Why not comfort bikes?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by 999zip999 » Oct 14 2019 9:27pm

What kind of brakes and brake pads do you have on that thing do you have a shifting Hub in the rear ?

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by neptronix » Oct 14 2019 9:39pm

niwrad wrote:
Oct 14 2019 8:52pm
I would go with suspension is not as needed depending on the rider and ability to navigate around potholes and ability to stand and flex both knees and elbows over potholes.
The faster you go, the harder it is to play 'human suspension' and 'pothole/uneven surface watcher'. This really takes a lot of fun out of riding a bike. Imagine if people had to do this in cars?

Where i live, the road surface is almost never smooth; staring at the road and predicting which path will be more comfortable is a futile effort. I noticed that beyond 20mph, an upright bike without suspension gets so jittery and uncomfortable that i personally wouldn't ride one.

It's amazing what suspension will do for you. I had this folder with crappy spring suspension and 20 inch wheels and it had a slightly better ride quality than an unsuspended 29er. Until you hit a curb, of course :lol:
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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by MikeSSS » Oct 14 2019 10:21pm

Recently I went on a 3 week vacation and took a full suspension mountain bike that has higher handlebars for a more upright position. This bike does not have e assist. Back at home I put higher bars having a good amount of sweep-back on this bike, it now has the upright riding position I like. The ride quality of this FS bike is very good.

Once back home I rode my rigid ebike, what an eye opener, the full suspension bike, with slightly larger tire size, was very much more comfortable than the rigid bike. The ride was not even close to comparable, full suspension is just better and by a lot too. Both bikes have 26" wheels. The ebike has slightly smaller 26" tires and has the classic rigid frame and fork from back in the 3x5 speed days. This ebike has a direct drive front hub motor, the front wheel and tire unit is quite heavy. The ebike does handle very well and it is easy to stand for bumps when needed … if I notice them in time, IF. The heavy front wheel transfers substantial shock to the handlebars.

I've been considering an Electra Townie for an ebike conversion, because I'm now old and am having difficulty reaching the ground when stopped, using a seat height that gives a nice leg extension when pedaling. This having to lean the bike and touch on the toes on one side only is the case with all 4 bikes I have. Stops have to be done leaning left because my right ankle does not allow toes down rotation.

The Townie has a pedal forward, low seat frame. It has no suspension, the frame is aluminum, the fork is steel. I was thinking of using a Thudbuster long travel seatpost, but there is barely enough room for this seatpost and still having the seat low enough for me to touch feet on both sides when stopped. Pedal forward does not allow standing for bumps, so a suspension seatpost is a must for aging spines. The stock seatpost is rigid. For me: no standing + no suspension = no Townie. Well, never say never.

About standing and suspension travel: a few years ago I had a People S 200 scooter, it was hard to stand for bumps on this scooter and the S 200 has minimal suspension travel, shock to the spine was a problem. Now I ride a Yamaha XT 225 dual sport bike, it has long suspension travel with soft springing and good dampening. Standing for bumps is much easier on a motorcycle than it is on a scooter, spine shock is no longer a problem. Carrying groceries is now more of a problem though.

Back to ebikes, my thinking today is to use a Bafang G310 rear hub motor on the full suspension bike, these are light, simple and will give the 8 to 15 mph speeds I ride. Ride quality should be much better than the rigid bike I now ride.

Ride quality should be better with front hub motors than with rear hub motors. Bumps launch wheels upward, suspension or a frame and rider unit must stop that upward motion quickly, suspension spreads the energy out over a longer time, so the required force is less, less force over a longer time. It takes more energy transfer to stop the vertical motion of a heavy wheel than a lighter wheel, lighter unsprung weight should give a better ride than heavier unsprung weight. The rear wheel is horizontally closer to the seat than the front fork is, so the front hub motor should give better ride quality, to the seat, than a rear hub motor. A lighter hub motor should ride softer than a heavy hub motor. Bikes with a longer rear triangle than those with a shorter rear triangle should have better ride quality, move the rear wheel farther behind the seat for a better ride. The long tail guys are on to something good.

Another type bike I'm looking at is those having top tubes angled down toward the seat tube, and having long seat posts, having enough room for the 6" the Thudbuster Long Travel needs. The bike would have a front suspension fork, would use the TLT seatpost and a G 310 rear hub motor. This would let me keep my full suspension bike for pedal only riding. This combination along with handlebars for an upright seating position should make for a good bike. Only unsolved problem would be toe touching for stopping or walking speed riding.

