Re: Most practical setup for a reasonable price (<$400, preferably <$300)
People hesitate to tell you what to buy. We will tell you if there is a product that absolutely isn't worth the money, but it doesn't go too far beyond that. Everybody has their own taste.
In your climate, you will likely get more reliability from a chain or belt drive. You can still do that with a rack mount motor.
We a have a rack mount subforum, so do a lot of reading before spending those wages.
“You're only young once, but you can be immature as long as you like" -Unknown