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  1. #1
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    Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    Weird -- a month ago, I wouldn't have known what an "HT 29" was. Now I want one.

    Long story longer, I've been riding about six weeks, or so, and really like it. I'm an older rider, but this is really clicking as a sport and exercise. Trying to get out at least 2x a week...took a skills class. East coast, single-wide (lots of roots) and double-wide (gravel) trails. In 2014 I could see trying some local XC races for fun.

    Anyway, we have a big chain outlet store nearby, from which I bought a 26" MB, for about $600 with tax and some minor accessories. I knew nothing at the time (and but little more, now). It's a good bike, AFAICT from my limited experience, but it's heavy, and I'm sure some of the components match the price point, like FS and tires.

    I recently tried someone's 29 bike, on a very short ride through the woods and think I want one. It was different but different good. I have around another $1k I can justify spending on a bike so:

    1) Return the 26 for full credit (I *assume* the store will do so: they promise lifetime guarantee of satisfaction) and get whatever they offer for ~$1200-1600. Probably something like a GT Zaskar Comp or Elite? This leaves me with one bike and beyond choosing an XL frame, there's not much 'fitting' at this store. I could take the refund and go elsewhere I guess, but bad karma, and I'm not that mercenary.

    2) Keep the 26, and add a 29. I'm guessing a back-up bike isn't a bad idea, and we've got a small piece of property near the coast where I bike ride. I have an old POS bike there I got for free, that I could happily replace with my current bike. I could see it being handy if a friend wanted to ride, as well. Now the question is - spend $1k or so at one of the 'better' mail-order places here on this forum and trust I'll be happy? Spend $1k at a 'real' LBS and get fitted, but perhaps not get the same value? Spend $1k on CL or the classifieds on a 2011 or 2010 model and presumably get a *really* nice bike, but get no warranty or recourse?

    Tricky. There's no reason on earth I can't keep what I have and just ride it into shavings but I do think, I would have started with a different bike had I known a bit more.

  2. #2
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    First, I doubt any bike shop will take a bike back with a full store credit if youve been riding it 2 times a week for six weeks..

    2nd, there is a good chance, since youre only six weeks in, in another six weeks when you know a bit more than you even know now, you might change your mind again.

    I suggest you keep riding what you already have.

  3. #3
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    Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    Performance Bike will take it back. Or they used to.
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  4. #4
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    REI does too.
    If you are already thinking of changing why not get a FS bike?
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  5. #5
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    Yup, REI will for sure.

    If you are not satisfied with the bike and their guarantee says you can return it, than return it and be happy with your purchase.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    If you are already thinking of changing why not get a FS bike?
    Because he said he has another $1k to throw on top of the $600 he already spent.
    $1000 - 1600 buys a great hard tail but it is hard to get a good full suspension for that price.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  7. #7
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    go for a hardtail on that price point if want to buy new

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    REI does too.
    If you are already thinking of changing why not get a FS bike?
    Yep, I gave mine to REI not too long ago...
    Last edited by Max24; 03-07-2015 at 10:38 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandSpur View Post
    First, I doubt any bike shop will take a bike back with a full store credit if youve been riding it 2 times a week for six weeks..

    2nd, there is a good chance, since youre only six weeks in, in another six weeks when you know a bit more than you even know now, you might change your mind again.

    I suggest you keep riding what you already have.
    For the first point, I actually agree with you, but P* (where I bought it) and R* do seem to provide this guarantee....It seems amazingly liberal, and I wouldn't abuse it by just asking for all my money back, and walking, but my conscience would be clear if I returned and 'upgraded.'

    We will possibly see in practice how this works.

    For your second point....Maybe. I'm not aiming for my dream bike, and I'm sure that will continue to change as I progress. But it's a chance to rewind and say: OK. Let's start out from a different point, beyond a relatively cheap ( I don't think $550 is insignificant, certainly, but it's a ground floor) 26" bike to something I think I will enjoy even more. This is, in fact, a point probably in favor of an LBS who might have up-sold me originally, or pointed out that the 29" bikes are vastly more popular now, and I should at least try one....<shrug>

    I think a HT, because I'd rather get a better HT than an entry-level FS.

