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First question if you can get over the pass in Glacier Nat. Park if you follow Going to the Sun Rd. As to the East, I rode Northern Tier New England section in Oct. I encountered torrential rain, hail, snow flurries, hurricane winds, and temperatures down to the 20s.
Was that due to Hurricane Sandy, which is not the norm?
If it were me, I would invest in a mountain bike compact triple crank set and the tools to do the job. It sounds like the crank would be more that you want to budget, but the tools could be cheaper than what the dealer would charge you to do things.
Why are you advising the author to throw money in the toilet? Your advice is very expensive compared to changing the chain rings. The mountain bike triple you recommend can get down to a 22 tooth inner ring. He currently has a road triple crankset with 130mm bcd for the outer and middle positions and 74mm bcd for the inner ring. He can put a 24 tooth ring on his current crankset. There is so little difference between a 22 and 24 inner ring that its not worth talking about.
On a compact triple, aluminum generally is not strong enough for the small chain ring.
The TA chainrings are nice, but you won't need anything that fancy, as the bar end shifter will shift anything. I have the Sugino cranks and they are perfect for touring. If you go that route, just watch which model crank you get, the lower end one has heavy steel chainrings.
I would still like to know if anyone actually rode up after 4. Thanks all.Yes.
Post back if you still have stability problems on a calm wind day. If so, then something else is going on and we should discuss further.