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In 2007, I bought my first bike: a Bianchi Boardwalk 2006. It was a great bike, but I didn't treat it well and it now needs about $300 worth of work.

I've been thinking that maybe I'd like to take this time to upgrade. Ideally, I'd like a bike that (1) requires less maintenance and (2) won't rip my jeans; I think I want an internally geared rear hub. My understanding is that this requires horizontal drop outs, which the boardwalk does not have.

I loved how the Boardwalk rode (it was FAST) and it's geometry is up on Bianchi's website ( http://www.bianchiusa.com/archives/2006-bicycles/cross-terrain/boardwalk/ - I have the 23" model). Is there any way for me to search premade bikes or just frames for ones with similar geometry? Alternatively, is there any way to give my Boardwalk frame horizontal drop outs?

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A bike with an internally geared hub will still have a chainring up front (even if it's a single chainring). A chainguard will do more to keep your pants intact than anything else, and a pants cuff is absolutely the best solution short of not wearing pants at all. –  Neil Fein Feb 23 '11 at 22:13
    
Another option for tensioning is a frame with an eccentric bottom bracket. –  Byron Ross Feb 24 '11 at 0:44
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1 Answer

Getting a framebuilder to put horizontal dropouts on the Boardwalk looks quite possible from a quick glance at the picture. On the other hand, it looks as though it has fairly conventional geometry so you may find that a current bike with hub gears off the shelf works for you. It's likely to cost more than $300 to get new dropouts fitted since you'll also be stripping and repainting the frame. Since it's alumnium and most framebuilders work with steel you might struggle to find someone who can do the work.

An alternative is to fit a hub and use a derailleur or chain tensioner to take up the small amount of extra chain you'll need. chain tensioners are common on singlespeed bikes for the same reason as you need one (and singlespeed conversions are very common). This will be the cheapest way to fit hub gears to your current bike.

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