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  1. #1
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    29ers for a newbie couple

    Hey all,

    I am looking for a set of bikes for me and my fiance.

    Little background: i rode a trek 6300 about a decade ago. Mostly XC riding, gravel roads and some light trail work. Fiance the same. Then i moved onto diesel performance. Now we are looking to get back into trail riding and some paved trail stuff. Riding in bentonville, AR.

    Dimensions:
    Me - 6'3" 280lbs ride a 21"
    Her - 5'1" 120lbs should be a 13-14.5

    I am looking at a trek Marlin. She likes the Marlin too if it fits her right.

    We test rode some giants and kona bikes. I prefered the trek bikes. I think its brand preference, but they were also pretty pushy. Our budget is $600ish and pretty fast they were throwing $1200 bikes at us.

    But Im always open to other bike options.

    i do have a few questions about where to go once i start modding my bike.

    1) the shifters suck.. very cheap IMHO. Where to start?
    2) What clip-in pedals does everyone prefer? I liked crank Bros long ago. Still good??
    3)is it possible to swap to a single crank up front? I never really use lower and high cranksets. Would be nice to eliminate the weight and the shifter. Just have 1-8 on the rear and a single up front. I don't think IM man enough for a single gear rig haha.
    4) What other 29ers are out there for shirt ladies? Our area really only offers giant kuna and giants.

    Thanks alot guys.
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  2. #2
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    welcome to the forum - i live in fayetteville but work in bentonville.

    there are several good options depening on what you are looking to spend.

    i am guessing you checked out phat tire and lewis and clark - there are a few other options in town and the staff in my experience has been more helpful with the budget conscious buyer. give mojo cycles a shot, they are close to the wal-mart home office and have KHS, Felt, and Scott bikes. the staff is incredible and they will have a few options in the price range you are looking at. they can help you narrow it down between an entry level 29er, or maybe even a 650b bike. feel free to shoot me a pm if you want to discuss in more detail.

  3. #3
    turtles make me hot
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    If you don't like the shifters on a 600 dollar bike, maybe up your budget a little. Buying a cheaper bike and upgrading parts is counterproductive.
    I like Crank Bros Eggbeaters.
    Is is completely possible to run a single up front. I just built a 1x10 for my son.
    NEW ALUMINUM FRONT SUSPENSION 29ER MOUNTAIN BIKE SHIMANO 13'' | eBay
    This should be good for your fiance.
    I like turtles

  4. #4
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    How much of a price jump are we talking?? $1k+??

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  5. #5
    turtles make me hot
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    Mamba's around a grand.
    I like turtles

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    Mamba's around a grand.
    Jeez. That's really more than i wanna spend. What's a good set of shifters gonna set me back??

    I like to mod all my toys and its got the same frame so i can play down the road.

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  7. #7
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    How about $799 ? Im 6'0" and 280lbs and recently bought this bike:

    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane 2012 Fantom Comp

    I shopped the local bike shops and nothing came close to this bike for the $ - I have a few good trail rides on it already. Its just a great bike. It comes as a 29er too:

    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Fantom 29COMP

    The same place sells 29ers from $450 - no tax and free shipping. Just depends what level of components you want.

    Dont pay extra $ for a 'name'. The $700 bikes at the bike shops were just cheesy.

    For my full review see:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/motobecane/mo...ew-813039.html

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    It's not always the shifters. Could be a bent derailleur hanger or just stretched cables. Have the service tech adjust it and test ride it again. It 's new and should work.
    At your weight you are going to run into fork springs that need to be upgraded. Even for light trail riding. For moderate to difficult trails the mod is a Manitou Tower Expert fork with the XX-Firm spring.

  9. #9
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    Word of advice? I'd get your lady a 26" wheeled bike. I just don't see someone her size being happy with a bike with wheels nearly over her waist. Considering that I'd get her something like Airborne's Sabre for $249 (shipped free), which is completely serviceable and comes in a 15". Slap a new fork and a decent XT or SRAM X7 rear derailer and you have yourself a really nice ride for around $500 total. That's a few months later after she's got 1000 miles under her belt and the factory parts are ready for replacement.

