I've had my roadie for a couple of months, and I like it, but I'm missing the low end gears on the mountain bike. We have a few hills here that are reasonably challenging, at least for me. Of the hills I've repeated from last year, I'm doing better than I did last year. On my ride last week, I had a very long climb, a new one for me of 10 miles or so, and I began to run out of gas. I was not able to maintain my normal cadence. I'm thinking it would have been nice to have had a lower gear or two.
My road bike has a triple chain ring, 30/42/53, and an eight speed cassette, 12-24. I saw where Sheldon Brown has 8-speed cassettes in 13-30 and 13-34. So, I'm thinking about the possibility of having one of these cassettes or perhaps a little smaller small chain ring installed by the LBS.
Has anyone gone this route for additional help on hills? Would it help noticeably? Are we talking major dollars in parts and labor? Would I be able to use existing dérailleurs and chain?