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3x11: Road bike for struggling climbers

wtherapywtherapy Posts: 36
edited October 2019 in Road general
Hi all,

Few months ago I've opened a discussion on this forum on how to build a 3x11 road bike I thought would help a lot on high grades (and long rides with high grades). As I have finalized it I wanted to share some photos (and blue prints) for anyone who might be interested.
This post is opposed to the current (insane) trend of moving to 1x12, 1x13 (Rotor), 1xN, so be warned from the start.
I used a very old Cinelli Zydeco (2011) bike of mine to try and experiment and came up with the result:

Crankset: Shimano FC-M780, original 3x10 system with rings 42/32/24, for which I have changed the small ring to 22, now I have: 42/32/22. This crank works fine with 11 speed chains, and uses 104/64 BCD and TA Specialities (France) offers a lot of options for rings with this BCD.

Front Derailleur: FD-T6000-H3 ( https://bike.shimano.com/en-SG/product/component/deore-t6000/FD-T6000-H3.html ), 22 teeth max range - sturdy trekking FD.
Add-on: Jtek Engineering Shiftmate 7 adaper that modifies the cable pull ratio of the road shifter to what is proper to the mtb/trekking derailleur (very important!)

Left shifter: Shimano 105 ST-5703 STI (road shifter).
All the rest are regular 11 speed road components.

Very hard to get your hand on a Shimano FC-M780 (had a lucky day on ebay), the original setup used Shimano Deore XT FC-M8000-3 Crankset 3x11 and a Shimano Deore XT FD-M8000-H front derailleur, but, in this case, the derailleur cable will move down your downtube and it'll look ugly (although it'd work equally well). Both needed the Jtek Engineering Shiftmate 7. But for this crank, the only setup for chainrings would be 40/30/22 (factory one) - I could still use 40/11 for a great ride.

Although the biggest gear is 42/11, for the FC-M780 you can still use a 44 or 46 teeth ring with the 104 BCD; but I find the 42/11 quite good for everyday use (and you can ride 40 kmh with it without pedaling too fast). I guess the biggest ring combination would be 46/34/24. For the 42/32/22 I am using a Shimano Ultegra 11-23 11 sp cassette, giving me a total of 21 speed different options. I wanted very much to have the last gear lower than 1.0.

Below is a "stepping" map for the 42/32/22 and 11-23:

Gear:
Crank: AutoG [3x11] - 42 32 22
Cassette: 11 sp [11 - 23] Shimano Ultegra Cassette CS-6800 (3 X 11)

Chainrings: 42 32 22
Sprockets: 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 23
Transitions: [5 -> 2] [9 -> 4]
Distinct ratios: 21

Chainring: _____________________0____0___0___0__0__0__1__1___1__1__1_1__1____1__2__2___2__2___2______2______2_______________________________

Speed (kmh): _____________________36___33__30__28_26_25_23_21__20_19_18___16___14_14_13__12_11__11_____10_____9_______________________________

Grade: _____________________0______1______2_______3______4______5______6______7______8_______9______v______v______v______v______v_______


and below a regular road map for a 50/34 paired with 11-32:

Gear:
Crank: Road [2x11] - 50 34
Cassette: 11 sp [11 - 32] Shimano (2 X 11)

Chainrings: 50 34
Sprockets: 11 12 13 14 16 18 20 22 25 28 32
Transitions: [5 -> 3]
Distinct ratios: 14

Chainring: __________0_____0____0___0______0_____0_____1_____1____1_____1____1______1______1________1_______________________________________

Speed (kmh): __________43____39___36__34_____29____26____23____20___18____16___14_____13_____11_______10______________________________________

Grade: _____________________0______1______2_______3______4______5______6______7______8_______9______v______v______v______v______v_______


what is at left of grade 0 means you'd need descent in order to keep that gear on. Measurements have been done for my setup at 75 rpm cadence, 280W and 93 kg body weight (at which you add the weight of the bike). For better trained cyclists the figures will shift to the right (keeping the speed at the same value).
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Posts

  • lemonenemalemonenema Posts: 211
    'I used a very old Cinelli Zydeco (2011)'
    youve got an interesting perspective on the passage of time, how is 8 years very old?

    I can understand that some people might require a broader range of gearing and that some wont. I fall in to the less category as my (by your standards) antique 2009 carbon bike is a 50/34 9speed 11-32 or 11-28 and can ride up pretty much anything ive pointed it at (except one corner on Hardknott pass in lake district).
    I can see the appeal of having a 10 or maybe even an 11 speed cassette as it has fewer steps between gears but in honesty for the vast majority a 9 or 10 is more than adequare (talking about the average cyclist not a pro racer). But I dont see why we would need a triple for usual road riding (unladen).