    The bonus here is that takes the budget for your bike closer to a GRAND, and gets you in Airborne Goblin territory .

  10. #10
    turtles make me hot
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    I understand the whole thing about the frames being the same so it's cool to upgrade the cheaper bike...
    The drivetrain on the Marlin is 8 speed in the rear. To add a better shifter like a Sram X7, you'll need to bring the bike up to 9 or 10 speeds. That means a cassette, derailleur and right side shifter. 10 speed stuff doesn't cost any more than 9, so go 10.
    You will also need to upgrade the fork spring or the fork. In the long run, you'll get lighter wheels and a better crankset and everything else with a better bike from the get go.
    I like turtles

  11. #11
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    I know you don't wanna hear it, but in doing tons of research, I found $1000 to be about the price point for a good men's MTB. I "settled" on a Mamba.

    My GF went with a $450 Trek. One month later we were selling it because the brakes sucked, the fork was worthless. Ended up getting her a women's GT 1.0 for $750.

    Friend of mind bought a Marlin 1 week after me. We ride the same trails at the same pace. He has bent two wheels, and replaced 2 RD, and blew his Suntour fork. He weighs 230lbs. His cable discs are trash IMO. Edit-he also bent a crank, he def crashes more than me.

    It really is better to wait and save more money IMO. Good luck.
    Last edited by _Alberto_; 09-14-2012 at 11:04 AM.

  12. #12
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    Hope

    Quote Originally Posted by shuddleston View Post
    welcome to the forum - i live in fayetteville but work in bentonville.

    there are several good options depening on what you are looking to spend.

    i am guessing you checked out phat tire and lewis and clark - there are a few other options in town and the staff in my experience has been more helpful with the budget conscious buyer. give mojo cycles a shot, they are close to the wal-mart home office and have KHS, Felt, and Scott bikes. the staff is incredible and they will have a few options in the price range you are looking at. they can help you narrow it down between an entry level 29er, or maybe even a 650b bike. feel free to shoot me a pm if you want to discuss in more detail.
    I really like the KHS and jamis a lot. IM gonna try to go check them out this weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by _Alberto_ View Post
    I know you don't wanna hear it, but in doing tons of research, I found $1000 to be about the price point for a good men's MTB. I "settled" on a Mamba.

    My GF went with a $450 Trek. One month later we were selling it because the brakes sucked, the fork was worthless. Ended up getting her a women's GT 1.0 for $750.

    Friend of mind bought a Marlin 1 week after me. We ride the same trails at the same pace. He has bent two wheels, and replaced 2 RD, and blew his Suntour fork. He weighs 230lbs. His cable discs are trash IMO.

    It really is better to wait and save more money IMO. Good luck.
    Thanks for the tough love haha.

    I don't wanna come off as the newbie that doesn't listen. I am.just.surprised that quality starts at $1k

  13. #13
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    Little story kinda like yours...
    A guy I work with was waiting and waiting for a 399 dollar 29er. I kept telling him not to buy anything like that. He text'd me last week asking if a Specialized Hardrock was good. I said it's fine, but real heavy. You're gonna grow tired of it quickly. He surprised everyone and bought a Rockhopper 29er disc. Spent 850. Not a bike I would have bought, but way better than anything else he was looking at. He enjoys the crap out of it.
    He bought a 2012. Got about 100 bucks off since the 13's are starting to show up.
    I like turtles

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkidd_39 View Post
    1) the shifters suck.. very cheap IMHO. Where to start?
    2) What clip-in pedals does everyone prefer? I liked crank Bros long ago. Still good??
    3)is it possible to swap to a single crank up front? I never really use lower and high cranksets. Would be nice to eliminate the weight and the shifter. Just have 1-8 on the rear and a single up front. I don't think IM man enough for a single gear rig haha.
    4) What other 29ers are out there for shirt ladies? Our area really only offers giant kuna and giants.
    What's diesel performance? Does that mean you can get the gas mileage on my Touareg even better? Because that would be amazing.

