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Small bike?

Old 04-13-24, 07:35 PM
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Small bike?

Hi,
I am looking to buy a new bike that is
~ lightweight (to put on a bike rack)
~ easy to maneuver
​​​Maybe because I am heavy (or because I am 71), my local bike shop guy is discouraging me from considering those cute bikes with 20" wheels (e.g. Zizzo Urbano) -- in favour of a Norco Scene step-thru. He thinks he could swap the 26" wheels for 24" wheels (to accommodate my short legs) because the bike has disc brakes. HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER DONE THAT?
PS I plan to build up the strength to get an electric bike at some point -- and transport it around on a bike rack.
Edit: I am 5 ft tall

Last edited by pmhlb; 04-13-24 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 04-13-24, 07:51 PM
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We have no idea how big or small you are but I would look at the Specialized Como SL or Vado SL which will get you electric, reasonably lightweight and full sized wheels. Add in a nice rack like the Thule Easyfold XT or EPOS you can wheel it up the rack and use the walk assist to help you so no need to lift.

I wouldn't generally recommend a 20" bike unless I was really really small like a child or was riding from my boat, plane, train or bus often and needed a folding bike. For daily riding it is not really as ideal and if you are a really heavy rider a folding bike usually won't be rated to hold higher weights and with a lot of the online brands and lower cost stuff it is even more of a gamble. If you need something special for you because you have a more unique body you could also talk with Lennard Zinn at Zinn cycles and he and his team can build you something out of titanium and even electric as well with the Bosch system (and potentially it is through Schwift/VPL who might also be able to get the lighter weight Bosch SX stuff).
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Old 04-13-24, 07:55 PM
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Just get yourself a cheap hybrid, full size aluminum or steel, and ride, ride, ride.

Latter on you will find the one ya want for sure...
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Old 04-13-24, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pmhlb
Hi,
I am looking to buy a new bike that is
~ lightweight (to put on a bike rack)
~ easy to maneuver
​​​Maybe because I am heavy (or because I am 71), my local bike shop guy is discouraging me from considering those cute bikes with 20" wheels (e.g. Zizzo Urbano) -- in favour of a Norco Scene step-thru. He thinks he could swap the 26" wheels for 24" wheels (to accommodate my short legs) because the bike has disc brakes. HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER DONE THAT?
PS I plan to build up the strength to get an electric bike at some point -- and transport it around on a bike rack.
Edit: I am 5 ft tall
Why not a 20" wheel step through electric bike?
The Folding and/or Electric bike section of this forum have a considerable cache of information on such things.
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Old 04-14-24, 11:57 AM
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If your local bicycle shop is willing to set up that arrangement (Norco Scene with 24" wheels) for you to try out, without a commitment, that would be a pretty accomodating shop, suggesting a good engineering solution, and I would consider trying it out that way.
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Old 04-14-24, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by pmhlb
Hi,
I am looking to buy a new bike that is
~ lightweight (to put on a bike rack)
~ easy to maneuver
​​​Maybe because I am heavy (or because I am 71), my local bike shop guy is discouraging me from considering those cute bikes with 20" wheels (e.g. Zizzo Urbano) -- in favour of a Norco Scene step-thru. He thinks he could swap the 26" wheels for 24" wheels (to accommodate my short legs) because the bike has disc brakes. HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER DONE THAT?
PS I plan to build up the strength to get an electric bike at some point -- and transport it around on a bike rack.
Edit: I am 5 ft tall
Go into the Folding Bikessection of the forum. There are all different kinds of folding bikes that you could purchase, from cheap bikes to roadie quality (believe it or not). And there's nothing wrong with the Zizzo Urbano. It's a decent quality, low-cost folder. Especially if you're not interested in spending a ton of money (personally, I'm a bit thrifty at times).

