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  1. #1
    Oh; "biker"I'm an idiot.
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    Help me find frame and fork for 26" rigid build.

    New to the forum, but not new to forums (fora?) in general.
    Also not new to mountain biking or building bikes, but it's been a LONG time and I want to get into something modern.

    I recently got my wife into mountain biking, and I've picked it back up after some time off. She has a brand new bike and I'm a bit jealous. I'd like to replace my ~1998 Trek 820, rigid, 3x7, v-brake, hilarity-mobile with something modern that I'm assuming I'll have to build myself.

    I actually like almost everything about my old Trek. I like the 26" tires, I want to continue to ride rigid, and I don't mind the v-brakes. So really I just wish my current bike had a 1x11 drivetrain, trigger shifting, and maybe a dropper seat post.

    I've ridden that bike since 2003 though and I deserve something new.


    What would you recommend for a frame and/or fork combo if you wanted to go 26" rigid in this day and age?
    Should I even consider a hardtail setup and swapping in a suspension-corrected fork? Won't that just get me less-than-ideal geometry in the frame?
    Who makes frames designed specifically for a rigid fork, taking advantage of the shorter, rigid fork?
    I've heard of Jones, and maybe that's my direction, but who else?
    Steel or aluminum is fine with me. Wouldn't mind titanium or carbon but not sure I want to pay for it.

    Thanks in advance. Apologies if this has been covered recently. I've searched and read many, many threads over the past couple weeks since joining and I believe it's time to actually ask directly.
    Last edited by BenFenner; 08-19-2018 at 04:28 PM.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Trailcraft maybe?

  4. #4
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    I've not looked at them, I will see what they have to offer. In the meantime, I'm looking at stuff from Salsa, Stooge, and Kona.

    (The Kona Unit X ticks all my major boxes except it's a 27.5+ tire.)

    The Stooge frames are all for 29" tires, so they are out.

    Would it make any sense to buy a fat bike and swap the wheels and tires to something MUCH narrower?
    So many rigid fatbikes to choose from in 26" variety. Not so much in "normal" MTB land...

  5. #5
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    I'm seeing lots of 26" options from Trailcraft, but nothing that seems to be designed with a rigid fork in mind. Thanks for the tip. I'd still like to keep my options open.

    Is Salsa a brand that I should avoid for any specific reason?

  6. #6
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    You want a "modern" rigid 26er with V-brakes, dropper, really narrow tires and a 1x.
    Just ride what you have.

  7. #7
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    I don't mind v-brakes. I'll take disc too though. I don't mind the narrow tires, but I'll take a bit wider too.
    Not sure how I'd put a 1x on my current bike? I'm not sure any of it would mate up?
    I'd like a modern headset. Sorry I didn't mention that earlier.
    I'd like a lower-slung top-tube as well. Sorry I didn't get super detailed before.

    My current bike has seen one-too-many rocks on the largest front sprocket, making it useless. The wheels barely true out anymore. One spoke is so loose it bounces every rotation. I'm not about that grip-shift life either. The bike has seen many good days, but it's time to replace it.

    I will continue to ride it while I look, but my search continues.

  8. #8
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    It seems www.imgur.com was over-used on this forum and they've blocked hot-linking or embedding? Shame. That happens to plenty of high-traffic forums. =(

    I'll re-host elsewhere...

  9. #9
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    Yup, imgur doesn't work here, but we can see your bike by clicking the links.

    So much has changed since your old bike, 26'ers aren't hardly made anymore. I haven't ridden a 27.5" bike but they've got to be close enough to 26"! Besides, it's more about the complete bike than the wheel size. I'd look at a complete bike since so many standards have changed, you'll be able to get rolling right away with something that can be upgraded from now till we get new standards!

