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  1. #1
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Experience with rust resistant chains?

    I posted this in the commuting forum as well and it triggered a discussion of various lubes and whatnot. Only one person had tried a wipperman stainless steel chain and said their experience wasn't that great. The plates didn't rust but the pins did.

    So anyone in here have any positive experiences with chains claiming rust resistance?

    I have to buy a new chain anyway and won't mind spending at least a little extra if it lasts longer and saves me some maintenance. The salty roads I ride on have been murder on my chains in the past.

    Thanks!
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  2. #2
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Sorry for not directly answering your question, but ....

    If you're running an 8spd drivetrain, then you can get a KMC chain for about ten bucks.

    If you spray/wipe it down with WD-40 after your ride, you'll get a lot of life out of it, and then ... when it's day has come ... you can get another one for ten bucks.

    Just a thought....

  3. #3
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502 View Post
    Sorry for not directly answering your question, but ....

    If you're running an 8spd drivetrain, then you can get a KMC chain for about ten bucks.

    If you spray/wipe it down with WD-40 after your ride, you'll get a lot of life out of it, and then ... when it's day has come ... you can get another one for ten bucks.

    Just a thought....
    7 speed actually. That is kind of what I've done up to now but I've had to replace a cassette the last time around because the chain was too far gone. Plus I'd like to limit the amount of petro-lubricants and dead chains I dump into the environment. I'd really love not having to mess with the chain in the winter as much.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  4. #4
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    7 speed actually. That is kind of what I've done up to now but I've had to replace a cassette the last time around because the chain was too far gone. Plus I'd like to limit the amount of petro-lubricants and dead chains I dump into the environment. I'd really love not having to mess with the chain in the winter as much.
    All fair points.

    Metal can be recycled. When I use the WD, it's sprayed at the chain, with a rag behind it. I don't use very much.

    Which element of the chain was "too far gone," necessitating the replacement cassette? Had you worn the chain beyond the standard 1/8" point?

    While not directly relevant, you may find this page helpful....

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    Nickel plated chains cost about 10 dollars extra but they still can corrode. As far as I know the nickel plating is only on the exterior links so the pins which are actually more important are probably not plated. The most expensive chains may use alloys which are more corrosion resistant but as far as I am concerned keeping the chain clean and properly lubed is more important. The dirt, grit, salt and mud is what will wear out the chain in short order. No matter how expensive the chain. So keeping it clean and lubed is by far the most important thing. The easiest way to clean the chain is to hose it down with high pressure hot water and lift the bike up a few inches and drop it a few times on the tires on a hard surface to knock as much of the water out of the chain as you can. If you have an air compressor you can use an air stream to blow most of the water out of the chain. Then let the bike and chain dry in the basement or kitchen or some place where it is warm. After an hour or two it should be dry and you can lube the chain. IF you don't have a hose attachment to a hot water source. The cold water coming out of the house still works pretty well. I have a little short hose about 10 feet long that I can keep hooked up in a position where it will drain and never get frozen. I just put a spray nozzle on it and clean the whole bike. Paying particular attention to the drive train.

    Once the bike is hosed off it is not very dirty so you can bring it in the house without making too big of a mess. You can even lay out a piece of plastic with some old towels over it in a spare room to let it dry out if you don't have a basement or heated garage.

  6. #6
    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    I've always worn out my chains long before they rusted (or at least long before the rust became problematic). What's your winter mileage like?

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    Senior Member vger285's Avatar
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    I use Boshield T-9 Developed by Boeing company,it works good, ive used it for 8 or 9 years now, you can buy it at Sears.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    I've always worn out my chains long before they rusted (or at least long before the rust became problematic). What's your winter mileage like?
    It's anywhere from 40 to 70 miles per week but I don't think it's the miles so much as the conditions. I had worse problems when my mileage was shorter because my old route took me through much more of the wet slushy stuff.

    If it stays cold and I spend a lot of my time on the bikeways instead of the streets I have fewer problems. Basically that means that less road salt gets thrown on the chain and sticks. Inevitably conditions will change and I could be riding through what is essentially chunky saltwater for a few days straight, have it snow again, get cold for a day or two, then repeat the cycle.

