Keep in mind that most of those "9-11 speed" bikes are actually 18, 22 or 27 speeds, depending on the number of spockets on the front. Keep in mind also that there's a lot of overlap among all of those gears. What *does* matter is the high and low gearing. Low/easy gears are key if you live in hilly terrain, and previously really low gears were only available with lot o' gears. That's completely changed. My new mountain bike has 11 speeds, total--but it has a wider gear range than my old "27 speed" from a few years ago. It's a total game changer, and one of the first unique products from the bike industry in quite a while. No front derailleur, no chain slap off-road, and a chain that will pretty much never come off. All with the simplicity of one shifter. Right now it's exorbitantly expensive, but the tech will trickle down. My guess: most recreational mountain and hybrid bikes--and even some road bikes--will be 11 speeds total in the next 3-5 years. Eleven is kinda the magic number where you can have a big enough "big" gear, low enough "low" gear, and reasonable jumps between them-even in really hilly terrain.
Originally Posted By: cjcride
The rage seems to be 9, 10, 11 speed bikes.