Cruiser frames having lots of room between the rear tire and the seat tube, in other words having a long rear triangle, are another possibility.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by markz » Oct 15 2019 2:16am

The Electra Townie is a great cruiser bike for conversion to electric.
Look for the 21D which is the 3x7, much better then the 7D 1x7.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by bhtooefr » Oct 15 2019 5:06am

Balmorhea wrote:
Oct 14 2019 2:56pm
Small diameter wheels have serious trade-offs in ride quality, traction, and safety that mechanical suspension can't compensate for. Being able to stand up on the pedals is one of the characteristics that makes a bicycle feasible on real world surfaces.
Recumbents can have larger diameter wheels, too, although with some major tradeoffs that come to mind which affect the general usability as a bicycle:
  • For LWB recumbents, bottom bracket height can be independent of front wheel size, but overall length is a huge issue even on a 26/20 (I got a cheap 26/20 LWB a while back, and the thing is huge, parking in bicycle racks could be an issue), and handling can get awkward (especially as you make the front wheel larger, unless you use a steering linkage to avoid excessive tiller effect or an excessively slack headtube angle). Weight distribution is also extremely rearward, and gets worse the larger you make the front wheel.
  • CLWBs, like what neptronix posted, get the length under control, but their bottom bracket height is utterly dependent on front wheel size (due to the bottom bracket essentially being mounted on the head tube), which is why CLWBs tend to go for 16" fronts, as a high bottom bracket affects ease of riding. (It's possible that a direct-drive FWD CLWB could work with larger wheels and an acceptable BB height, though, but AFAIK a suitable drivetrain doesn't yet exist, I know someone was working on an 8-speed hub for one though.)
  • For rear-wheel-drive and fixed bottom bracket FWD SWB, length is even better, but bottom bracket height is influenced by front wheel size (although idlers can be used to bring the BB down while keeping the chain clear of the front wheel, at the expense of efficiency). And, of course, now you've got a crankset sticking out ahead of where uprights have their front wheels, creating potential parking issues.
  • For moving bottom bracket FWD SWB, you basically solve the bottom bracket height issue relative to front wheel size (with the caveat that you need leg clearance for turning), and you get drivetrain efficiency on par with an upright, but you also require upper body strength to fight torque steer.
  • Tadpole trikes have reduced turning radius (or increased width) if front wheel diameter is increased, which is why 26/20 and 700C/20 are the common "faster" configs. The width becomes a huge issue in parking and even on narrower bicycle infrastructure (the amount of time my trike has spent with its right wheel off the edge of the trails in my area...) Stability in cornering requires a relatively low seat, which means a high bottom bracket, and a convoluted chainline. (That said, I have an unsuspended 20/20 trike, and my complaints are far more about drivetrain losses and reliability issues due to a too-flexible boom and horrendous chainline than comfort (namely, if you have a flexible boom varying chain tension, and you have a constant sideload on the chain (because the manufacturer didn't compensate for the fact that they took the chain tensioner off of the design for IGH models for 2011), you're going to get derailments).)
  • Delta trikes tend to be configured like CLWBs or LWBs with two rear wheels. Length isn't as bad of a problem with larger rear wheels as they can be brought forward beside the rider, but it's still not ideal, and stability is a big concern.
Basically anything that increases length (LWB, large wheels on LWB) or width (trikes) decreases compatibility with bicycle parking. Anything that raises BB height (large front wheels on some types of bikes, low seats on trikes), as well as tadpole trikes in general for safety reasons, increases the need for clipless, which decreases versatility for a commuter (now you have to change shoes, or find SPD-compatible shoes that you're willing to walk around in) and ease of riding. Anything that convolutes the chainline (bottom brackets on RWD SWBs below the front wheel height, FBB FWD SWBs in general (but it gets worse the lower the bottom bracket is), low seats requiring a chainline deviation) decreases efficiency and increases wear.

As far as getting out of the seat... IMO, that's not so critical, especially on a recumbent.

There's two real reasons to get out of the saddle on an upright, and that's using your legs as suspension, and maximum power delivery.

