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I'm a track bike nerd wanting to get into road cycling. But still kind of a luddite

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I'm a track bike nerd wanting to get into road cycling. But still kind of a luddite

Old 04-18-24, 09:10 PM
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I'm a track bike nerd wanting to get into road cycling. But still kind of a luddite

I'm into classic mountain bikes (90's Klein) and steel track bikes (own a 3Rensho, Samson, Look, Viner, etc..)

Realized I just need to get road bike but it's hard for me to jump on the carbon sloping top tube train.

At the same time I don't want to deal with 80's downtube friction shifters.

I'm guessing 90s to 2000s as my sweet spot?

Would like to find something similar to late 90s road bike. Like Pantani's Bianchi, Cipo Saeco Cannondale, Trek 5900 OCLV etc...

Feel like this era of bikes is a good mix of classic and modern.

Horizontal top tube, shifting on the brake hood/levers, threadless headset, etc..

Old but not too old.

What are some good road bikes in this era that aren't super collectable/pricey?

This will be ridden, not displayed.

Like something that's quality but can be easily found on the used market?



Again, I'm not talking about this specific bike, I'm taking about the frame geometry and era of technology.




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Old 04-18-24, 09:25 PM
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Look for a circa 2000s Litespeed. It may not have the panache of a world tour bike, but they have a legacy of their own. No sloping top tube, STI shifters, and if you get lucky you might find one with the Shimano Flight Deck. The titanium frame will last you a lifetime and there's no proprietary pieces so you can replace the groupset if you want.

Mine's 25 years old and I still ride it.
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Old 04-18-24, 09:59 PM
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There is no right answer and like anything in bikes the quality level can run the whole Gambit from garbage to life changing just by the particular component selection and how a particular frame fits your individual proportions.

That being said: I built up a 19lb Raleigh R300 in size 58 that was simply an amazing ride with down tube shifters and an Ultegra 3x9. My son had a size 56 that I later outfitted with SRAM Red 2x10 that came to about 17lbs. All aluminum, everything. I regret selling both. To this day I still long for them.

I think I only spent ~$15 for each frame set. Hugely under rated, unknown, and unappreciated.

One thing to consider is there is a difference between feeling fast and being fast. A lot of bikes from that era will not accept nice tires. You may very well be stuck with 23 or 25mm of tire width and no more.

If you'd like the find the middle ground between a lot of 2000 metal road bikes and today's carbon wünderbikes, a 2010'-20-teens CX bike will be a solid choice for road raciness, nice supple tire widths, and modern fit/component selection at a reasonable price...May even be tubeless capable and have disc brakes if you are lucky.
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Old 04-18-24, 10:44 PM
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Funny, I don't think I ever met a tracky who wasn't a roadie first. Anyway, I think you're on the right track as there are plenty of steel rigs with 8 or 9 speed brifters from the 90's. The only catch is you can only find them on the used market, so you either pick from what's available or you wait.
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Old 04-19-24, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori

This will be ridden, not displayed.

So why care about how it looks?

But anyway, I would try to find something that can take at least modern 28c road tyres. Otherwise you will be compromising your future premium tyre choices. Limited tyre clearance is one of the major drawbacks of most older bikes.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:36 PM
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I think a Lemond from the late 90's/early 2000's would suit you well. Steel frame, horizontal top tube so classic styling and construction but with more modern stuff like integrated shifters, threadless fork, vertical rear dropouts, etc. They're also not particularly collectible so that keeps the values down. Just checked my local craigslist (San Francisco Bay Area) and I didn't see any for over a grand, most in the $400-$700 range.

