Outerbike Impressions - Ripley vs Ripmo vs HD5- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Outerbike Impressions - Ripley vs Ripmo vs HD5

    We just got back from Outerbike in Moab and I was fortunate to get quality time on the shuttle rides on the Ripley, Ripmo, and HD5.

    Background - I currently own an M3 (150 fork) and my typical local trails are medium tech dirt singletrack. I love fast, flowy singletrack, tight singletrack, techy climbs, and the occasional chunky trail. We usually hit the southwest (Moab, Sedona, etc) once a year.

    Ripley - My favorite bike of the weekend. I immediately felt at home on it, it felt so natural. I pedaled really well and was super efficient climbing. I like bikes that are precise and sporty and the Ripley was very nimble and playful. Typically preferring 27.5s, I didn't think I would be saying that. We rode the entire Navajo Rocks loop, which has a wide range of trail types (slick rock, open/smooth dirt, tech up and down) and the Ripley excelled on that kind of trail. We rode almost 3 hrs and I didn't want the ride to end. I'd love to try one on my home trails which I feel it would be excellently suited for.

    My girlfriend is a solid intermediate rider and it was eye opening to see her riding things on the Ripley that would normally make her hesitate. The Ripley gave her a lot of confidence. She is 5' and the small fit her great (surprising to me). It was her first time on a 29er. She was in love with that bike afterwards. She is a great climber and already leaves me in the dust, and this bike won't help matters for me!

    Ripmo - The second day the shuttle took us to Mag 7. Like the Ripley, the Ripmo felt natural, though a bit heavier than the Ripley (it did have beefier tires). I was surprised how harsh it felt so I let some air out of the tires. Later I realized the rear was set to "firm". Once I corrected that it felt better, but never as plush as I would have thought it would be. I don't think it was tuned quite right for my weight. It did climb quite well and did a great job of clearing techy climbs. On the way back on the Gemini Bridges road (we didn't do the Gold Bar Rim or Portal Trail because they wanted us to ride back to the venue at Moab Brands) it pedaled quite well and wasn't nearly the drag I feared it would be.

    HD5 - This was my second favorite bike of the weekend (I demo'd eight bikes total). The shuttle the third day was to HyMasa/Capt Ahab's. Once again, this bike just felt "right". It did not feel like a big, heavy bike. It is amazing how similar the three bikes feel and ride...you can tell they are siblings. The HD5 did not feel sluggish at all on the road up. On the techy climb it tractored its way through most anything yet was very easy to steer and maneuver...no wandering at all. It made me a believer in the traction tune. Occasionally I had pedal strikes, but most people did. Firming up the compression damping a bit might of helped this. The downs were a hoot and I kept feeling increasingly confident on the bike. I loved it. I want one.

    Other notes:
    • The BikeYoke droppers are awesome!
    • I'm normally a SRAM drivetrain guy, but was more than happy with the new Shimano stuff.
    • The khaki color of the HD5 is cool in person.
    • The ibis folks were the best of all of the vendors. Scott was there helping folks out. They are good people.
    • My ideal bike stable would be a Ripley for trail days and an HD5 for tech days. They have complimentary traits and minimize the recalibrating you would have to do switching over.
    • Outerbike is very well run. I'd go back.

  2. #2
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    Interesting info! Sounded like a fun time!


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    Thanks for taking the time to do the write up!! What were the other bikes you demoed? I guess they didn't measure up to the Ibis experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raja View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to do the write up!! What were the other bikes you demoed? I guess they didn't measure up to the Ibis experience.
    I rode a variety of bike types. I was keeping an eye out for xc raceable options to replace my hardtail, but those aren't that much fun to ride down there. The demos I did outside of the shuttles outlined above were on the local loops within the Moab Brand area. Here is a brief summary of what I tried:

    Pivot Mach 4SL: Surprisingly close to the Ripley in character. It has 100mm rear travel, 120mm fork. The tires were narrow with low knobs, so traction and the ability to handle rocks was compromised. It was a quick, efficient bike that would be a great race bike. I hated the lockout/dropper lever arrangement though. Hated it.

    Revel Rascal - This is a medium travel 29er. The company was new to me. The bike was interesting and overall rode pretty well, but it did feel heavier than even the Ripmo. Some people there loved it, some felt it was just ok.

