I have two questions. The first one should be simple: are the teeth on chainrings supposed to be uniform? They look chewed on my old hardtail MTB—some of the tops are squared off as if broken, and others seem distorted into irregular shapes. The chain seems to work okay with no bumps or clicks, and everything shifts okay. When I have this bike on my trainer, I can also see that the rings are bent, and wobble a bit.
So I was thinking that I could justify changing the crankset, and since I'm repurposing this bike as a road tank for rougher roads and gravel, I was wondering if I could add a couple higher gears in the process. Currently I have 24-34-42T, and I was wondering if I could get a large ring of 48T without needing to change any other components. This would give me a top gear of 113.5 gear inches, I think. Would even a 52T be possible?
I suppose the key here would be the front derailer. The cassette is 11-13-15-18-21-24-28T, Alivio shifters, Alivio/STX derailers.
Okay, so here's yet another question: the highest gear on this bike calculates to 99.3 gear inches (26in wheels). Is that correct? I usually ride this bike in the next lowest gear (84 gear inches). This seems high. My single speed bike is ~70 gear inches, and doesn't feel that much different.
Anyway, I changed out the knobby tires for something more roadworthy, and that made a huge difference. It's not a showstopping bike, but it cost my friend $10 at a church sale (free to me, since it's too big for him), and it has a Tange sticker on the frame, so I think it's worth a little effort to tweak to my needs. Mostly I want to do rail trails in my area. I also need to do hills, since I live on the edge of the Niagara escarpment, but I won't be doing any dirt or mud trails.
I hesitate to use the term "cyclocross" in relation to this bike, but if I wanted to buy something to fill its role, it would probably be a Cross Check.
Here's the bike after I changed the bars but before I changed the tires. Obviously I don't want to spend a lot of money on this bike, but I think it has potential.