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Touring Wheels - Question about Hubs & Rims

Old 03-27-13, 07:12 PM
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Touring Wheels - Question about Hubs & Rims

I'm building a medium duty touring bike for a week long trip through Wisconsin this summer - as well as some other trips down the road - and I already have a set of wheels but I thought I'd ask about them to see if they sound like they should be fine.

The front wheel was built for my previous bike with a SRAM dynamo hub and a narrower rim, but is a 36 spoke wheel with heavier duty spokes.

The rear is a road wheel I bought with 36 heavier spokes as well. With a shimano hub.

I'll be running these with 700x32c tires if it matters. And I'm 180lbs too. Frame is steel if that matters at all either.

Should I think about getting these laced stronger? Maybe buying new rims? Or should they be OK you think? I do plan on having front and rear panniers.

Thanks!
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Old 03-27-13, 08:42 PM
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You'll be fine unless a) the wheels are out of true right now and b) you're planning to pack a sh$t load of gear. To be safe you could always take your wheels to your lbs and have them check the spoke tension or learn to do it yourself.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:55 PM
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They're trued well right now and I can do OK field truing but I'd prefer to never have to! hah
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Old 03-27-13, 09:07 PM
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Sounds like the wheels are great for what you want to do, especially if you'll be travelling with less then 35 pounds of gear. Like Niknak said just make sure the spokes are properly tensioned and not just trued.

The only maybe issue is the spokes themselves. Heavy duty spokes is misnomer, actually double butted spokes work better even though their not thick and lighter in weight. The thinner section of a double butted spoke stretches just a little when the wheel is subject to stress of rolling down the road with weight, the more weight the more stress, a spoke that stretches a bit while doing that will result in less stress on the rim and the spoke holes preventing rim cracks usually around the spoke hole; and the stretch provides less stress to the elbow of the spoke resulting in fewer broken spokes. I would look into DT Alpine III spokes, their actually triple butted with thicker butts then then their double butted DT Competition spokes which makes them more suited for heavy loads. If you don't have severe money crunch going on I would have the rims rebuilt with the Alpine III just to be safe.

Keep the hubs just make sure their lubricated or have had the sealed bearings checked to make sure they don't need to be replaced.

Tires are another critical factor when touring due to flats. Schwalbe Marathon Plus are probably the best touring tire on the market, a bit heavy but your carrying baggage anyway so the weight won't be a big deal. Make sure too you carry a spare tire like the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS382 folding tire, it's not as heavy duty as the Marathon Plus but it will get you to a bike shop and it folds really compact. Don't forget some spare tubes too.

If the Schwalbe tire thing is a no go for you because you have tires you want to use then look into getting a set of Panaracer FlatAway tire liners and install those. Those liners are a lot tougher then Mt Tuffy and weigh considerably less.

If you haven't purchase the tires yet but the Schwalbs seem too expensive for you then get a set of Vittoria Randonneur Touring tires and use the liners in those.

Flats are a huge pain when touring especially on the rear, you have to remove you panniers and maybe fender if have them to get the rear tire off. A big deal.
[h=2][/h]

Last edited by rekmeyata; 03-27-13 at 09:18 PM. Reason: HS
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Old 03-27-13, 10:51 PM
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Flats are a huge pain when touring especially on the rear, you have to remove you panniers and maybe fender if have them to get the rear tire off. A big deal.
I like to run with a little lighter tire such as 28 or 32 mm Continental Ultragatorskins or the plan Schwalbe Marathon. I don't consider a flat tire to be a big deal. It takes about 30 seconds to take my front and rear panniers off the bike and maybe 15 minutes to replace the tube and get everything ready to go. I'm willing to fix a few more flats than ride with heavy tires or liners. On one 3700 mile tour my wife and I had 13 flats between our 2 bikes. We were fully loaded and using 28 mm Ultragatorskins, my favorite tire.

The only time I really minded changing a tire was when my wife had a puncture right after riding down a farm road behind a flock of sheep. It is amazing how much sheep manure tires and fenders can pick up. In retrospect, it actually turned out to be funny, and it makes a good story.