    Norco Fluid - This is a budget bike (~$2800k) with an aluminum frame. I grabbed it because my girlfriend was getting one of their Sites. It was pretty good and would satisfy the intended riders. It wouldn't be my first pick, but I respect companies that fill lower price points with really good value bikes.

    Transition Smuggler - This was also on par with the Ripley. I had to try one because I have a crush on Tawny Seagrave. It felt great and I found I was riding really well on it. I'd be happy with one. That said, I prefer the ibis brand. The folks at ibis were much friendlier and paid more attention to the bike set up.

    Canyon Lux - I knew this was a full blown aggressive xc machine and I've ridden my hardtail for years, but holy cow it was weird getting on this after having ridden all of the other bikes. It pedaled FAST and would be killer on lower tech trails (though MVP does just fine on one), but it definitely has no carry over to trail use.

  5. #5
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    One thing I forgot to mention is that after riding the Ripley, I came away thinking if (maybe "when" at this point) I buy one I'd seriously think about putting a 140mm fork on it. It would give it a boost in rougher terrain and would help with pedal strikes. I did that on my M3 and would do it again. I wouldn't have thought that I'd do that with the Ripley, but I also didn't think it would ride as well as it did. I expect the 140mm wouldn't throw its great handling off by much.

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    I did that with my 120/130 Niner Jet9 as soon as I got back from my first Moab trip with it. Transformed the bike. $50.00 modification

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    A 140mm ripley sounds awesome. Maybe even a coil and some xc cushcore. Then it'll be ready for anything local without too much sacrifice

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    I appreciate hearing your thoughts, especially on the HD5. I have not seen much in the way of reviews on that bike. Did it feel like a plow bike on the descents or were you able to pop/play as you made your way down, or maybe both? I have a V2 Bronson I've been considering upgrading.
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    Thanks for the comparison post! I am thinking of upgrading my HD3 and need a good all around rig. My local trails use my full travel all the time and the chunky rocks demand a good amount of travel. There's lots of techy climbs and descents, but no long climbs. I also do a couple trips to flowy singletrack at Kingdom Trails each summer where I could get away with my Hakka at times. I think the Ripley might be under gunned for my local spots, but the Ripmo and HD5 are both on my radar. I'm looking forward to some more HD5 reviews, sounds like a good possibility for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonlui View Post
    A 140mm ripley sounds awesome. Maybe even a coil and some xc cushcore. Then it'll be ready for anything local without too much sacrifice

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    I would not do that. I have a Ripley with a 140mm pike and it works great. The Pike is a nice fork but one that runs out of steam quickly and lets you know when it has reached its limit. That is needed because in the end of the day, the Ripley is a ~5.5 lb carbon XC bike that honestly you don't want to be hucking routinely. If you need a coil in the rear, the Ripmo is the bike you need.
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    Anyone here going to the Bentonville Outerbike? My wife and I will be there, we're looking forward to riding some ibis bikes .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelandk2 View Post
    Anyone here going to the Bentonville Outerbike? My wife and I will be there, we're looking forward to riding some ibis bikes .
    Not this year, but it sounds like a great area. The Outerbike director (who happens to be a guy that use to work at a local shop) was telling me about it and if we don't make it to Outerbike, I am intrigued enough to take a vacation to check out the area.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad.Mtb View Post
    I appreciate hearing your thoughts, especially on the HD5. I have not seen much in the way of reviews on that bike. Did it feel like a plow bike on the descents or were you able to pop/play as you made your way down, or maybe both? I have a V2 Bronson I've been considering upgrading.
    I would not call it a plow bike at all. I really don't take to bikes that ride that way and, like all of the ibis bikes I tried there, they feel "natural" and handle with a good amount of precision. Surprisingly to me you could tell they were siblings because of the common thread of how they felt. None of them wandered on climbs, and some of these were as steep as I'd ever do.

    There was one moment on the HD5 ride where I was going down a typical stair step set of features that you find on Amasaback and without thinking about it, after I cleared the toughest stuff, I found I was hopping off a little kicker. If it wasn't a playful enough bike I don't think I would have instinctively gone for that little maneuver. And I think with my Mojo I might have still been holding on after the tough stuff. It was just one tiny example how the bike revealed its character.

