junior gearing restricted?MR_GRUMPY
Jan 16, 2003 8:31 PM
I may be just too old, but I find it hard to believe that a younger junior could hit 40 mph in a flat sprint (53X12) @ 120 rpm. I would think that any junior, worth his salt, could hit 35-36 mph with a 53X14.