    I really don't want to clean and dry my chain every time I ride the bike in those conditions.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

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    Considered a fully enclosed chain?

  10. #10
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbr2702 View Post
    Considered a fully enclosed chain?
    A little hard to shift that way isn't it?

    I've considered a lot of things including belt drive, single speeds, and IGHs... but a new chain is cheaper.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post

    I really don't want to clean and dry my chain every time I ride the bike in those conditions.
    It can be done in 2-3 minutes so what's the big deal. Even a 30 second cleaning every other day will be good enough to do the job. The main thing is to get the salt and mud off of it. Once the chain starts rusting it rusts the cassette and the chainring also. If you have a place to do it you can clean the chain off faster than you can take off your clothes. But since you seem to have a short commute there is a better solution for you:

    http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/000049.php

  12. #12
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    It can be done in 2-3 minutes so what's the big deal. Even a 30 second cleaning every other day will be good enough to do the job. The main thing is to get the salt and mud off of it. Once the chain starts rusting it rusts the cassette and the chainring also. If you have a place to do it you can clean the chain off faster than you can take off your clothes. But since you seem to have a short commute there is a better solution for you:

    http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/000049.php
    Mmmm. I've heard different. I think I read it on Sheldon Brown's site (but it could have been somewhere else) that cleaning your chain often does more harm than good. You end up forcing contaminants from the surface into the workings of the chain. Given that, I've always tried to minimize the number of cleanings and maximize the thoroughness. Now I realize that there are lots of different views on chain cleaning and I'm not an absolute authority but that has been my take.

    Anyway, we have a small house and our garage is really the only storage area of any size that we have. I have room to put the bike in there but not much room to maneuver around it. I usually have to back a car out to do much work on it or bring it inside which is a messy proposition in the winter.

    I feel like shooting down everyone's suggestions but I appreciate the thoughts. All I was looking for was somebody who had some experience with rust resistant chains. At this point I have no interest in shaft drive bikes. I'd prefer a belt drive if it came to that but really I'd just like a way to minimize the maintenance on my existing bike (which I'm quite happy with). My commute is between 6 and 7 miles. I often have a nice NW wind blowing in my face all the way into work in the mornings so I like a bike with drops.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    Mmmm. I've heard different. I think I read it on Sheldon Brown's site (but it could have been somewhere else) that cleaning your chain often does more harm than good. You end up forcing contaminants from the surface into the workings of the chain.
    Which is why a quick squirt off is just as useful as a thorough cleaning. Since you can't really get inside the chain to clean it unless you take off the chain and soak it in solvent. However, a muddy and salty chain rusts very quickly and the rust spreads thoughout the drivedrain. By the way, turning the drivetrain while pedaling with new water, salt and mud spraying on it will just as likely force crud into the inside of the chain as cleaning it will do. Even more so. So there is nothing that you can do to stop it. The only thing you can do is mitigate how much of the bad stuff works it's way into the chain by controlling the amount of crud that is on the chain and cassette. Crud on the cassette is even worse since it is when the chain is in contact with the cassette that most crud is ground into the chain.

    I don't see how you can reduce the amount of maintenance you are presently doing. Which, correct me if I am wrong, is not much.

  14. #14
    MTB Endurance in Training et3surge's Avatar
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    I remember BMX bikes used to have them years ago but no experience with new stainless ones. I ride in Miami wet weather and my bike stays out under cover when not ridden, I have to say that I believe my chain survives for two reasons, it's a good chain (XTR) so materials must be superior and White Lightning, this stuff is the best I have ever used.

    Stay FAR from WD. It is not for this application.

    Good luck

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I feel like shooting down everyone's suggestions but I appreciate the thoughts. All I was looking for was somebody who had some experience with rust resistant chains. At this point I have no interest in shaft drive bikes. I'd prefer a belt drive if it came to that but really I'd just like a way to minimize the maintenance on my existing bike (which I'm quite happy with). My commute is between 6 and 7 miles. I often have a nice NW wind blowing in my face all the way into work in the mornings so I like a bike with drops.
    Don't know what kind of a chain is on your current bike. But if you leave it outside that tells me you don't value it too much so it's most likely an older used bike. Typically these kinds of bikes had very low quality chains. They will in fact rust faster than a good chain which will cost you about 20-25 USD. There are more expensive chains but it is lightness you are buying. Not a better chain. The better chains use an alloy which has more nickel in it which improves wear and offers some corrosion resistance. However, the primary metal in highly rust resistant metals is chromium which is not likely to be used in chains since it is a brittle metal. And a chain must have good shock resistance.