I'm personally a long time Cannondale nerd so of course I'll recommend them. They're all aluminum back in the day and kept the horizontal top tube for a long time. Quality bikes, fairly abundant so fairly inexpensive. I will say though to be aware of frames made during the mid-90's as all but the touring models had a goofy rear dropout that was looooong and sometimes problematic. Last year I of that I think was '97. Anyways, they're easy to spot, the rear dropout sticks like an an inch a half out past where the chainstay and seatstays meet. What was problematic about them was the dropouts pointed forward and made it possible to pull the wheel out of the dropout when hard on the pedals. I've seen it happen on more than one. That damages the droupout and makes it more likely to happen again. They fixed the issue by simply going back to a conventional vertical dropout in the late 90's, so start your hunt there, if you choose.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Pantah
I think a Lemond from the late 90's/early 2000's would suit you well. Steel frame, horizontal top tube so classic styling and construction but with more modern stuff like integrated shifters, threadless fork, vertical rear dropouts, etc. They're also not particularly collectible so that keeps the values down. Just checked my local craigslist (San Francisco Bay Area) and I didn't see any for over a grand, most in the $400-$700 range.

I'm personally a long time Cannondale nerd so of course I'll recommend them. They're all aluminum back in the day and kept the horizontal top tube for a long time. Quality bikes, fairly abundant so fairly inexpensive. I will say though to be aware of frames made during the mid-90's as all but the touring models had a goofy rear dropout that was looooong and sometimes problematic. Last year I of that I think was '97. Anyways, they're easy to spot, the rear dropout sticks like an an inch a half out past where the chainstay and seatstays meet. What was problematic about them was the dropouts pointed forward and made it possible to pull the wheel out of the dropout when hard on the pedals. I've seen it happen on more than one. That damages the droupout and makes it more likely to happen again. They fixed the issue by simply going back to a conventional vertical dropout in the late 90's, so start your hunt there, if you choose.
Thanks, appreciate it.

Don't even look up prices for a 90's Cannondale Track frame go for now....like $2500+ It's crazy but the CDale track frame geo is just iconic.

How is the aluminum on the late 90's Cannondale? I know that was kind of the first decade of fat tube thin wall aluminum with Cannondale and Klein.

Curious if you've heard any issues with stress, cracks, etc.. for the fact they're 25 years old now.

I was thinking of maybe a Klein too. I've had a few of their mountain bikes.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
So why care about how it looks?

But anyway, I would try to find something that can take at least modern 28c road tyres. Otherwise you will be compromising your future premium tyre choices. Limited tyre clearance is one of the major drawbacks of most older bikes.
Just because the bike isn't hanging on the wall as an art piece doesn't mean you automatically won't care about the looks.

I just personally prefer a horizontal top tube. Trying to find that era where the bikes still had horizontal top tubes but modern features (no downtube friction shifting, threadless headset, etc..)
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Old 04-19-24, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MidTNBrad
Look for a circa 2000s Litespeed. It may not have the panache of a world tour bike, but they have a legacy of their own. No sloping top tube, STI shifters, and if you get lucky you might find one with the Shimano Flight Deck. The titanium frame will last you a lifetime and there's no proprietary pieces so you can replace the groupset if you want.

Mine's 25 years old and I still ride it.
Forgot about Litespeeds! Such a classic frame.

Remember when REI started carrying them in the 90s and I was just drooling over them.
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Old 04-19-24, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori
Thanks, appreciate it.

Don't even look up prices for a 90's Cannondale Track frame go for now....like $2500+ It's crazy but the CDale track frame geo is just iconic.

How is the aluminum on the late 90's Cannondale? I know that was kind of the first decade of fat tube thin wall aluminum with Cannondale and Klein.

Curious if you've heard any issues with stress, cracks, etc.. for the fact they're 25 years old now.


I was thinking of maybe a Klein too. I've had a few of their mountain bikes.
In a 1997 fatigue test of 12 high-end racing bike frames, sponsored by the German magazine Tour, the only frames that didn't fail were Trek's OCLV carbon frame and two aluminum frames, a Principia and a Cannondale. (All the steel and titanium frames failed.)

