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  1. #1
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    Help with Santana Rear disc brake

    We have had our Santana Team Scandium for about a year now. Shortly after purchasing the bike I upgraded the rear brake to a disc. This included the 250mm winzip roter, Avid caliper, and Santana specific frame adapter. As a long time mountain biker I'm pretty familair with all kinds of disc brakes and the install was pretty straight forward.

    Immediately I ran into what has now become and long running issue with this setup. No matter what I do the brake howls pretty much non-stop. The second issue, on any substantial descent the brake overheats and that set of pads will permanantly lose a good portion of thier stopping power.

    Going from what I have learned in setting up numerous mountain bike brake systems I first focused on getting the caliper aligned with the rotor. This seemed to help somewhat, but not completely. The brake only makes noise under light pressure, if I grab the brake with a little more power it goes past the point of howling and actually slows the bike down without making too much noise. I could live with this if I had to. The second part of my problem is on a substantial downhill, the brake seems to overheat and then braking power fads quickly and that set of pads is pretty much done as they never seem to perform at an acceptable level again. An example of this would be coming down a 6% grade, using the brakes to slow for a few hairpin turns, and then trying to stop the bike from a speed of 30mph on the same grade. This will be too much for the rear brake and I will experience what I described.

    Thinking this may be a problem with the Avid caliper and that is not what Santana specs in they official disc brake upgrade, I went ahead and purchased the Winzip dual action tandem caliper. This produced no change in results for either noise or performance. If fact the Winzip Caliper is seems to be made very cheaply and had a far amount of slop in its motion so if anything the problem was slightly worse.

    What are other people experiencing with their Santana's and the 10" rear discs?

    I have tried a number of different pads including the EBC Gold's which I saw mentioned in a few other threads. The golds seemed to work maybe a hair better.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Mark.

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    I hate to ask, but just to be sure...

    1. Are you using the rear disc in parallel with the front rim brake just as you would with a rear rim brake?
    or
    2. Have you been using the rear brake exclusively, i.e., "testing" the brake?
    3. Have you made these same descents with dual rim brakes before installing the disc? If so, how did they perform with respect to fade under the same conditions?

    There are some other 10" Santana disc users on the forum who will hopefully weigh in here with their personal experiences and observations. In fact, if you search the archives under the user name 'bloomingcyclist' you'll find a few detailed posts by Greg M. regarding his experiences with the 10" WinZip on his Team Niobium.

    Just my .02. Although it probably won't change the heat-induced fade issues, I personally believe most of the brake noise would be eliminated under routine conditions if you used the Avid with one of Avid's 203mm rotors. Our rear Avid with 203mm rotor would typically squeal when the bike hadn't been ridden in a while but it would quickly go silent after a stop or two. We've also overheated our Avid a few times to the point where the pads outgassed and fade set-in on some similar conditions -- 6% ish descent with switch backs -- and the brake was definitely squealing once the outgassing glazed the pads. Performance on the rest of the descent was diminished and yes, we definitely had some brake squeal. However, all returned to normal after a few miles of normal use on rolling terrain.

    As an observation on my on use of the disc I would note that, in retrospect, had I been riding our tandem with dual rim brakes instead of the front rim/rear disc I would have kept the tandem's overall speed much lower on the descent by braking on the fast sections leading up to the corners. However, because I had been using the disc for quite some time before these "events" I found myself letting the tandem run down in towards corners at higher approach speeds and then use near maximum brake force to bring the tandem down to cornering speeds, which clearly put huge heat loads in to the disc... far more than they would have seen had I controlled my speed and used the same braking technique as on the dual rim brake equipped tandem. I also find that I tend to use the rear disc a lot more than the front brake, which is not the case with dual rim brakes. Both of these factors... more aggressive riding and biasing use towards the rear disc ... put a much heavier burden on the disc than any rear rim brake would ever knowingly be subjected too. While this may not be the case for other teams, it does warrant some attention.