Now, swapping the wheels out from 26" to a 24" doesn't sound like the smartest thing to suggest in my opinion. The bottom bracket height will be lowered, and this will make pedal strike a very real possibility. The exception are bikes designed to accommodate multiple wheel sizes, but at 26" I highly doubt that's a consideration of this bike. It's also more than DOUBLE the cost of the Zizzo Urbano. Then a wheel swap will add additional cost. Unless you're getting a great deal, I'd pass. (Zizzo Urbano $399, and can be found on sale at different times. Least expensive Norco Scene is currently $799).

PS: The 8 speed Zizzo Liberte is on sale at Costco, and it's quite a nice folder. A few people in the Folding Bikes section have it, and all of them love it

Now, for a heavy rider, there's the Zizzo Forte, or the Origami Bull. The Zizzo Forte supports riders up to 300lbs, and the Origami Bull supports up to 360lbs. BOTH come with a rack and fenders. The Origami Bull also includes disc brakes and has 9 speeds instead of 7. BOTH have excellent customer service, and are located in the USA.
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Old 04-17-24, 09:13 AM
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Usually, it goes the other way: heavier/older people re-enter with an eBike and sometimes never go back to a regular bike.
I got into eBikes in a big way last year; it's just so easy to ride them. You can do as much or little exercise as you want. Be prepared not to get respect from others, though.
For your situation, I was going to recommend a Lectric XP Lite. It's the lightest folding eBike currently made in this price range. 20" wheels have nothing to do with age or weight, but everything to do with portability. It's still heavy though to load into a car at 46 lbs.
Only problem is that it is a single speed, so will not be very rideable without power, as it's geared for 15 mph. (can't climb hills at all)

I think if I were 5' tall, 71 and heavy, I would look for a lightweight conventional eBike and plan to spend some money on a trailer hitch-mounted rack for your car. The kind that supports the bike beneath the tires rather than hanging from the frame. With that style of rack, you won't have to lift it far.

On the other hand, if you're not planning road trips, eBikes really can extend your range. You might find yourself just riding everywhere locally.

Aventon Pace 500 in the regular size with step-through frame says it will fit riders down to 4'11" tall, and if you're not totally lazy nor going top speed all the time, you'll get 50 miles on a charge.
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Old 04-26-24, 01:29 PM
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maybe a small / extra small hybrid would be an option (similar to pictured above)
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Old 04-26-24, 04:59 PM
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Get a hitch receiver installed on your car and get a hitch mount tray type bike carrier. You will never regret the investtment.. After decades of using evry type of rack - roof top, trunk/hatch back, hanging, tray type, the hitch mount types are by far and away the most convenient and requre the least physical strength to use.
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Old 04-26-24, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pmhlb
Hi,
I am looking to buy a new bike that is
~ lightweight (to put on a bike rack)
~ easy to maneuver
​​​Maybe because I am heavy (or because I am 71), my local bike shop guy is discouraging me from considering those cute bikes with 20" wheels (e.g. Zizzo Urbano) -- in favour of a Norco Scene step-thru. He thinks he could swap the 26" wheels for 24" wheels (to accommodate my short legs) because the bike has disc brakes. HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER DONE THAT?
PS I plan to build up the strength to get an electric bike at some point -- and transport it around on a bike rack.
Edit: I am 5 ft tall
I got my wife a Specialized Sirrus 2.0 in XXS last summer. It’s not a bad size but it was still just a little too tall.



I swapped out the wheels to 26” and replaced a bunch of other parts to bring the weight down a little. With the rack, it weighs in at 24lb and fits her nicely.

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Old 05-04-24, 07:40 AM
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Going with 24 inch wheels is an interesting way to do this. What you could look at is non foldable 20 inch wheel adult bikes. In the US I know of the Velo orange Nutrino and the Kyoot bike. Bike Friday also offer build to size frames. The later is a break apart bike. Buy a bike that fits you. Don’t believe that small wheel bikes are not real bikes.
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Old 05-05-24, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
...

