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  1. #1
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    Why are 3x10s still around?

    I switched to a 2x10 on my Transition Covert 3 years ago, not knowing what I was getting into. It has worked amazingly well, I haven't missed my big ring a single time.

    Which leads me to... why is Santa Cruz and Ibis offering 3x10s on their XT Enduro/AM kits? Did Shimano build too many 3 ring kits and offer them at a good price or something?

  2. #2
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    I switched to 2x9 five years ago and wondered the same thing. If you're honest about your fitness level and gearing needs a double is all you'll need.

    A triple is one-size-fits all and is great if you have to travel a lot and are not sure how low of a low gear or big of a big gear you'll need.

  3. #3
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    Because there is no substitute for top end! I've ridden standard gears forever and the 110 5 bolt pattern until 2 years ago because I could finally get the gears I need. If you hang around long enough it will come back. I run a 24,36,46, and back in the mid 90's they went to micro drive, and now most 2 ring setups are a 24, 36 and bashring. It's like people forgot how to hammer and make their legs hurt, then singlespeeds came around then really light bikes to ditch the granny, then 29ers and 2x10 and every niche you could imagine and now you can get rings in a ton of sizes in 4 and 5 bolt and external bb cranks, having your cake and eating it too. Just my preference though, going mach speed pushing the big ring down technical downhills and getting pr's on strava with it.

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    Makes sense... I suppose I'm just happy to leave the last couple % of speed in the places where it's actually flat enough to need to pedal, yet fast enough to need that kind of gearing. Not having a bash guard must be a bummer though, I regularly hammer mine into stuff.

  5. #5
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    Why are 3x10s still around?

    What trails are you on that your spinning out on 36x11 gears? All I know is a 46t chainring would look like a taco after a few good downhill runs on my enduro. I have never wanted more gearing (on the high end) off road than what a 34t provides on my 1x10. Anyways...I have no idea why any mountain bike comes with a 3x10 setup, at least on anything with over 100mm travel.

  6. #6
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    3x10s are still around because people still want and buy them. Manufactures are running a business and as long as something sells they will continue to make it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker831 View Post
    What trails are you on that your spinning out on 36x11 gears? All I know is a 46t chainring would look like a taco after a few good downhill runs on my enduro. I have never wanted more gearing (on the high end) off road than what a 34t provides on my 1x10. Anyways...I have no idea why any mountain bike comes with a 3x10 setup, at least on anything with over 100mm travel.
    3x10 comes in handy if you ride road to get to the trail. I run 1x10/2x10 on my bikes, but it is definitely a compromise (at the high and low end).

  8. #8
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    Why are 3x10s still around?

    So you can replace the big ring with a bash.

  9. #9
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    Yeah I still have 3x9 but still I could see taking off the granny at the point of 11-36 10speed but I like the top end. I may change later but here's my current setup. Not needing a bashring, I manual off stuff a lot. Not the lowest BB either but if you go fast enough you just fly off stuff hahahaha, I couldn't resist. I will put the EC lower cup on to get more slack, maybe a works or angleset too.Why are 3x10s still around?-imag1150.jpg

  10. #10
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    I have not used a 3x10 this century.

    Even in the 90's, I replaced the big ring with a Rock Ring (or, as we say today - Bash guard) and never really missed the top end. But on the trail, gaining speed isn't an issue... gravity usually does the work and I'm always figuring how to use less brake.

    Don't miss or need it - EXCEPT maybe for street commutes. But I try not to do that too much, tires cost too much!
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    Why are 3x10s still around?

    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    I have not used a 3x10 this century.

    Even in the 90's, I replaced the big ring with a Rock Ring (or, as we say today - Bash guard) and never really missed the top end. But on the trail, gaining speed isn't an issue... gravity usually does the work and I'm always figuring how to use less brake.

    Don't miss or need it - EXCEPT maybe for street commutes. But I try not to do that too much, tires cost too much!
    The original Rock Ring protected the big ring rather than replacing it.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jungleb77 View Post
    It has worked amazingly well, I haven't missed my big ring a single time.
    There are people who like to mash along in the big chain ring on flat paths and roads. Plus 104bcd cranks are easy to fit bash guards to.

    Personally I went to bash gaurd and chain guide many years ago when a 44t chain ring left me needing stitches...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by suspman View Post
    Because there is no substitute for top end! I've ridden standard gears forever and the 110 5 bolt pattern until 2 years ago because I could finally get the gears I need. If you hang around long enough it will come back. I run a 24,36,46, and back in the mid 90's they went to micro drive, and now most 2 ring setups are a 24, 36 and bashring. It's like people forgot how to hammer and make their legs hurt, then singlespeeds came around then really light bikes to ditch the granny, then 29ers and 2x10 and every niche you could imagine and now you can get rings in a ton of sizes in 4 and 5 bolt and external bb cranks, having your cake and eating it too. Just my preference though, going mach speed pushing the big ring down technical downhills and getting pr's on strava with it.
    What technical fireroads are you descending that require a 46/11 gear to spin out. Thats a nice gear setup for my cyclocross bike but even the world cup DH bikes arent set up with that big of a big ring.