  16. #16
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by et3surge View Post
    Stay FAR from WD. It is not for this application.
    I'll bite.

    Please explain.

    If you look at what's IN it, and then look at what these ingredients are, do, and are used for ... you may change your mind:

    http://www.wd40company.com/files/pdf...d494716385.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I feel like shooting down everyone's suggestions but I appreciate the thoughts. All I was looking for was somebody who had some experience with rust resistant chains. At this point I have no interest in shaft drive bikes. I'd prefer a belt drive if it came to that but really I'd just like a way to minimize the maintenance on my existing bike (which I'm quite happy with). My commute is between 6 and 7 miles. I often have a nice NW wind blowing in my face all the way into work in the mornings so I like a bike with drops.
    Don't know what kind of a chain is on your current bike. But if you leave it outside that tells me you don't value it too much so it's most likely an older used bike. Typically these kinds of bikes had very low quality chains. They will in fact rust faster than a good chain which will cost you about 20-25 USD. There are more expensive chains but it is lightness you are buying. Not a better chain. The better chains use an alloy which has more nickel in it which improves wear and offers some corrosion resistance. However, the primary metal in highly rust resistant metals is chromium which is not likely to be used in chains since it is a brittle metal. And a chain must have good shock resistance.

    Googling for a stainless steel bike chain I cannot find even one. Perhaps you can.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502 View Post
    I'll bite.

    Please explain.

    If you look at what's IN it, and then look at what these ingredients are, do, and are used for ... you may change your mind:

    http://www.wd40company.com/files/pdf...d494716385.pdf
    I'll give an explanation of why you should not use WD-40 as a bike lube.

    WD-40 was primarily intended as a water displacer, a cleaner and a light low pressure lubricant. AS such it works well for this application. The main problem with WD-40 is a lack of lubricity for more than a short period of time. It never was intended to take the place of a properly designed mechanical lubricant. Is WD-40 OK to put in your manual transmission? OK, now you understand. Of course there is more leeway in a bike chain.

    If you were to use WD-40 every day and only use the bike for a short ride it would be fine. In fact, some WD-40 every ride or two would be better than never cleaning and lubing your chain. But after a few miles the light lubricating substances in WD-40 will break down and turn into varnishes that will attract more dirt and grit into the chain. So it has to be applied very often.

    Now in the real world of serious bike riding it is not uncommon to ride 100-500 miles a week and to forget to lube your chain for all but 1 or 2 rides a week. In this scenerio WD-40 is woefully inadequate. So it's up to you to choose. A good bottle of chain lube is not much more than a can of WD-40 and it will probably last longer if you are WD-40'ing your chain every day. And the chain lube will keep your chain in much better condition since it will not form varnishes for quite a long time. You see the lubricating molecules have to be designed for the conditions they are to operate in. You are much more likely to break a chain on a long ride after extended use of WD-40 than from using a proper chain lube.

    So, the longer you ride, the harder you ride, the faster you pedal, the more you forget to lube your chain, the worse WD-40 is for you.
    Last edited by Hezz; 12-05-08 at 11:39 PM.

  19. #19
    MTB Endurance in Training et3surge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502 View Post
    I'll bite.

    Please explain.

    If you look at what's IN it, and then look at what these ingredients are, do, and are used for ... you may change your mind:

    http://www.wd40company.com/files/pdf...d494716385.pdf
    A few reasons but instead of taking up the post check out some of these links, WD is a great product and when sprayed on a bike chain it aids in cleaning and degreasing the chain but not lubricating it:

    http://bicycletutor.com/no-wd40-bike-chain/
    http://ask.metafilter.com/17800/How-...rom-upholstery

  20. #20
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
    Don't know what kind of a chain is on your current bike. But if you leave it outside that tells me you don't value it too much so it's most likely an older used bike. Typically these kinds of bikes had very low quality chains. They will in fact rust faster than a good chain which will cost you about 20-25 USD. There are more expensive chains but it is lightness you are buying. Not a better chain. The better chains use an alloy which has more nickel in it which improves wear and offers some corrosion resistance. However, the primary metal in highly rust resistant metals is chromium which is not likely to be used in chains since it is a brittle metal. And a chain must have good shock resistance.