  10. #10
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    I would return and not feel guilty about not buying from them. But if they had a bike that met my needs then I would go ahead and buy from them, especially since the new bike will have the guarantee.

    abuse is if you knew you were just going to ride it and return it or if you rode it twice a week for a year then returned it.

  11. #11
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    Well if youre going for whats more popular now, youre going to have to also look at all the new 650B's.. thats the newest trend every manufacturer is pushing right now.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandSpur View Post
    Well if youre going for whats more popular now, youre going to have to also look at all the new 650B's.. thats the newest trend every manufacturer is pushing right now.

    He isn't wanting to change because it is "more popular", he is wanting to switch because he rode one and he liked it better.

    Not to mention Performance bike where he is purchasing probably has a really slim selection of 650b bikes (if any at all).
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  13. #13
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    Return for the bike you want. There. REI/Performance (if that is where you go it) take things back 100% no hassle.....why not use their policy, that is what it is for! Get the nicest 29er HT you can get and ride happy.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  14. #14
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    I agree with the OP, I'd feel hard pressed to just return the bike after so long, no matter the guarantee, but I would return it and see if they had something that would suit and get that along with the credit back fro the old bike. If the store you got it from doesn't have anything that meets your fancy and like some still out there you have a conscience, keep it as your second bike for your other place or as a loaner and get something like an Airborne Goblin for $1200, great part spec, think you'd be majorly happy with that bike for a good while.
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  15. #15
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    If you can return and get credit this is not a bad FS on sale at Performance right now. It would require streching the budget a little @ 1999
    2013 GT Sensor 9R Expert Mountain Bike - 29er Mountain Bikes

    bottom bracket: Shimano Deore, FC-M590-10, 42/32/24T, 3x10
    brakes: Formula RX, w/ 180mm Rotor
    cassette: Shimano CS-HG62-10, 10-Speed, 11-36T
    chain: KMC X10
    crankset: Shimano Deore, FC-M590-10, 42/32/24T, 3x10
    fork: RockShox Recon Gold TK 29 Solo Air, 120mm Travel, 15x100mm Maxle, w/ Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Alloy Steerer
    frame: GT Speed Metal Aluminum Frame, Hydroformed (TT,DT) 120mm Travel Independent Drivetrain Suspension System w/ Forged Linkage, Pivots, Bottom Bracket, Dropouts, and 1 1/8" Zerostack Head Tube, w/ 9R Specific Geometry
    front derailleur: Shimano Deore, FD-M590-10
    grips/tape: GT Wings w/ Waffle Lock-on
    handlebar: Crankbrothers Cobalt 1 Riser, 700mm Width, 15mm Rise, 31.8mm Clamp
    headset: FSA No.16 Integrated, 1-1/8"
    levers: Formula RX
    pedals: None
    rear derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Shadow, RD-M781-SGS
    rear shock: Fox Racing Shox Float CTD SV, 7.5"x2" Air Shock, w/ Rebound Adjust & Lockout
    saddle: WTB Silverado Race SL
    seatpost: Crankbrothers Cobalt 1
    shifters: Shimano SLX, SL-M670, Rapid Fire
    stem: Easton EA50, 1-1/8" Threadless, 8° Rise, 31.8mm Clamp
    tires: Maxxis Aspen, 29"x2.1", 60TPI, Folding Bead
    wheelset: Rims: Alex XD-Lite, w/ Eyelets, 32H, Hubs: All Terra Alloy Sealed Bearing Disc
    Tantrum incoming
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  16. #16
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    On your other point, my view is you're better off with one mid-range bike than two entry level bikes. You'll enjoy riding it more and it'll form a better base for future upgrading and/or donating parts to a subsequent bike. Get a cheap car rack and take the bike with you to the coast and back.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    For the first point, I actually agree with you, but P* (where I bought it) and R* do seem to provide this guarantee....It seems amazingly liberal, and I wouldn't abuse it by just asking for all my money back, and walking, but my conscience would be clear if I returned and 'upgraded.'