The report noted that at least some of the failures among the frames (including a Klein) likely could have been prevented with better design work and QC control. Anyway, the percentages of frame failures are very low regardless of the material used.
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Old 04-19-24, 07:34 PM
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Very Late 90s and 2000s is a sweet spot for, all the building materials. Really, 'Brand' is not important, many great bikes out there, a lot depends on your personal taste and, of course, what geometry you might wish/need.
Patience and Craigslist will have you finding something - depending on where you live.
You'll need some knowledge about bikes, and the good stuff. What you don;t know, you can search and ask here.
Things I would avoid:
1. Square Taper - is still available, but in better bikes, it's for the 'Vintage' crowd.
2. I would also avoid anything using ISIS, OCTALINK or the Campy equivalent (name escapes me...). They were ok, but became problematic with extended use... Stay with any of the Modern crankset/BB combos which have the Crank spindle attached to the Drive side Crank - mostly bulletproof and great shifting.
3. 9 Speed was good, But 10 spd is awesome good, 1st gearing which could handle shifting under load an 'expected' good result. 10 spd also has the greatest variety of stuff available, especially gearing combinations (chainrings options and a vast range of cassettes).
4. Late 90's and newer should all be 'Threadless' stem, although the old school Quill Stem might sneak in... I would avoid Quill Stem bikes and any with 1" headtubes.
5. If you're a real 'trackie', you would know 'sewups/tubular' - avoid... stay with clincher wheels. Tubular are still common to very recent times, for racing, but they are finally having the nails put in their coffin (maybe...)
6. Wheels, complicated, some good, some not so good. Best to ask specifics here when you have some for consideration.
Good Luck, happy tire kicking ! Bike shopping is super great fun!
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 04-19-24, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
In a 1997 fatigue test of 12 high-end racing bike frames, sponsored by the German magazine Tour, the only frames that didn't fail were Trek's OCLV carbon frame and two aluminum frames, a Principia and a Cannondale. (All the steel and titanium frames failed.)

The report noted that at least some of the failures among the frames (including a Klein) likely could have been prevented with better design work and QC control. Anyway, the percentages of frame failures are very low regardless of the material used.
I always feel like the European magazines have the best comparison tests.

I was thinking more about an older aluminum road bike being used today. I've heard of a few stories of 90's era aluminum or carbon bikes have catastrophic failures due to 20 years of fatigue. Or with a carbon bike, some of the early tech resulting in failures due to bonding/layers/glue issues over time.

I have an old HED rear disc and the carbon weave and finishing on it looks like it was made in someone's garage.
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Old 04-19-24, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
Very Late 90s and 2000s is a sweet spot for, all the building materials. Really, 'Brand' is not important, many great bikes out there, a lot depends on your personal taste and, of course, what geometry you might wish/need.
Patience and Craigslist will have you finding something - depending on where you live.
You'll need some knowledge about bikes, and the good stuff. What you don;t know, you can search and ask here.
Things I would avoid:
1. Square Taper - is still available, but in better bikes, it's for the 'Vintage' crowd.
2. I would also avoid anything using ISIS, OCTALINK or the Campy equivalent (name escapes me...). They were ok, but became problematic with extended use... Stay with any of the Modern crankset/BB combos which have the Crank spindle attached to the Drive side Crank - mostly bulletproof and great shifting.
3. 9 Speed was good, But 10 spd is awesome good, 1st gearing which could handle shifting under load an 'expected' good result. 10 spd also has the greatest variety of stuff available, especially gearing combinations (chainrings options and a vast range of cassettes).
4. Late 90's and newer should all be 'Threadless' stem, although the old school Quill Stem might sneak in... I would avoid Quill Stem bikes and any with 1" headtubes.
5. If you're a real 'trackie', you would know 'sewups/tubular' - avoid... stay with clincher wheels. Tubular are still common to very recent times, for racing, but they are finally having the nails put in their coffin (maybe...)
6. Wheels, complicated, some good, some not so good. Best to ask specifics here when you have some for consideration.
Good Luck, happy tire kicking ! Bike shopping is super great fun!
Ride On
Yuri
Thank you!!!!