    I really took note of this penchant for pushing harder on our off-road tandems when we moved from a hard-tail Cannondale with V-brakes to a full-suspension Ventana with dual hydraulic disc brakes. As was the case with my single MTB, instead of "enjoying" far greater brake margins at similar speeds, the suspension and disc brake technologies allowed me to simply increase my risk by pushing the tandem harder and faster... aided and abetted by the improve performance and making full use of the increased margins.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 10-31-07 at 10:11 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    ....most of the brake noise would be eliminated under routine conditions if you used the Avid with one of Avid's 203mm rotors. .... also overheated our Avid a few times to the point where the pads outgassed and fade set-in on some similar conditions ....all returned to normal after a few miles of normal use on rolling terrain.
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    As an observation on my on use of the disc I would note that, in retrospect, had I been riding our tandem with dual rim brakes instead of the front rim/rear disc I would have kept the tandem's overall speed much lower on the descent by braking on the fast sections leading up to the corners. However, because I had been using the disc for quite some time before these "events" I found myself letting the tandem run down in towards corners at higher approach speeds and then use near maximum brake force to bring the tandem down to cornering speeds
    This has also been our experience.

    A step further, the confidence gained by the use of the rear disc brake while descending the sierras, has made us a much more agresive/confident team while descending on a caliper/front - v-brake/rear rim setup.

  4. #4
    Senior Member antiquepedaler's Avatar
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    I had the same problem with the Avid on my Santana using the 8 inch Formula (that another story) Disc. Finally, I replaced the Avid pads with Kool Stop and the noise ended.

    Interestingly, I also have the same Avids our our Ventana MTB tandem with no noise and better stopping power. I can only attribute that to the Dia-Compe 287 V brake levers on the Santana and XT MTB brake levers on the Ventana.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    thecheat:
    Have you considered adding a V-type brake to rear of your 'tana in case that Winzip isn't up to the job on a descent? Cheap insurance.
    Many folks want the latest technology but seems there are quite a few tandemers complaining about discs overheating/squealing/fading/fast wearing pads, etc.
    We have tested tandems with discs but are still a bit of old school. What's worked for us on all our tandems has been rim brakes, whether it was caliphers, cantis, U-brake, V-brakes. Brake pads did make a huge difference and actually had a pair of old Matthauser pads (on the rear wheel!) last us just over 50,000 miles. And living in AZ we do have lots of descents, curves, mountains, switchbacks and 100+ degree temps.
    With the better stopping power of discs, some tandem folks tend to dive into corners/descents at faster speeds, only to really have apply that disc, full tilt, at the last second.
    We have never overheated a rim, melted brake pads or blown tires due to braking on steep and long descents.
    Some newer products seem to need more attention, and we'd rather spend our time riding than fixin' and fussin'
    Now let's go for a tandem toot TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  6. #6
    Senior Member joe@vwvortex's Avatar
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    Avid makes two different compounds for brake pads for the BB-7 caliper. Make sure you get the metallic pads not the organic.

    Since I can't look at the bike - I would think the 10" rotor might be the culprit - since the BB7 isn't designed to work with a disc of that diameter. If it's like the other Santana rotors i've seen - it's much thicker and also not as "open" as the Avid. It's acting more as a heat sink and transfering that heat to the pads. I've never had that problem with our Avid rear disc - and we've heated it up quite a bit.
    Administrator and Contributing Editor - Vortex Media Group

  7. #7
    It Takes Two BloomingCyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thecheat View Post
    ...Immediately I ran into what has now become and long running issue with this setup. No matter what I do the brake howls pretty much non-stop....What are other people experiencing with their Santana's and the 10" rear discs? I have tried a number of different pads including the EBC Gold's which I saw mentioned in a few other threads.
    We have close to 4000 miles on our Winzip disk brake with the 10 inch / 255 mm rotor that we installed back in March or April I believe after riding the first 4000 miles with V-brakes front and rear. We added the disk brake specifically to deal with the downhills on the 3 state 3 mtn ride in Chattanooga this past May which we had ridden twice before on singles but this would be the first time on our tandem.

    My only experience with a disk brake is with this one so it sounds like you have much more experience with them in general but I'll share what has worked for me. Noise...our friends and frequent riding partners(Counselguy on this forum) had purchased a new Santana with the Winzip and my goodness what a moaning noisy brake. They were never completely resolved and because of some general fit issues and Calfee lust he sold that tandem and has a Avid disk with 8 inch rotor and it's been very quiet. Their Santana was history before we got our Winzip.

