I have an old (probably year 2000 or so) Giant Rincon MTB frame hanging around not getting any use and I'm thinking of building it up as my winter commuter (Rochester, NY, we usually see a lot of snow and they salt the roads pretty generously). Toying with the idea of putting in an internally geared hub; I'd like to lose the derailer for the sake of simplicity and less salt damage/maintenance, but since my commute does have some hills, the single speed option is not that attractive.
If I were to do this, what is the best way to deal with the chain tension problem? The dropouts are vertical, and I'm pretty sure an eccentric BB is not an option with that frame. Is it possible or advisable to use an an eccentric rear axle with an IGH? Does a chain tensioner present an opportunity for corrosion and mechanical failures and thus somewhat defeat the purpose of losing the derailer? Is it stupid to think I can use a half-link to get the tension right?
If I were to do this, what would be the best IGH to use? I'm not going to spend the dough for a Rohloff, so I'd be looking at the SRAMs, Shimanos and Sturmey-Archers. For a daily winter commuter, would I really benefit that much from going with one of the more expensive Alfine hubs or would it be better to go cheap?
Also, what about braking? I think getting away from rim brakes is probably consistent with the idea of building a winter commuter, but I this frame is not really compatible with disc brakes, and I don't really like the idea of a coaster brake. So is a rollerbrake pretty much the only option? What does that do my options for hubs?