Age categories

British Cycling uses age categories to group riders for racing, and to set age specific gear restrictions (see below). These categories are taken from a riders age on 1st January, and work in 2 year blocks. The age categories are:

  • Junior (Under 18)
  • Category A (Under 16)
  • Category B (Under 14)
  • Category C (Under 12)
  • Category D (Under 10)
  • Category E (Under 8)

For example, if you are aged 12 on 1st January you will be an Under 14. But if your 12th birthday was on 2nd January you would still be 11 on 1st January, making you an Under 12.


All youth and junior riders are required to adhere to British Cycling gear restrictions when racing. This is to ensure riders are not pushing too hard a gear and potentially damaging developing bodies, and to offer a level playing field in races.

Note: the current regulations state that gear restrictions only apply to circuit/road racing and track racing. Time trials, cyclocross and mountain bike racing do not currently have gear restrictions.

Palmer Park Velo strongly advises all riders to use their age specific gearing at all times, not only when racing. 

Gearing is measured by the distance the bike travels in a straight line while it does one full revolution of a pedal. Checking if a bike has the correct gearing is called ‘rolling out’ and will be done either before or after every race.

If a bike is fitted with a combination of chain ring and cassette that permits a longer roll-out than is allowed for your category then the gearing must be ‘locked off’ to prevent it being changed into a bigger gear. Otherwise you will fail the gear check and either be excluded from racing, or disqualified afterwards.

The British Cycling website has a useful PDF guide explaining gear restrictions.

Gear table

The age category gearing can be found in the table below.


Road Racing

Track Racing

Roller Racing


Under 18




Youth A

Under 16




Youth B

Under 14




Youth C

Under 12




Youth D

Under 10

5.4 metres for all events

Youth E

Under 8

5.1 metres for all events

An online tool, such as Sheldon Browns gear calculator, will help you try out different chainring and cassette combinations before purchasing. Do be aware that different diameter tyres and rim widths can effect the rollout distance.

But the only true test is to perform a rollout. If you are unsure of the procedure do ask a coach who can help you.