  14. #14
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    Bizango - which one bike would you sell the M3 and replace it with? I bought a big bike as a back up for my M3 but hardly ever ride it because I miss the way the M3 handles and makes technical moves easier. It sounds like the HD5 has all the benefits of the M3 and benefits from more travel/burliness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmac View Post
    Bizango - which one bike would you sell the M3 and replace it with? I bought a big bike as a back up for my M3 but hardly ever ride it because I miss the way the M3 handles and makes technical moves easier. It sounds like the HD5 has all the benefits of the M3 and benefits from more travel/burliness.
    I'm seriously considering a Ripley. It has a lot of the character that I like about the M3 (I love my M3 btw). There are still going to be those days where I wish I had something with a bit more travel or roll over. I guess that is why a lot of people like the Ripmo, but I wasn't as taken with it and think I'd miss the spunk that I feel in the other bikes.

    The HD5 was stellar, but I don't think it would be the best choice for me as a replacement for the M3. Too many of the trails I ride often don't need what it has to offer. That said, I REALLY want one as a second bike. I've been scheming how I could swing two...but, my gf loved the Ripley so much that we're figuring out how to get her into one of those. Sigh, the cost of love.

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    Ended up not being able to ride any ibis bikes at outerbike . It was rainy for the first 2 days and ibis only brought a few bikes so it was really hard to get a hold of any + they were only letting them out for like an hour (which wasn't practical).

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    How do you compare the Ripley to your Mojo3? Why replace it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gorgebiker View Post
    How do you compare the Ripley to your Mojo3? Why replace it?
    Ha, those are great questions. The Ripley was surprisingly similar in character to my M3. It handles precisely and felt playful. It sure felt great climbing, very efficient. I liked climbing on it better than I do my M3. That bike was spec'd to the hilt though with XTR, ibis S28 wheels with i9 hydra hubs, 2.35 Hans Dampf/Nobby Nic tires, and Next SL cranks. I didn't weigh it, but it was probably in the 25-26 lb range. A lot of bikes will feel amazing dressed like that! My M3 has XO1 drivetrain, the wheels are ibis i35 carbon rims with Project 321 hubs and Sapim cx-ray spokes with 2.6 RRs, and the cranks are Next SL. Overall it is a pretty light but capable build and I'd probably do something similar on a Ripley.

    I didn't go to Outerbike shopping for a trail bike...that's my M3. I was looking for something to compliment it for racing (like the Mach 4sl). After Outerbike it put me in a quandary because I liked the Ripley so much (and the HD5), but it is really a trail bike and not so much a race bike. I don't need it, but I was out a good part of last year because of a slew of knee surgeries, so I was looking forward to a new ride to celebrate getting through all that. In my mind that was a race bike, but now I'm not so sure. We travel a lot to trail ride and the Ripley would be well suited for the majority of what we do. My girlfriend sure did shine on the Ripley, so I am pretty committed to getting her on one, then I may pick one up for myself next year. Or get a frame and slowly build it out.

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    Very interesting. My Mojo3 fits me better than any bike I have ever owned. I do use 2.8 tires because of wrist arthritis. Really helps. Now I have an interesting dilemma. I spend have the year climbing hills and descending flow trails in Northern Oregon. The other half the year I ride rocky, technical trails in Sedona. This spring I am going to start flying and will leave a bike in both locations. I am going to demo a Ripley. So deciding whether to get a new Ripley or another Mojo 3 and which one too leave in each location. Have to decide by March. I climb much more in Oregon but no rocks. Sounds like the Ripley may be marginally a better climber. I donít ride fast down the descents but will do up to two foot drops. The goal is to keep the rubber down. I am turning 65. Do you have an opinion about which will do better on technical descents?

  20. #20
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    Wow, that sounds like a sweet arrangement, migrating between Sedona and Oregon! Those are two of my favorite places to ride.
    I think the two bieks would be comparable on descents and would depend a lot on set up. Neither of these bikes are plow bikes and you will still have to pick your lines, but personally I like the precise handling. My M3 with the 150mm fork and 2.6 tires does quite well on the descents. It did great on most of Sedona's trails this spring. We didn't hit the hardest trails because I was still pretty early in recovery from surgery, but I'd happily take it on most any of them (not the White Line Trail...I couldn't even get the courage to walk it!). The Ripley that I rode was not set up ideally for rocky descents, but it could be tweaked to deal with it better (fork, grips, tires, tuning). We have ridden quite a bit in Oregon (Hood River, Bend, Echo, Oakridge) and it would be a fantastic bike for those trails. If it was me, I'd get the Ripley for the Oregon riding, plus I think it is fun just to try something different. That said, I will always have a loyal spot in my heart for my M3 because of how fun it has been on so many adventures. Let me know what you decide!

