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Contemplating a Birch Folding Bike Purchase: Wise Investment or Regrettable Decision?

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Contemplating a Birch Folding Bike Purchase: Wise Investment or Regrettable Decision?

Old 02-11-24, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
FSIR: Thanks, I'll look.

Stems: There is most definitely rigid stems available, and I would even go so far as to say, most folders have them. Bike Friday has stayed with their skinny long steel stems and long steel seatposts. The seatpost, I think they actually want the aft flex as a semi-suspension, and it allows custom (standard size) top ends, like for suspension. Also, the skinnier frame seat tube gives a lot more room for the front derailleur to go way inward for a triple crank.

The stem, I think it relates to their folding strategy, as the stem comes out for folding. Otherwise, there's tons of more-rigid aftermarket stems available that they could use, copied from Dahon or Brompton designs after patents expired, I would imagine, that are very nice looking forged or swaged tapers, thick at the base, quite optimum structurally. BF is famous for customer accommodation, I'm sure if a customer desired a modern folding stem, they would provide a fork with a bit longer steering tube, sans external threading and headset nut, with internal threads, to mate with a modern stem and preload bolt.
The new Sw!ft could have, should have moved to these standard, modern, flexless handleposts. But alas that was not the path taken. An opportunity lost.
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Old 02-11-24, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
The new Sw!ft could have, should have moved to these standard, modern, flexless handleposts. But alas that was not the path taken. An opportunity lost.
Well I will say, modern tapered folder stems, that's one of the more quality parts on the whole bike, either an aluminum forging, or swaged chrome-moly steel tubing welded to a base and top clamp. The "over-center" folding joint on my older stem (similar to the frame hinge), is pretty straightforward, but takes a lot more effort to close and open. More modern designs that have a more sophisticated latch at the folding joint, much easier to operate, but tighter tolerance to get exactly right, parts are critical. Notably, Dahon had a recall on their first model stem of that type, and recalls are always expensive. So due to the quality required, that's a fairly expensive part, purchased in limited quantities aftermarket. It's easy to see why some smaller makers cut corners there. Dahon? The tooling cost is a big thing, but they produce those stems by the millions, so that is spread over vast quantities, thus the piece cost is primarily raw material, which is about the same as a cheap stem design. The miracles of mass production, for companies that can take advantage. Look at the C8 Corvette; Supercar performance, for (original cost) $60,000. The structure is incredibly sophisticated, taking maximum advantage of GM's economies of scale and technology, I think I saw squeeze-cast aluminum suspension towers, for example.
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Old 02-11-24, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
Please answer if Birdy adjustable stems flex.
If you allow it, i would like to express that a flexy stem is the smallest stem problem a birdy owner can have, since he is obligated to replace the stem latest after three years for the price of a mid range folding bike, otherwise R&M refuses any responsibility, no matter what happens, agreed upon purchase. The fork has a similar exchange policy.
If you are not the first owner, R&M even reserves not to supply spares for you.

Last edited by splithub; 02-11-24 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 02-11-24, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by splithub
If you allow it, i would like to express that a flexy stem is the smallest stem problem a birdy owner can have, since he is obligated to replace the stem latest after three years for the price of a mid range folding bike, otherwise R&M refuses any responsibility, no matter what happens, agreed upon purchase.
I looked for the above on the R&M website, did not see, and also no sign of Birdy. Looking online, seems the design was sold to another company?:

https://www.birdybicycle.com/pages/our-story

https://www.mightyvelo.com/warranty-...nd-conditions/
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Old 02-11-24, 05:18 AM
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Google birdy owners manual pdf, page 66. On the Pacific Cycles website the manual is available in chinese only

The fact cooks up every few years and leaves the folding bike community head shaking, it's time again i thought.
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Old 02-11-24, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by splithub
If you allow it, i would like to express that a flexy stem is the smallest stem problem a birdy owner can have, since he is obligated to replace the stem latest after three years for the price of a mid range folding bike, otherwise R&M refuses any responsibility, no matter what happens, agreed upon purchase. The fork has a similar exchange policy.
If you are not the first owner, R&M even reserves not to supply spares for you.
The Birdy sold in the EU is covered by a 2 year warranty like any product sold in the EU.

