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View Poll Results: Dahon Mariner D7 or Tern Link D8?

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  • Dahon definitely

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  • Tern definitely

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  • Flip a coin, best two out of three

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Thread: Tern or Dahon

  1. #1
    LDB
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    Tern or Dahon

    Ok, Tern has the Link D8 with 8 speeds giving 32"-85" range, 34x85x65 cm folded and 12.4kg.

    Dahon has the Mariner D7 with 7 speeds 34"-92" range, 29x89x66 folded and 11.8kg.

    Both bikes have fenders and a rack. There is a $1 difference in price. Both have a five year warranty. So the question is if those were your two choices which would you choose and why?
    1974 Raleigh International, 2013 Specialized Crossroads, 195x Hercules 3 spd
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    I've not ridden a Tern yet. The general feeling is that Tern have improved on Dahon's designs but that view may well be partially based on a bias towards 'newness' and a susceptibility to marketing.
    When I happened to see some Terns in a shop I was struck by the beefiness of the handlepost/stem area. I knew it had been reinforced but didn't expect it to look so chunky; that's in part where the bonus of extra stiffness but drawback of extra weight originates from.
    When I first got my Dahon several years ago I found it too heavy for frequently lifting and after changing components found that somewhere around 11.7Kg was an acceptable (real) weight. The stiffness of Terns appeals to me but the weight is probably an issue.
    The next question for me would be whether the fixed stem would be the right height. Switching to a riser bar would likely add more weight.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ROC or PRC, Chiang Kai-shek OR Mao Zedong?

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    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    buy one of each ...... I can do that .... even will have the black/blue ones back in stock ...

    Happy weekend
    thor

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    My feeling is that folding bikes should be light, which makes the Dahon the clear choice. If you're primary reason to consider a folder is just the small size, I'd suggest looking at a mini-velo. But folding? That's about portability.

    EDIT: I should add that I know little about actually riding folders; I've only had a Mariner D7 for a short while, and haven't ridden or lived with any others. I've found, however, for my uses, ease of portability, given the pretty good ride quality of modern folding bikes, is paramount.
    Last edited by chaadster; 07-13-12 at 06:05 PM.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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    Tern has nicer latches, Schwable tires, black seat post, stem , rims nd cranks. I liked the way it rode and for the money I thought it was hard to beat.
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  7. #7
    jur
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    I think the Tern has better hinges which is the primary thing which will give you reason to regret getting a Dahon. Much beyond that, I don't know one from the other. The Tern is a more mature design, having been finished later than the Dahon, so small improvements aside from the hinge will also have been incorporated. I am guessing about the latter, though.

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    I test rode both bikes in a local bike store and I happened to like the Tern link d8 better. To me the Tern gear shift a lot smoother from gear to gear and it looks a lot sexier than the Dahon. Two days ago, I just order the Tern link d8 from REI. REI said is going to take 4-6 weeks since it is a special order. Wish me luck :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    I think the Tern has better hinges which is the primary thing which will give you reason to regret getting a Dahon.
    I don't regret getting a Dahon Mariner D7! I like mine a lot, and this hinge issue, well, I just think that's a little overplayed.

    The basic design of either bike creates stiffness problems; there's a lot of force being leveraged from way out at the handlebar and seatpost, and you're going to feel that movement.

    Personally, I have never felt twisting or slop at the hinge in particular, though I don't doubt the Tern hinge is improved in that, and other, ways. I just feel that if I, an aggressive, dialed-in, 220lb rider, don't feel the hinge is a weak spot, then no rider will.

    I'd bet the handle post is a much more important factor in the difference in feel between the two bikes.

    I love the updated styling and features Tern brings to the Dahon tradition, and I pine for a Verge X10, which combiness portability (in the form of lightness; it's not the most compact fold) with real gearing advantages, a truly sporting character, and great style. The key, though, is its light weight, because a folder, to me, is about portability above all else.