I wouldn't generally recommend a 20" bike unless I was really really small like a child or was riding from my boat, plane, train or bus often and needed a folding bike. For daily riding it is not really as ideal ...
You obviously don't know folding bikes.
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Old 05-05-24, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
You obviously don't know folding bikes.
Huh? I don't know folding bikes? Where did that come from? If you are going to extoll the virtues of a smaller wheel for daily travel in a situation I am not on multi-modal transportation it really isn't there a larger wheel rolls better and holds speed better. I understand yes you can ride a folding bike just about anywhere and there are companies like Brompton, Tern and others that make some great bikes but why would I get a bike that does something I don't need for my daily usage especially as the OP stated he was a larger person and just about every single folding bike I have looked at has a weight limit sometimes on the lower 200s and sometimes in the mid 200s.

I don't hate or misunderstand folding bikes I have sold them and worked on them for years. I fully understand their usage but also recommend heavily that people get the most practical bike for their riding and if you are not regularly on multi-modal transportation a smaller wheel folding bike doesn't make as much sense.
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Old 05-05-24, 10:49 AM
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Here is something I'd like to add to this discussion.It's about bicycle size as they relate to wheel size. The premise is that larger wheels lead to larger frames, more weight and less nimbleness in handling. Granted if the focus is on rolling over obstacles, bumps, potholes, higher speeds, the larger the diameter wheel, the better. Here the Grand Bi (Penny farthing) will be at an advantage. On the other hand it you have other criteria, you would prefer something else. In the use scenario of the original poster, I noted that weight (body and bicycle) and size are important. I wonder if anything larger than 24 inch wheels would be the best solution. The problem is the easy availability in North-America of a "best" option. Yes we can look at an XXS bike frame with smaller wheel replacements but this like putting smaller wheels an SUV. It won't make into a smaller car. As a comparison here is a picture of one of my non folding adult 20 inch wheel bike. Notice the difference between the other two bikes (theirs are e-bikes). The cyclists were both about my size 5'5''. Their tires are 700c. Notice the saddles and handle bar height are almost the same as well as the distance between the two. My solution works for me, at a higher cost. I wonder if others are not given more options just because the industry decided to limit the availability of wheel size options. BTW, yes I'm an advocate for smaller wheels and more size options.

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Old 05-05-24, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Huh? I don't know folding bikes? Where did that come from? If you are going to extoll the virtues of a smaller wheel for daily travel in a situation I am not on multi-modal transportation it really isn't there a larger wheel rolls better and holds speed better. I understand yes you can ride a folding bike just about anywhere and there are companies like Brompton, Tern and others that make some great bikes but why would I get a bike that does something I don't need for my daily usage especially as the OP stated he was a larger person and just about every single folding bike I have looked at has a weight limit sometimes on the lower 200s and sometimes in the mid 200s.

I don't hate or misunderstand folding bikes I have sold them and worked on them for years. I fully understand their usage but also recommend heavily that people get the most practical bike for their riding and if you are not regularly on multi-modal transportation a smaller wheel folding bike doesn't make as much sense.
Did you see the 2 bikes I suggested with weight limits of 300lbs & 360lbs? Even Dahon has multiple, though more expensive, folders with a 300lb weight capacity? The issue of "folders don't support heavy riders" is dead. Even the bike I'd contemplated importing (Java Fit) supports 300lb riders.
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Old 05-05-24, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by tds101
Did you see the 2 bikes I suggested with weight limits of 300lbs & 360lbs? Even Dahon has multiple, though more expensive, folders with a 300lb weight capacity? The issue of "folders don't support heavy riders" is dead. Even the bike I'd contemplated importing (Java Fit) supports 300lb riders.
I hadn't noticed your post as I was responding to someone else. However in my looks at various folding bikes in the past they have all generally been under 300lbs. It is excellent that there are now or maybe have been bikes that have been rated for higher weight limits. All for that but still the other points on a small wheel folding bike ring true.
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Old 05-05-24, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
I hadn't noticed your post as I was responding to someone else. However in my looks at various folding bikes in the past they have all generally been under 300lbs. It is excellent that there are now or maybe have been bikes that have been rated for higher weight limits. All for that but still the other points on a small wheel folding bike ring true.
There's making a point, and there's an opinion, but in the OP's case a smaller, light weight folder might work. They're easy to load in a car, work well for general riding, are cost efficient, are easy to store, and can be ridden in almost all the same terrain as a non-folding bicycle. I own 2 folders that actually ride as good as my full-sized bikes. The folding aspect to them is just an added bonus, even though I hardly ever fold them myself. We're suggesting a folder as another option, especially since the weight limit issue is (thankfully) moot nowadays.
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Old 05-05-24, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tds101
There's making a point, and there's an opinion, but in the OP's case a smaller, light weight folder might work. They're easy to load in a car, work well for general riding, are cost efficient, are easy to store, and can be ridden in almost all the same terrain as a non-folding bicycle. I own 2 folders that actually ride as good as my full-sized bikes. The folding aspect to them is just an added bonus, even though I hardly ever fold them myself. We're suggesting a folder as another option, especially since the weight limit issue is (thankfully) moot nowadays.
I wouldn't say cost efficient, as you have to add folding mechanisms which either add to the cost or lower the quality. Most smaller wheel folders cannot ride as well as a full size bike, a larger wheel is more efficient at covering more ground. They might be comfortable and they can ride well but to say they ride as well as a full sized bike is certainly also opinion but we know a larger wheel will hold speed better.