    We will possibly see in practice how this works.

    For your second point....Maybe. I'm not aiming for my dream bike, and I'm sure that will continue to change as I progress. But it's a chance to rewind and say: OK. Let's start out from a different point, beyond a relatively cheap ( I don't think $550 is insignificant, certainly, but it's a ground floor) 26" bike to something I think I will enjoy even more. This is, in fact, a point probably in favor of an LBS who might have up-sold me originally, or pointed out that the 29" bikes are vastly more popular now, and I should at least try one....<shrug>

    I think a HT, because I'd rather get a better HT than an entry-level FS.
    I returned/traded a bike at Performance and had no issues, the reason they have that policy, is they dont have to sell you on upgrading and they know a 2 min test ride around the lot isnt enough. Same with REI. I am not trying to promote these guys, but to point out that the policy they have is 100% satisfaction, this doesnt mean there has to be an issue with the bike, just that you, now after some expeience, feel a 29er would be what you really want. They will make money on the upgrade (if you buy there). I wouldnt feel guilty at all, I would return and find the best 29er they have, or have them order one in if they dont have your size or the bike you are interested in.

    Jimbo

  18. #18
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    You mentioned that you liked the 29er better than your current bike. Can ya expand on this thought? What exactly did you like better? Size...handling...?

  19. #19
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    Re: Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    You can get a good fs for $1600
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...9_fs_xtslx.htm

    This is why I don't like buying bikes at unlimited return store. We all pay a premium to do it. I would return that bike and decide between a fs or hardtail.

    If you think you'll be riding a lot of rooty bumpy terrain. Go fs.

    The best value will be a used books c with no warranty. The best new value will be an online brand. A parking lot ride is not worth the premium for an lbs bike, you're going to have to dial it in anyway. There is no substitute for trail time.

  20. #20
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    the bike i purchased at performance was priced exactly the same on Bike Direct, life time adjustments, 100% satisfaction, 30% performance rewards, free fitting. Just sayin.

  21. #21
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    Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbojo View Post
    I returned/traded a bike at Performance and had no issues, the reason they have that policy, is they dont have to sell you on upgrading and they know a 2 min test ride around the lot isnt enough. Same with REI. I am not trying to promote these guys, but to point out that the policy they have is 100% satisfaction, this doesnt mean there has to be an issue with the bike, just that you, now after some expeience, feel a 29er would be what you really want. They will make money on the upgrade (if you buy there). I wouldnt feel guilty at all, I would return and find the best 29er they have, or have them order one in if they dont have your size or the bike you are interested in.

    Jimbo
    I returned a bike to Performance and they were huge pain the butt about it and tried to get out of it. The guy even said he would lose his job if he took it back per their guarantee. I had already given them four chances to fix the mechanical issue and they couldn't but still drug me through the dirt about it.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonathan85 View Post
    You mentioned that you liked the 29er better than your current bike. Can ya expand on this thought? What exactly did you like better? Size...handling...?
    Yes, please elaborate exactly what felt better. It would also help if you told us what you're riding and what the bike you borrowed was. It might not be anything necessarily related to the wheelsize that you liked - and if that's the case buying a 29er might not get you what you think you're looking for.

    It's possible what you rode had a better quality fork or wheelset, which in an entry-level bike would make a drastic difference. Different handlebars, stem, and tires of equal quality all can have an big impact on handling. Maybe the other frame fit you better. Perhaps it was something about that specific bike's geometry or setup that you liked that you might not find in every 29er. There are a lot of variables, of which wheelsize is only one.