    Have a look at this: https://www.performancebike.com/shop...8aAjcEEALw_wcB
    Cool heads prevail

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    I want to get into something modern.
    Unfortunately 26" is no longer modern.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    I'd like to replace my ~1998 Trek 820, rigid, 3x7, v-brake, hilarity-mobile with something modern that I'm assuming I'll have to build myself.
    That 1998 Trek is probably impossible to upgrade. The sizes and standards are no longer, well, standard.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    I actually like almost everything about my old Trek. I like the 26" tires, I want to continue to ride rigid, and I don't mind the v-brakes. So really I just wish my current bike had a 1x11 drivetrain, trigger shifting, and maybe a dropper seat post.
    Again, not much of the new stuff will fit that frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    What would you recommend for a frame and/or fork combo if you wanted to go 26" rigid in this day and age?
    In this day and age, there isn't anything that fits this bill. 26" frames are no longer made, unless you're looking at some dirt jump bikes, or REALLY low-end bikes. 26" rigid forks, unless cheap replacements for Walmart type bikes do not exist. I was on a search for one last year and ended up having to buy a 27.5" rigid fork instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    Should I even consider a hardtail setup and swapping in a suspension-corrected fork? Won't that just get me less-than-ideal geometry in the frame?
    I'm not sure what your trying to ask here. Putting a rigid fork on a full-suspension bike would be a horrible setup. Your only choice for a rigid is a hardtail. I'm not sure what you mean by 'suspension-corrected' fork. A rigid fork's axle-to-crown height would simply be the same as it would be for the suspension fork the frame was designed for, uncompressed.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    Who makes frames designed specifically for a rigid fork, taking advantage of the shorter, rigid fork?
    I've heard of Jones, and maybe that's my direction, but who else?
    Steel or aluminum is fine with me. Wouldn't mind titanium or carbon but not sure I want to pay for it.
    Nobody, really, unless you are looking a dirt-jump frames. A frame is designed for a certain size fork. Rigid forks are then made to suit these frames, if a rider wants (and somebody makes) that option. And they are usually carbon forks. Not many rigid aluminum forks exist.

    Your best bet is to buy a rigid bike, such as the Kona Unit, or buy a frame and build a bike you want. A 27.5" frame is now the smallest MTB standard, so your options exist for this and 29" frames only.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    So much has changed since your old bike, 26'ers aren't hardly made anymore.
    Yes, I learned that while researching a bike for my wife. She ended up with a lovely 27.5" hardtail that she likes very much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    I haven't ridden a 27.5" bike but they've got to be close enough to 26"!
    I've ridden my wife's 27.5" bike linked in the first post, and it's so completely different from anything I want to get into. It's just not for me. It is a huge difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    I'd look at a complete bike since so many standards have changed, you'll be able to get rolling right away with something that can be upgraded from now till we get new standards!
    Well for sure I want to end up with a completely new bike in the end, with all new components. I'm not trying to carry anything over from my old bike (except the ethos). But what's wrong with building my own from parts? I mean, if I can find a complete bike that fits the bill, I'd LOVE to go that route. I just assumed I'd have to build if I want to stay in a 26" bike. You know?

    Thank you very much for the reply. I appreciate all the help I can get.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    Man, if I loosen up my requirements to allow for a 27.5" tire I know I will have countless options. That one looks quite nice. I'm still going to hold out until all hope is lost on the 26er.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    That 1998 Trek is probably impossible to upgrade. The sizes and standards are no longer, well, standard.
    That's what I figured, which is why I'm not even considering putting a 1x11 on it, or anything like that. I'm looking for all-new stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    In this day and age, there isn't anything that fits this bill. 26" frames are no longer made, unless you're looking at some dirt jump bikes, or REALLY low-end bikes.
    That doesn't seem to be strictly true. I've found a handful of quality 26" bikes aimed at young adults, and maybe another handful of quality brands making them for full adults (I'm not above riding a "kids" bike if I have to, I'm small). The problem I have with them, is that they are all running suspension on the front. =(

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    26" rigid forks, unless cheap replacements for Walmart type bikes do not exist. I was on a search for one last year and ended up having to buy a 27.5" rigid fork instead.
    Now that is very interesting. So you got a 27.5" fork, but did you just put a 26" wheel/tire on it? Or what did you do?

    It sounds like you've put a lot of time and research into this already. You're a year ahead of me, and I appreciate all of the knowledge you're sharing. Thank you.