Does the Fsir Spin manufacturer provide a 2 year warranty, does he take any responsibility if something is broken on the Fsir Spin after 3 years? Is there a more than 3 tear warranty on the Fsir Spin? BTW, does the Fsir Spin manufacturer still exist?

No, Riese & Müller doesn't refuse to sell spares for not first owners.

The only problem for spare parts (and buying a new Birdy) is that Riese & Müller now sell mainly ebikes, most Riese &c Müller resellers sell only those ebikes and not the Birdy and aren't willing to order and sell Birdy spare parts. In Asia, there is not such problem, because Pacific Cycles is still selling the Birdy as one of its most popular bike and s^pare parts are easily available both from Pacific Cycles and from third parties.

Originally Posted by Duragrouch
I looked for the above on the R&M website, did not see, and also no sign of Birdy. Looking online, seems the design was sold to another company?:

https://www.birdybicycle.com/pages/our-story

https://www.mightyvelo.com/warranty-...nd-conditions/
No, Riese & Müller didn't sold the design of the Birdy.

What happened is that, when the founders of the Riese & Müller company created their company, it was a small start-up without manufacturing capabilities and without worldwide resellers network.

To have an affordable manufacturing of the Birdy frame and to be able to commercialize the Birdy outside Europe, they established a partnership with a Taiwanese company Pacific Cycles that manufacture the Birdy frame and is allowed to commercialize it in Asia but Riese & Müller is still the owner of the Birdy design, of all designs from Birdy 1 till Birdy 3, tube bases frames of hydrformed bases frames.

Pacific Cycles is not allowed to design new Birdy's or make design changes to the Birdy without agreement of Riese & Müller nor to sell it in Europe. Pacific Cycles can only sell modified or newly designed Birdy as limited series like the 3 series of titanium Birdy and the Birdy P40 designed for the 40th anniversary of Pacific Cycles.

For the US market, it seems that its also a Riese & Müller market but there are (were ?) resellers selling Pacific Cycles Birdy's (the Pacific Cycles Birdy's use the same frame as the Riese & Müller Birdy's but with different components and model names, the R20 Birdy with 20" wheels named on the Riese & Müller website page is actually a Pacific Cycles Birdy).

For the 3 years stem replacement, its a recommendation as part of the maintenance plan in the Birdy user manual, its not mandatory (the user manual says "Visual check, replace after a crash or 10.000 km or
3 years (whichever comes first)"). Its a usual recommendation for the safety of aluminum parts due to the well known aluminum material fatigue sensitivity. You find the same recommendation from Brompton for the aluminum handlebar and hinge clamps also made of aluminum.
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Old 02-11-24, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
For the 3 years stem replacement, its a recommendation as part of the maintenance plan in the Birdy user manual, its not mandatory (the user manual says "Visual check, replace after a crash or 10.000 km or
3 years (whichever comes first)"). Its a usual recommendation for the safety of aluminum parts due to the well known aluminum material fatigue sensitivity
Wow, sudden urge to talk about the FSIR, whataboutism, noise and redundancy.
I was clearly talking about the birdy, not comparing it to any other bike, just pointing out one inacceptable clear fact among many. Your statement is incorrect since the warranty disclaimer clearly says that damages caused by insufficient maintenance are not covered and the maintenance table doesn't leave any room for interpretations, it's explicit. Where do you read "recommendation" ?
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Old 02-11-24, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
The new Sw!ft could have, should have moved to these standard, modern, flexless handleposts. But alas that was not the path taken. An opportunity lost.
The Swift has the best handlebar post of any I have had. It is far more rigid than any I have owned of the long cantilever type. Ron, at this point, you're just another critic of a bike you have not even tried. And you're one with a fragile ego as well.
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Old 02-11-24, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by splithub
If you allow it, i would like to express that a flexy stem is the smallest stem problem a birdy owner can have, since he is obligated to replace the stem latest after three years for the price of a mid range folding bike, otherwise R&M refuses any responsibility, no matter what happens, agreed upon purchase. The fork has a similar exchange policy.
If you are not the first owner, R&M even reserves not to supply spares for you.
Interesting info. I was not aware of that. I had not seen that on their website, though it may be there.