    All that said, if you get a clearer picture of what you think you want (whatever the wheelsize), I agree with others who have suggested focusing your investment in one bike. The $500 bike is so you can decide whether you like the sport. The $1500 bike is what you get once you know you do.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodpuddle View Post
    my view is you're better off with one mid-range bike than two entry level bikes. .
    i agree with this +1000

    glad to see you're enjoying the sport.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    I would have started with a different bike had I known a bit more.
    Not the bike shop's fault. IMO, sell it outright and buy what you want. Though I suspect that will change in 6 weeks, too. That is the nature of the sport and why it is a hobby.

    6 weeks is too long to bash around on a bike and then decide you should have bought a different/better one. Especially when you were just fine on the bike till you rode a better one. Can't imagine a place staying in business letting people rent bikes from them this way.

  25. #25
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    I would recommend not changing bikes after only a handful of rides.

    Nearly any $1200 bike is going to feel "different good" over any $600 bike regardless of magic wheel sizes. 90% of a new rider's problems with his bike are solved by riding more. I'd put in a good six months of riding before even considering a bike change. Unless, of course, your current bike doesn't fit.

    My suggestion is to ride your current bike for several more months and, if you like the sport, buy a new one and keep the old one as a back up,

  26. #26
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    OP, you bought a high-margin bike from a chain store. I can think of four likely ones... Go ahead and return it. $1600 is a nice 29er hardtail. Harder for FS - personally I wouldn't be comfortable buying a FS catalog bike.

    I didn't get to do a ton of riding on the East Coast when I was there, but I remember it being all about rocks and roots. Lots of moisture, a temperate climate, rocky soil... there you go. So nothing wrong with accepting the help a bike can give you. You still have to learn to ride it.

    This forum is littered with people who underbuy and subsequently overspend on upgrades. You have an out. In choosing between a hardtail and a full suspension bike, I would observe that buying the lower-priced FS bikes can often get you into a build you're not going to be happy with - you could be in this position again in six more weeks. So be sure about what you're comfortable spending, think about whether part of your fun is buying parts to throw at the bike, and make the best decision you can.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  27. #27
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    Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    That's a lot of riding to just return a bike cuz it performed like the low end bike that it is. Kudos to the OP for not wanting all his money back just cause it's available to him.

  28. #28
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    If I was in your situation, assuming you bought it at Performance Bike, I would return your old bike and up my budget to $1800 and get this Diamondback. Sign up for Team Performance, and you'll get $150 back after the enrollment fee. Which puts you at $1650+taxes. All for a bike that has a Fox fork and shock. Shimano Dynasys drivetrain and brakes that are basically XT's just slightly heavier, and a good WTB wheelset.

    I would guess that sale ends pretty soon, though. That's a lot of bike for $1800. And it might be more bike than you wanted, but you might as well go full suspension since that's where most people end up anyway.

  29. #29
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    I'd say return that 26er and get a better quality 29er HT. A FS is fun on tech stuff, but cant compete with a HT on everything else..

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by vadav View Post
    I'd say return that 26er and get a better quality 29er HT. A FS is fun on tech stuff, but cant compete with a HT on everything else..
    Tantrum incoming
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  31. #31
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    I found myself in the same position that your are in, last summer. I did have the good fortune to have a old but serviceable MTB hanging from the roof of my garage when I became interested in riding trails so I had a starting point. I was able to go riding with the local "club" if you can call it that. The leader of this group, designer of the trails, and the owner of the LBS are all the same guy. I was very impressed when he made it a point to personally coach me while riding with the group even though I had yet to spend a dime in his shop. Needless to say his coaching gave me enough skills to enjoy the sport and quickly use up and out grow my venerable raleigh. My next course of action was very out of character with my frugal german nature. I walked into his shop and bought the bike he thought was best for me. I paid his price with out haggling and rode trails that afternoon on my purchase. The bike cost me $2000. It was a frame set that he built the way that he would want it. Higher end wheels and tires but everything else close to stock. I later found out that the price was a good one. I bought the bike last thanksgiving and have put about 2000 miles on it. I currently am riding no less the 100 mile weeks. I have gone through 1 chain. The tires are toast and I have new ones coming. I did go to 1X10. Since the bike already had a shadow rear derailleur that was only a chainring purchase. I have a bike that I can comfortably ride road, gravel, trails, whatever. I'm limited only by how much sack I can muster up on any given day. For me this was the right decision and literally spending a penny less would have left me wanting more.