The reason full suspension is such a tradeoff on uprights is the fact that the axis of power delivery (effectively the effective seat tube angle) and the axis of wheel travel (effectively vertical in the rear, effectively the head tube angle in the front) are so similar, meaning that pedal motion causes suspension action, unless you have complex linkage (especially in the rear) or lockouts to counter that force. A recumbent's effective seat tube angle is greatly flattened (on some it's even negative), taking it far away from the suspension travel angles, so suspension designs can be far simpler and still be efficient.

Getting out of the saddle on an upright for power is about using your full body mass as a reaction mass to maximize force on the pedals, but recumbents have something even better - a seatback to brace yourself against. If you've got enough strength, a recumbent rider can actually generate more torque (and therefore power at a given RPM) than an upright rider as a result, as torque isn't limited by the available reaction mass (it's instead limited by the strength of the crank/boom/frame/seat/chain/sprocket/hub system). This is also why recumbent riders are warned to get short gearing, and gear down and spin, as it's easier to overtorque your knee joints... and that's the other thing. Gearing down and spinning helps, too. (And, if you're treating your e-bike as a motorcycle that fits into bicycle laws, getting out of the saddle for power isn't even necessary, that's what the throttle or a higher PAS setting is for.)

(tl;dr: Recumbents have their advantages, FS on a recumbent isn't as much of a drawback as FS on an upright, but recumbents also have severe disadvantages for commuter-style riding, and are sometimes stuck with small wheels to try to avoid those disadvantages)
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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by MadRhino » Oct 15 2019 5:50am

The reason for a recumbent bike is efficiency. I can see riding a tadpole trike for comfort, but on 2 wheels the recumbent posture does affect handling a lot. Handling delays are not making a comfortable ride, psychologically. I mean, unless you are on a long free road. Navigating in city trafic on a recumbent is playing russian roulette, in the winter especially.
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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by spinningmagnets » Oct 15 2019 10:45am

My most-ridden ebike is an Electra cruiser. I trimmed an inch off of the top of the seat-tube, and then switched to a Suntour NCX, which is shorter than the Thudbuster by one inch.

I liked the long-travel Thudbuster (LT), but it was a bit tall. I would have gladly kept it if there were no other options, but I do like the extra two inches, with my feet flat on the ground.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by ScooterMan101 » Oct 15 2019 10:54pm

https://yubabikes.com/
john61ct wrote:
Oct 14 2019 7:39am
Are these Dutch designs available in the States?

Especially need heavy weight bearing?

Would also like to look at cargo / delivery type.
My first conversion ... Sold

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=71378&p=1077497&hil ... 1#p1077497

It's 2018 already, ( now 2019 ) lets get some real , improved e-bike / e-velomobile / e-motorcycle designs .

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by john61ct » Oct 15 2019 10:57pm

cool stuff

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by ScooterMan101 » Oct 15 2019 11:05pm

Just last week I found out about this new product .. a suspension and dropper seat post in one .

https://www.performancebike.com/pnw-com ... ?v=991388c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN00X1kQkCc

spinningmagnets wrote:
Oct 15 2019 10:45am
My most-ridden ebike is an Electra cruiser. I trimmed an inch off of the top of the seat-tube, and then switched to a Suntour NCX, which us shorter than the Thudbuster by one inch.

I liked the long-travel Thudbuster (LT), but it was a bit tall. I would have gladly kept it if there were no other options, but I do like the extra two inches, with my feet flat on the ground.
My first conversion ... Sold

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=71378&p=1077497&hil ... 1#p1077497

It's 2018 already, ( now 2019 ) lets get some real , improved e-bike / e-velomobile / e-motorcycle designs .

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by khorse » Oct 16 2019 10:22am

ScooterMan101 wrote:
Oct 15 2019 10:54pm
https://yubabikes.com/
john61ct wrote:
Oct 14 2019 7:39am
Are these Dutch designs available in the States?

Especially need heavy weight bearing?

Would also like to look at cargo / delivery type.
Those are all longtail cargo bikes, we don't have that stuff here in the netherlands.

If you want to buy a real dutch brand, Gazelle, Batavus etc are sold worldwide. I don't think they're very good candidates for ebike conversion because they mostly have pressfit bottom brackets and internal gear hubs.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by HK12K » Oct 16 2019 12:25pm

neptronix wrote:
Oct 14 2019 9:39pm
niwrad wrote:
Oct 14 2019 8:52pm
I would go with suspension is not as needed depending on the rider and ability to navigate around potholes and ability to stand and flex both knees and elbows over potholes.
The faster you go, the harder it is to play 'human suspension' and 'pothole/uneven surface watcher'. This really takes a lot of fun out of riding a bike. Imagine if people had to do this in cars?

