Here's the deal. I bought an old Trek road bike for my sister. It's currently a 6 speed freewheel (14-28) with a 52/42 double crankset. The area where we live tends to be hilly and I doubt she'll be able to handle those hills with a 42/28 low gear. So I'd like to change the gearing for her but given that I paid $40 for the bike and it will be a gift, I'd prefer not to sink too much money into it. She may decide after a few rides that she hates it anyway. So far, I've looked at the following options:
1. MTB triple crankset (very cheap) - I thought this was the perfect plan until I realized just how far off the chainlines are (should have checked into this before buying a crankset). I was hoping to use the 42 and 32 outer chainrings which would have given a decent range and not required anything but shortening the chain. Not going to work though. Oh well.
2. Compact road crankset (generally not so cheap) - Just today though I found an FSA square taper (big plus as I don't have to swap the BB) compact crank for ~$70. This has the most promise so far and may be the option I go with if nothing else is possible.
3. Wide range cassette - If I kept the same crank, I'd need something with a 34 tooth cog to even get close to the gear inches I think she'll need. To use a 34 tooth cog though, I'm swapping out the derailler and the chain. I could throw a little more money at it and put a 38 tooth chainring on the crank but the cost is really adding up now.
4. Touring crankset - I have yet to find a double chain ring touring crank. Does anyone make one?
5. Triple road crankset - This to me is the best option, especially for resale but there's just way too much to swap out then. I believe I'd need a new front downtube shifter (can anyone confirm this?) plus a front and rear derailler and chain and maybe a BB. The crank spider is drilled and tapped to accept a small inner ring so I wouldn't need a whole new crankset at least. I'm better off finding another bike then doing all that, I think.
Any other ideas are very appreciated. Anyone offering cheap parts for a triple conversion would also be welcomed to contact me.