    I do agree with you that the trend for more and more gears is a bit daft and benefits the sales department more than the consumer. Off road is a different matter, I think 1x10 setup is fantastic for xc and mtb bikes.
  • craigus89craigus89 Posts: 887
    Seems like you haven’t actually gained much in terms of climbing gears by putting a 23 cassette on it. A compact with a long cage RD can give you 1:1 gearing.
  • As above, all you've mainly done compared to a compact with 11-32 is given yourself more gear combos that might suit your preferred cadence.

    To help with climbing, I would want at least an 11-28 cassette to give some easier gears when using the 22 granny ring, over a compact 34/32 or 34/34.
    ================
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  • wtherapywtherapy Posts: 36
    As above, all you've mainly done compared to a compact with 11-32 is given yourself more gear combos that might suit your preferred cadence.

    To help with climbing, I would want at least an 11-28 cassette to give some easier gears when using the 22 granny ring, over a compact 34/32 or 34/34.

    Correct observation, for me a marginally sub-unitary ratio would do the trick on most road (asphalt climbs). I have noticed improved performance because of the big number of gears, enabling me to be in closer gear to ideal one compared to a regular 2x11 road setup. This is commonly noticed on rides with multiple climbs, that on the last climbs you still have oxygen in the system.
    You can use 11-28, 11-30 (11 sp) or whatever on that system, and you can go higher with the chainrings, to 46-34-24.
    People tend to choose fewer transmission ratios, tend to remove as many chainrings as possible (now we run 1xN systems).
  • This isn't 3x11, it's 3x10 though. The only 3x11 system is Campagnolo Athena 11 speed (though good luck finding that).

    I realise you're probably rusted on to the idea of a triple, but there's plenty of chainring and cassette combinations that will easily get you a sub 1:1 gear with 2x - the Shimano R8000/R7000GS medium cage rear derailleurs handle at least an 11-36 and sometimes an 11-40, while 48-32 and 46-30 chainring options are becoming more widely available.
  • wtherapywtherapy Posts: 36
    This isn't 3x11, it's 3x10 though. The only 3x11 system is Campagnolo Athena 11 speed (though good luck finding that).

    I realise you're probably rusted on to the idea of a triple, but there's plenty of chainring and cassette combinations that will easily get you a sub 1:1 gear with 2x - the Shimano R8000/R7000GS medium cage rear derailleurs handle at least an 11-36 and sometimes an 11-40, while 48-32 and 46-30 chainring options are becoming more widely available.

    Yes, it's 3x11, as it has 3 chainrings and 11 sprockets, and can combine any ring with any sprocket. 3x10 cranks works well with 11 sp cassettes.
    It's not about the smallest gear. FSA has 46/30 offer and you can pair it with Shimano's 11-34 (11 sp). It's about having the right gear, whatever the grade.
  • wtherapy wrote:
    Yes, it's 3x11, as it has 3 chainrings and 11 sprockets, and can combine any ring with any sprocket. 3x10 cranks works well with 11 sp cassettes.
    It's not about the smallest gear. FSA has 46/30 offer and you can pair it with Shimano's 11-34 (11 sp). It's about having the right gear, whatever the grade.

    My apologies, I didn't see that you were only running the 5703 shifter on the left with 11 speed on the right.
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 4,663
    The title of the thread suggests that super low gearing is the objective rather than closer gear ratios.

    Repeating what others have said here but I run a 10 speed compact with an 11-32 cassette so have an almost 1:1 lowest gear ratio which is very close to the OP with pretty commonly available gearing. I don't think the OP has achieved what the title suggests is the objective.

    Whilst it's nice to have perfect gear ratios, I find cadence being 5 rpm off optimal is not an issue whereas simply not having low enough gearing could be for a struggling climber.

    I'm totally fine with people riding triples but I thought this thread was going to deliver a 1:1.5 bottom gear or something. In this case the triple doesn't really appear to have achieved much.

    Love my 1 x CX bike and am seriously considering going 1x for the road when the time comes.
  • LongshotLongshot Posts: 935
    morstar wrote:
    Love my 1 x CX bike and am seriously considering going 1x for the road when the time comes.

    I recently bought a Planet X London Road with 1x11 for a bike trip to Paris where I didn't want to take my carbon bike (compact with 11/32).

    That bike would go up a cliff face gearing wise for a relatively average rider. I did find there wasn't enough top end - I felt like i was missing about 3 or 4 gears at the fast end of the range compared to my usual bike. Also, there were certain times when I felt that I couldn't find the right gear for my preferred cadence.