Where i live, the road surface is almost never smooth; staring at the road and predicting which path will be more comfortable is a futile effort. I noticed that beyond 20mph, an upright bike without suspension gets so jittery and uncomfortable that i personally wouldn't ride one.

It's amazing what suspension will do for you. I had this folder with crappy spring suspension and 20 inch wheels and it had a slightly better ride quality than an unsuspended 29er. Until you hit a curb, of course :lol:
To add to this, there have been many times when I've been riding on sunny days while wearing sunglasses only to suddenly ride into a shaded area and finding myself momentarily unable to see the details of the surface in front of me. Twice this year I've hit obstructions I never saw coming. One was a large glass bottle, another was a sizable potato of a rock. Both were on paved multi use paths. I wasn't going particularly fast either time, probably around 20kph, and both times my FS bike plowed over them with little more than a thump. Had I been on a rigid bike I can guarantee things would have gotten much harrier. The rock especially would have ruined my day, and probably my bike if I was riding my rigid one.

Also, lets be honest here, someone tooling around might be inclined to look around and take in the scenery as they cruise. Lose focus of what's ahead, even for a second, and things have a way of jumping out in front of you. I'd rather roll over it than ragdoll.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by john61ct » Oct 16 2019 3:24pm

khorse wrote:
ScooterMan101 wrote:
Oct 15 2019 10:54pm
https://yubabikes.com/
john61ct wrote:
Oct 14 2019 7:39am
Are these Dutch designs available in the States?

Especially need heavy weight bearing?

Would also like to look at cargo / delivery type.
Those are all longtail cargo bikes, we don't have that stuff here in the netherlands.

If you want to buy a real dutch brand, Gazelle, Batavus etc are sold worldwide. I don't think they're very good candidates for ebike conversion because they mostly have pressfit bottom brackets and internal gear hubs.
OK thanks.

I'm thinking for lower-cost, old-school steel 60-70's tandem frame for experimenting?

Once defined exactly what I want, all the drivetrain & braking stuff working, get a CAD design spec'd for a custom build, find a good Chinese titanium builder.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by MadRhino » Oct 16 2019 8:34pm

john61ct wrote:
Oct 16 2019 3:24pm
...find a good Chinese titanium builder.
Dreamer 😜

You’d have better luck in Taïwan. There is a Ti cargo bike on the market already, British I believe and pretty expansive. Any good Ti bike frame cost a lot.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by E-HP » Oct 16 2019 9:54pm

john61ct wrote:
Oct 16 2019 3:24pm
OK thanks.

I'm thinking for lower-cost, old-school steel 60-70's tandem frame for experimenting?

Once defined exactly what I want, all the drivetrain & braking stuff working, get a CAD design spec'd for a custom build, find a good Chinese titanium builder.
Are you considering conversions?

https://www.xtracycle.com/product/leap-kit/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI0xd54QnCM

https://www.bikeforums.net/utility-cycl ... dical.html

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by Balmorhea » Oct 16 2019 9:56pm

john61ct wrote:
Oct 16 2019 3:24pm
Once defined exactly what I want, all the drivetrain & braking stuff working, get a CAD design spec'd for a custom build, find a good Chinese titanium builder.
http://www.habcycles.com/

This guy (Mark Hickey) is a rec.bicycles.tech old-timer, with a long and untarnished history of having nice Ti bikes manufactured in China by aerospace qualified dudes. He's a very safe bet in that game. Kind of a right-wing crackpot as I recall, but a trustworthy business contact.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by john61ct » Oct 16 2019 10:24pm

wow sounds great, tx

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by goatman » Nov 09 2019 6:46pm

I have a giant stiletto, zero suspension, that's surprisingly quite comfortable compared to a full suspension mountain bike. I run 3.0 kenda flame tires and a springed cruiser seat. I was averaging 80km a day no pedalling. its 7 feet long the seat is only 28 inches off the ground wich keeps the wind resistance low when travelling at speed and your feet are forward, you don't get stiff after 40kms. that's a comfortable street bike. Ive had it upto 74km/h but that's way too fast for a bicycle.

