My Sturmey-Archer Hub broke yesterday, so now I'm trying to plan the cheapest way to get back riding again. My current plan is converting to an external solution. Money is a real issue, but the other complication is preserving my existing gear inch range since the newer hub solutions are geared pretty low. (SA is roughly 25-79 GI)
I'm normally riding on 8th gear, especially on the trails. It's pretty much my cruising gear. In fact I'd prefer more if possible, especially on the downhills.
I do use 1st and 2nd on every ride as well. I absolutely can't have my new low gear inch be any higher than my current 2nd (~32 GI), but for comfort/safety reasons would prefer it to be 28 GI or lower. Also, a 26 inch wheel is not an option for me. Aside from the extra costs, my huge size 14 feet would be hitting the ground. (There are other disadvantages as well.)
In another thread $181 was roughly the price for getting external components. There are two issues for me, though. One is that the GI range listed for the external Rover is so low I'd have a hard time riding it. The other is that I wouldn't even get that much. The External Rover has a larger front ring than the other Rovers (38 vs 32), so my actual GI would be more like 21-58.
The fix for that is to get a larger crankset/ring, which should be easy enough. I'd just need to get a square taper crankset, right? Is that pretty standardized now, or are there still different taper sizes? (I'm not referring to teeth # or crank arm length.)
I'd prefer getting a cassette with 11-34 teeth instead of the default 11-30. Combined with a 48 tooth crankset I'd have roughly 28-87 GI, which gives me higher gear without sacrificing much lower gearing. Has anybody run an 11-34 tooth cassette on a Rover? I'm thinking it'll work ok, with enough space for the derailleur.
Speaking of derailleur, is the drop out derailleur hanger universal? Meaning can I mount a scavenged 8 gear derailleur on it, or do I need a specific derailleur?
I'd need to get a hold of some tools (cassette lockring tool, crank puller), and I suspect I'll need to add chain as well given the big increase in sprocket sizes. Anything else I'm missing? Any comments or questions?