This is exactly what I was looking for.

Feel like there is always some new innovation in the bike world for a few years and then you never hear about it again. Like the Shimano Bio-Space oval chainrings (which I'm now noticing people are making oval rings again). Your info is super helpful.

I do actually have a set of tubular wheels running sew-ups. Been riding them off and on for 10 years but mainly short rides. Kind of a pain to set up but a very comfortable ride. I definitely pay attention when shopping for used stuff though, lots of vintage tubular out there.

All of my track bikes run square taper Sugino 75s and Sugino loose ball BB. Not too worried about changing to newer tech. Just not excited about buying more tools.

Thanks again, so much helpful info!
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Old 04-20-24, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori
I do actually have a set of tubular wheels running sew-ups. Been riding them off and on for 10 years but mainly short rides. Kind of a pain to set up but a very comfortable ride. I definitely pay attention when shopping for used stuff though, lots of vintage tubular out there.

All of my track bikes run square taper Sugino 75s and Sugino loose ball BB. Not too worried about changing to newer tech. Just not excited about buying more tools.
i also have a few old road bikes running tubulars (I prefer nice fat silk ones). Really great riding tires! If you want a comparable ride with clinchers, look at Herse and Grand Bois tires in widths from 28-32 mm. And that said, one of the problems with bikes from the 90s and oughts is that they can’t accept wide tires. So you may find that a bike from the 80s may actually serve you better than a « newer » one. Steel frames can easily be cold set to accept 130 mm wide wheels and thus ten speed csssettes.

just another data point for your consideration!
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Old 04-20-24, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori
Thanks, appreciate it.

Don't even look up prices for a 90's Cannondale Track frame go for now....like $2500+ It's crazy but the CDale track frame geo is just iconic.

How is the aluminum on the late 90's Cannondale? I know that was kind of the first decade of fat tube thin wall aluminum with Cannondale and Klein.

Curious if you've heard any issues with stress, cracks, etc.. for the fact they're 25 years old now.

I was thinking of maybe a Klein too. I've had a few of their mountain bikes.
I've had a few late 90's Cannondale road bikes and they've all been excellent. Some have been abused hard, as in crashed and dented pretty severely, but have yet to encounter a failure or crack of any sort.

I'm a Klein fan too so I've had a few. Two of my road bikes are a 1991 Quantum and a 1995 Quantum II. The latter is a very recent purchase that I've put no miles on yet as it's completely apart for an overhaul (sitting for 15 years) so no review yet. Build quality is high based on initial inspection. The 1991 Quantum has been my primary ride for a couple of years now. Always worked fine and I enjoy the ride despite it being a tad stiffer than a steel frame. The fork steerer recently broke but that has entirely to do with a different stem than original and not being inserted far enough, nothing about the craftsmanship is to blame. Build quality is top notch. I know that's a bit older than you're aiming, just using it as a reference point for build quality.
I did have a 2001 Adept Comp full suspension. Bought it in rough shape, ridden hard and put away wet, but no structural damage to the frame.
Bottom line, I find Klein to be high quality and many who own them feel the same. My two Quantums are definitely forever bikes.

Kleins can fetch a premium but really only the ones with their famous linear fade paint jobs. If you can find one with a more traditional single color paint job, you can get them for about the same as a Cannondale of the same era.
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Old 04-21-24, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori
I... Cipo Saeco Cannondale, ...
You are on the right track. A CAAD4 or CAAD5 should work. He is my 2000 CAAD4:



Cannondale made the switch from a 1" to a 1-1/8" head tube and fork steerer for MY 2001. Mine being a 2000, I got the former, which requires a shim to use a modern stem, so I agree with cyclezen that it would be preferable to get a 1-1/8" one, but many sellers do not have that information.

