Eleven speed cassettes wouldn't satisfy gear junkies forever. At Interbike last week, Phil Wood (NOT even Campagnolo or Shimano!) revealed a major trump card and introduced to the bicycling world the 13-speed cassette hub.
Though it was displayed more as a "concept" than an actual production item, sources say that PW wanted to gauge consumer interest and then explore the possibilities for retail sales. I have no doubt that folks at Shimano and maybe SRAM will be taking a look at the possibilities, too.
Not for road bikes (not yet, anyhow).
The 13-speed cassette hub was displayed on a Sycip-built "Fat Bike" with a 1x13 drivetrain and a massive 222 mm wide rear hub spacing. Keep in mind that most current road bikes are spaced at 130 mm, while most current mountain bikes are 135, so that's a lot of real estate between the rear dropouts. According to the folks at Phil Wood, they have given consideration to making a version as "narrow" as 150 mm (but no less), which might make it possible for use on "normal" (as in "not fat") mountain bikes. Interestingly, the spacing on the left side of the hub displayed at Interbike (which is set up for a brake disc) is equal to the spacing on the right side, yielding a symmetrical no-dish wheel. I guess you can do that when you've got 222 mm to play with.
So, does the world really need a 13-speed gear cluster? Haven't we passed the point of diminishing returns? And if not, would we then see one of the major component companies pair that up with a double, or even triple crank for 26 or 39 speeds? If 13 becomes a reality, then I think we should really expect it.