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The nice thing about current 1x12 (and previous 2x10/11) setups is that the same drivetrain works for a wide range of bikes, terrains and riding styles. From the BC riders lugging their freeride rigs up steep trails (we can call them that again, right?) to the northern European XC racers on their high-speed training runs.
A 5-speed setup, while certainly viable, would require different casettes and derailleurs depending on bike type and terrain. While the former is relatively easy to implement, the latter won't happen because no international bike brand will make finely grained localized versions of all their bikes.
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