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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 04-10-16, 11:55 AM
  #10026  
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Originally Posted by streets
A DL-1 I picked up recently has these pedals. Can anyone tell me what they're from/who makes them? I haven't seen any like them before:
Wow...I don't know what they are, but I'll bet they're well-worth preserving. They're most likely very rebuildable.
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Old 04-10-16, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by arex
Wow...I don't know what they are, but I'll bet they're well-worth preserving. They're most likely very rebuildable.
That was my thought too, I think they'll be nice to recondition. The bearings are very smooth despite the neglect, feels like a quality pedal but I couldn't find a name on them. I'm intrigued!
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Old 04-10-16, 02:19 PM
  #10028  
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Originally Posted by DQRider
I used shellac, two coats, and not only did that make them more durable, but it improved the look as well. I used JB Weld clear RTV to secure them. This means I will have to cut them off and spend some time cleaning up when I replace them, but at least they are secure.

That's basically what I did with those cork grips! I had them on my three speed, but now I have a set on another bike.

And in case anyone is wondering what those particular cork grips pictured above on @DQRider's bike, they are the "Miesha Portugese Cork Grips" only available through Rivendell. They are very nice but about twice as much as the "generic" cork grips you can get everywhere else.
Miesha's Portuguese Tree Cork Grips (Pair) - Normal

And as someone mentioned above, they are a bit brittle and fragile. One day before leaving town for Lake Pepin last year, my three speed knocked over, and landed on the handlebar grips. Managed to break the grip in half. Since the only source then was via mail order* I basically rode the tour with 1 1/2 cork grips. (Yeah, I tried to glue the broken part back on, but it didn't hold.)

*This was unfortunately one month before Rivelo, Portland's Rivendell outlet, opened. So if I broke the grip this year vs last, I could ride there and quickly get a replacement.

Last edited by adventurepdx; 04-10-16 at 02:20 PM. Reason: mention fix
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Old 04-10-16, 02:55 PM
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My view is that quality began to decline in the 1960s. The bikes were still well-made, but by the mid-1970s you see sloppy braze jobs, stamped and unfinished straps, stamped and twisted metal for brake levers, cheaper brake calipers, etc. There was this gradual, very generalized degradation of quality during the 1960s and into the mid-1970s. Sturmey Archer hubs became more hit-or-miss. I've had a couple rather poor quality 1970s-era AW hubs, and a couple really good ones.

That's not to say all the 1970s and later bikes are bad. I have a 1974 Sports that I love and have ridden steadily for about 13 years. But you do get the sense that there was heavy-duty cost cutting going on basically everywhere money could be saved. I have a 1958 Sports and a 1947 Dawn Tourist that just look better finished in all the little details than the '74. Tony Hadland's Raleigh: Past and Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand is a book worth picking up. His history of Raleigh shows just how wide the cost cutting became, even on things like fringe benefits for employees.

Originally Posted by Salubrious
Its my opinion that the later years of Raleighs 3-speed production did them no favors. Tolerances in the SA hubs was not as good and it does seem that they leak more. The frames got whippier too. At least you know that if there is no puddle, its likely because its out of oil.

I find that a nice 1950s SA hub holds its oil "pretty well" (by seeming British standards of the day- I used to own a BSA Super Rocket and an Ariel Squarefour) and the bearing quality is equal to that of Campy no worries. The frame on my Humber seems quite a bit stiffer too.
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Old 04-10-16, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SirMike1983
My view is that quality began to decline in the 1960s. The bikes were still well-made, but by the mid-1970s you see sloppy braze jobs, stamped and unfinished straps, stamped and twisted metal for brake levers, cheaper brake calipers, etc. There was this gradual, very generalized degradation of quality during the 1960s and into the mid-1970s. Sturmey Archer hubs became more hit-or-miss. I've had a couple rather poor quality 1970s-era AW hubs, and a couple really good ones.