    I installed it and aligned it as best I could. We had noise. I need to go back and read my own posts to remember what I did in what order. I eventually ended up taking it up to Indianapolis to let the shop up there align the brake. That helped some but what really solved the noise issue for us was putting the tandem in the stand in the driveway and had my wife apply the brake as I turned the pedals and sprayed water on the pads. I'd stop and ride the bike - still some noise but not as much - back in the stand with more water and braking. (Stoker did get wet.) After doing this cycle three times there was no noise. We rode the 3 State 3 Mtn ride. TandemGeek saw me at the bottom of the first descent at a rest stop as I was adjusting the pads closer. Those original pads just seemed to wear away significantly on each descent. I adjusted them again at the bottom of the second descent and the last descent (Lookout Mtn) which is the most demanding with more traffic and more and tighter switchbacks. I was underwhelmed with their performance but we did get down.

    I tried the EBC gold pads. I had to do the same process with water but I was able to eliminate the moaning noise. That first set of EBC pads did very well and I rode those same pads for all summer. The pads wore slowly but in a peculiar way wearing more at the bottom of the pads on both sides which seems strange to me. It would seem to me that the caliper doesn't keep the pads in the same plane that I have set the caliper up with as it moves the pads inward towards the caliper. I will admit that it could be my installation alignment that causes this problem and I have not used disks before but I honestly don't think so. I put new pads on in late summer and realigned everything. We did the water drill first thing and eliminated all moaning noises.

    For most of the four thousand miles with the Winzip disk, I have tried to keep the pads adjusted very close to reduce the lever travel. I bought a slotted rotor adjusting tool to keep the rotor true. When I would brake hard on downhills, after I let off the brakes I would hear the warped / distorted rotor rubbing for a while until it cooled and straightened out. I have recently backed off the pads and trying to accept / embrace the increased lever travel. The brake is still working well and we are hearing no rotor rubbing.

    For curing moaning and groaning disk brakes I believe in the water technique. I also use water whenever my front V-brakes start to squeal every couple of hundred of miles or so. In that case, on the way home on the ride going down the last block before our house, I will spray water on the brake pads with one hand and apply the lever with the other (telling the stoker what I am doing). If I don't have enough water I'll get some more and go out by myself after dropping the stoker off). It seems to clean every thing just right and quiets them down (I use Kool-Stop salmon colored pads) consistently.

    I would be interested in trying the Avid caliper with the 10 inch rotor if it would fit my mount but I probably won't actually do that. I do envy the hemisphere washers that make it so much easier to align the Avid caliper.

    Bloomington, IN

  8. #8
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    Some good advice and insight.

    I guess bottom line the performance of the disc brake has never reached what I would expect from a disc brake. The disc brakes on our Mountain bike tandem are excellent.

    TandemGeek: To answer your questions I do try and use both brakes. I will often briefly alternate from front to rear on long descents to try and not overheat either brake on the bike. I also try not to drag the brakes and will instead use them in bursts if you will. As for a comparison of dual v's to v+disc, its been a while since I had the rear V installed and I honestly can't say they performed any worse in the fade department and they surely didn't make the same amount of noise.

    Switching to a smaller rotor is a idea I have been tossing around. I have experienced noise problems with large rotors before and switching to a smaller size was the solution in that case.

    Zonatandem: I will admit I have been thinking about just going back to the V on the rear and being done with it. =) I guess my hope was knowing that we like to participate in rides that have lots of elevation change I wanted to add a little bit of extra insurance by going to the rear disc. I don't really consider disc brakes on a bike to be the latest technology, though im sure none are really designed with a tandem in mind. Only given the 'ok' after the fact.

    BloomingCyclist, Thank you very much for the detailed reply with what you have done and what has worked for you. I especially like your friends solution of getting a Calfee. =) Though I will give your water method a try as its less costly. I will report back on how that works out for us.

    Thanks for the input.. I'll try a few of the things mentioned here and report back.