    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    I'm not sure what your trying to ask here. Putting a rigid fork on a full-suspension bike would be a horrible setup. Your only choice for a rigid is a hardtail.
    I understand that.
    I'm thinking that a frame designed specifically for a rigid fork will (if done properly) have the headset lower to the ground because it doesn't have to account for any front suspension travel.
    I want that.
    I assume if I start with a hardtail, then I'm already compromising the geometry of the bike, so even if I put a "suspension-corrected" rigid fork on the front (long enough to take up the distance the suspension fork normally would) I'd still be in a compromised setup? Right?
    That's the question I was asking there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by 'suspension-corrected' fork. A rigid fork's axle-to-crown height would simply be the same as it would be for the suspension fork the frame was designed for, uncompressed.
    Sorry, I thought the term was a common one. I came across it reading a different thread from 2013 where someone wanted to do a similar build.
    I don't mean the fork would be compromised. I mean the frame would be. The frame could have a lower crown-to-axle height if it were designed for a rigid fork to begin with. No?
    Isn't that one of the ideas behind the Jones frames?


    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Your best bet is to buy a rigid bike, such as the Kona Unit, or buy a frame and build a bike you want.
    Yep. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm looking for info on frames that meet my needs. Any ideas? The Kona Unit isn't available (any more?) in a 26" setup...


    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    A 27.5" frame is now the smallest MTB standard, so your options exist for this and 29" frames only.
    I appreciate what you're saying. Thank you very much for your help.
    I'm just not willing to accept that right now. Maybe after a few more months of searching I will come to the same conclusion.

    Thank you again.

  13. #13
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    There are so many fat bike frames that meet my criteria. Is that my answer? Do I just get a fat bike frame and fork, then install traditional wheels and tires? Would things fit? Would it just look silly?

    I'm not against a dirt jump bike frame I don't think? Maybe that's where I need to go?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    That doesn't seem to be strictly true. I've found a handful of quality 26" bikes aimed at young adults, and maybe another handful of quality brands making them for full adults (I'm not above riding a "kids" bike if I have to, I'm small). The problem I have with them, is that they are all running suspension on the front. =(
    If you do find one, you can simply replace the fork with a rigid one. However, I bet most of these bikes are lower-end models with forks that have a straight 1-1/8" steerer tube, which is also no longer the current standard. Today's frames have tapered head tubes and forks have tapered steerer tubes. Again, there are only cheap low-end 26" forks for Walmart type bikes that will not fit on a current MTB frame, or tapered steerer tube forks that will not fit on lower-end MTB frames.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    Now that is very interesting. So you got a 27.5" fork, but did you just put a 26" wheel/tire on it? Or what did you do?
    Yes, I simply used my 26" wheelset on the 27.5" rigid fork.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    It sounds like you've put a lot of time and research into this already. You're a year ahead of me, and I appreciate all of the knowledge you're sharing. Thank you.
    You're welcome. I still have my original 26" 2006 Specialized HardRock that I replaced every part on to try and 'modernize' it around 2013. This is how I learned most of what I am posting here. I also tried to upgrade a late 80's RockHopper, and realized how difficult that would be, so I scrapped the frame shortly after.


    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    I'm thinking that a frame designed specifically for a rigid fork will (if done properly) have the headset lower to the ground because it doesn't have to account for any front suspension travel.

    I want that.

    I assume if I start with a hardtail, then I'm already compromising the geometry of the bike, so even if I put a suspension-correct rigid fork on the front (long enough to take up the distance the suspension fork normally would) I'd still be in a compromised setup? Right?

    That's the question I was asking there.

    Sorry, I thought the term was a common one. I learned it reading this a different thread from 2013 where someone wanted to do a similar build.
    I don't mean the fork would be compromised. I mean the frame would be. The frame could have a lower crown-to-axle height if it were designed for a rigid fork to begin with. No?
    Frames aren't designed for a type of fork. They are designed for a size of fork. You won't compromise the geometry if you buy a fork size the frame was designed for (regardless if rigid, or suspension). When you shop for a fork, you buy based on the axle to crown height. So if you know what the axle to crown height is for a suspension fork, you buy a rigid fork with that same dimension.