    That the Tern is bigger folded and heavier is a non-starter. I know what I want a folding bike for, and it's not those things. I've already got bigger and heavier and more comfortable and better performing all in one bike, so what I want in the folder is one that's easy to pack, carry, and store.

    Obviously other folks have different priorities in folding bike requirements, and intended usage has got to be a factor when deciding between these two, closely matched bikes.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  10. #10
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    I don't regret getting a Dahon Mariner D7!
    Ageed, it's not a given that you will get hinge problems with a Dahon. But it is also true that Dahon has rather an unhappy hinge history. Supporters of Dahon maintain that it is a very small percentage that develop hinge problems; this may be true but I hold the view that especially the handlepost hinge is such a safety critical part that any failure at all is reason enough to contemplate a recall. Dahon did not do this for a long time while hinges continued to fail sporadically. They did in the end issue a recall, but not before a complaint was lodged with the relevant authority in the US. The hinge design was since modified. But I think they neglected/ignored the issue too long and I have lost confidence, permanently. It was very significant indeed that the first big thing that came out with the new Tern, was a very sturdy, serviceable hinge - a huge jump forwards from the original Dahon hinge.

    And reports about Dahon hinges giving trouble still pop up with some regularity. At the very least they require some babying to keep them in tiptop condition, something not so necessary with other brands' hinges.


  11. #11
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Would likely go with a Tern if I had to make the choice right now. Have owned Dahon Boardwalk D7's and our 15 yr old grandson still rides my S1, but was impressed by friends' new Tern D8 when I gave it a quick test ride this past April.

    Only downside (with both brands) is no large frame size - one of the main reasons we ride Fridays. (Also U.S. made, just two hrs down the road.)

    Lou

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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Ageed, it's not a given that you will get hinge problems with a Dahon. But it is also true that Dahon has rather an unhappy hinge history. Supporters of Dahon maintain that it is a very small percentage that develop hinge problems; this may be true but I hold the view that especially the handlepost hinge is such a safety critical part that any failure at all is reason enough to contemplate a recall. Dahon did not do this for a long time while hinges continued to fail sporadically. They did in the end issue a recall, but not before a complaint was lodged with the relevant authority in the US. The hinge design was since modified. But I think they neglected/ignored the issue too long and I have lost confidence, permanently. It was very significant indeed that the first big thing that came out with the new Tern, was a very sturdy, serviceable hinge - a huge jump forwards from the original Dahon hinge.

    And reports about Dahon hinges giving trouble still pop up with some regularity. At the very least they require some babying to keep them in tiptop condition, something not so necessary with other brands' hinges.

    Ah, I thought you were talking about the frame hinge, which is why I responded so. Yes, you are correct that there was a handle post recall that led to a redesigned hinge. What the nature of that redesign was I do not know (Thor does have a tech bulletin up on his site from awhile back, and there were some diagrams, but I didn't look closely), but it's hard for me to believe it was a wholly and willfully poor design issue, and was probably more a user issue. You obviously feel differently, and have decided Dahon don't know what they're doing. Clearly, I don't feel that is a fair conclusion to draw, but it's one you have the right to hold, and may even be right about.

    However, whatever you may consider an "unhappy history" with hinges at Dahon-- and I am one who considers that, as the most prolific and successful producer of folding bikes in the world, Dahon issues are sure to take on overblown proportions on the internet-- new bike purchases will have the revised handle post hinge, and so will not be, to paraphrase you slightly, a "primary source of regret for getting a Dahon."

    It's my opinion that using that kind of language, i.e. regretting Dahon purchases, is inaccurate, misleading, and indefensible given the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of satisfied users. I don't know the exact numbers of Dahons sold and resold, but the only way for a bike company to survive 30 years and become the #1 brand in the world of folding bikes is to generally make quality gear. That kind of high profile also makes them easy targets, both for volume and their visibility. I'd guess that in a given day, Dahon sell more bikes than Brompton and Bike Friday sell in a month combined. That makes for a much bigger rumor and misinformation mill, which is something that we as humans have proven to be quite predisposed towards.