    Having said that, it worked well for the type of trip we did and I was generally impressed with the 1x set up.
    You can fool some of the people all of the time. Concentrate on those people.
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 4,663
    Longshot wrote:
    morstar wrote:
    Love my 1 x CX bike and am seriously considering going 1x for the road when the time comes.

    I recently bought a Planet X London Road with 1x11 for a bike trip to Paris where I didn't want to take my carbon bike (compact with 11/32).

    That bike would go up a cliff face gearing wise for a relatively average rider. I did find there wasn't enough top end - I felt like i was missing about 3 or 4 gears at the fast end of the range compared to my usual bike. Also, there were certain times when I felt that I couldn't find the right gear for my preferred cadence.

    Having said that, it worked well for the type of trip we did and I was generally impressed with the 1x set up.
    I'm not 100% certain I would do. I like the idea but do acknowledge the limitations.
    I'm not concerned at top or bottom end TBH as there are combos that deliver the same top and bottom end I currently have. It is solely a question of are the jumps in between that bit too big.
    I am past attempting to be the fastest I possibly can be (which was never particularly fast in the first place) but I am not yet ready to just bimble. I'm OK with gearing not being perfect but do acknowledge that a road 1x may be a shift (see what I did there?) too far.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,147
    A 1x is always going to lose something. It will either be top end, bottom end, or huge gaps.
    There is a reason the front derailleur was invented. :wink:
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • This seems like an awful lot of effort for very little gain.
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 4,663
    PBlakeney wrote:
    A 1x is always going to lose something. It will either be top end, bottom end, or huge gaps.
    There is a reason the front derailleur was invented. :wink:
    I do agree, but...

    Remember when 10 speed meant a 5 gear freewheel and it was the front two front rings that made it a 10 speed?

    My 531 steel Raleigh 12 speed had 42,52 front and 13-18 6 speed cassette. Nice close ratios and murder uphill but uphill it went.

    With a 12/13 speed cassette, I can get better gearing than that with a single chainring. If I lived somewhere flatter, there's no real reason I wouldn't go 1x. It's only my desire for a granny gear that really makes me question whether I would due to it stretching the gaps. If not wanting a granny gear, I'd make the jump happily. I'm actually more surprised that 12 speed bikes are moving to 52,36 front and 11-25 speed cassettes as a common option. Seems to be really minimal functional gain to me.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,147
    morstar wrote:
    PBlakeney wrote:
    A 1x is always going to lose something. It will either be top end, bottom end, or huge gaps.
    There is a reason the front derailleur was invented. :wink:
    I do agree, but...

    Remember when 10 speed meant a 5 gear freewheel and it was the front two front rings that made it a 10 speed?
    Yes.
    My 531 steel Raleigh 12 speed had 42,52 front and 13-18 6 speed cassette. Nice close ratios and murder uphill but uphill it went.
    Historical. Ratios have improved. It is all about ratios.
    With a 12/13 speed cassette, I can get better gearing than that with a single chainring. If I lived somewhere flatter, there's no real reason I wouldn't go 1x. It's only my desire for a granny gear that really makes me question whether I would due to it stretching the gaps. If not wanting a granny gear, I'd make the jump happily. You've answered your own point there. I'm actually more surprised that 12 speed bikes are moving to 52,36 front and 11-25 speed cassettes as a common option. Seems to be really minimal functional gain to me. This I totally agree with.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 4,663
    PBlakeney wrote:
    morstar wrote:
    PBlakeney wrote:
    A 1x is always going to lose something. It will either be top end, bottom end, or huge gaps.
    There is a reason the front derailleur was invented. :wink:
    I do agree, but...

    Remember when 10 speed meant a 5 gear freewheel and it was the front two front rings that made it a 10 speed?
    Yes.
    My 531 steel Raleigh 12 speed had 42,52 front and 13-18 6 speed cassette. Nice close ratios and murder uphill but uphill it went.
    Historical. Ratios have improved. It is all about ratios.
    With a 12/13 speed cassette, I can get better gearing than that with a single chainring. If I lived somewhere flatter, there's no real reason I wouldn't go 1x. It's only my desire for a granny gear that really makes me question whether I would due to it stretching the gaps. If not wanting a granny gear, I'd make the jump happily. You've answered your own point there. I'm actually more surprised that 12 speed bikes are moving to 52,36 front and 11-25 speed cassettes as a common option. Seems to be really minimal functional gain to me. This I totally agree with.
    Interestingly enough, this thread got me thinking a bit more so I actually went and mapped out my current ratios just to see how practical a 1x would be.
    Turns out the 50, 34 front coupled with a 10 speed sram wifli 11-32 cassette gives me exactly 13 distinct gears. 6 of the combinations are duplicated exactly and one distinct combination is small-ring to small ring so therefore unused.
    I am genuinely quite surprised at that. I am already living with the equivalent of a 1x 13 and quite comfortable with it.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,147
    I cannot see how 50x11 and 34x32 can be replicated in a 1x system without huge gaps. Probably a failing on my part...
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • This still looks like a solution looking for a problem.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,393
    As already pointed out the thread title is a little misleading. This isn't a road bike for struggling climbers so much as one for struggling climbers who are unusually sensitive to gaps in their gear ratios.

