I ride a 98 Rockhopper that I recently bent the outer chainring on, the others are rideable but I also want to replace the middle ring because it looks slightly tacoed and is missing a tooth or two.
Checking Bikepedia I see that my bike has no particular groupset; the chainrings, cranks, brakes and deraileurs are dubbed as "mountain mix" components so I'm guessing that I can't just buy new replacement chainrings. I want this new set to last another decade so I'm looking into buying Shimano deore rings in 22/32/42 (my current configuration).
The deore LX 42 tooth looks like my choice for the outer ring since its way cheaper than any other model, but I see that a 32 tooth XT chainring is not really expensive; will there be any benefit in having a LX big ring and XT middle ring? Will I notice the difference from mixing types, rather than just buying LX 32/42 rings? In fact, the XT granny ring is only $18, would having XT inner and middle rings + LX outer ring make me lightning fast (or just give me an advantage)?
Also, if I was to change the gear ratios, how would I decide which rings to make bigger or smaller?