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    I ride mostly around Hood River during the warmer time of year. Live in a White Salmon. Appreciate your advice. Thinking the same thing. Wish I knew if the Mojo4 is coming out soon. It snowed here in Sedona last night. Will try the Ripley once the trails dry out. if you ever come back to HR or Sedona let me know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gorgebiker View Post
    I ride mostly around Hood River during the warmer time of year. Live in a White Salmon. Appreciate your advice. Thinking the same thing. Wish I knew if the Mojo4 is coming out soon. It snowed here in Sedona last night. Will try the Ripley once the trails dry out. if you ever come back to HR or Sedona let me know.
    Keep us posted if you got to demo the Ripley in Sedona. Was just there for a second trip a month ago. Sounds like we have similar goals in riding. I'm currently on a YT Jeffsy 27.5 and looking for a more efficient climber and lighter overall build. Ride Llama, Little Horse, Slim Shady, Mezcal, etc. No desire for the exposure trails. Funny...Flagstaff has become a highlight of our "Sedona" trips! Love riding up there!

    Out of curiosity, are you renting or did you buy in Sedona? My wife and I have been on the fence between Cape Coral FL (canal home, big center console, etc) vs Arizona (more active lifestyle, kick ass biking, off roading, unlimited day and weeded trips). We're headed to PHX after christmas again to look around a bit. Love to own in Sedona from a rental standpoint, but also be WARM in the winter would be great and certainly less expensive in the valley.

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    We spent a day in Prescott on our last Sedona trip and loved the riding there. It is very xc compared to Sedona, but a Ripley would be well suited to those trails.

    I'm still 5-8 years from retiring, but Sedona has an appeal (probably couldn't afford it though). The variety of options for day/weekend trips is amazing.

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    No experience with the V4 Ripley but I had an OG and now V2 and for anything technical in Sedona it's seriously out-gunned. Just my 2cents but it's skittish on any of the H rides. Sure it's do-able but not with the same confidence as one would have with the HD5 or Ripmo. If cleaning the backside of HiLine or Hangover isn't impt then by all means the Ripley is a great bike for the more xc-ish stuff.

    I ride Sedona all winter long but do have the luxury of taking a different bike depending on what I might choose to ride that day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    No experience with the V4 Ripley but I had an OG and now V2 and for anything technical in Sedona it's seriously out-gunned. Just my 2cents but it's skittish on any of the H rides. Sure it's do-able but not with the same confidence as one would have with the HD5 or Ripmo. If cleaning the backside of HiLine or Hangover isn't impt then by all means the Ripley is a great bike for the more xc-ish stuff.

    I ride Sedona all winter long but do have the luxury of taking a different bike depending on what I might choose to ride that day.
    Thanks for your take Rockman! I think I see where you're coming from and that's what I'm trying to figure out is what will I personally give up by going to a V4. I don't ride the H's...I'm not down with the exposure. Llama, Little Horse, Slim Shady, Mezcal, etc. I'm on a heavy YT Jeffsy now and not looking to do xc races (but I did enjoy the epic 30 in bentonville) maybe the Ripmo would be a logical move...pedal better, lighter, than my YT, but still capable to bash some rocks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by escrowdog View Post
    Thanks for your take Rockman! I think I see where you're coming from and that's what I'm trying to figure out is what will I personally give up by going to a V4. I don't ride the H's...I'm not down with the exposure. Llama, Little Horse, Slim Shady, Mezcal, etc. I'm on a heavy YT Jeffsy now and not looking to do xc races (but I did enjoy the epic 30 in bentonville) maybe the Ripmo would be a logical move...pedal better, lighter, than my YT, but still capable to bash some rocks?
    Not all the trails require exposure to be technical but if that's not your jam then you won't want a Ripmo. Personally, I just find myself running out of travel and the Ripley out-gunned even running the fork at 140. But I also like to launch off stuff than nose down ledges and drops. The Ripley is also nice for the all the short punchy climbs. And I need to ride the V4. I'm picking one up for wifey as she's not getting on the techy stuff too much anymore. It's all a trade off but if riding ALL the trails in Sedona it would be Ripmo for sure. In Flagstaff with the bigger climbs and overall less technicality it's the Ripley for the win. Mesa-style riding just favors a bigger bike IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by escrowdog View Post
    Thanks for your take Rockman! I think I see where you're coming from and that's what I'm trying to figure out is what will I personally give up by going to a V4. I don't ride the H's...I'm not down with the exposure. Llama, Little Horse, Slim Shady, Mezcal, etc. I'm on a heavy YT Jeffsy now and not looking to do xc races (but I did enjoy the epic 30 in bentonville) maybe the Ripmo would be a logical move...pedal better, lighter, than my YT, but still capable to bash some rocks?
    No H trails? That's all the best stuff in Sedona and quite frankly, I don't even understand why they get their "exposure" reputation for the most part. Yeah, you could fall over and slide down the slope some but it's not not the EXPOSURE on Portal in Moab or even Little Creek Mesa outside Hurricane.