    Except perhaps on touring bikes the triple has been made redundant by compacts and increasingly the number of sprockets on cassettes. Even an older unfit novice can find suitable gearing options with a compact now - if they can't push a 34*32 up hill there are options to go lower still.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 4,663
    PBlakeney wrote:
    I cannot see how 50x11 and 34x32 can be replicated in a 1x system without huge gaps. Probably a failing on my part...

    This what I have.

    Front 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
    Rear 32 28 25 22 19 17 15 13 12 11 32 28 25 22 19 17 15 13 12 11
    Ratio 1.06 1.21 1.36 1.55 1.79 2.00 2.27 2.62 2.83 3.09 1.56 1.79 2.00 2.27 2.63 2.94 3.33 3.85 4.17 4.55

    Edit, can't sort spacing other than by saving as image.
  • craigus89craigus89 Posts: 887
    To be honest, whilst the jumps between gears for general riding may not be optimum on an 11-32 tooth cassette on 2x11, if you can't cope with them then you need to work on your cadence range.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,147
    morstar wrote:
    PBlakeney wrote:
    I cannot see how 50x11 and 34x32 can be replicated in a 1x system without huge gaps. Probably a failing on my part...

    This what I have.

    Front 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
    Rear 32 28 25 22 19 17 15 13 12 11 32 28 25 22 19 17 15 13 12 11
    Ratio 1.06 1.21 1.36 1.55 1.79 2.00 2.27 2.62 2.83 3.09 1.56 1.79 2.00 2.27 2.63 2.94 3.33 3.85 4.17 4.55

    Edit, can't sort spacing other than by saving as image.
    I think you are overthinking this.
    If we agree that the smallest cog that fits a freewheel is an 11 tooth then to match a 50x11 on a 1x then you need a 50 crankset. This means to get a 1x1 ratio to match a 34x34 you would need a 50 tooth sprocket at the back.
    As said above, sounds like a solution looking for a problem. I’ll stick to my compact double. A 11-25 does me normally, and a 11-29 or 13-29 for mountain holidays.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 4,663
    PBlakeney wrote:
    morstar wrote:
    PBlakeney wrote:
    I cannot see how 50x11 and 34x32 can be replicated in a 1x system without huge gaps. Probably a failing on my part...

    This what I have.

    Front 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 34 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
    Rear 32 28 25 22 19 17 15 13 12 11 32 28 25 22 19 17 15 13 12 11
    Ratio 1.06 1.21 1.36 1.55 1.79 2.00 2.27 2.62 2.83 3.09 1.56 1.79 2.00 2.27 2.63 2.94 3.33 3.85 4.17 4.55

    Edit, can't sort spacing other than by saving as image.
    I think you are overthinking this.
    If we agree that the smallest cog that fits a freewheel is an 11 tooth then to match a 50x11 on a 1x then you need a 50 crankset. This means to get a 1x1 ratio to match a 34x34 you would need a 50 tooth sprocket at the back.
    As said above, sounds like a solution looking for a problem. I’ll stick to my compact double. A 11-25 does me normally, and a 11-29 or 13-29 for mountain holidays.
    Not trying to convince anybody, just chatting through and I like analysing stuff.
    I have simply worked through the logic of something I'd only loosely considered as I'm not in the prospective buying process at present. Basically, I am happy with my current gearing and I have worked out that it can be replicated almost exactly with Rotor 1 x 13 and 1 x 12 with their 10-46 and 11-46 cassettes and 50T chainring. The jumps aren't an issue for me as I have those jumps on my current setup.
    When I do buy, 1x will now be very probable if it makes sense financially.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Having already done it on the winter bike with a 46/36 chainset, I'm now giving serious consideration to fitting a 10 speed 11-36 cassette with a 9 speed MTB rear mech on my carbon road bike with a 50 / 39 / 30 triple chainset.

    I think that will really constitute a 3x10 road bike for a struggling climber (me)
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,605
    lemonenema wrote:

    I can understand that some people might require a broader range of gearing and that some wont. I fall in to the less category as my (by your standards) antique 2009 carbon bike is a 50/34 9speed 11-32 or 11-28 and can ride up pretty much anything ive pointed it at (except one corner on Hardknott pass in lake district).