    Headsets aren't designed for this either. They are designed for the head tube of the frame, not the fork. Most frames today have a tapered head tube. Those frames take internal cup headsets. Older frames used external cup headsets. You won't find separate headsets for suspension and rigid forks.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    Yep. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm looking for info on frames that meet my needs. Any ideas?

    I appreciate what you're saying. Thank you very much for your help.
    I'm just not willing to accept that right now. Maybe after a few more months of searching I will come to the same conclusion.

    Thank you again.

  15. #15
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    Fat bike frames are wider, so regular wheels would not fit.

    Dirt jump bikes have geometry specific to dirt jump riding and would not work good for general trail riding (.e.g. short, low angle seat tube, etc).

  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    I've ridden my wife's 27.5" bike linked in the first post, and it's so completely different from anything I want to get into. It's just not for me. It is a huge difference.
    I think it's just a matter of you getting out there and trying more bikes to see that there's a lot more to a bike than wheel size alone. I was kinda sorta a 26" holdout till I found a 29'er that I liked, and it feels as nimble as a 26'er! I bet you could easily find a 27.5 bike that you'd be happy with.

    I'm actually looking to build up a 26" bike myself at the moment, but I've already got most of the stuff I need, just might want a smaller frame. I'm gonna use the 1st wheelset I built (26") in a 27.5" frame and maybe fork too if need be. I don't want to let that wheelset collect any more dust, been sitting for about a year now.
    Cool heads prevail

  18. #18
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    In my case I gave up on 21st century bikes. Scan the ads for 1990s Cdale when they use to be good. Don't want disc brakes and suspension but I just a commuter.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    You want a "modern" rigid 26er with V-brakes, dropper, really narrow tires and a 1x.
    Just ride what you have.
    Agree. It's what i've done. Happy with what i ride. No need to replace. I have got fitter which has made riding even more fun.

  20. #20
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    What about a Surly Troll or Lowside, they are available as frame sets that are rigid. The Lowside is 27.5 but you could use 26 if you want to, I think.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Fat bike frames are wider, so regular wheels would not fit.
    Got it. Thanks.


    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    A great read so far from back in 2015. I'll keep reading and see where it leads me.


    Quote Originally Posted by JPL65 View Post
    What about a Surly Troll or Lowside, they are available as frame sets that are rigid. The Lowside is 27.5 but you could use 26 if you want to, I think.
    Hmm, those are some great options actually. The Troll especially. It might just be the ticket. I saw their ECR 27+ and wished it came in a 26" version. I guess I didn't look hard enough, as the Troll is basically just that!

    And for those wondering why I don't just take a 26" hardtail and replace the fork, this is what I'm talking about:
    Quote Originally Posted by Surly Website
    Our Troll was once a simple mountain bike frame with a few extras that made it nice for touring. The Troll has evolved into a frame that has been pushed deeper into the category of off-road touring. Its geometry is no longer suspension corrected, which gives it more room for a larger frame bag.
    Hardtails are designed for longer forks (or so I'm gathering), so the frame isn't ideal for a rigid fork. You're giving up frame geometry to get that longer fork to work. So yes, you can replace a suspension fork with a rigid fork, but the frame is still compromised. I hope I'm making sense...

  22. #22
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    I'm still reading through the thread Timothy linked, but there's also this 8-year-long Surly Troll thread that's getting me excited.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/surly/surly-troll-650122.html

    And here on post #15 of the thread Timothy linked someone points to Surly: http://forums.mtbr.com/26/someone-pl...l#post11944130

  23. #23
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    Last night I was thinking of a Surly 1x1 with gears, and I guess that'd be a Troll. I bet it'd do fine with 26" wheels, and you'd have plenty of room to experiment with bigger wheels if you wanted. A very versatile frame.
    Cool heads prevail

  24. #24
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    This is exactly why I came to this forum. I was hoping for this kind of perfect solution.