That's not to say all the 1970s and later bikes are bad. I have a 1974 Sports that I love and have ridden steadily for about 13 years. But you do get the sense that there was heavy-duty cost cutting going on basically everywhere money could be saved. I have a 1958 Sports and a 1947 Dawn Tourist that just look better finished in all the little details than the '74. Tony Hadland's Raleigh: Past and Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand is a book worth picking up. His history of Raleigh shows just how wide the cost cutting became, even on things like fringe benefits for employees.
Photos demonstrating these difference would be useful so that people know what to look for.

So you are saying brake levers in the 60s and back were solid steel? I do not seem to recall this on my former 3 speed. Interesting.

J
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Old 04-10-16, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain
Photos demonstrating these difference would be useful so that people know what to look for.

So you are saying brake levers in the 60s and back were solid steel? I do not seem to recall this on my former 3 speed. Interesting.

J
I subscribe to older is better with all traditional english roadsters and 'sports' models. Chrome, 'bonderized' primer, paint, cables, pedals and general fit and finish were better across the full range of parts. Brake levers went through a number of design changes but I too think the older ones were made of stronger metal with better chrome. The only old bits that never really stood up were grips imo. They rotted easily.

What to look for? SA hubs have long been the primary way to date a Sports because most of Raleighs records were lost in a huge fire. Forum member Kurt K's website, 'The Headbadge': Classic & Vintage Bicycle Resources & Appraisals is an excellent resource to date many visual changes in some of Raleighs lines. Quick visual indicators for earlier bikes includes chainrings with the extra webbing, pedals sans reflectors, metal fulcrum clips, patent numbers on calipers, fluted crankarms, 'Raleigh Industries' stampings, stainless spokes and/or rims, Dunlop tires (and rims), pulley wheel braze-ons. Lot's of other minute changes as you delve back into older models.

It's hard to demonstrate 'quality' with a few pictures. There's always a little detective work that goes into dating these earlier bikes.
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Old 04-10-16, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SirMike1983
My view is that quality began to decline in the 1960s...That's not to say all the 1970s and later bikes are bad. I have a 1974 Sports that I love and have ridden steadily for about 13 years. But you do get the sense that there was heavy-duty cost cutting going on basically everywhere money could be saved. I have a 1958 Sports and a 1947 Dawn Tourist that just look better finished in all the little details than the '74. Tony Hadland's Raleigh: Past and Presence of an Iconic Bicycle Brand is a book worth picking up. His history of Raleigh shows just how wide the cost cutting became, even on things like fringe benefits for employees.
How much of the cost cutting on the three speeds was due to them not being "the nice bikes" anymore? In the 40's and 50's, they were at the top of the line, in the 70's, it was the 10 speeds. They were the "serious" bikes. I've never owned a Raleigh ten speed from the 70's, so I don't know if the Records and Grand Prixs were made that much better than the Sports. But it seems like the Carlton made ones were definitely more refined.
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Old 04-10-16, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx
How much of the cost cutting on the three speeds was due to them not being "the nice bikes" anymore? In the 40's and 50's, they were at the top of the line, in the 70's, it was the 10 speeds. They were the "serious" bikes. I've never owned a Raleigh ten speed from the 70's, so I don't know if the Records and Grand Prixs were made that much better than the Sports. But it seems like the Carlton made ones were definitely more refined.
Good point, the boom years overlapped with both declining production and quality of Raleighs Sports bikes and I think you're spot on thinking the Record/Grand Prix Raleighs were no better quality than the 3 speeds they were eclipsing. Still gaspipe quality. Made sense as their entry level road offerings.

I think Raleigh was a little rattled around 1969. Declining sales of their profitable lines of bikes combined with the major loss of Dunlop as a rim/tire supplier added to the chaos. Diminished quality was all about dollars. Unlike Schwinn, they pulled through but it wasn't easy. Or maybe it was the beginning of the end?
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Old 04-10-16, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman
I think Raleigh was a little rattled around 1969. Declining sales of their profitable lines of bikes combined with the major loss of Dunlop as a rim/tire supplier added to the chaos. Diminished quality was all about dollars. Unlike Schwinn, they pulled through but it wasn't easy. Or maybe it was the beginning of the end?
I wonder how much of it was also the fact that they bought up most of the true competition by then, therefore they had all the names so they didn't need to build as good a bike to compete with others?

