Today’s question is about the disadvantage you have using restricted gears in junior age group racing…

Hi Levi I am 15 yr old male and recently rode 100km race in restricted junior age-group gears (rollout 6.610). I raced at an average of 90RPM and my time for 100km was 2hours 41. The winning time by cyclists on open was 2:23. I am trying to work out how I measure up in real terms. So can you tell me what sort of disadvantage to my time would the restricted gears have made? I am basing my training remained on restrited gears even in the off-season and trying to increase cadence rather than focus on large km training and power output.

Restricted Ricky

Hi Ricky,

First, let me applaud you for taking such an interest in the specifics of your training and racing! It really shows your dedication.

Now, as to doing the calculations and getting worthwhile comparisons, that’s no easy feat. It might not be worth the time and effort, but that’s up to you.

I can’t tell you not to attempt it, because when I was a junior mountain biker, every race I’d compare my lap times to the pros and try to factor in all the variables to see how our times would compare over the same distance!


You could start out using a gearing calculator and get some numbers. As a rough estimate, 90rpm in your biggest gear might yield a speed of 23mph (37 kph,) compared to more like 33mph (53 kph) in a bigger gear like a 53×11.

But, where do you go from there? There are just so many variables. Terrain, elevation, racing tactics, etc.

Based on your finishing time, it looks like you did average around 37kph. The overall winner averaged about 43kph – faster than you in absolute sense, but he didn’t max out his gearing. And you can’t really assume that you could ride a 53×11 at 90rpm if you were allowed. All I can safely say is your time on open gears would have been between 2:41 and 2:23.

Sure, it’s fun to run the numbers, but it’s extremely difficult to get worthwhile data. I think you have a good idea focusing on cadence during training, and you should keep focused on training to maximize your performance with the equipment you have. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Good luck and have fun with your racing!

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