Thanks for the insight. This and other input on the forum has convinced me to change to 14t front sprocket.Finally got the 14t installed. Along with a new rear tyre (stuck with the Rosso III) and had the rear brake bled.
Wow. The rear brake can work properly after all... I knew it was bad, but now it's so good I have to relearn hill starts.
And the 14t is perfect... gives me much better slow speed control, snappier take offs, and I can corner in 2nd gear. But also, and not expected, is that 60kph and 80kph, where I spend a fair bit of time, were previously 3rd and 4th but with borderline revs just at or below 4000rpm, and now just above 4000rpm which feels like the bike is smoother, more responsive and better coping with traffic speed variability without shifting down then back up then down again, etc...
Do you guys deliberately scrub in new tyres, or just ride normally and let it happen gradually?