  32. #32
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    Thanks all for the comments. To address some previous questions: "what did I like about the 29er? What was it?"

    I don't know the specifics -- it was a customized Cannondale something-or-other. I suspect it was very expensive, but it felt less 'whippy' on the short loop I took. It felt like a larger, more comfortable bike. Hard to explain, and I'm sure 90% of this is in my mind. I'm close to 6'2", and it just felt larger and less wiggly.

    All that said, I see the wisdom in just riding what I have and in 6 months knowing more, but hell. If I stick with this sport, I'd like to try some local racing next year, and I'd just assume start now with what I'll ride next year.

    So I'm fairly sure I want a light, strong HT 29'er, and am still trying to decide if I want to exchange at Performance for something they offer at a higher price-point, or keep my current Avalanche 3.0 and buy a used bike of CL/Classifieds or a new one from a mail-order place.

    Unfortunately in none of these scenarios do I really get 'fitted' and I'm not sure how hard this is to do after the fact. I mean I know 'sort of' what feels good, what's enough stand-over height, but there are nuances of fitting that make my head swim.

  33. #33
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    This has been said before and I'll repeat it because I think it was valuable. One good bike is better than two so-so bikes. Return the one you are not happy with. If that's the stores policy then use it. If you feel obligated to buy from them then go for it. I can understand that approach as well as the you can go elsewhere and feel ok approach. At the end of the day it's what makes you happy and be able to lay your head down at night. As far as the "fitting" goes. Honestly, I'm sure some people will be all kinds of bent out of shape when I say this, but it doesn't really hold that much weight. Get the frame that fits you as far as your standover height and what you feel comfortable on. You will notice what needs to be changed/adjusted on your own as you ride. You'll be able to move your seat forward and back or up and down and realize..."Hey, I don't like that". Or you will feel like, "Man I wish my hands were just a little bit higher." Then you get different handlebars or a new stem.

    Ultimately I think that the price range you are looking at you will be most happy with the HT 29er. You'll get better components and probably a better fork than the so-so combo otherwise. Unless you have a good buddy that can help you pick a bike from Craigslist I'd hold off on that option until you have more personal knowledge. Even guys with experience have come home with a not so great bike in this case.

    If down the road you decide you want a FS, then add the additional bike. I have plenty of friends that ride HT on all the same stuff I ride my FS. I can also say I've ridden through some pretty nasty stuff with my suspension locked out, so it's not impossible to do...just harder.

    This next part is just my opinion. But I think the HT will help make you a better rider. You will learn how to negotiate technical terrain in a manner that teaches you to throw your weight in order to keep your wheels hooked up. I think this helps learning on a HT then when you get on the FS it's not making up for your lack of technical abilities but adding to it as a tool.
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  34. #34
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    I'm a big fan of having a bike that actually fits me. But the only thing that's not malleable is the frame reach. You want a bike long enough that you can feel comfortable on a stem that doesn't make it nosedive and short enough that your front wheel doesn't wander all over the place on a climb (again, with a stem that doesn't murder your back.) Everything else, you can figure out after the fact. I'm all out of lunch break, so search "peter white fit" and ride a few sizes wherever you go to buy the new hotness.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    search "peter white fit"
    This! Best advice on bike fit anywhere.
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  36. #36
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    I'm in the "take it back and get what you really want" camp. Performance has a liberal return policy because they want you to be 100% satisfied with your bike so you tell all your friends how great Performance is. Word of mouth is the best marketing. Now weather you should get a 29er or not is a different matter. I'd just caution you not to get caught up in that trend or any trend. Get the bike that is best for where you ride and how you ride, regardless of wheelsize.
    Surly Cross Check: fat tire roadie
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