    I agree.

    1996 steel framed bike here with 48x34 front and 13x28 8sp rear and was able to ride up a 5km long 15% average surfaced hill recently without too many tears. I would have liked a x32 though. Also did the Muro di Sormano on it.

    Triples are a real PITA I find. So pleased when compact chainsets arrived with big rear gears.

    I would draw the line at that funky road near lake Garda, Scanuppia or whatever it is called, with any gearing. That said I did climb this on it

    Sfv8D_9bomUprhBjPafnMTaT2GIIsGSNlz6eraGtis8-2048x1536.jpg
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  • M8000M8000 Posts: 3
    edited October 2019
    Perhaps more annoying is that you can't get 12-27t cassettes in 11 speed - unless you throw £250 at a Campagnolo Super Record cassette, which is an insane outlay - even a quarter of that amount is a lot to be spending on a cassette and spending that gets you a really good one.

    If the 12-27t existed in 11-speed as a 105 or Ultegra version, it would presumably go something like this:

    12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-27

    Or the same thing but ending in a 28t would be nice.

    Come on Shimano get your act together. :?

    You've got everything then if running that on a triple. 22x27 is a low enough gear (0.81), you've got a straight run of sprockets from 12t to 17t - which of course includes with it the elusive 16t - and if you run a 48t outer, you have a 48x12 highest gear which, although isn't quite enough for me on 26" wheels (I use 48x11), it is enough on 700c. I run a 48-36-22 triple and shifting is perfectly fine (on a M771 FD).

    I have run 52-38-24 in the past no problem (with the FD-R773) although then, the front mech is being pushed to its very limit. :twisted: Back when I ran that I had a 8-speed or 9-speed 11-32t and it was probably the best setup I have ever had regarding gear range.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,147
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • M8000M8000 Posts: 3
    edited October 2019
    Out of stock :P

    At least it exists.

    Except it doesn't in the ratio's I posted, that one goes:

    11-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-27

    Then there's a 12-29 that says its:

    12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-26-29

    hmmmmmmmmmm that has to be a typo on the 12-27
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,147
    edited October 2019
    M8000 wrote:
    Out of stock :P

    At least it exists.

    Except it doesn't in the ratio's I posted, that one goes:

    11-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-27
    https://www.highonbikes.com/drivetrain/ ... gnolo.html
    Life is just better using Campagnolo. :lol:
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • M8000M8000 Posts: 3
    But that needs a Campagnolo freehub :P

    I'd just go for the 12-29 Shimano one.

    Now all I need is a complete rear wheel rebuild (lol) with a 11-speed road hub, a road rear derailleur and either the RS-700 rear shifter or the Jtek shiftmate 8. Why downgrade from XTR shifter to RS700... so I'd get the Jtek shiftmate 8 and do it that way.

    Another way around it, without the Jtek adapter, without needing a RS700 shifter is (if your rear mech hanger is removable) get a spare rear mech hanger just for the purposes of doing this and file a bit off, so a MTB rear mech that's rated to take a 40t low sprocket or bigger, can rotate in a bit more than usual to get the jockey wheel close to the 27t or 29t low sprocket, or even a 25t or as in the OP's case a 23t. I'd want a lower gear than 22x23 though. :oops:
  • M8000 wrote:
    Perhaps more annoying is that you can't get 12-27t cassettes in 11 speed - unless you throw £250 at a Campagnolo Super Record cassette, which is an insane outlay - even a quarter of that amount is a lot to be spending on a cassette and spending that gets you a really good one.

    If the 12-27t existed in 11-speed as a 105 or Ultegra version, it would presumably go something like this:

    12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-27

    Or the same thing but ending in a 28t would be nice.

    Come on Shimano get your act together. :?

    You've got everything then if running that on a triple. 22x27 is a low enough gear (0.81), you've got a straight run of sprockets from 12t to 17t - which of course includes with it the elusive 16t - and if you run a 48t outer, you have a 48x12 highest gear which, although isn't quite enough for me on 26" wheels (I use 48x11), it is enough on 700c. I run a 48-36-22 triple and shifting is perfectly fine (on a M771 FD).

    I have run 52-38-24 in the past no problem (with the FD-R773) although then, the front mech is being pushed to its very limit. :twisted: Back when I ran that I had a 8-speed or 9-speed 11-32t and it was probably the best setup I have ever had regarding gear range.

    https://thecycleclinic.co.uk/products/m ... imano-sram

    There is a selection here.
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