Setup the tandem for TT... WOW
This bike is an absolute weapon at high speeds.
Now that my wife and I are doing RAAM with Team JDRF-IGA this year, the bike has to be setup to be fast against the clock.
I wont go into detail on the strategy for our team, but essentially each tandem does a MAX effort 20 min pull, and then gets to rest for about an hour, then do it over and over again for 3,000 miles across the country.
So this is not about comfort over long distances, it is about pure SPEED. However there are some considerations for RAAM, that don't come with your normal time trial. Mainly the fact that you will be covering every type of terrain imaginable, so you still need good positions for climbing and technical descents, etc.
OK, so on to the bike setup...
AERO BAR SETUP:
We have done TT's before, on both the Calfee and the old Santana. The trouble I have with the Calfee, is I could not get the bars low enough to be really aero, at least with the Profile T2 bars I had. For those occasional TTs, we didn't care that much, but for RAAM we need to go faster.
I could have got a -24 deg stem or something, but that would screw up my other bar positions. So my quest was to find aero bars that put the pads as low as possible, and get a -17 degree stem as a compromise.
Well I found these bars (Vision Tech Pro Carbon -- see pic) and a -17 deg (110mm) stem combination to work perfect! It feels solid and wicked fast. I used the smallest pad riser in the kit, and the pads literally sit right on the handle bar. They are perfect fore/aft also, just far enough to miss my knees while out of the saddle. They feel good enough to stay in them through gnetle curves.
I got a 3T -17 deg stem.
Went with 56/42/30. I got a Dura Ace 56t big ring, and it was very tricky to setup... I could not fit anything bigger, this is the absolute limit of whats possible on our Calfee frame (due to the location of the bottle cage mounting stud) and a 6703 FD.
Once everything is dialed, the shifting is good up front.
Check out this pull on our RAAM training ride: http://app.strava.com/rides/573526
This is where the chaining and the aero bars both shine. The 56t allowed us to crank the pedals a few times at speeds over 40 mph, when the slope flattened out, to avoid speed loss. I was able to get in the aero bars for longer straightaways, including a few flat sections and slight climbs with headwinds. If you look at the heart rate data, you can see it wasn't an "all coasting" descent.
I will post some pictures of the bike soon, and us on it too!!