    Not only should the Troll do fine with 26" wheels, it seems to be specifically designed for them. They say you can go up to 29" on it, but you'll lose the ability to run rim brakes (no big deal), and the toe overlap will be atrocious. Or so they say...

    I'm probably going to give them a call and see if they agree the Troll frame is for me. Then figure out when I want to travel 2+ hours to their nearest dealer and get this ball rolling.

  25. #25
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    If you are looking for a rigid fork that would be the same length as a suspension fork, Surly also makes them.

  26. #26
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    JPL65, thank you for the info. I did see that, and it could be useful to other members in a similar boat. If worst comes to worst, I'll consider it.

    But I think I'm full-steam ahead on the non-suspension corrected 2018 Surly Troll. I've found my unicorn.

    I might not have to travel to the coast to buy one either: http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/be...ine-63248.html

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenFenner View Post
    Hmm, might not have to travel to the coast to buy one: http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/be...ine-63248.html
    I would think a bike shop in Columbia SC would be able to order even if they're not a dealer. Both Sunrift Adventures and Piney Mountain Bike Lounge in the Upstate have ordered Surly frames/bikes and other non-dealer brands for customers.

    Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk

  28. #28
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    I guess I hadn't thought of that. I'll check my two local shops and see what they can do for me!

  29. #29
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    I called up Surly and they answered all of my questions. They even said they had some 2017 frames left which might be going for a discount. I'm convinced this is the frameset for me. I called my local bike shop and they saw a few of the older 2017 frames in my size, which were selling for $100 off of the 2018 price. I was going to sleep on it, but the bike shop is on my way home from work, so I put the order in just now ($550 + tax).

    I'm very happy with the purchase and am excited about spec-ing out the rest of the components. Maybe I'll look at 1x11 drivetrains and dropper posts next. Oh, and see what I can do about a 600mm handlebar.

  30. #30
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    surly troll

    edit: sorry i didn't see it suggested above before posting

  31. #31
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    I built my "city" bike from a 97 specialized rockhopper.... I found a rigid fork on amazon made by sunlite...I used mostly used parts for the rest of the build....used wheels from a bike co-op, old stem from my GT.....flat handlebars from a bike co-op, v brakes from a dumpster bike, hand me down pedals from my GT,cranks from my LBS when they were cleaning house of used stuff they didnt need....spacers from old cassettes... cog, front chainring and tensioner from ebay and a rack that was on my GT when I got it, milk crate from work, walmart clearance tires
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Help me find frame and fork for 26" rigid build.-38461438_10155451617970303_2269376482012823552_n.jpg  

    Help me find frame and fork for 26" rigid build.-38458379_10155451617955303_1052162628404641792_n.jpg  

    97 specialized rockhopper.- urban beater
    2013 GT aggressor 3.0- urban assault vehicle

  32. #32
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    Not sure where in the world you are? But here is a steel 853 frame

    Life | sanderson-cycles.com

  33. #33
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    You didn't mention budget, but the Gunnar Rockhound is available in 26", and it would certainly be a higher quality frameset. Not that there is anything wrong with Surly, love my KM.

    Gunnar Cycles USA — Rock Hound – 29er or 26er – fast steel frame

    They have off-the-shelf frames in addition to custom. At a huge variety of prices.


    Edit: just realized you paid for the Troll. But I'll leave the info. The Troll is a nice ride. Congrats!
    2018 Surly Karate Monkey 'dingle' speed
    2013 CAADX 105
    2012 Pinarello Quattro
    2002 Zurich LeMond

  34. #34
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    A lot of the newer 27.5 hardtails are more slack, even the xc ones, than the 26" hardtails were. Nice steel frames with disc tabs are super tough to find. There are a lot of carbon scott scale frames on ebay right now. These would make a great frame to build around if you wanted a modern 26" rigid bike. I would avoid used AL since the fatigue life isn't the best and you may get a frame nearly worn out. If you can find something like a jamis dragon 853 I would take it and run.

  35. #35
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    Deflated - buy parts to sell parts to buy more parts.. bikes are my drug of choice

    FATTrailer for the kiddo

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