    It's like you dont know how to spin?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    The original Rock Ring protected the big ring rather than replacing it.
    Wow. You are absolutely right... for some reason I remember switching the big rings out
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  15. #15
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    I recently went from 3x9 (22/32/44) to 1x9 (28t):

    Why are 3x10s still around?-1x9.jpg

    So compared to the triple ring setup I basically lost 2 speeds at the low end and three from the top (just looking at gear-inch equivalents). Not much downside to that even on the road and it's a big improvement on trails as before I was constantly shifting between 22/32 rings.

  16. #16
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    Honestly, I bet a lot of it is marketing. Back in the day (90's) more gears was better, and having 21 was awesome and 24 was like the bling equivalent of running XXI today. I still get routinely asked by non-riders "Wow, look at that thing! How many gears does [I]that [I] have?" When I tell them it's 18, they get disappointed. I'm sure lots of newbs walk into bike shops with the same question, and sales people like to say "yep, this bad boy is rocking 30 gears"

    I do have one friend who is a die hard 3x9 rider and loves mashing the big ring on flats and downhills. He also rides more road than I do to access his local trails. To each his (or her) own, but personally I have never once wished for the big ring after swapping it for a bash a few years ago.

  17. #17
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    I have a hard time believing people when they say they run out of top end on a 2x10 setup - maybe they are racing down roads. But if they want to buy the big ring, not my business.

    I think 2x10 should be the norm though. 36x11 is a big enough gear for virtually anywhere. Heck, my DH bike runs a 34x11 top gear and it works fine for pedalling down jump runs at 40-45kmh.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LostBoyScout View Post
    I have a hard time believing people when they say they run out of top end on a 2x10 setup - maybe they are racing down roads. But if they want to buy the big ring, not my business.
    I used to live in the South of England and there were stretches of fire road where you could stay in the big ring and hammer along at 25mph for ten+ minutes at a time. Dead flat, smooth and straight (boring too). 44x11 and skinny tyres do work in some places, but now I'm back in the north I don't miss it!

  19. #19
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    I recently picked up a new santa cruz bronson and the bottom two spec'd models came with a 3x10 set up. I do not understand why as virtually everyone that buys the bike will be swapping it out. I think it is definitely a price point thing. I am now running 2x10 XT with no chain guide and have no complaints!

  20. #20
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    i always thought it was marketing... 27-speed (3x9) vs 18-speed (2x9)! more gears, more options, more numbers LMAO!!!

    i use 2x9 with bash guard btw.

  21. #21
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    I used 2x9 with bash in place of the third ring for a while and loved the setup. Recently bought a new bike with 2x10...love the smooth shifting, miss my lower gears and bash guard.

    What I really want(ed) was 2x10 with 24 and 36 rings and an integrated bash. Bike spec'ed with a 2 speed front derailleur and shifter...

    I like to spin, ride steep, and am weak. But have money to spend. Anyone listening?
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  22. #22
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    MATHS TIME!!!!
    36x11 gearing on a 29" wheel is still putting you at the 27km/h (about 17m/h) mark at a 60rpm cadence. Fair enough, that's not quite spinning out, but say you flinging it around at 90rpm, that's still clocking in at 40km/h (25m/h).
    I've gotten my Fuel EX in excess of 50km/h out on the trails in downhill sections, and that's got a smaller wheelsize which requires even more spinning to reach the same speeds as the 29er in the calculations there.

    Admittedly, that's sort of my max speed, an I am inclined to agree that for the most part, a lot of rider's don't make great use of the large gear range. But just because someone doesn't, doesn't mean others can't use those gears; some people prefer the larger shifts changes for the terrain they ride, some people ride terrain with sharp climbs that beg for a small gear that then plateau onto higher speed track that demand a higher gear.

    It'd be nice if people chose gears appropriate for both their riding style and their terrain, and didn't care about whether or not they're in vogue of their selection.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Structure View Post
    I used 2x9 with bash in place of the third ring for a while and loved the setup. Recently bought a new bike with 2x10...love the smooth shifting, miss my lower gears and bash guard.

    What I really want(ed) was 2x10 with 24 and 36 rings and an integrated bash. Bike spec'ed with a 2 speed front derailleur and shifter...

    I like to spin, ride steep, and am weak. But have money to spend. Anyone listening?
    Is it 64/104bcd? If so, give RaceFace Turbine a look. They sell a 24/36/bash matching setup. I have and its great.