Raleigh may have pulled through a little better than Schwinn, but in the end, they are both hollow shells of their former selves, just a name. As much as Schwinn had their peculiarities, at least they valued quality through at least the 70's. The Chicago made frames were if anything overbuilt. What got them was their inflexibility to new bike trends (lighter weight road bikes, BMX, MTB)>
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Old 04-10-16, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx
I wonder how much of it was also the fact that they bought up most of the true competition by then, therefore they had all the names so they didn't need to build as good a bike to compete with others?

Raleigh may have pulled through a little better than Schwinn, but in the end, they are both hollow shells of their former selves, just a name. As much as Schwinn had their peculiarities, at least they valued quality through at least the 70's. The Chicago made frames were if anything overbuilt. What got them was their inflexibility to new bike trends (lighter weight road bikes, BMX, MTB)>
The decades-long Raleigh 'Borg' expansion only allowed them a little more time to readjust to the new market. Raleigh was a more diversified international company that was able to continue selling their export roadster models in third world markets while retooling for the western market. I'm not slighting Schwinn but Raleigh did have a stronger presence in both the Euro pro peloton (Worksop) and the upscale market segment of quality road bikes; Super Course. Gran sports, Competition, Professional etc. Schwinn also had a range of good bikes but had to rely on the USA market alone for sales. In Canada, I could find dozens of shops selling Raleighs, and really maybe one selling Schwinns. And I lived in Toronto, very close to the USA. I never saw any Super Sports, Paramounts, nada, until the higher end offshore bikes showed up like the Circuit, Peloton, and mountain/hybrid lines of the late 80's. Too late by then.
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Old 04-11-16, 01:58 PM
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Hi everyone, brand new to English 3 speeds here. Thank you for the wealth of knowledge this thread has provided.

A couple weeks ago I picked up some craigslist finds to fix up for me and the misses. The first is an early 60's Hercules, it had a a lot of surface rust so I stripped it down and did a lot of clean up on the chrome bits and washed and waxed the frame. The wet aluminum foil trick did quite a job on the rims and other chrome Here are the before pics from the original add:




I'm just about finished with this one so I will have to update with the 'after' pics.

Up next is a step through 'Robin hood' for the lady. This one also had a lot of surface rust that I was hoping would clean up as well as the first. Unfortunately I've come to find that the rims have A fair amount ofpitting/flaking in the chrome. Eventually I would like to replace with cr-18s but in the meantime would the old steels still be road worthy? I know they won't exactly provide the smoothest braking surface.

On that note anyone who has upgraded willing to part with their old steel rims?

Cheers!
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Old 04-11-16, 02:13 PM
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Welcome Chimchim!
The Hercules looks like a fine 3 speed. They're really enjoyable to fix up aren't they? Look forward to the after pics and pics of the Robin Hood. Aluminium rims are superior to steel with their better braking surface and their lighter weight, but I just love steel rims on these old 3 speeds. I think you have to have pretty serious corrosion to render them unroadworthy, just a little unsightly. If it were me I'd clean the original rims as best you can and keep an eye out for a replacement set.
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Old 04-11-16, 03:38 PM
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@ChimChim, the rims on my Rudge are corroded, and I still ride them. It makes the braking uneven, but it also adds to the friction, so I see it as a feature rather than a bug. Basically, I'm not picky about it. I would guess your rims are still safe. See how you like how the bike rides before you make any big decisions.
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Old 04-11-16, 06:24 PM
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Here it is!

1960 Hercules 3 speed:
https://goo.gl/photos/4vXQTRZzfusr6q5W9

I'm guessing it's 1960 from the date on the AW hub. Even though the headbage says Birmingham I'm fairly certain it's a Nottingham built; most of the chome is stamped with a Raleigh Industries logo of some sort. Major work done included cleaning and waxing the frame, new cables, brakes, chain and seat. The hubs and bottom bracket all had oil ports so I have each some fresh stuff and called it good.