    Anyway...
    1) Even the cheap shifters can be made to work very well. A lot of times new bikes get assembled and put onto the racks where they sit until test rides. While those bikes are new, the cables sort of seat into place which is a normal break in procedure, but requires that the cables be re-set to work properly. A simple adjustment before you leave with the bike (on any bike, not just those ones you've seen) will get the system working properly. More expensive shifters do have a better feel to them and will often stay adjusted better, but even cheap shifters can be set up so that they change gears with the best systems.

    2) Ever since they came out, I've disliked Crank Brothers pedals. I have always preferred Time due to the similar mud shedding but with adjustable tension and they aren't nearly as fragile and don't eject your foot when you strike a rock. Of course, pedals are a preference just like anything else and you should always ride what you like. I've taken to riding flat Straitline pedals with 5.10 shoes and honestly like the experience of riding a bike more than I ever did when I rode clipless; so keep your options open and pick what you like best.

    3) Depending on the crank set of the bike you choose, you may be able to remove the big and small chainrings and run a single ring up front. I would suggest getting a chainguide of some sort because you will need something to keep the chain on the rings. Most simple: e*thirteen components More secure: e*thirteen components I like E13 a lot, but other companies have similar products. The absolute most simple choice is the 3rd Eye Chain Watcher, but it won't keep the chain on to the outside of the crank, only the inside. To know if you can remove rings, look for cranks that have bolts to hold on the big ring. If the crank has rivets you can't remove the big ring. To run a single chainring with no bash guard, you will need shorter chainring bolts, so keep that in mind should you go that way.

    4) Don't know the answer to this one, I'm both tall(er than that) and prefer 26" wheels.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  15. #15
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    First- it is possible to run a single ring up front, but I'd pull off the big ring and install a bash guard, tighten the upper limit screw and leave it at 2 rings.
    Second- fitting 5'1" to a 29er can be a bit of a squeeze, would definately recommened she verify that first-hand at bike shops by standing over the smallest 29er you can find. There are a few companies making XS / 13 to 14" frame versions of 29ers. Best bet would be to buy a 26" bike for her.

    I'm guessing since you were into diesel performance that you wouldn't mind a little bit of wrenching on your bikes, so the online companies may be your best option for well equipped bikes in that price range. For $675 to $700 you can get a decent component level bike shipped to your door. Anything much less than that and you are looking at some very unlikable front forks, slow shifts, weaker brakes, etc.....

    Airborne Guardian ($675, smallest size is 16")
    Motobecane Fantom29 Comp ($700, smallest size is 13")


    Couldn't recommend any bike from your LBS within that price range due to the abysmal components they have- Tourney, Altus, & Alivio... yuck, yuck, & no thanks... You'll end up spending a couple hundred just replacing drivetrain components- at which point you've exceeded your budget quite a bit and would have been better off spending more for a better bike at the start. If you are just riding gravel roads / paved bike paths, then those cheap components will do fine. They become problematic out in the dirt, might get a year out of them before failing.

    Assembling the internet bikes involves rotating the stem, attaching the handlebar and front wheel, then tuning the derailleurs. Much less invovled than, say, changing the fuel filter on your diesel. To get the same bike from your LBS, you'd have to spend over a grand. Even if you factor in the cost of having the LBS tune your bike for $75, you will be a few hundred ahead. For that matter, derailleur tuning isn't rocket science. Upper limit screw, lower limit screw, cable clamp screw, plus the rear has a tension adjustment screw.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    What's diesel performance? Does that mean you can get the gas mileage on my Touareg even better? Because that would be amazing .
    Yes. I can get tuning that will give you a nice little.bump in fuel economy and a little power. Tdi's don't have the toughest trannys tho.

    I'm currently building a 5.9 cummins with commonrail injection and compound turbos. We are chasing 1000hp. But this doesn't mean i don't enjoy me powered things.

    And before anyone mentions it i dispise seeing dumb dumbs smoking out road bikes. Boils my blood

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  17. #17
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    You answered some of these question, but I think you might enjoy reading this: http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-cor...de-811009.html

    I have a couple thoughts, but will reserve them until I get answers to some of the questions you haven't answered yet.