I had a full suspension but gave it to my son, its great for trail and little runs. you don't feel the curbs but your exposed to way too much wind resistance and im stiff after riding one a long distance.

if you don't want the cops yanking your bike or getting ticketed, don't pass cars so realistically youre only travelling at 30 to 50 km/h and at those speeds ill take comfort and handling over suspension

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by wineboyrider » Nov 09 2019 8:49pm

neptronix wrote:
Oct 14 2019 1:46pm
I ride semi recumbents these days after starting out on MTB frames. I can't go back. They're both more efficient because of the aerodynamic advantage, and dramatically more comfortable. Add a motor on, and you've negated the disadvantage in riding one uphill.

I don't understand why uprights are still popular. A full suspension lawnchair on wheels is where it's at :mrgreen:

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by neptronix » Nov 09 2019 9:15pm

Yup it is!
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by MadRhino » Nov 10 2019 11:11am

I guess it is about where and how you ride, for I find great psychological discomfort riding a bike I can’t control in dense trafic or emergency situations. The streets here are more minefield than tarmac type. :wink:
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by markz » Nov 10 2019 10:53pm

How tall are you and whats your weight?

spinningmagnets wrote:
Oct 15 2019 10:45am
My most-ridden ebike is an Electra cruiser. I trimmed an inch off of the top of the seat-tube, and then switched to a Suntour NCX, which is shorter than the Thudbuster by one inch.

I liked the long-travel Thudbuster (LT), but it was a bit tall. I would have gladly kept it if there were no other options, but I do like the extra two inches, with my feet flat on the ground.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by donn » Nov 11 2019 12:48am

bhtooefr wrote:
Oct 15 2019 5:06am
Recumbents can have larger diameter wheels, too, although with some major tradeoffs that come to mind which affect the general usability as a bicycle:
Dropping in somewhat late to the party, here, I'd just say - that's all true, except it's a matter of opinion whether those are all such "major" tradeoffs. Racks are a lot more spacious than they used to be 20 years ago, rearward weight distribution isn't a really horrendous problem ... steering can be awkward without linkage, so there you go: use linkage! ... etc.

I ride a recumbent with a rear DD hub motor, and it is absolutely fabulous. And it has rear suspension. Even though I don't ride real fast - often less than 15mph! - I ride a lot faster on the average than I did without the motor, and the constant hammering on me and everything on the bicycle was unpleasant at best. I think a suspended [C]LWB recumbent makes an ideal motorized package, for someone who doesn't need to ride like a circus clown (or will develop the skills to do that if it's a requirement.)

More generally, it's always worthwhile to pause and recall that we all use bicycles in fairly wide variety of situations, wide enough that the requirements for one will be quite different than for another, wide enough that it's kind of amazing how similar so many bicycles all look. Imagine going all religious about how a "boat" should be designed, and then going out to see what a gigantic range of "boats" there really are.

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by spinningmagnets » Nov 11 2019 1:15am

How tall are you and what's your weight?
6-foot, 200-lb

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Re: Why not comfort bikes?

Post by dogman dan » Nov 11 2019 8:15am

Comfort has many definitions depending on the user. My problem with bents is that I need to stand on the pedals some, or my lower back tends to suffer. I do like my bent, but about 4 miles on it is my limit, then the back starts to pinch a nerve. I cant really sit on a saddle very long, I stand on the bike with 75% of my weight.

This is also why my favorite is not the Electra townie. Comfort for me is either a very good full suspension MTB with raised handlebars, or a longtail cruiser. Regular hard frames pogo, but longtails are rocking chairs. I need to lengthen my bent, actually. And build in rear suspension maybe.

Many "comfort" bikes are pretty much regular frames, with perhaps a curved top tube for style purposes. The comfort consists of a cushy saddle, perhaps a seat post shock, and taller stem for a more upright riding posture than an mtb or road bike.

Same features often found on "commuter" or "city" bikes, but the city bike tends to have fenders, chain guards to keep the pants out of greasy chains, and often a sturdy rack, or even double dutch type racks built into the frame.

I took the features I needed, and welded a longtail cruiser that is my most comfortable ride to date. Anybody needing special features needs to buy a wire feed welder. If I can weld a frame, so can you. Never took a class in welding, and still weld like a monkey on lsd. But I build what I want out of junk steel frames.

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