Heck, sometimes flat tires (Schwalbe 32 mm) can be a good thing. This one occurred right in front of a French bakery.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-27-13 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 03-27-13, 11:52 PM
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just have reserve funds to replace things that break.


i've found by releasing the Brakes , QR on cantilever is Releasing one end ..
then release the hub QR, before laying the bike over, on the left pannier..
you can pull back the RD and remove the wheel.. without unpacking,,
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Old 03-28-13, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
just have reserve funds to replace things that break.


i've found by releasing the Brakes , QR on cantilever is Releasing one end ..
then release the hub QR, before laying the bike over, on the left pannier..
you can pull back the RD and remove the wheel.. without unpacking,,
If I'm using one of those side folding bipod kickstands, shouldn't it be fairly easy to change the rear tire?
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Old 03-28-13, 10:35 AM
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I used to own a BMW motor cycle, you had to remove the wheel, on the center-stand.

If I'm using one of those side folding bipod kickstands, shouldn't it be fairly easy to change the rear tire?
find out, do a rehearsal at home before you need to on the road..

leave the legs way long? Expect: rear weight bias will have the front wheel up in the air.
removing the rear wheel may not shift the balance that much..


As Doug demonstrates, Ortlieb Panniers come off rather easily.
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Old 03-28-13, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Slussman
If I'm using one of those side folding bipod kickstands, shouldn't it be fairly easy to change the rear tire?
The kickstand won't help a bit.

For touring bikes with fenders, you have to take the wheel off. Doug in #5 uses his panniers to protect frame finish from damage while repairing flat. Properly-installed Ortlieb panniers can be detached and reattached almost instantly with no effort.
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Old 03-28-13, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
I like to run with a little lighter tire such as 28 or 32 mm Continental Ultragatorskins or the plan Schwalbe Marathon. I don't consider a flat tire to be a big deal. It takes about 30 seconds to take my front and rear panniers off the bike and maybe 15 minutes to replace the tube and get everything ready to go. I'm willing to fix a few more flats than ride with heavy tires or liners. On one 3700 mile tour my wife and I had 13 flats between our 2 bikes. We were fully loaded and using 28 mm Ultragatorskins, my favorite tire.

The only time I really minded changing a tire was when my wife had a puncture right after riding down a farm road behind a flock of sheep. It is amazing how much sheep manure tires and fenders can pick up. In retrospect, it actually turned out to be funny, and it makes a good story.

Heck, sometimes flat tires (Schwalbe 32 mm) can be a good thing. This one occurred right in front of a French bakery.
Heavy liners? The Mr Tuffy weighs an average of 110 grams, the Panaracer FlatAway weighs 25 grams. I don't think 25 grams is going to weigh you down any at all. Why would anyone be worried about 25 grams when you're carrying 15,876 grams or more of just gear alone while touring! And that doesn't include the weight of the bike and rider!! And your stressing over the weight of the tires or liners?

A lot of people tour with heavy tires IF their doing a fully loaded touring ride. Obviously if your going lighter then fully loaded you're not going to need such a tire as the Schwalbe Marathon Plus series of tires. I do only medium weight (?) touring because I only carry about 30 to 35 pounds when I go, so find the Panaracer Pasela TG's more then able to handle the task and they only weigh 420 grams for my rear which is a 27" 1 1/4 tire wire bead (they don't make a folding in a 27"), and the front is a 1 1/8th and it weighs 340. The Schwalbe is 660 grams in my 1 1/4 size.

Most people use a thick tube when they tour which also will weigh around another 150 grams, I don't see the point in a thick tube if the tire is designed to keep out objects, so I use a ultralight racing tube that weighs 65 grms.

I'm pretty fast at fixing flats on my road bikes, I can do a rear flat in 5 minutes if I'm motivated and with folding tires, but I haven't practiced at all with the touring bike because I haven't had a flat with the panniers and fenders on, and steel wire beaded tires take longer because I can't get away with removing half a tire and pulling out the tube partially and fixing it and shoving it back in, you have to remove the entire tire if you don't want to risk damaging the tube, and wire beaded tires are stiff. So I figure loaded it would probably take at least 15 minutes and probably upwards of 30 minutes the first time I do it. Regardless I don't want the hassle, I want to keep moving.

