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I've always felt that 8 speed was the best balanced set up. That would likely allow for the smoothest gear jumps as I feel 5 speed would be herky jerky. But you raise a good point and n+1 isn't always the best for anyone when it comes to gears. After 8 speed it seemed like it was compromising weight and strength just to have another gear without too much tangible gains. That said, we've gained pie platter climbing gears.
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