Join Date: Oct 2003
Bikes: trek 520 & 736, DeRosa Professional, Fuji Professional, Raleigh International 3-speed, Saronni (any info people?), Humber 3-speed, Raleigh Sports, Carlton Grand Prix coming soon!
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Nice bike! Think I have the same year, probably my favorite all-around bike. They should've given it a longer top tube though, too much toe overlap, esp with fenders.
You mention your weight. If you're a heavy guy, I don't think I'd put a longer axle in, you're going to break it, esp. if you're loaded. Or carrying stuff.
Shimano makes 6- and 7-spd megarange FWs. the 6 is available as a 14- or 13-34, the 7 comes as a 11-,13-, and 14-34. Might be the cheapest option. Keep in might this is serious "bail-out" gearing, they all jump from 24T to 34T. $25-$40 if you do it yourself.
Second and maybe more sensible is a 110 bcd crankset. Sugino makes a really nice one, comes 46-36-26 stock. Might involve a BB as well.
If you decide to respace the frame for more gears and better selection, get a cassette wheel, preferably 135 spacing. Stronger wheel overall.
Keep in mind you're almost certainly going to need a long-cage derailleur, whatever you do.