I am not anti folding bikes mind you I see there purpose but I don't see them as a good alternative to a full sized bike unless you truly need something that folds.
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Old 05-05-24, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jfouellette
Here is something I'd like to add to this discussion.It's about bicycle size as they relate to wheel size. The premise is that larger wheels lead to larger frames, more weight and less nimbleness in handling. Granted if the focus is on rolling over obstacles, bumps, potholes, higher speeds, the larger the diameter wheel, the better. Here the Grand Bi (Penny farthing) will be at an advantage. On the other hand it you have other criteria, you would prefer something else. In the use scenario of the original poster, I noted that weight (body and bicycle) and size are important. I wonder if anything larger than 24 inch wheels would be the best solution. The problem is the easy availability in North-America of a "best" option. Yes we can look at an XXS bike frame with smaller wheel replacements but this like putting smaller wheels an SUV. It won't make into a smaller car. As a comparison here is a picture of one of my non folding adult 20 inch wheel bike. Notice the difference between the other two bikes (theirs are e-bikes). The cyclists were both about my size 5'5''. Their tires are 700c. Notice the saddles and handle bar height are almost the same as well as the distance between the two. My solution works for me, at a higher cost. I wonder if others are not given more options just because the industry decided to limit the availability of wheel size options. BTW, yes I'm an advocate for smaller wheels and more size options.
One wheel size fits all was always hot garbage.
At a certain point, frame geometry goes wonky.
at around 5'6", 24-26" wheels are better.
About 5'2" and below, the 20" wheels become desirable.

20" wheels are actually fun and real maneuverable in urban settings, even if you don't fold.

On paper, the larger tires are ever so slightly more efficient over distance.
A. Most riders will never notice.
B. Most riders are not in a race.
C. Exercise the POINT of riding in the FIRST place (and transportation too)
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Old 05-05-24, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
One wheel size fits all was always hot garbage.
At a certain point, frame geometry goes wonky.
at around 5'6", 24-26" wheels are better.
About 5'2" and below, the 20" wheels become desirable.

20" wheels are actually fun and real maneuverable in urban settings, even if you don't fold.

On paper, the larger tires are ever so slightly more efficient over distance.
A. Most riders will never notice.
B. Most riders are not in a race.
C. Exercise the POINT of riding in the FIRST place (and transportation too)
Interesting. I have a folder with 24 inch tires. It feels a touch better than the 20 inch.
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Old 05-05-24, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I got my wife a Specialized Sirrus 2.0 in XXS last summer. It’s not a bad size but it was still just a little too tall.



I swapped out the wheels to 26” and replaced a bunch of other parts to bring the weight down a little. With the rack, it weighs in at 24lb and fits her nicely.