    Googling for a stainless steel bike chain I cannot find even one. Perhaps you can.
    I didn't explain myself well. My bikes are kept inside the garage. The bike I use most of the year is now hanging from the rafters. The winter bike is on the floor occupying a slot not much wider than the bike itself.

    My current winter bike is 20 years old but I do value it quite a bit which is why care whether the chain (or the rest of it) gets rusty or not. I do also spend a fair bit of time on maintenance which I'd like to reduce. As you alluded to in a previous post we already pay a time tax for cycling in winter do to the extra time it takes to get dressed, the extra maintenance, and for that matter the extra time it takes to ride.

    Nine years ago I moved from the suburbs to the city in part to shorten the amount of time it takes me to get to work. In the summer it's about a 25 minute ride. In the winter it can be around 45 if you include the extra time it takes to get dressed. I didn't move to the city so I could have a 45 minute commute

    So I've been looking at ways to streamline. I cut 5 minutes off my time each way by putting studded tires on my old road bike instead of riding the mountain bike I used to use. I'm always looking at different clothing options, and I'm investigating ways to reduce maintenance. To be honest I actually like working on my bike for the most part but it can be time consuming and cleaning chains falls in the PITA category. In past winters I've done thorough cleanings every few weeks.

    There are stainless steal chains made by Wipperman. They're expensive and get mixed reviews.

    There are also cheap KMC "Rustbuster" chains. I just bought a lot of 5 from Ebay for $15. They might suck. I'll find out.

    What I was hoping for was a few people to say: "You should get x chain, they're great". Hasn't happened, so maybe daily maintenance is the only good solution for a derailleur bike. I hope not.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  21. #21
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I ride nearly as much in the winter as I do in the summer and have found that I still get very good chain life if I perform routine winter maintainence which involves spraying the chain with wd40 to displace any water, wiping it down, applying proper chain lube, and then I wipe it down again.

    After cleaning and oiling the best thing you can do for your drive train is to run full fenders as these will keep the wheels (especially the front one) from throwing crap into the chain rings and chain.

    As a bike mechanic, messenger, and guy who rides a ton of miles I have to say that WD40 is an extremely poor lubricant but does work well as a solvent and water displacement agent.

    Last winter I got 3500 km out of my chain before it needed replacing which is not too far off from what I get during the rest of the year... it had no rust and had simply reached it's wear limit.

  22. #22
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by et3surge View Post
    A few reasons but instead of taking up the post check out some of these links, WD is a great product and when sprayed on a bike chain it aids in cleaning and degreasing the chain but not lubricating it:

    http://bicycletutor.com/no-wd40-bike-chain/
    Well ... THAT particular guy's opinion is in conflict with the facts.

    Ditto that one.

    Back to my previous point, and ... with all due respect: you should understand what the components are, in WD, and what they do.

    In addition to its other (better known, perhaps) properties, WD-40 IS a lubricant, albeit NOT the best available for bikes.

    But ... for the OP's application (specifically if used after every ride), it'll get him by just fine, and with minimal cost and effort.

    Here's a place to start, but ... sincerely ... a few minutes of serious research will give you all the hard info you need to understand why I simply disagree with your position, here:

    http://forum.biketechreview.com/view...php?f=1&t=2211

    EDIT: 'nother one...

    http://www.glubie.com/01_Pages/lubri...comparison.htm
    Last edited by neil0502; 12-06-08 at 01:57 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I didn't explain myself well. My bikes are kept inside the garage. The bike I use most of the year is now hanging from the rafters. The winter bike is on the floor occupying a slot not much wider than the bike itself.

    My current winter bike is 20 years old but I do value it quite a bit which is why care whether the chain (or the rest of it) gets rusty or not. I do also spend a fair bit of time on maintenance which I'd like to reduce. As you alluded to in a previous post we already pay a time tax for cycling in winter do to the extra time it takes to get dressed, the extra maintenance, and for that matter the extra time it takes to ride.

