pdwestman, To answer your question, I do often get the words lower and higher backwards to with what I mean which is to why I only mentioned it once in my original post.
What I am asking was is it crazy talk to use the 16/45 for most Highway riding as it will be a 1.9% difference or a .054 ratio difference according to your numbers. I am hoping that the difference is very marginal from stock.
Then using the 15T front sprocket that I currently have that is still in good shape, put that on if I intend to do trail riding. That would be an even ratio of 3... so not quite the same as a 14/43 (3.07).
But then I would still have the option of buying a 14t sprocket and going to a 14/45 if I was not satisfied with the 15/45 setup. That would give me a 3.214 which is almost the 3.308 that the 13/43 gives but without the excessive chain wear that I've read about.
I am not worried about chain length. I need a new one of those as well, and I have read where a few guys ride to there spot with a 16 front then put the 14 on when they reach the spot, I cant imagine they are changing the chain length too while they are there but you never know.
First, your bike, jollykreiger! Gear it like YOU want it!
Hadn't read myself about any "excessive chain wear" from the 13/43 configuration; I wonder about the magnitude, in miles truncated, from a chain's service life, and how the effect was measured.
I think a basic and critical unknown in your conjectured modifications is: Will a stock length chain fit 16/45 (raised by klr4evr above)? And, if not, will a longer chain be appropriate for a 14/45 setup?
If unsure, an extra master link an short chain segment can augment a stock link numbered chain; no need to carry a complete extra chain, if a stock length chain is incompatible with sprocket teeth choices.
Lots of cogitation of rather small percentage-wise differences from using a 43-tooth rear, stock length chain, and changing the front sprockets, but again, your bike! Best wishes.