I also don't first replace tubes when I flat. I can usually find the culprit within 30 seconds, and with glueless patches I can be patched and ready to go just as fast as I can change the tube, so I save the tube for when I can't repair the tube due to some reason. I don't see the point of putting in a new tube, rolling up the old one, go home, take the old tube out, fill it with air, check for the leak location, patch it, and then roll it back up again. To me that's just extra work that I can avoid.

Last edited by rekmeyata; 03-28-13 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 03-28-13, 11:20 PM
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For flats, I think I'll just bring a few extra tubes along with a patch kit so I can repair them when I have some downtime. Is that about what you guys usually do?

Regardless, I'm not too worried about how long it takes to repair something as long as I know I CAN repair it. It just gives me an excuse to pull out some brandy. =D
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Old 03-28-13, 11:33 PM
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I also don't first replace tubes when I flat. I can usually find the culprit within 30 seconds,
Finding the leak in the tube is the easy part. It is finding what caused the flat tire that takes the time. That is what I'm doing in the picture, checking the inside of the tire for the cause of the leak. That is hard to do if you are only pulling your tube half way out and patching it.

I always put the tire's logo in a position right above the valve stem. By looking at the position of the leak in the tube, I can then estimate the approximate location of the place where the object penetrated the tire. I can check to see if it is still there.

I prefer to patch my tubes in the evening when I'm in camp or a motel. Our tours are usually extended, and we carry 3 tubes, and sometimes a spare foldable tire. One tube in each bike's seat bag and one in the panniers. I've had to use the spare tire twice, so I think it is a good idea if you are uncertain about road conditions. Also if you have to ride through many large cities, it seems to up the probability of punctures.

We all have our systems and preferences. There is really no wrong way if it works. I just use what works for me.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-28-13 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 03-28-13, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
Finding the leak in the tube is the easy part. It is finding what caused the flat tire that takes the time. That is what I'm doing in the picture, checking the inside of the tire for the cause of the leak. That is hard to do if you are only pulling your tube half way out and patching it.

I always put the tire's logo in a position right above the valve stem. By looking at the position of the leak in the tube, I can then estimate the approximate location of the place where the object penetrated the tire. I can check to see if it is still there.

We all have our systems and preferences. There is really no wrong way if it works. I just use what works for me.
I've had very little problems find what caused the leak. And if you don't find the problem the new tube will flat shortly after installing it! This stuff isn't rocket science. If you have your tires label center lined up with the valve stem, which is what you're doing (we use to call it indexing the tube, not sure if they call it that anymore), then when you remove the tube you can find the leak in the tube, from there you know the proximity of where the offending object is in the tire. So you're doing it correctly.