    Every company makes flubs, from Apple, to Ferrari, to Dahon. At which point a consumer throws in the towel and loses confidence is a personal decision, and not usually a rational one.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  13. #13
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    And reports about Dahon hinges giving trouble still pop up with some regularity. At the very least they require some babying to keep them in tiptop condition, something not so necessary with other brands' hinges.
    True Jur, "Some babying" is a good way to put it. Not a horrible design, but I do need to adjust mine every month or so. I keep a small 8mm open-end wrech in my pack and when I start to feel looseness in the steering post (handlebar post) I do a quick (way less than a minute) adjust and it's good for another month, approx.

    My DaHon is a 2008 Curve SL and the recall mods were performed by DaHon before I got the bike.

    Rick / OCRR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    True Jur, "Some babying" is a good way to put it. Not a horrible design, but I do need to adjust mine every month or so. I keep a small 8mm open-end wrech in my pack and when I start to feel looseness in the steering post (handlebar post) I do a quick (way less than a minute) adjust and it's good for another month, approx.

    My DaHon is a 2008 Curve SL and the recall mods were performed by DaHon before I got the bike.

    Rick / OCRR
    Hi Rick, if you don't mind, could you explain exactly what it is you do? Can't picture in my head where you can make an adjustment. Any vids? Thanks.

    I don't have a Dahon but I wonder if what you've done will help my bike, thanks.

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    Monthly adjustments? That seems like an excessively short maintenance interval; I wonder if that's typical? In any case, I'd be looking to fix that situation if it were me, and the first thing that comes to mind is blue Loctite.

    Here's a pic of a Mariner handle post hinge, with the adjusting nut that I imagine is the one Rick is getting to every month. It regulates how far the locking plate engages the upper handle post lip. It it's too screwed in, the plate will want to move too far, and will run out of travel before the release lever can be thrown closed. Too far out, and the plate will have insufficient purchase on the upper post lip, perhaps allowing the slop that Rick is feeling or worse, allowing the hinge to pop open when torqued upon. I don't know exactly, and I definitely don't want to find out...at least not through personal experience!

    Last edited by chaadster; 07-16-12 at 08:25 PM.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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    ^^
    Thank you!

  17. #17
    jur
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    ^^ Oooo better keep a close watch on that one... it was the one that was recalled. There are quite a large number of things that can (and do) go wrong in that design. There are 6-7 screws, each of which must be Loctited to prevent them from working loose; the sliding latch plate must never be allowed to go skew. This particular hinge mech is an appallingly poor design - I have come to believe that Dahon fired all their engineers and let the industrial designers/marketing people do the design. Any one of the plethora of screws, none of which are retained positively, when working loose can quite easily lead to the entire handlepost breaking right off.

    The newer design was basically done from scratch, a good step forwards.

    Anyway, I have been condemning this POS for years now, I bet Thor is facepalming right this minute. Sorry Brakemeister.

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    Thanks jur. My bike doesn't have that design. I just wanted to have an idea of what to look for just in case Oyama copied Dahon somewhat.

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    Tern Link P9 for me. I have only about 200 miles on it. However, I've commuted to work one time (and rode the same average speed I do on a larger bike, around 17 mph). I did my first century ride. I took it on a trail once, for about a mile over some interesting terrain when my 5 year old wandered off (we found him). I have ridden it around town, to the grocery store, post office, etc. It is an outstanding every day bike and makes me wonder if I need to keep some of the others.

    The Tern handlepost is so stout, there's NO flex. I can stand up and grind on the pedals climbing a hill with no issues. I have never ridden a Dahon, so I can't comment. I just know the Tern is arguably over-engineered and meets my needs and expectations.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    ^^ Oooo better keep a close watch on that one... it was the one that was recalled. There are quite a large number of things that can (and do) go wrong in that design. There are 6-7 screws, each of which must be Loctited to prevent them from working loose; the sliding latch plate must never be allowed to go skew. This particular hinge mech is an appallingly poor design - I have come to believe that Dahon fired all their engineers and let the industrial designers/marketing people do the design. Any one of the plethora of screws, none of which are retained positively, when working loose can quite easily lead to the entire handlepost breaking right off.

