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  1. #1
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    Tandem racing advice

    I have just started racing a tandem in a local series, we have a Cannondale Rt1000 with Rolf Vigor wheels.
    My questions are;

    1. What is the best gearing for rolling courses - it has a 30/42/53 and a 11-23 cassette. My partner and I are fairly strong and 70kg each. My feeling is that we need a 56 large ring ?

    2.Will a carbon fork be a significant improvement over the stock steel ? issue - if so what do you recommend ?

    Are there any good resources out there that discuss racing tandems and strategy etc ?

    Thanks for your help

    Peter

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    As for gearing, it all depends on how you and your partner ride: if you're spinners a 54/44 should give you what you need, if you mash or find yourselves spinning out the 53/42, then a 56/44 might serve you well. For a racing tandem, you probably don't need to even carry the extra weight of the 3rd chainring and it's attachment hardware. In fact, you could even get some weight savings by eliminating the cross-over crankset hardware (timing chain on the left hand side of the tandem) and using same-time drive (timing chain on the right side). Simply replace the front crankset with a standard double or triple and replace the left rear crank with a standard one and run the timing chain between a pair of 34t-42t chain rings mounted to the front standard crank's spider and another 34t-42t chain ring mounted in the granny ring position on the right side. This would also provide for a slight improvement in power transfer from the captain's position as the rear bottom bracket deflection would be eliminated by the same-side drive.

    As for the carbon fork, it's all about the weight and tweaking your handling. The C'dale uses a fork with 53mm of rake and with the exception of the Reynolds Ouzo-Pro Tandem fork (1.125 steerer) @ 55mm, the balance of the carbon forks available for tandems have less rake which will track better at racing speeds. The lightest model -- the True Temper Alpha Q X2 -- has two inherent problems: one is that you are limited to a 25mm front tire and the second is the stock fork blades are shorter than what you'll find on most tandem forks. This will off-set some of the rake change when going from your 53mm C'dale stock fork to say the 48mm Alpha Q X2. But, more important is that your front end will also drop about 2cm, which means your max lean angle for cornering while pedalling will be reduced. The Wound-Up fork that Co-Motion uses is probably not a bad compromise in that it's only a little shorter than standard fork leg length for most tandems and at 45mm still provides a big improvement in handling for racing. However, while it's superstiff it's not superlight... perhaps a 250 gram reduction if your current fork weighs in around 1200 grams compared to the Alpha Q X2 which weighs in at a svelt 525 grams.

    As for resources, you might want to join and post your questions to the Atlantic Seaboard Tandem Racing Organization (ASTRO) list at YahooGroups: http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/tandemracing/

    The list is maintained by a friend here in Atlanta and while not all that active, there are about 80 or so members, many of whom do race their tandems at the Masters Nationals and other sanctioned events.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-03-05 at 11:53 AM.

  3. #3
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    dude, are you spinning out the 53/11; you know, like 100 rpm steady state? If not, leave it. I run a 53/12 and think that's probably good enough to race anything. As for forks, I have your same bike and just put the Reynolds carbon fork on it. A real big improvement in handling: I recommend it highly.

  4. #4
    Hacker Maximus
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    As for gearing, it all depends on how you and your partner ride: if you're spinners a 54/44 should give you what you need, if you mash or find yourselves spinning out the 53/42, then a 56/44 might serve you well. For a racing tandem, you probably don't need to even carry the extra weight of the 3rd chainring and it's attachment hardware. In fact, you could even get some weight savings by eliminating the cross-over crankset hardware (timing chain on the left hand side of the tandem) and using same-time drive (timing chain on the right side). Simply replace the front crankset with a standard double or triple and replace the left rear crank with a standard one and run the timing chain between a pair of 34t-42t chain rings mounted to the front standard crank's spider and another 34t-42t chain ring mounted in the granny ring position on the right side. This would also provide for a slight improvement in power transfer from the captain's position as the rear bottom bracket deflection would be eliminated by the same-side drive.

    As for the carbon fork, it's all about the weight and tweaking your handling. The C'dale uses a fork with 53mm of rake and with the exception of the Reynolds Ouzo-Pro Tandem fork (1.125 steerer) @ 55mm, the balance of the carbon forks available for tandems have less rake which will track better at racing speeds. The lightest model -- the True Temper Alpha Q X2 -- has two inherent problems: one is that you are limited to a 25mm front tire and the second is the stock fork blades are shorter than what you'll find on most tandem forks. This will off-set some of the rake change when going from your 53mm C'dale stock fork to say the 48mm Alpha Q X2. But, more important is that your front end will also drop about 2cm, which means your max lean angle for cornering while pedalling will be reduced. The Wound-Up fork that Co-Motion uses is probably not a bad compromise in that it's only a little shorter than standard fork leg length for most tandems and at 47mm still provides a big improvement in handling for racing. However, while it's superstiff it's not superlight... perhaps a 250 gram reduction if your current fork weighs in around 1200 grams compared to the Alpha Q X2 which weighs in at a svelt 525 grams.

    As for resources, you might want to join and post your questions to the Atlantic Seaboard Tandem Racing Organization (ASTRO) list at YahooGroups: http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/tandemracing/

    The list is maintained by a friend here in Atlanta and while not all that active, there are about 80 or so members, many of whom do race their tandems at the Masters Nationals and other sanctioned events.

    Wow Mister Geek you really show a incredible understanding of all the factors involve, great posting.

    I propose you change you name to
    "ProfessorKnowItAll"

    congratulation again in your extreme level of know how.
    Force is never as effective as Leverage.

  5. #5
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    Thanks all for the replies, particularly to TandemGeek for such a comprehensive and well thought our response - much appreciated.

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