Most of the time I can find the leak BEFORE I remove the tire off the rim! that's why I can remove only half the tire. If that fails and after checking where the leak was on the tube against the tire, then I can visually check for an obtrusion from the outside, if that fails then I take a small piece of cloth that I carry, and run around the tire trying to get the cloth to snag on the protruding object. I would say 9 times out of 10 I can find the leak before I take the tire off, then I mark the tire or use a letter or number on the tire to relocate the object when I get the tube out. Rarely do I have to run my cloth around the inside of the tire.
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Old 03-29-13, 06:46 AM
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I used a 32 spoke road wheel for years of commuting and a tour before I wore the rim out... I'm heavier than the OP and carried a full set of panniers on the front without problems... front wheels don't get the same workout as the rear and your 36 spoke dyno wheel sounds fine for what you are doing. Rather than buying new rims or spokes if you want to spend money you get the bearings repacked if they haven't been serviced in a while or there's any grinding/play, otherwise I'd just ride 'em.
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Old 03-29-13, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher
I used a 32 spoke road wheel for years of commuting and a tour before I wore the rim out... I'm heavier than the OP and carried a full set of panniers on the front without problems... front wheels don't get the same workout as the rear and your 36 spoke dyno wheel sounds fine for what you are doing. Rather than buying new rims or spokes if you want to spend money you get the bearings repacked if they haven't been serviced in a while or there's any grinding/play, otherwise I'd just ride 'em.
You are right, you can tour on 32 spokes rims, but it is not recommended due to the higher chance of the wheel or spokes failing vs 36. This is common knowledge. You can either tour using marginal equipment and expect failures or you can tour using better then needed and not have any issues. The choice is up to the rider how much risk they want to take out in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 03-29-13, 01:39 PM
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You don't say what rims, spokes, or hubs you have, so it's uh, impossible to respond other than with generalities which may have nothing to do with you.
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Old 04-04-13, 02:06 PM
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I would not recommend your wheels for a tour across the US, but for a one week tour if they are in good shape they should be fine, as long as you are not carring like 70 lbs of luggage and the roads are crappy.
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Old 04-04-13, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CoMotionRider
I would not recommend your wheels for a tour across the US, but for a one week tour if they are in good shape they should be fine, as long as you are not carring like 70 lbs of luggage and the roads are crappy.
I'm not trying to argue with you, but unless your doing credit card touring or ultralight minimalist touring even 32 spoke wheels on a weekend jaunt could land you in trouble far enough from home or an LBS to cause a big problem. Sure 32 spokes could hold up with just an extra 35 pounds, of course if the OP only weighs 145 pound then 35 pounds more is not a big deal, but if he's 180 pounds then 35 more could cause problems, but the iffy part is for how long could those 32 spoke wheels last? And do you want to take that risk out in the middle of nowhere? If a person touring can answer that by saying the risk is not an issue then proceed with 32 spokes, personally I would never do it and I use to take a lot of risks in my life and that's why both of my touring bikes have 40 spoke wheels.

When your touring on a bike you need to find ways to eliminate problems not create them; and problems will and do creep up all the time, but you can at least do things to make your bike more reliable and help ease worries.
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Old 04-04-13, 11:48 PM
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I disagree, respectfully, that you need 36 spoke wheels to tour with. A well built 32 spoke wheel could be a much more reliable wheel than a machine or average built 36 spoke wheel. I have both 32 and 36 spoke wheels on my touring bikes.

I have have crossed the U.S. (fully loaded), several other multi-week tours,and probably have another 10,000 miles of short trips and training rides on one set of 32 spoke wheels without an issue. I also used a light weight 28 mm tire exclusively on that bike. They only needed truing once, due to my carelessness. I finally replaced them this year with 36 spoke wheels, not because they were breaking spokes, but because the rim's braking surfaces were getting thin. As I was having new wheels built, I thought it would be a good idea to get 36 spoke wheels.

I would not hesitate to head out on any length trip on a good set 32 of spoke wheels; especially, if most of your travel will be on pavement.

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Old 04-05-13, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
You are right, you can tour on 32 spokes rims, but it is not recommended due to the higher chance of the wheel or spokes failing vs 36. This is common knowledge. You can either tour using marginal equipment and expect failures or you can tour using better then needed and not have any issues. The choice is up to the rider how much risk they want to take out in the middle of nowhere.
My 32 spoke wheel was fine for a 1000km of touring and thousands more of all-season commuting. A non-disc front wheel is intrinsically stronger since it's non-dished. I would never toss a fine 32 spoke front wheel just because of "common knowledge". I'd say the build quality of a wheel matters more in this case than the number of spokes. My touring bicycle now has a 36 hole dynohub up front just like the OP's, except it's a shimano hub. The sram ones are likely just as solid, hence my recommendation that the OP just ride the wheel already on the bike.
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Old 04-05-13, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher
My 32 spoke wheel was fine for a 1000km of touring and thousands more of all-season commuting. A non-disc front wheel is intrinsically stronger since it's non-dished. I would never toss a fine 32 spoke front wheel just because of "common knowledge". I'd say the build quality of a wheel matters more in this case than the number of spokes. My touring bicycle now has a 36 hole dynohub up front just like the OP's, except it's a shimano hub. The sram ones are likely just as solid, hence my recommendation that the OP just ride the wheel already on the bike.
That's fine you disagree that's what these forums are all about...opinions; but your going against the common knowledge of the touring industry and people who build touring wheels. Go to Peter White Cycles website and perhaps send him an email asking him to explain why 36 and 40 spoke wheels are better for touring. Custom and factory touring bike builders supply their bikes with at least 36 spokes and some 40. It's not about the build quality it's about reliability.