    When paired up with my 10x rear (11-36), I find I only max out on fire or paved roads at over 30mph (per GPS).

  24. #24
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    Depends on the terrain and your riding style.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by WV_XCE View Post
    So you can replace the big ring with a bash.

    +1

    That's what I did!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    3x10 comes in handy if you ride road to get to the trail. I run 1x10/2x10 on my bikes, but it is definitely a compromise (at the high and low end).
    Bingo, thats the reason why I still ride a tripple. I could get a double like 28x40 but then Id probably miss a smaller granny.

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    People buy it, it sells... nothing more to say. Some people can use it.

  28. #28
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    ^$20?

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    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zaf View Post
    It'd be nice if people chose gears appropriate for both their riding style and their terrain, and didn't care about whether or not they're in vogue of their selection.
    ^^ This!

  30. #30
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    Riding to the trail is a big thing. Trails around here are pretty steep up and down, so 32/22 makes for a good 2x set up (or 32t for a 1x). But I live 4 miles from the trails, and it's pretty shameful to drive 4 miles to ride, so 44t comes in handy on the road. I've never found it to be much of a detriment on the trail. Yeah, I never use it, but it isn't like it kicks my cat, insults my wife, or steals my beer.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorn240 View Post
    Yeah, I never use it, but it isn't like it kicks my cat, insults my wife, or steals my beer.
    If it did, which would you be most upset over?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTscoob View Post
    What technical fireroads are you descending that require a 46/11 gear to spin out. Thats a nice gear setup for my cyclocross bike but even the world cup DH bikes arent set up with that big of a big ring.

    It's like you dont know how to spin?
    Spinning too fast in the dh tech makes it easier to get squirrelly. You can run the 46 and just have some torque to slowly pedal over bigger stuf and its faster than spinning then coasting over bouncy rough stuff.

    I like the feel more, but in Texas I wouldn't need more than a 42/11 ever. Colorado as a junior I rode a 48/12 and remember pedaling down a wide open section at purgatory on a hardtail and it just felt awesome to get a big gear grinding out at 60-70 rpm and getting bounced all over.

    If your on double try a bigger big ring and tell me you don't like it!
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    Anyone who says they're spinning in DH tech is using a very liberal interpretation of the term.

    Around here, the only reason anyone would have to use a big ring is to ride fire roads and in fact if you use a big ring on just about any local singletrack, it will become your bashguard after a ride or two. Our trails are typically low speed and very technical: The extra bit of clearance you get from not having a big ring outweighs the increases in top end that one affords. I'm running 1x10 with a 32 up front and 11-36 in the back and the only place I've ever spun it out was on a fire road. Horses for courses, though. If I was riding somewhere with fast flowy trails (like say, southern Ontario) I'd certainly want one.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlmuncie View Post
    3x10s are still around because people still want and buy them. Manufactures are running a business and as long as something sells they will continue to make it.
    Bingo.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheatgerm View Post
    ^^ This!

    ^^^^That!
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  36. #36
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    Why are 3x10s still around?

    Quote Originally Posted by L. Ron Hoover View Post

    Around here, the only reason anyone would have to use a big ring is to ride fire roads and in fact if you use a big ring on just about any local singletrack, it will become your bashguard after a ride or two. Our trails are typically low speed and very technical: The extra bit of clearance you get from not having a big ring outweighs the increases in top end that one affords.
    +1. IMO, riding trails where you can spin out a big ring is not mt. biking, it's cyclocross. Where I ride, all a ring 40T or more is good for is scraping rocks and getting caught on logs. Once you get rid of a big ring you rarely use and do not need, and experience good clearance over rocks, ledges and logs first hand, you will wonder why you ever had one in the first place.
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  37. #37
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    Spin, hell, its all about putting the power down! Like Grizzy said, a big ring feels great. I have a local trail with singletrack at top, technical sections in the middle and a long rock garden towards the end and then opens up a little at the end. I just like to be able to stand on the gears in between sections, its amazing how much work you can manage to get done in a short distance. Yes I could let gravity do the work but it takes too long. I'm not spinning out the 46 but it forces me to go faster when I'm tired and going for a PR. I only use a 24, 36 on my freeride/dh bike 9 speed and its good mostly. But if you think about it, it makes sense to pull bigger gears on a lighter bike that has less mass to accelerate. Also, in a choppy flat section, the big ring has less effect on suspension i.e. less torque and your mass bouncing around is wasted motion in a smaller spinning gear(if you aren't seated). Try it you'll be addicted.

  38. #38
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    This a question I ask myself, as I still have one mtb that has a triple ring crank. I have not used the granny ring in several years, and with my new 29er being 2X10, I'm definitely liking that. Most of my rides in coastal San Diego I've been doing on my single speed, anyways. I only really need multiple gears when I get out to the mountains in our east county, which currently happen to be on fire.