    The newer design was basically done from scratch, a good step forwards.

    Anyway, I have been condemning this POS for years now, I bet Thor is facepalming right this minute. Sorry Brakemeister.
    How can you tell this was a recalled handlepost? To my untrained eye, it looks like any other Radius, but I'd love to get schooled on this.

    Also, I was under the impression the problems were metallurgical in nature, stemming from manufacturing quality control at their China plant only, and other factories' production was OK. I mean, the design couldn't be that fundamentally bad since they produced it for 3 or 4 years, could it? No doubt the Radius V is better, but that's basically a design evolution, as it latches in the same manner.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  21. #21
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    How can you tell this was a recalled handlepost? To my untrained eye, it looks like any other Radius, but I'd love to get schooled on this.

    Also, I was under the impression the problems were metallurgical in nature, stemming from manufacturing quality control at their China plant only, and other factories' production was OK. I mean, the design couldn't be that fundamentally bad since they produced it for 3 or 4 years, could it? No doubt the Radius V is better, but that's basically a design evolution, as it latches in the same manner.
    I tend to exaggerate... sorry.

    If all screws are in as per the design, and the latch is tightened just right, then the hinge works as intended. I think the design deficiency lies in the scope for things to go wrong. I could tell you if you are interested, but perhaps that would hijack this thread ...

    Warning: what lies ahead is pure speculation!

    Fact: A complaint about the safety of the Radius handlepost was lodged with the relevant safety authority in the US, that's the one which is always involved in recalls of other bikes.

    Fact: The new hinge design was not yet in production at the time, perhaps not even in design. Which means that a huge number of bikes were out there with that particular hinge.

    Speculation: Dahon were compelled to act after the complaint; they limited their losses by recalling only a specific model of the handlepost, citing a manufacturing defect and only in that very specific "model" of the hinge. This was possible since that hinge had been in production for years already, with minor tweaks done along the way. This was probably the only option open to them, as they would have had to recall such vast numbers of bikes that they wouldn't survive.

    Now the reason I think along these lines, is that the breakages were clearly caused by loosening screws in the hinge assembly, not material defects or manufacturing defects. And this is therefore a design fault, not a production fault. As such, they would have lost greatly had they admitted to a design fault. Added to this, is the fact that new latch design was rushed to production, appearing not too long after this debacle, phased in over the various bike models and over a few years, until the dodgy design was completely eliminated. I mean ask yourself: Would Dahon have gone through that trouble if there was really nothing wrong with the design, so wrong that they couldn't band-aid it?

    So bottom line, that hinge you have may not have been actually recalled (you can find out by studying the recall notice), but it still suffers from those design deficiencies, so you need to keep a sharp lookout for any misalignment, loosening screws etc. The problem is that all cases of screws loosening, result in a wobbly hndlepost; what then hppens, is that the forces are transmitted to the lower portion only through the small amount of metal in the actual hinge, instead of through the whole face of the hinge. Result: Handlepost breaking off. Never ride with the slightest amount of wobble in the handlepost.



    [edit] Here is a link to a typical case... look at the tiny amount of material that transmits the forces if the hinge is not fastened correctly... is it any wonder they broke off with almost no effort?
    http://www.saferproducts.gov/ViewIncident/1177798
    Last edited by jur; 07-17-12 at 05:02 AM.

  22. #22
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    How can you tell this was a recalled handlepost? To my untrained eye, it looks like any other Radius, but I'd love to get schooled on this.
    I just had a quick look at the recall notice
    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09214.html
    and if there is an "R" on the hinge face, then it has been "repaired" and is excluded from recall. So that means if yours is from that particular time, it could be one for recall. But since it is a design fault, replacing it with the same thing but repaired, probably means they Loctited the heck out of all the screws, something you could as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    I just had a quick look at the recall notice
    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09214.html
    and if there is an "R" on the hinge face, then it has been "repaired" and is excluded from recall. So that means if yours is from that particular time, it could be one for recall. But since it is a design fault, replacing it with the same thing but repaired, probably means they Loctited the heck out of all the screws, something you could as well.
    So you can't actually tell by looking at it if it is a recalled unit?