I have not seen to date an adjustable stem that did not flex. On some folders, such as the Zizzo an adjustable stem is required for narrow fold. The Swift is a possible exception in that it can be made adjustable.
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Old 02-11-24, 07:09 AM
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Jipe,
Good, detailed info, thank you. Regarding:
For the 3 years stem replacement, its a recommendation as part of the maintenance plan in the Birdy user manual, its not mandatory (the user manual says "Visual check, replace after a crash or 10.000 km or
3 years (whichever comes first)"). Its a usual recommendation for the safety of aluminum parts due to the well known aluminum material fatigue sensitivity. You find the same recommendation from Brompton for the aluminum handlebar and hinge clamps also made of aluminum.
I'm aware of the increased fatigue sensitivity of aluminum versus steel, which is why, bike parts made in aluminum are typically sufficiently strong and stiff to have good fatigue life. My 30 year old cannondale frame, the very long seatpost on my Dahon, seatposts on other bikes, handlebars, caliper and v-brakes, etc, all of these aluminum parts are designed for very long life without structural failure. Same for the telescoping aluminum stems on my Dahons. To specify a 3 year consumer life on something like a bicycle, not warranty against defects, but expected service life, is ridiculous, in my opinion. This appears to me, either, the part is underdesigned, or this is a shot-across-the-bow by R&M to obviate any lawsuit in the event of a failure. I'm hardly a flag-waver for Dahon, I've experienced poor customer service from them, but at least they don't require replacement of their stems every 3 years.
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Old 02-11-24, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by splithub
Wow, sudden urge to talk about the FSIR, whataboutism, noise and redundancy.
I was clearly talking about the birdy, not comparing it to any other bike, just pointing out one inacceptable clear fact among many. Your statement is incorrect since the warranty disclaimer clearly says that damages caused by insufficient maintenance are not covered and the maintenance table doesn't leave any room for interpretations, it's explicit. Where do you read "recommendation" ?
Anybody with some engineering knowledge knows that aluminum is sensitive to fatigue.

As said, Brompton put the same kind of recommendation for the aluminum handlebar and aluminum hinge clamps of the Brompton.

As said also, there is no warranty anymore after 3 years, the warranty is 2 years, so also no warranty disclaimer for the recommendation of checking and replacing some parts after 3 years.

And it is a recommendation, because there are no legal obligations to do some maintenance on a bicycle (like it is the case for cars in the EU).

That said, there were no broken stems reported on the Birdy 3.

For my reference to the Fsir Spin, its because you compared the Fsir Spin with the Birdy. Again, does the manufacturer provide a 3 years or more warranty for the Fsir Spin? And does the manufacturer of the Fsir Spin still exit?
Does the Fsir Spin manufacturer provide an extensive list of recommended maintenance for the Fsir Spin like Riese & Müller does for the Birdy?
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Old 02-11-24, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
For my reference to the Fsir Spin, its because you compared the Fsir Spin with the Birdy. Again, does the manufacturer provide a 3 years or more warranty for the Fsir Spin? And does the manufacturer of the Fsir Spin still exit?
Does the Fsir Spin manufacturer provide an extensive list of recommended maintenance for the Fsir Spin like Riese & Müller does for the Birdy?
I compared physical dimensions after you stated that the FSIR is too small for Europeans, i corrected it. Since you seem not to be familiar with google:

Product | banian ? folding bicycle

I don't care about the things you asked. I bought the frame and built the bike myself, so i am the manufacturer and am responsible myself. I don't recommend my bikes to others, since people have different expectations and use cases. But if someone is wildly guessing about something he has obviously no idea of, i help out.
From the Birdy owners manual:
...we also provide you a ten year warranty against frame or swingarm breakage...
...only valid if...
...service record in the appendix is completed and all required inspections were performed... - exchange of stem after three years, 10000km or crash

So you don't even know the product you keep praising for being clever. Were did you read "recommendation" if even the manufacturer clearly invalidates the warranty if these parts are not replaced?
BTW, if owner doesn't bring it into authorized dealership for inspection at 400, 2000, 4000, 6000 and 8000km, which is not free service, warranty is also immediately invalid. Any other manufacturer with such a scheme? Very clever, not the bike, the way the customers keep paying.
​​​

Last edited by splithub; 02-11-24 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 02-12-24, 03:02 AM
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The saddle-distance value you gave for the Birdy 3 is wrong because you took the shortest one and not the factory one of Riese & Müller bikes (Pacific Cycles Birdy meant for Asiatic market are tuned differently, also for the front suspension).

You mix up warranties, this 10 years frame warranty is not legal, the manufacturer that provides an extra-legal warranty can put its own requirements for it. There are no such requirements for the legal 2 years warranty. Brompton for instance provides an extra-legal 7 year warranty on the frame.

Is your frame covered with a 10 year warranty (you are not the manufacturer of the frame) or any warranty?
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Old 02-12-24, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by splithub
...i found this:

https://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle/bike...-folding-bikes

..with actually measured 650mm reach of... ...a Birdy World Sport - the original design, with 710mm - with the non-standard handlepost with extra forward angle.
Where exactly i gave a wrong measure for the Birdy 3? I took what was available online. Are you so desperate that you stop sticking to facts?
Thank you for insisting to help me boil this topic up again, because the facts will remain and as we read, two people didn't know about the service life of the Birdy and more will get to know it, it's a great service!
Keep coming :-D

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Old 02-12-24, 06:41 AM
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The problem is that your knowledge of the Birdy 3 is only Google based, not real bike knowledge!

Look, the saddle-handlebar distance of a Riese & Müller Birdy 3 with a Sport stem as coming out of the factory is 74-75cm (factory setting mean handlebar on the stem long reach position, seatpost offset set to the rear, Pacific Cycles tune the handlebar and seatpost on the opposite positions).

One advantage of the Birdy 3 is that there is a huge range of adjustment so that the bike can fit for almost any rider.

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Old 02-12-24, 07:21 AM
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Understandable that you want to change topic, but we talk about the mandatory handlebar stem exchange on the Birdy after three years, 10000km or crash for the price of a mid range folder, and front fork/swingarm after 20000, for the price of an upper mid range folder. Does that ring any bell on you? Nice that you want to discuss other things, but first things first. While i cited official documentation and posted links to them, you still stick to your claim that it is only recommended. Is that all? Let's wait the specific answers of the distributors :-D

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Old 02-12-24, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by splithub
Understandable that you want to change topic, but we talk about the mandatory handlebar stem exchange on the Birdy after three years, 10000km or crash for the price of a mid range folder, and front fork/swingarm after 20000, for the price of an upper mid range folder.
A mid range folder for 190€ !? https://www.kemperfietsen.nl/birdy-s...ort-birdy-iii/

There is no mandatory stem change, its only needed if you want to benefit of the 10 years frame warranty offered by Riese & Müller. Almost no other bike benefit from such a long warranty on its frame (Brompton now gives 7 years).

What about the warranty on your Fsir Spin frame, you never answered that question, actually you do not answer question that you do not like.
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Old 02-12-24, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Riese & Müller is still the owner of the Birdy design, of all designs from Birdy 1 till Birdy 3, tube bases frames or hydroformed bases frames.
By what mechanism do they 'own' a design patented over 30 years ago?
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Old 02-12-24, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
What about support materials, workmanship hours, taxes? Never heard of? I see. Since a certified dealership has to do that, embedded in a D-Check inspection.
If you reach 10000km before 2 years, and you don't have it exchanged, your warranty is void, opposite of what you just claimed. Nice to see you modifying your claims, before it was recommendation without any influence on anything, now it influences the extended warranty? Interesting! Please don't stop, it's funny.

