Hi, I'm trying to convert my Novara mtb into an everything bike. I spend time both in the back country biking mountain roads and in the city/ places in between biking on asphalt. My issue is, I'm blowing out cassettes right and left because I've maxed out the top gear range of the bike!
Thus far the highest gear ratio I've got is 44/11. There's no way I can fit on a smaller cassette. I've examined the front derrailer and noted that I've got at least 5mm distance between the derrailer arm and the tip of the chain ring gear teeth.
Now, I'm told that I can't hope to put a new front chain ring on (ideally I'd fit a 52) because this creates too much of a gap between the top and middle chain rings, and derrailer adjustment will be very, very tricky.
I'm told I need to get a whole new road crankset, just so the gears are spaced appropriately. At 300-400 bucks this is WAY more than I'm willing to pay when I have yet to be convinced I don't just need a new top ring!!
So... I'm proposing to put some vintage suntour friction shifters on the bike, then throw the biggest possible top chain ring on, given clearance of both the frame and the derraileur. I'm hoping the friction shifters can make up for any incremental travel adjustments I'd otherwise have to sweat over with the trigger shifters, and, I figure, if there is 1mm clearance for both the top and the bottom chain rings I'll be fine.
Any opinions? I've talked to numerous pro mechanics about it and their opinions are varied...