The ladies robin hood I picked up had what look like original dunlops in remarkably good condition, so I kept those for the Hercules, I don't think the misses will know or miss them
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Old 04-11-16, 08:18 PM
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ChimChim, yours is a transitional machine from the year Raleigh took over the Hercules brand. Raleigh frame, Birmingham fork, Birmingham headbadge and Raleigh/AMF style chainguard but Birmingham brakes. Cleaned up nicely. The white pedals are strange, can't say I've seen them that early. Might be replacements. Nice Champion tires, you'll never find better.
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Old 04-11-16, 09:23 PM
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Rod Brake Raleighs from an Antique dealer in Kansas City; I don't think they know what they have!

An antique dealer just my ship these it seems or there was Velo Plus or someone Francophile was mentioning in KC. Only $25 and a man and woman's though the dealer calls them boy's and girl's, I tend to think they are mistaken; 3 speeds or if applicable, single speed roadsters can appear small.

The slope of the fork and headtube; I believe Raleigh did come out with some rod brakes in the '60s or '70s but generally, this means they are probably pretty old bikes. It might be a hassle too to maintain rod brakes, I don't know.

https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bid/5504113840.html
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bid/5506785545.html
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Old 04-11-16, 09:50 PM
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I see that Wald makes a bar very similar to the North Road. It is a touch wider and has a longer grip area which can be corrected with a hacksaw. Not sure on the diameters. Seems equal quality.

You know, the main thing about my bike is that the bike really needs an extended stem to both slow the steering/twitchiness and to allow a little more room. I like being leaned over, sorry, but it is what it is, so does anyone know of a Raleigh type extended stem, something with around 70mm of length c/c?

I would love to flip my bars but without a longer stem no way. In fact, even with the bars upright I need more length. The bigger frame would help of course but then I would have the bars slammed down to get them below my saddle so again I would still be too upright. I set my saddles at 85 to 86cm depending on crank length and shoes. This seat to BB height came form a triathlon fit clinic several decades ago and works great for me from MTB to CX to Road.

Just as a reference point;

Weighing in at a svelte 29 pounds as equipped and ready to roll in the left corner, racks, fenders, tools, tube, CO2 inflator, lights, the do anything darn good champion of the world.

Surly CC 54cm:
Saddle set at 85.5cm
Standover on 700c 32MM tires is 30.5 to center of TT
TT length is 22 inches (100mm stem)*
ST length is C/C 20.75 inches



Weighing in at a gentlemanly 37 pounds as equipped and ready to rock in the right corner, the English, uh, "Racer" challenger.

Raleigh Sports 21:
Saddle height set to 85cm
Standover on 1&3/8 tires is 30 inches to center of TT
TT length is 22 inches (35mm standard stem)*
ST length is C/C is 20.0 inches




*I have always considered TT length the greatest determinate of frame size and fit. Right or wrong.

I have ridden the 23 inch frame and it feels like a tub, just feels really big and well, there is not much standover. I guess I have become accustomed to CX bikes with a high BB and low TT. Oh well. Wish they came in a 22 inch seat tube. Yeah, I am being too particular .

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Old 04-11-16, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain

So you are saying brake levers in the 60s and back were solid steel? I do not seem to recall this on my former 3 speed. Interesting.

J
My 60s Raleigh really is "All Steel" metal-wise, which was the selling point and labelled in the frame. The levers are chrome plated steel. (Hey wait just a minute! Is chrome plating "steel"?)

Anyway, I've heard the levers were of lower quality in the 70s, but I don't know if they were aluminum.