    Nine years ago I moved from the suburbs to the city in part to shorten the amount of time it takes me to get to work. In the summer it's about a 25 minute ride. In the winter it can be around 45 if you include the extra time it takes to get dressed. I didn't move to the city so I could have a 45 minute commute

    So I've been looking at ways to streamline. I cut 5 minutes off my time each way by putting studded tires on my old road bike instead of riding the mountain bike I used to use. I'm always looking at different clothing options, and I'm investigating ways to reduce maintenance. To be honest I actually like working on my bike for the most part but it can be time consuming and cleaning chains falls in the PITA category. In past winters I've done thorough cleanings every few weeks.

    There are stainless steal chains made by Wipperman. They're expensive and get mixed reviews.

    There are also cheap KMC "Rustbuster" chains. I just bought a lot of 5 from Ebay for $15. They might suck. I'll find out.

    What I was hoping for was a few people to say: "You should get x chain, they're great". Hasn't happened, so maybe daily maintenance is the only good solution for a derailleur bike. I hope not.
    OK, I think I am on better ground with you now. I am also one of those kind who do not like to do extensive maintenance on my bikes. And yet in the same token I am not willing to go out on a bike that is not functioning to a high degree. So that is why I suggested the daily drivetrain quick wash or spray off and lube. Because in the long run it is the most effective vs. the time spent method that I think there is. You do not have to use a hose. And if you do it, you will never have to do a dedicated chain cleaning. Because your chain and gears will not build up much crud on them. And you will be able to ride until you have some other problem on the bike that you have to address. It's like brushing your teeth. A little work done every day or two solve a lot of misery.

    I know when you get home from work you are often tired and don't feel like doing this. But I have found that it is relatively painless. This is the least energy approach to chain maintenance that I have found. IF you are using a good chain lube you don't have to lube it everyday with the miles that you are riding. Just quickly hose off the drive drain or pour warm water over it from a gallon jug. Knock most of the water out of it. And let it dry in a warm place for a couple of hours. Unless you use really hot, high pressure water in a very long and thorough way, you will not wash the chain lube out of the inside of the chain. So you can get by with lubing it every third day or so. The lubing takes only 2-3 minutes to do. I have also seen some guys buy a bike maintenance stand to put in their garage and use it to hold the bike in a ready position so they can easily lube the chain. It doesn't take up much more room on the garage floor than the bike would if it was just standing agains't the wall.

    If you had a bike maintenance stand and a small air compressor nearby you could get by without taking the bike into a warmer place to dry. Just blow the water out of the chain after you hose it.

    In fact, I don't have a garage. But if I did with limited space this is what I would do. Get the bike maintenance stand to put your bike in. And as soon as you get home put it into the stand in the garage. Then get a large plastic catch basin to put on the floor underneath the bike and an empty gallon milk jug full of warm water. Pour the water over the chain and gears to wash off the mud, dirt and salt. Then use a small garage size air compressor to blow the water out of the chain. This should get the chain dry enough so you can either lube it right away or let it dry further in position in the garage. If you are tired when you get home just go in and relax for a while and then come out and do the cleaning. It will take only 3-4 minutes.

    You can also get an air pressure bug sprayer or old fashion water type fire extinguisher and fill it with warm water. Pump it up and use it to clean the drivetrain outside before you bring it in the garage. Then you don't need a hose.
    Last edited by Hezz; 12-06-08 at 10:56 AM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member shouldberiding's Avatar
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    Here's the question. What's wrong with using WD40 as a cleaning agent then going over the chain with a proper bicycle chain lube?

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    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shouldberiding View Post
    Here's the question. What's wrong with using WD40 as a cleaning agent then going over the chain with a proper bicycle chain lube?
    Nothing. It's what I tend to do. Works great. Great chain life.

    I just think it's good to deal in facts. That was the goal behind my approach

    [EDIT: I tend to give the WD a bit of evap time before using "proper" lube. This is just a winter method. In the other three seasons, I use my homebrew -- 50/50 (or so) Mobil1/Mineral spirits].
    Last edited by neil0502; 12-06-08 at 03:16 PM.

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