I have to replace my chain and gears on my 28'' cross-country mountain bike and I like to use the opportunity to make some modifications. I've tried to read up on this and I already learned a lot from previous questions here, but nothing fits quite right or the answers are too old to be relevant in part searches now.
Currently I'm using a Shimano XT drivetrain with a 10speed 11-34 rear set and a 26-36-48 crankset. The shifters are just Deore. The bike and parts are roughly 8-10 years old.
I'm rarely using the lowest gear but I find myself wanting for a higher one.
I figured the newer hubs with 10t smallest gear need new wheel hubs because of their small diameter, so this might be not an option. The 48t seems to be already the largest chainring offered by Shimano in the XT range.
Is there anything I can do to get a >50t chainring on that bike while keeping the front and read XT derailleurs? I'm changing rear cassete, chain and chainrings anyway. Any other manufacturer that offers compatible equipment? Is there a Shimano road series that works with XT? Can I mix-and-match chainwheels from MTB and road series on my existing crank? Would it work with a new crankset? I think the bearings are worn anyway...
Any help much appreciated..