I put a period-correct but aluminum twist grip shift on it this weekend and feel a bit guilty.
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Old 04-12-16, 05:41 AM
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When I set up my upright 3 speeds, the most important thing for me is the balance of weight forward on the handlebars (seat to bars). On a 21" frame, there isn't enough height adjustment in the stem for the most efficient leg travel, so I sacrifice some seat to pedal length for upper body comfort. I loose some efficiency with this, but energy efficiency on an upright 3 speed is a bit like fuel efficiency on a pickup truck. In the past, I have used a 10" Sunlite stem with a shim made from lead chimney flashing to fit the smaller Raleigh handlebars, but I don't bother with this anymore because the efficiency gain isn't enough to justify the ugly stem and custom cables. Anyway you slice it, climbing a steep hill on a 35lb upright bike with push pedals is a bear, so I enjoy these bikes for what they are. I glide around flatter landscapes at modest speeds and take in the countryside.
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Old 04-12-16, 08:56 AM
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The "all steel" motto was a selling point back to the early years, when bikes might employ brass, cast iron, or wood parts. By the '60s, it was a losing battle against ever-improving aluminum alloys.

In fact, the 1940s-50s Raleigh 3 and 4 speeds employed many "alternative" materials. My 1958 Sports has "stainless" steel rims (well not as stainless as they might have claimed) and my 1947 Dawn has stainless "R" stamped spokes (these really did stay shiny). I also have owned 50s era 3 speeds with aluminum alloy Sturmey hubs (prone to crack at the spoke holes). This is the sort of stuff from the 40s-50s that keeps Raleigh collecting interesting.

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Old 04-12-16, 10:38 AM
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I "adopted" "Miss Molly" a likely 1972 Raleigh Twenty in almost new all original condition. Woman bought it from her neighbor whose husband had passed away. He took it in their RV and rode it around while traveling. She replaced the brake pads, installed Schwalbe 20" x 1.5 tires (406 - smaller 20" wheels), repacked the lower headset and front wheel hub. She bought a cotter press but could not get the cotters out, so she wanted to sell it. There was a torn up sticker on it from "Dicks" bicycle shop in Vancouver, WA, which no longer exists, so it's a local bike.

Chainring chrome is spotless with no rust or wear on the teeth, and bottom bracket spindle & races are pristine, however there was a ball bearing "half" inside - the other half fell out when she was working on the bike. Never knew ball bearings could break in half. She had dripped Tri-flo down the seat tube to get some sort of lubrication into the bottom bracket.

It definitely needs new cables, but I really want to keep the housings because they are like new. Brakes will be alright, but with the shifter I'll either have to use JB Weld or use a clamp on end. I wish I could get some lube in there, but can't, so ...


"Miss Molly" R20 by velocivixen, on Flickr

R20 Chainwheel by velocivixen, on Flickr

R20 Bottom Bracket Spindle by velocivixen, on Flickr

Bearing Race Fixed Cup by velocivixen, on Flickr
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Old 04-12-16, 11:43 AM
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Wow...that thing's beautiful.
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Old 04-12-16, 11:51 AM
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@arex - Thanks. I'm about to repack the bottom bracket, then recable the brakes. I'll drip Tri-flo down the housings for lubrication. I have Bleche-White for whitewall tires that I can use to just lightly clean the outer housings.
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Old 04-12-16, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
@arex - Thanks. I'm about to repack the bottom bracket, then recable the brakes. I'll drip Tri-flo down the housings for lubrication. I have Bleche-White for whitewall tires that I can use to just lightly clean the outer housings.
Let me know when you put the drive-side crank on, what the clearance between the base of the crank and the surface of the cup is. I'm still fighting with mine binding up when the cotter is pressed in.
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Old 04-12-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by CuttersRidge
Rod Brake Raleighs from an Antique dealer in Kansas City; I don't think they know what they have!

An antique dealer just my ship these it seems or there was Velo Plus or someone Francophile was mentioning in KC. Only $25 and a man and woman's though the dealer calls them boy's and girl's, I tend to think they are mistaken; 3 speeds or if applicable, single speed roadsters can appear small.

The slope of the fork and headtube; I believe Raleigh did come out with some rod brakes in the '60s or '70s but generally, this means they are probably pretty old bikes. It might be a hassle too to maintain rod brakes, I don't know.

https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bid/5504113840.html
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bid/5506785545.html
Those are screaming deals!
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