The plan: move spacers around on the rear wheel to get the cassette about 8mm farther in for better range of access from the small chainring; re-dish wheel for proper alignment; shorten the chain a little bit; remove the front derailleur. Maybe remove the big chainring.
Am I missing anything in this plan?
This is an old steel road bike frame with a franken-drivetrain: 8 speed Campy cassette with a Sora rear derailleur and an SRAM chain. I'm going shell out and buy a nice road bike for training and long rides, and my plan is to make this older bike a lock-up commuter. I'd like to avoid sinking money into it, as it faces good odds of being stolen at some point in the next four years.
The main problem I have is the front derailleur is an endless pain. If the chain gets even a little dirty the shifting becomes very fiddly: dropped chains or sometimes stuck on the big ring. None of the parts are worn or stretched. I think there's just a certain amount of incompatibility in the mismatched drive-train parts. (Maybe I'm wrong.)
Using it as basic transportation & commuter I don't even really need the large chainring. It seems to me that it should be possible to move some spacers around and get the cassette about 8mm farther in so more of the gears are properly usable from the small chainring. Then I'll have enough gears to never be annoyed. And if I maybe switch out the indexed shifter for a friction bar-end shifter I'll barely have to do any maintenance; no indexing worries. Just clean the drivetrain maybe once every 7 weeks.