    It's also probably not a design fault, because only some Radius's were recalled and not all, and since we know Dahon sent out actual replacement units (i.e. complete handle post assemblies), they likely did not simply Loctite as you suggest, and it points to the idea it was a metallurgical issue, perhaps improperly spec'd heat treatment. Were it just a bolt issue, even an improperly forged locking plate, you'd think they'd have just sent out those few bits for quick, easy, and less expensive repairs.

    Of course, though, I don't know what the true cause of the recall was, and am just speculating. Dahon Global's (i.e. Josh Hon's) statements seem to suggest fault with Dahon China quality control, but looking at those statements in light of the acrimonious company split and Tern development could just as easily be indicative of familial hostility.

    I find the Dahon/Tern story fascinating, and am interested to learn more about how this rift emerged.

    EDIT: I should add that I appreciate your patience, Jur, as I grill you here; I know you've been paying attention to this issue much longer than I have, and that you're a trove of information!
    Last edited by chaadster; 07-17-12 at 08:25 AM.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  24. #24
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    recall was material only....specifically weld related as far as I know. Nothing to do with design. Dahon replaced a lot of stems on several models which were produced during the questionable suppliers delivery time. Meaning they replaced a lot of perfectly alright stems just to make sure that nobody had a potentially defective one.

    Most of the "problems" with stems come from overzealous adjustment freaks, who cannot leave good alone and have the urge to optimize beyond their abilities. I have seen delrin blocks explode, due to way overtightened adjustment bolts, they will also show excessive wear , if they are overtightened.... plus they will need more frequent adjustment as well.
    I have seen tightened down guide bolts ( for the plate, who needs to move freely ) making a folding stem a more or less solid one, without been able to fold.... and if than the lips are rounded off...due to not opening jaws for lack of the better word ....
    grinding away with every fold..... people who open the handle just half and force the stem to close ... and and and

    yes I like the tern hinge better as well.... but with millions of dahon latches around, they seem to be working for 99.9999999 % without any problems ...

    thor

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    I would like to mirror Thor's comments on the overzealous adjustment freaks my dealer had to deal with, which has been a result of hearing things on the Internet. The internet is a great way to exchange knowledge and share opinions, but sometimes it is also an excellent way to turn innocent bike owners into a bunch of hypochondriacs too. Every single minor thing they either saw or heard on the net then gets magnified into something serious. A good friend of mine has a friend whose wife was killed in a bike accident riding her Bike Friday. To this day, he blamed Bike Friday for the loss of his wife, accuse the owners of poor designs on the brakes that had led to this dear wife's death. I believe she had the Diacompe Big Dog brakes which are known to give poor brake performance. Is this relevant to today's Bike Friday bikes? Ofcourse not. But there are people out there who seemed to have a self-imposed mission to vilify some entity. In the end though, the damage is not done towards the bike makers but to the dealers who carry these bikes. What had they done to deserve the onslaught of unsubstantiated rumors and accusations which had already been fixed.
    I happened to own a Dahon Mu SL which was the subject of the recall and my dealer had to sell it at a loss because nobody wants to buy it eventhough it was fixed. I got a great deal out of it of course, the same way I got a great deal off my Trek bike because some magazine people wrote an article that claim carbon frames only has a life span of 3 to 5 years. Of course, mine is closer to 8 years and over 100,000 miles already with everything else worn out except the frame.

    Please make your own informed decision when you listen to things that's being peddled on the net. In the end, these information are just individual opinions.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
    Masi Speciale CX touring bike
    Dahon Mu SL (performance hybrid road bike)
    Dahon Speed Duo (slow poker shopper or coffee getter bike)

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