    Who knows... maybe in a week or so the whole place will be single speed heaven. I sure hope not.

    That said, I don't see anything wrong with having a triple crank. If that's what you want, I really got no problem with that. There's bigger fish to fry.

  39. #39
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    I trashed my 3x8 w/(11-30 cassette) for a 1x9 36T (w/ 11-32 cassette) and will never look back. I ride hilly, rocky and rooty technical stuff mostly and though the 36T took a little getting used it made my legs stronger and me a better ride. 3x8/3x9 is a waste now a days I think. To each their own but there's my preference.
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  40. #40
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    I plan on doing some occasional endurance races on my Chromag Rootdown, so the big ring is useful is those situations. If it wasn't for those races once or twice a year I'd go with a double... With that said, I'm not really competitive so I could do without the big ring I guess.

    What I would really like is a 9 teeth small sprocket on the cassette, something like a 9-34 would allow a very good range on a double (24-36 front rings). Only Hope have that kind of range on their home made cassettes/freewheels that fits only their hubs. XD1 with it's 10 teeth is a good start however but they should have gone one step further given they are creating a new standard anyways.
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  41. #41
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    I think its still around from a product position/upsell tool. just about every bike at a LBS is a triple below $1,800, if you want a double you have to upgrade to a higher spec version or model. They can sell the person on weight, simplicity and efficiency over the triple.
    And yes, triples are still on some higher end bikes, but that seems to be diminishing every year.

  42. #42
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    Why are 3x10s still around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaf View Post
    MATHS TIME!!!!

    It'd be nice if people chose gears appropriate for both their riding style and their terrain, and didn't care about whether or not they're in vogue of their selection.
    Riding style, terrain, strength and fitness

    I ride bash/30/22 on my 29'er 10 speed XC bike with 11-36 in back. Don't need higher gear than 30:11 ever (don't race, don't take my mtn bikes on the road). 22:36 will get me up a telephone pole.

    My 650b 1X10 trail bike is 30T (Wolftooth) up front and 11-36 in back Would prefer bigger low cog and someday will get a 39 or 40T. 30:36 lowest gear on this 30lbs bike can hurt me after a long hilly day.

    I know my limits and don't ride to impress anybody except myself.
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    Yeah I like the 1 x 11 but it still too is a reduced overall range. I think a 30/40 with the XX1 or XO1 might be a cool option for me. But then its 2 x 11, haha! Oh well I just do math and know what feels good for me if I could get a light 11-36 0r 11-38 9spd that could be a way to ditch the granny gear. And of course the 10 or 9 tooth cog would be helpful for biggest ring increase ground clearance too(smaller big ring). Another thing to consider is the mass gained at the rear axle with more bigger cogs and no front der. but that is sprung-weight so taking weight off the axle would be the better way to go to get the bike to rotate better and follow the terrain better with less mass.

  44. #44
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    They'll be around for a while. Dealers still have leftover stock with 3x in inventory. Road bikes have been phasing 3x rings for years and they just won't die.

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    if you want to go fast down a road, nothing compares to the big ring.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim208 View Post
    if you want to go fast down a road, nothing compares to the big ring.
    Gravity helps. 42 vs 36 is just about 15% higher cadence. One gear worth.

    On the other hand this: Calf meet chainring.

    I do not want to ride without a bash (or single front ring).

  47. #47
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    When people can´t accept that the bigring is usefull they have to refer to fear as the ultimate argument. Its not just 15% but the difference between going from 23mph to 27mph at 90 RPM. For people that ride asphalt/dirt to get to the trail that makes a difference, it sucks to spin out when you are trying to hit the trails fast.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liternit View Post
    When people can´t accept that the bigring is usefull they have to refer to fear as the ultimate argument.
    Safety is a pretty good argument. I do not want my legs cut up 20 miles away from trailhead just so I could maintain 25+mph on fat knobby tires when on flat pavement. Which I can't do anyway for any meaningful length of time.. 36t front is good enough for world cup XC and DH racers.

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    Cut up? Really, are we kids just learning to ride, no! There have been decades of un cut up riders, not buying that argument either. I think most riders fall into the categories of spinners or power riders. I am big, and a power rider. I choose to use my BMX background as a kid powering a 44/46 to an 18/20 on a 20" wheel setup. I don't just cruise in between obstacles either. To each their own. And if you see me on the trail point all you want at the mostly extinct big ring. "Hey there's a sighting of an endangered species."

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    professionals dont ride their bikes to competition and have setups for each course. There is safety and unsubstancied fear. There are far worse accidents than some calf cuts yet we ride bikes. Just accept some people have use for bigrings.

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