    Welcome back!
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    It's not always the shifters. Could be a bent derailleur hanger or just stretched cables. Have the service tech adjust it and test ride it again. It 's new and should work.
    At your weight you are going to run into fork springs that need to be upgraded. Even for light trail riding. For moderate to difficult trails the mod is a Manitou Tower Expert fork with the XX-Firm spring.
    Agreed, its probably not bad shifters.

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  19. #19
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    What region of the country do I live in?
    Bentonville Arkansas

    Where do I plan to ride my new bike?
    Single track/paved and gravel biking trails

    Are there any YouTube videos of the trails I plan to ride? Idk

    How much time do I plan on devoting to this hobby?
    Like to get 15-30 miles a week for exercise/enjoyment

    What is my previous cycling experience?
    2-3yrs Xc

    Have I participated in other hobbies, sports or activities that may give me relevant skills?
    Played college football, rec league soccer & bball. Stand up jet ski riding. Snowboarding

    What are my mechanical abilities?
    Very good mechanically.

    Do I currently own a bike?
    Looking, previous bike (trek6300) cracked frame

    Do I currently own a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, proper shoes, Cyclocomputer, Finish line bike wash, Finishline brush kit, shop rags, chain lube, chain stay protector (I like Shelter), Gloves, good socks, solid tire pressure gauge, floor tire pump, on trail tire pump or cartridges, shock pump, good three way hex, mufti tool, spare bottles, cages, backpack to put all your gear in?
    Have a downhill full face Giro for stand up.jetskiing

    Why do I want to buy a new bike?
    Other is broke and would like a new challenging hobby

    How much research have I already done and do I have an idea of what I want?about a month. Want a HT MTB

    Do I have friends who are into the hobby?
    Nope

    What's their mechanical and riding experience? N/A

    What kind of bikes do my riding buddies ride?N/A

    What kind of bikes do I see on the trails I plan to ride? (Full suspension, hardtail, rigid, single speed, geared) Typically hardtails. Occasional FS

    Can I really afford this hobby? Are my credit cards paid off? Do I have savings in the bank and money to burn? Yes. Turbochargers and pistons are much more expensive haha

    How much money do I want to spend on this hobby over the next year? $1000-1500

    What am I trying to accomplish by participating in this hobby? Exercise and might as well take advantage of a great local trail system

    How do I expect my life to be different a year from the day my new bike arrives? Less chubby, more bruises

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  20. #20
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    Since you say you are mechanically inclined, I'd suggest possibly this bike.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Fantom 29Elite

    Pretty hard to beat at that price range. I bought one for my wife and I've been petty impressed with its quality. Going much above that price point I would probably look at a name brand bike. There is a thread towards the bottom of the page asking about bikes direct. I have no affiliation what so ever. Just a satisfied customer. Its not for everyone but its a trail worthy entry level bike at a great price.

    Also a big fan of Santa Cruz, Salsa, and Kona bikes, but you are talking a whole different price point.

  21. #21
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    If this is a way for you and your woman to get out in nature together and get some exercise, I'd say it doesn't matter what bike you get, but the difference between a $300 bike and a $600 bike for her could be the difference between fun and misery. I'll write more opinion later.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  22. #22
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    Matt, that bike looks like a great deal. Too bad they are sold out.

    Doing some more searching and the girly likes the jamis trail x2

    And I'm really loving the specs on the Jamison exile sport and the KHS aguila

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    If this is a way for you and your woman to get out in nature together and get some exercise, I'd say it doesn't matter what bike you get, but the difference between a $300 bike and a $600 bike for her could be the difference between fun and misery. I'll write more opinion later.
    I look forward to.your full.opinion. we have the.means and the time now in our life with no kids to really go enjoy this. So by no means are we.going to buy something that is inadequate for her or me.

    I think we really just have sticker shock over the price of these bikes. I am gonna try to go do some more test rides with her this weekend and see what else we can find. I really love the look of jamis bikes. Little higher end components are always a plus.

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  24. #24
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    I just bought a Marlin and I love mine. I know I am a n00b and don't know what's good or bad, but the bike works great for me. Shifters work fine. Not sure how they could work better. I shift the chain goes to the next gear.

  25. #25
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    Ok after more shopping we looked at the a few rides.