  9. #9
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    'Performance of the disc brake has never reached what I would expect from a disc brake' . . . expectations and a bit of marketing has sold many products!
    Have done many tours/rides with lots of elevation change without benefit of disc/drum brakes or any type of 3rd brake, on various tandems.
    Toughest one was 325 miles/3 days/22,000+ ft climbing, temp 103 degrees . . . a true test in how well brakes function! Four 500+ mile Grand Canyon to Mexico Tours (22,000') in 6 days. Climbing/descending Kitt Peak which goes up to just under 8,000' with 11 miles of curves/6 % grade and several climbs/descents from 9,200' level in Northern AZ, just to name a few.
    Some of these descents had 40-some to 53 mph speeds in which we never did feel lack of braking power.
    Did have a deer dart in front of us while doing 40+ mph down Mule Pass in Bisbee, AZ . . . yup, missed it!
    Have descended, solo, on a then prototype tandem with Hayes disc front and Avid rear at 30+ mph and hit the binders. Excellent stopping/skidding power, but a bit too much for our needs/requirements. Did not ride this tandem extensively (only couple hundred miles).
    Eventually, through experience, we find out what works best for us as a tandem duo.
    There is no right/wrong way . . . as long as you can stop!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe@vwvortex View Post
    Avid makes two different compounds for brake pads for the BB-7 caliper. Make sure you get the metallic pads not the organic.

    Since I can't look at the bike - I would think the 10" rotor might be the culprit - since the BB7 isn't designed to work with a disc of that diameter. If it's like the other Santana rotors i've seen - it's much thicker and also not as "open" as the Avid. It's acting more as a heat sink and transfering that heat to the pads. I've never had that problem with our Avid rear disc - and we've heated it up quite a bit.
    I've had my new "Beyond" since November and have been trying to solve the same issue with the Winzip 10" unit. I purchased a new Avid BB-7 unit with 8" disc with caliper and had my LBS install. Low and behold they just installed the caliper, leaving the 10" zip disk, claiming the bracket didn't allow for the 8" disk. Duh, they should have informed me! I would have ordered the 8" bracket from Santana. Although it works better, it still howls! After reading this, I'm ordering the 8" braket to install the Avid disk. I'll post later to let everyone know how it turns out.

  11. #11
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    I will be taking the maiden voyage on our tandem with winzip rear disc. Hopefully it works well. Seems like there isn't a good disc brake solution for the tandem yet.
    The hill - It is long - Lungs filling - Heart pounding - Muscles Pumping
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  12. #12
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smooooth View Post
    I will be taking the maiden voyage on our tandem with winzip rear disc. Hopefully it works well. Seems like there isn't a good disc brake solution for the tandem yet.
    Ours works very well. We've got a few thousand miles on it, now, and other than having to adjust it on a regular basis, it's flawless. It does require lots of adjustment until the pads wear in parallel, so carry the two requisite hex keys with you. Adjustment, even on the side of the road, is extremely easy.
    Dennis T

  13. #13
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smooooth View Post
    Seems like there isn't a good disc brake solution for the tandem yet.
    For 'the' tandem or for 'your' tandem?

    The Avid BB7 Road with 203mm rotor when set-up correctly is an exceptional solution that has been working well for hundreds of teams riding a variety of different tandem brands -- including Santana -- since about 2001 or 2002. In fact, if you're one of those teams that doesn't really need a drum brake but who wants a little more heat capacity / stopping power from the rear brake it's a no-brainer.

    Santana's switch to the 'Winzip' (IRD DualBanger) caliper has also proven to be a major improvement over their previous Formula brakes and with a little tweaking -- pads and set-up -- can be made to work as well as an Avid BB7.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-15-08 at 07:07 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Santana's switch to the 'Winzip' (IRD DualBanger) caliper has also proven to be a major improvement over their previous Formula brakes and with a little tweaking -- pads and set-up -- can be made to work as well as an Avid BB7.
    I've noticed, however, that Santana's latest publication barely shows disc brakes at all. I'd love to know the facts behind that decision.

  15. #15
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I've noticed, however, that Santana's latest publication barely shows disc brakes at all. I'd love to know the facts behind that decision.
    Actually, if you compare their annual publications from edition to edition you'll note that the entire tech section -- discs, forks, and wheels -- was omitted from the Spring issue. Hard to know if it was an omission due to page limitations, targeted content, or if they hadn't finished re-wickering for some new changes, e.g., their new house-brand caliper carbon fork ILO of Reynolds Ouzo Pro, etc...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post

    Santana's switch to the 'Winzip' (IRD DualBanger) caliper has also proven to be a major improvement over their previous Formula brakes and with a little tweaking -- pads and set-up -- can be made to work as well as an Avid BB7.
    Maybe Santana is going to start recommending Avid discs.