Although I am not a huge fan of disc brakes - not a hater though! - one nice thing is that it's easy to swap 700c wheels with 650b/27.5 or like you, 26 without messing with finding different reach rim brakes. The past two bikes (both, "gravel" bikes, one I built up, the other complete) I've brokered for my wife have 650b wheels. The framesets are "officially" designed for the 650b wheels to have larger tires so the circumference approximates a 700c wheel with a smaller tire. But I set them both up with the same tire width (~37mm) that are stock on the 700c versions, instead of what would be intended for the 650b versions (~45mm). It gives a couple cm more stand over for her which she appreciates, and the amount that pedal-ground clearance is reduced is meaningless for her, since she's a very conservative rider and since they're built with 165mm cranks.

I bought her a very nice Jamis Xenith 700c lightweight CF rim brake road frameset a few years ago, standard 700c wheels. It fits her, and she's comfortable because of a pretty slanty top tube, so she's happy with it. But some days I wonder if she'd be better off with a 650c road bike. I had a line on a 650c frameset at that time, but didn't want to mess with sourcing wheels and tires, especially since I already had decent extra wheels to use.

But I really like the easy options for 650b with discs and the universally available options for wheels and tires.
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Old 05-05-24, 11:48 PM
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OP, I'd generally recommend against 24" wheels and tires as the tire selection is very limited, it's the one drawback of the Helix folding bike that only comes that way. 20" wheels are more likely to provide a bike that is better proportioned for your height than 26" or 700c wheels. I now ride a 20" wheel folder and it's now my full-time bike, by choice. Even though only one frame size, they often fit a wide range of people well, because on many of them (like mine), the handlebar post (very long stem) and seat post are not parallel, they diverge in angle, so as you adjust both upward, the effective top tube length automatically increases. However, Bike Friday makes bikes in custom sizes and I think 3 standard sizes, I have seen used ones in "small" frame sizes on craigslist at big discount from new because there is a smaller market. Just be aware, many are equipped with Internal Gear Hubs (IGH), I'd stay away from one of those used, impossible to check inside condition on a used one. The Zizzo bikes as mentioned above are great deals brand new. So are Origami bikes.
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Old 05-07-24, 07:28 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
... I fully understand their usage ...
No, you don't. You only think you do.
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Old 05-07-24, 08:38 AM
  #24  
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Hey pmhlb, after a month and all these helpful replies, how about a follow-up from you?

Originally Posted by pmhlb
Hi,
I am looking to buy a new bike that is
~ lightweight (to put on a bike rack)
~ easy to maneuver
​​​Maybe because I am heavy (or because I am 71), my local bike shop guy is discouraging me from considering those cute bikes with 20" wheels (e.g. Zizzo Urbano) -- in favour of a Norco Scene step-thru. He thinks he could swap the 26" wheels for 24" wheels (to accommodate my short legs) because the bike has disc brakes. HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER DONE THAT?
PS I plan to build up the strength to get an electric bike at some point -- and transport it around on a bike rack.
Edit: I am 5 ft tall
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Old 05-07-24, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
No, you don't. You only think you do.
No I get them. I think people enjoy using them beyond their normal usage and that is fine but I do understand the reason and purpose for a folding bike. If there were a huge advantage to smaller wheels we would see mountain bikes still using 26" or smaller. Wider tires would not be as popular either as those create a larger tire. You don't see Specialized or Trek with folding bikes and I don't think at least in the U.S. Giant stop doing folding bikes. Most of the major manufacturers who make bikes don't also do folding. Not as a knock to folding bikes I wouldn't want to compete with Tern they make some really great bikes all learned from David Hon of Dahon, Brompton is super neat as well, Bike Friday and Birdy (totally want a belt drive Rohloff Birdy sadly R+M doesn't sell in the U.S. and I have heard Pacific can be hit or miss). However you would still think they would maybe make a more concerted effort to make something to compete with these folks even at some point in history but I cannot think of anyone aside from Giant who makes mostly full size non-folding bikes (not counting something like the GSD or HSD which have a folding handlepost) who also does folding bikes?
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