    Narrowed it down to a few possible bikes
    Her: Trek 3700 Disc in a wicked green color or a Felt Six 70

    Me: Trek Marlin or a KHS Tucson

    The deal on the Tucson is the owner of the shop ordered it for a customer and then he was in a bad accident so he just gave the guy a deposit on it and sat on it. It's a 21' 2012 model and he told me he will give it to me for less than a G. This seems like a great deal with what the bike offers... except the fork. It has a RST M-29.. which I see isn't exactly the best deal..

    Opinions?

    I am gonna get some ride time in on each and go from there.. but I'd love to hear some opinions..

    Ohh.. and i'm gonna trail demo a Fuel EX 8 this weekend to get a feel for the Fox shock up front.. kinda excited for that...
    Last edited by jkidd_39; 09-17-2012 at 06:05 PM.

  26. #26
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    Google the Tucson. All around, the bike looks ok, but there are quite a few broken frames popping up.
    I like turtles

  27. #27
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    I am a newbie as well, and was looking at several 29ers. I was pretty sold on the Giant Talon 29er 2. Test drove it and then test drove the 1. I decided to fork out the extra cash for the 1! I think the 29er 2 would be within your price range.

  28. #28
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    I'm in the same boat as you - looking to get myself my first "real" bike and the girlfriend wants to start getting into it too. I'm looking at the Mamba and she might get a Marlin or Wahoo. Since the girl doesn't ride at all yet, I was unsure if it's necessary for her to start with a 29er. But then my LBS made a good point: If I'm getting a 29er, which I am, and she's going to be riding along with me, which she is, she pretty much needs to also have a 29er to be able to keep up. So, while it's tempting to have the girl get a much cheaper 26er, I think in the longrun it would be worth getting her a 29er also (unless she wants to pedal her ass off).

  29. #29
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    Is she tall enough? My fiancÚ is 5'1" and we are going to a 26 for her bc it's hard to find a 29er she fits well.

    But I might go 26 too. I Have also thrown the Airborne Zeppelin Elite on the possible list.

  30. #30
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    Yeah, she's actually pretty tall. 5'10" I would say. Is your fiancÚ having trouble even on a women's 29er with a small frame? I would think the women's step-through frames would negate the fact that she's quite short. My girl hates the way they look, and I agree, but the Specialized Myka Disc is a sweet WSD in my opinion. I love the colors it comes in. She doesn't like anything about this bike, of course.

    Also, there is no 2013 WSD Marlin, but you might want to check out the Cali.


    (I tried to post links to these bikes but I need 10 posts to be able to do so.)

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerK10 View Post
    Yeah, she's actually pretty tall. 5'10" I would say. Is your fiancÚ having trouble even on a women's 29er with a small frame? I would think the women's step-through frames would negate the fact that she's quite short. My girl hates the way they look, and I agree, but the Specialized Myka Disc is a sweet WSD in my opinion. I love the colors it comes in. She doesn't like anything about this bike, of course.

    Also, there is no 2013 WSD Marlin, but you might want to check out the Cali.


    (I tried to post links to these bikes but I need 10 posts to be able to do so.)
    We looked at the WSD marlin and the Cali. I think she is really leaning towards the Felt. Unless the trek is just mind numbingly better. A 26 doesn't matter to her, she just wants disc brakes and a pretty color

  32. #32
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    For pretty colors, definitely check out that 2013 Specialized Myka. I love all three color schemes it has and I'm a dude. I'm pretty biased towards Trek (and then Specialized) because they're really all I'm familiar with right now. And like I said before, it might be smart to both go 26" or both 29er so she's able to keep up. Those are my suggestions. Good luck and let us know what you guys end up going with.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerK10 View Post
    For pretty colors, definitely check out that 2013 Specialized Myka. I love all three color schemes it has and I'm a dude. I'm pretty biased towards Trek (and then Specialized) because they're really all I'm familiar with right now. And like I said before, it might be smart to both go 26" or both 29er so she's able to keep up. Those are my suggestions. Good luck and let us know what you guys end up going with.
    Thanks! She loves the pink Myka. Guess I need to find a specialized dealer now haha.

    Appreciate the help guys

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