To my recollection, the 16 tooth drops closer to 1000 RPMs, but that's if I'm doing 85. If I'm on the highway, I'm generally on it for an extended length of time. Being on a bike that's turning 6500 to 7000 RPM for a couple hours is whole lot more relaxed than being on a bike that's hammering away at 7500 to 8000 RPM. Even if it is only 500 to 600 RPM, every little bit helps. As far as what jpstr1 said, I'll just say that I don't have any of those issues. Perhaps it's because I've lived with the taller gear for so many miles that I've adjusted. Fromwhat I recall, first gear used to be a totally useless gear. It was for getting the bike going and nothing else. You couldn't even ride in a parking lot in first. Now it's useable. realize 1 tooth is not a lot, but as above, it makes all the difference.