I carry 6 fiber fix spokes when I go touring and I use 40 spoke rims! I try to leave as little as possible to chance.

There's all kinds of things that can go wrong while touring, a simple fall could wipe out the rear derailleur leaving you with no gears, but even that can be prevented with a little device used by single track racers that takes the place of your quick release nut and will protect the derailleur. Is that event a common occurrence? no, but if it does happen you could be screwed if your on roads with steep climbs coming. But the derailleur protector is just cheap insurance.

But does that mean you have to use 36 or 40 spoke wheels, or get a derailleur protector? or whatever else, no. I read about a guy who toured across the USA from coast to coast on a Walmart bike! Would you do that? Probably not, and neither would I, but he did against the wishes of others.

Read this, scan down to spokes: https://www.myra-simon.com/myra/bike/wheels.html
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Old 04-05-13, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Read this, scan down to spokes: https://www.myra-simon.com/myra/bike/wheels.html
Thanks for the tips, but "As a general guide: for road riding, 32 spokes make a good durable wheel" and that's exactly my point. An extra 20lbs on a 32 spoke front wheel on a tour isn't really a big deal and unless one beats the piss out of equipment I don't really think 4 extra spokes is gonna be a deal breaker and this post has absolutely nothing to do with the OP's question, to which I answered "use the 36 spoke wheel" so I'm not exactly sure why you keep pontificating at me.

So unless "the common knowledge of the touring industry and people who build touring wheels" are paying you to bother me, please just stop. I like, ride and would recommend anyone touring build and use 36/36 spoke wheels because they are plenty strong and parts are available in North America for hubs, rims and spoke lengths.

Honestly if you're touring with 6 fiber-fix spokes maybe you should get one of these wheels I don't think they'd ever go out of true!
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Old 04-05-13, 09:21 PM
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[QUOTE=clasher;15475948
So unless "the common knowledge of the touring industry and people who build touring wheels" are paying you to bother me, please just stop. I like, ride and would recommend anyone touring build and use 36/36 spoke wheels because they are plenty strong and parts are available in North America for hubs, rims and spoke lengths.

[/QUOTE]

Hold your horses there big boy, it was just an opinion you didn't have to go act like like a jerk by asking me to stop bothering you. I'm not bothering you at all, this is like TV, if you don't like what you see change the freaking channel!!!!!
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Old 04-05-13, 10:07 PM
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The ideal touring wheel is one that is strong and cheap. A difference of 150-200 g per wheel is noise compared to a loaded bike and rider. No cyclist can avoid every single pothole or road hazard. A 36H wheel is always stronger than a 32H wheel (same type of rim, spokes, and nipples). A deep V rim is always stronger than a box rim. Due to the greater stiffness of a deep V rim, there is no need to specify butted spokes. 2.0 mm SS spokes are cheaper and provide additional lateral stiffness. Use at least 250 lbs of spoke tension.

There is no need to upgrade the rim if the current set is running true and properly stress-relieved. Run them into the ground, then upgrade with modern deep V.
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Old 04-06-13, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Hold your horses there big boy, it was just an opinion you didn't have to go act like like a jerk by asking me to stop bothering you. I'm not bothering you at all, this is like TV, if you don't like what you see change the freaking channel!!!!!
How is asking someone to stop bothering them acting like a jerk? You're the one that's been brow-beating and repeating the same thing over and over again at me about something off-topic. I'd suggest you change the channel if you don't like my opinions.
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