    Have you ridden/demo'd 29" bikes in Sedona? I know they are more popular overall but I much prefer a 27.5 bike in Sedona. I find them much easier to maneuver on tighter terrain. I rode my Primer out there (on the Hogs trails) and had a blast but do better on my 5010 (now sold). I have a Ripmo now as well(rode it all over Oregon this Summer) but I'm in the market for the new HD5 or Yeti 140 which is what I read thru this thread. I'll demo them both but mostly want to make sure the HD5 isn't a bike "limited" to only gnarly terrain as I don't want to get tired riding it on Sedona and Hurricane trips.

    I'm actually in the process of having a home built in Prescott in 2020 and will be replacing my Primer with the new Ripley or similar bike (Revel Rascal, newest Primer are other contenders) for most of the riding there. No way could I live in Sedona with the tourism traffic every weekend and I think riding this trails day in and day out would break me down faster. Good luck in your search.
    Carpe Diem!!

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    So this thread has actually turned into the exact theme that answers some questions I have. Iím currently looking for a new Sedona bike. I currently ride an 18 Jet 9 RDO set up very much like a Ripley. I have it set up with 140f and 120r with 2.6 tires. While I can ride the back side of Hiline and most of the Hs. I have to be having good day and I have to slowly pick lines

    Iím really interested in how the AF would fare in Sedona. Itís just on my short list right now, along with a Transition Sentinel and Giant Reign 29

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiveo View Post
    So this thread has actually turned into the exact theme that answers some questions I have. Iím currently looking for a new Sedona bike. I currently ride an 18 Jet 9 RDO set up very much like a Ripley. I have it set up with 140f and 120r with 2.6 tires. While I can ride the back side of Hiline and most of the Hs. I have to be having good day and I have to slowly pick lines

    Iím really interested in how the AF would fare in Sedona. Itís just on my short list right now, along with a Transition Sentinel and Giant Reign 29
    It sounds like you are eyeing 29ers, but the HD5 would be a candidate to consider. In a perfect world (unlimited budget) that's what I'd get for techier riding. It was a good climber and livelier for me than the Ripmo. Personally, I loved the traction tune. That said, you could get a Ripmo or AF with it if they suit you better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bizango View Post
    It sounds like you are eyeing 29ers, but the HD5 would be a candidate to consider. In a perfect world (unlimited budget) that's what I'd get for techier riding. It was a good climber and livelier for me than the Ripmo. Personally, I loved the traction tune. That said, you could get a Ripmo or AF with it if they suit you better.
    This^^^. My main ride for the H's is a 27.5 Turner RFX. It's very comforting to have a 170mm fork out in front of you when descending steep slickrock and I prefer the shorter wheelbase.

    That said, for intermediate or even an expert rider that isn't all that into the gnar and prefers keeping the wheels on the ground the 29r is arguably a better tool for the job. It just rolls the ledgy stuff better and really buff trails are few and far between.

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    I have considered going to 27.5 for my Sedona type bike. The 29 wheels do get caught up on some off the slower tech moves.

    But at my age now my style is more point and shoot, plow riding vs. popping off features.
    I also prefer the roll over of the 29 wheels.

    Lastly Iím looking to spend less on this bike and have a 4K budget. The bikes Iíve listed all come with al frames and can be purchased under 4K

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    I have not ridden the AF but can tell you one of the things I like about the carbon Ripmo is the frame design is such that you can run much larger dropper posts, dropping the seats so low they *almost* feel like you're on a 27.5 bike. That being said, I'll be demo'ing the Yeti 140 and HD5 when I return from vacation in January.
    Carpe Diem!!

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