    "While Santana continues to encourage our friends at Avid (now owned by SRAM) to produce a disc brake adequate for tandems, their “Ball Bearing” mechanical disc (an effective brake for single bikes) is not a safe choice for tandems."

  17. #17
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmac View Post
    Maybe Santana is going to start recommending Avid discs.
    Given the scorched Earth approach they have taken with their criticsm of the Avid BB7, I'd really surprised if that happened.

    The only way I could imagine it would even be plausible would be if Avid made some type of change to their brake that the Big-S could spin as some type of 'safety enhancement' and I just don't see that happening because there just haven't been any problems with the Avid 'as is'.

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    Well the maiden voyage went well. We just did a 60 mile ride with easy rollers-so there were no real braking challenges. Did experience the moan from time to time. Will try the water on the pads/rotor treatment.

    Keep up the good info
    Last edited by Smooooth; 06-18-08 at 06:05 PM.
    The hill - It is long - Lungs filling - Heart pounding - Muscles Pumping
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  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    After paying $10 grand for a Beyond, owners should not have to moaning about their moaning/overheating/quick wearing Winzips.

  20. #20
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    After paying $10 grand for a Beyond, owners should not have to moaning about their moaning/overheating/quick wearing Winzips.
    While I agreed with the sentiment that the welds on the Beyond were substandard and unacceptable for an $8,000 frame, rightly or wrongly the Winzip brake is no different than the Winzip brake that comes on the least expensive Santana.

    Moreover, while spending big bucks will yield a tandem that may be coveted for it's light weight, finish, performance, detail work, exclusivity or some other unique characteristics that warrant the high sticker price, the higher price will not usually make the frame any less prone to problems that often time plague even the least expensive frames. Moreover, once you start hanging components on the thing, either the components or the quality of the assembly work can often times become the lowest common denominator for the overall finished product.

    Here's the deal: I know of no contemporary tandem builder's frames that have been immune from problems, to include several of my own. Sometimes the frame isn't quite right, other times the customer spec'd it wrong, sometimes components just don't work the way they should, and sometimes someone does something before, during, or after the build that mucks up the works. It comes with the territory and how that builder and his dealer responds to those issues -- assuming a dealer is involved in the process -- is what separates the best from the rest. Thankfully, most of these same builders have all bent over backwards to support their customers in the instances with which I'm familiar.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-16-08 at 03:51 PM.

  21. #21
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    ^ I agree with your post.

    However, I think Santana sets them selves up for criticsm with some marketing materials that tend to be a bit over the top.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  22. #22
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I think Santana sets them selves up for criticsm with some marketing materials that tend to be a bit over the top.
    No doubt about it...

  23. #23
    Senior Member sweetnsourbkr's Avatar
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    Avid BB7 203mm (front and rear) rotors users here. We reached a new team speed record of 52 mph last weekend with complete confidence. The brakes have been a bit of a pain in the maintenance department, such as re-centering is a lot more work to do than a dual-pivot setup, for example. We had a squeal issue during the first 500 miles with our rear brake assembly. The whole system works well now (with minor rub noise at walking speeds, etc), after 1300 miles.

  24. #24
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetnsourbkr View Post
    The whole system works well now (with minor rub noise at walking speeds, etc), after 1300 miles.
    I'll regret posting this, but at least for the rear Avid BB7s on tandems I recommend installing a compression spring between the reaction arm and cable guide. I've probably put these on a dozen or more of our friend's tandems over the past three or four years.

    While some folks have questioned their value in previous threads, in practice the right size spring seems to add just enough extra preload to the reaction arm to take up some of the static drag that comes from having a very long rear brake cable run, improves the movement of the reaction arm, and gives just a little more lever feel vs. not using anything other than the integrated return spring... even at it's highest tension setting.



    If you want more details just search the archives for posts that contain the words 'compression spring avid' and insert my user name 'tandemgeek'.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-17-08 at 10:52 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Bob Davis, (Zona tandems) espoused the compression spring idea several years ago,and yes, it certainly helps!

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