As far as I was concerned, 3 x 7 had plenty of gears for riding the mtns around VA Tech. I thought having that granny ring was the shiznit compared to what I had to push (7sp @ 39 x 24) on my road bike.
Then I went 8 and had a 16 AND a 23. Man o man was I in high cotton then!
9, 10, and now 11 aren't nearly as important as that step from 7 to 8 gears in the back.
re the frame: ...and I don't see how I can get any slower than I am now.
Only way to go is up!