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Old 02-12-24, 09:19 PM
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Well, I'm glad I decided to pass on purchasing the Birch bike and grateful for those who advised against it; the latest Amazon review highlights alarming issues with frame welds coming apart Yikes!

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a Swift or perhaps a used Bike Friday.


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Old 02-12-24, 09:30 PM
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It didn't look right from the get-go, frankly.
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Old 02-12-24, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by univega.duder
Well, I'm glad I decided to pass on purchasing the Birch bike and grateful for those who advised against it; the latest Amazon review highlights alarming issues with frame welds coming apart Yikes!

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a Swift or perhaps a used Bike Friday.
That's what I'm saying! And not just a bad weld, that is tube cracking (parent metal). It just didn't look right structurally, and that's one of my superpowers. People often assume, "Well they wouldn't sell it if it will fall apart." If a fly-by-night company, overseas, u'betcha.

Try looking at the Zizzo models, they look to be a good deal.

There are tons of Bike Fridays on craigslist, at least in my city. Superb quality. But things to be aware of:
- All frames are not the same size, they typically have S, M, L, but also will make a bike custom to order. The seatposts and handbar stems also come in different lengths.
- All frames are not the same weight of construction, they have standard, light, and heavy.
- Most early BFs were triple crank and 7/8/9 speed cassette. Later on, they started offering ones with single crank chainring and Sachs/Sram 3x7/3x8, which have an internal gear hub (like a sturmey archer), combined with a cassette external gearing. Those are reasonably reliable, but the IGH requires annual maintenance if ridden often in rain, and if not, can go bad, and very few places service the internal hub, and I've heard, they are no longer made, so replacement parts can be an issue. TONS of those BFs for sale on craigslist here (very rainy winters) and it's "caveat emptor" (buyer beware). However, BF is famous for working with customers after the sale (at least original buyers that is true), for changes, at a price.
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Old 02-12-24, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
By what mechanism do they 'own' a design patented over 30 years ago?
Law is not my forte, but I think a company can trademark an aesthetic design, something that they claim is uniquely identifiable to their company, for longer than a patent. Not certain. Perhaps not. At the very least, the Birdy name.
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Old 02-12-24, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
The Swift has the best handlebar post of any I have had. It is far more rigid than any I have owned of the long cantilever type. Ron, at this point, you're just another critic of a bike you have not even tried. And you're one with a fragile ego as well.
Yes, of course. You haven't even seen an FSIR and in your post earlier (No. 48) you dismissed it saying you couldn't ride it. I don't have to have ridden bike X to tell you that bike Y is more than rigid enough, and that improvements to bike X are possible or desirable. In this case, the Swift could have been re-designed and improved to make use of non-proprietary, standard handleposts which are rigid, flexless. You are living in the past.

Fragile ego? I see we have another amateur internet psychologist in this channel. You're still sore cuz I called you out on your bit about only poor folk who can't afford a Brompton buy a Brompton clone.

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Old 02-12-24, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Yes, of course. You haven't even seen an FSIR and in your post earlier (No. 48) you dismissed it saying you couldn't ride it. I don't have to have ridden bike X to tell you that bike Y is more than rigid enough, and that improvements to bike X are possible or desirable. In this case, the Swift could have been re-designed and improved to make use of non-proprietary, standard handleposts which are rigid, flexless. You are living in the past.

Fragile ego? I see we have another amateur internet psychologist in this channel. You're still sore cuz I called you out on your bit about only poor folk who can't afford a Brompton buy a Brompton clone.
I could see I would be eating my knees on it, although looking at the FSIR folded, it seems a lot larger. Anyway, I was not criticizing the bike, It may great for you. You were bashing a bike you know nothing about. Why?
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