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Old 04-22-24, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Cannondale supposedly made the switch from a 1" to a 1-1/8" head tube and fork steerer in 2001. Mine must have been an earlier example because I got the former, which requires a shim to use a modern stem, so I agree with cyclezen that it would be preferable to get a 1-1/8" one, but many sellers do not have that information.
For what it's worth, I've had a 1999 R4000 and a 2000 R300 and both were 1 inch threaded.

Additionally, don't be afraid of 1 inch steerers. 1" threadless forks can still be readily found online if you want to convert from threaded and same with stems and headsets. FSA still produces a brand new 1" threadless headset for about 40 bucks. As for stems, I haven't exactly looked for brand new so I don't know if new is still an option but used certainly is, primarily on ebay.
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Old 04-22-24, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Pantah
For what it's worth, I've had a 1999 R4000 and a 2000 R300 and both were 1 inch threaded.
The CF fork in my CAAD4 has a 1" threadless alloy steerer, made by TIME for Cannondale ...

Originally Posted by Pantah
Additionally, don't be afraid of 1 inch steerers. 1" threadless forks can still be readily found online if you want to convert from threaded and same with stems and headsets. FSA still produces a brand new 1" threadless headset for about 40 bucks.
... so at least I did not have to deal with a threaded to threadless conversion, which would have ruined the sweet color scheme. As for replacement forks, I have read complaints that CF forks with a 1" CF steerer is not sturdy enough for confident handling.

Originally Posted by Pantah
As for stems, I haven't exactly looked for brand new so I don't know if new is still an option but used certainly is, primarily on ebay.
I did not find any stem that would fit a 1" threadless steerer and a more contemporary 31.8 mm handlebar, which was why I had to use a shim.
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Old 04-23-24, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
... so at least I did not have to deal with a threaded to threadless conversion, which would have ruined the sweet color scheme. As for replacement forks, I have read complaints that CF forks with a 1" CF steerer is not sturdy enough for confident handling.
I've actually got the original color matched fork for my Klein Quantum out being converted from threaded to threadless, which allows me to keep the sweet original paint scheme.,
Good to know about the 1" carbon forks.


Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
I did not find any stem that would fit a 1" threadless steerer and a more contemporary 31.8 mm handlebar, which was why I had to use a shim.
That is something I hadn't thought about and none probably exist. However, if you run bars from the late 90's or early 2000's, those will be 26.0 or 25.4 and 1" threadless stems for that clamp size do exist.
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Old 04-23-24, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori
own a 3Rensho, Samson, Look, Viner, etc...[snip]...Realized I just need to get road bike but it's hard for me to jump on the carbon sloping top tube train.
Why not just ride your 3Rensho, Samson, Look, Viner, etc on the road? Problem solved!
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Old 04-23-24, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
Why not just ride your 3Rensho, Samson, Look, Viner, etc on the road? Problem solved!
Track bikes generally have no brakes?
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Old 04-23-24, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
Why not just ride your 3Rensho, Samson, Look, Viner, etc on the road? Problem solved!
Because I'm hitting my mid-40s and live in hilly Seattle.

Knees need some rest.
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Old 04-23-24, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Track bikes generally have no brakes?
That's also an issue. My Samson and 3Rensho aren't drilled for even front brakes. My Look does have a front brake



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Old 04-23-24, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Regulatori



Saw one of these today when I came up to a guy stopped at a light. SWEET bike!!!!

You might also take a look at the CAAD series of bikes.

Last edited by stevel610; 04-23-24 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 04-23-24, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Track bikes generally have no brakes?
That's their charm! Definitely separates the men from the boys when you start mixing it up with traffic on a genuine fixie.
I will admit: You probably don't wanna bring the track bike on a group ride. Not that the experienced fixie rider can't deal with it; it's that most other (geared) roadies can't deal with a fixie in their midst. Throws off their "rhythm" (...and I'm being charitible with that word)

Originally Posted by Regulatori
Because I'm hitting my mid-40s and live in hilly Seattle.

Knees need some rest.
Oh, yeah, I totally get that! ::::
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