Introducing the BiSaddle ShapeShifter EXT BikeFit Edition: A Collaboration in Comfort

Bulk pricing available to retailers/bike shops and other qualified professional partner/dealers

Kirkland, WA—June 5th, 2019—BikeFit has teamed up with BiSaddle to launch the Shapeshifter EXT BikeFit Edition Saddle.  The saddles are available now for purchase at www.bikefit.com, with wholesale pricing options available for retailers, bike shops and other qualified professional partner/dealers. 

 The all-new ShapeShifter EXT BikeFit Edition features unique front and rear adjustments, providing cyclists with an extensive range of width options from 130mm to 185mm.  It also features the UCI minimum requirement standard length of 243mm and allows for optimal fore/aft body movement.  The saddle comes with 2 sets of wedges, flattening and rounding, to customize the shape of the saddle. 

“With the growth of different cycling disciplines more men and women than ever are experiencing pain produced by their saddle,” said BiSaddle Owner Jon Petty.  “Saddle pain is most often caused from riding a saddle that is not properly fit to a person’s unique body shape. To help alleviate saddle pain, we are excited to be partnering with the leading bike fit company, BikeFit. This new partnership will help cyclists around the world experience how an adjustable shape, custom fit saddle can be used to train harder, ride further and cycle faster.”

 The BiSaddle ShapeShifter EXT BikeFit Edition will retail at 3 different price points based on the rail material: Carbon $349, Titanium $299, and Chrome Moly $249.  Contact us for dealer/wholesale pricing.

For more information visit www.bikefit.com/saddles

New BikeFit Distribution: Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

Kirkland, WA—May 16th, 2019—BikeFit is proud to introduce our newest distributor, PROSPORT.LT, who will provide BikeFit products and tools in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.

“PROSPORT.LT is a world leader in sporting goods distribution,” said general manager Jonas Strom.  “We started our business to meet the needs of every fan of tennis, skiing, cycling and a healthy lifestyle.”

PROSPORT.LT is recognized for carrying the following brands:

Tennis: Wilson, Tecnifibre, Lotto, and Luxilon.

Bicycles: Bianchi, Scott, Brompton, Frog, Conway, Classic, Kona, Atala, Bergamont, Victoria, and Whistle.

Skiing: Atomic, Bolle, Dainese, Bogner, Lenz, and Snowlife.

Sports Watches: Suunto and Garmin.

PROSPORT.LT was founded in 2009 and is celebrating its 10th successful year in business. The team is a qualified and enthusiastic group of sports consultants who will help select the best products for every person’s favorite sporting activity or active leisure.

The mission of PROSPORT.LT is to provide sports enthusiasts with the most appropriate and effective equipment. Our goal is consumer confidence and leadership in Lithuania.

PROSPORT.LT – Passion for Sport!”

“Our goal is to help every cyclist experience pain-free performance regardless of the cycling disicpline,” said BikeFit Operations Manager Damon Wyatt.  “PROSPORT.LT supports our mission and helps us expand our mission into countries less familiar with our line of ride-improving products and tools.”

PROSPORT.LT will be shipping products to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland.  Please contact Jonas for details or questions on how to become a BikeFit dealer in those countries.

BikeFit Distribution in Argentina

Kirkland, WA—March 25, 2019—BikeFit is proud to announce our partnership with SUD Outdoors to distribute BikeFit products in Argentina.

SUD Outdoors is a rapidly growing, multi-faceted company that also will distribute Respirfix and Elit Bicycles.  They represent and distribute premium brands specializing in outdoor activities such as cycling, snow sports, trail running, and sport fishing; offering leading, innovative and high-quality products.  They offer passionate people the best brands and products with well-deserved service.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to expand our product distribution into South America,” said BikeFit Operations Manager Damon Wyatt.  “Cycling popularity there is at an all-time high so the need to customize the riding experience through bike fitting products is paramount.”

SUD Outdoors will ship products into multiple countries of South America including Chile, Uraguay, and Paraguay.

BikeFit’s expanse into South America means that our products are now available from our international distributors on 5 different continents.

The New Shape of Comfort: 1 and 2 Degree Cleat Wedges for SPD and 2-Hole Cleats

 What is the shape of comfort? BikeFit examines each one of our products to assure that cyclists achieve the most comfortable ride.  With that goal in mind, we often review our products to see if we can improve upon a great idea.  

In 2018 we updated many of our plastics with a stronger more durable compound and we updated the shape of our popular Look/Shimano Cleat Wedges.

For 2019, our SPD / Mountain Bike 2-hole wedges received a signifcant makeover.  

2019

Previous Version

Benefits:

  • Better fit with the most popular brands of 2-hole cleats on the market
  • Stronger more durable material (withstands the rigors of anything you throw at it)
  • Conforms to the sole of any cycling shoe
  • Allows foot to pedal in a neutral position (inherent tilt)

2 Degrees of Separation

Due to the popularity of the Look 2-Degree Cleat Wedge, we’ve also released a 2-degree version of our SPD/MTN Cleat Wedge as well.  This thicker version of the wedge allows bike fitters the ability to fine-tune fits without fumbling with multiple 1-degree wedges.  Currently, the 2-degree SPD/MTB wedges are only available for dealers and wholesalers with a wholesale account, but we may expand that market based on the demands of cycling enthusiasts.

BikeFit to Distribute G8 Performance 2620 Orthotic Insoles

Bulk pricing available to retailers/bike shops and other qualified professional partner/dealers

Kirkland, WA—February 19, 2019—BikeFit, which offers an array of products and tools that enhance the cycling experience and optimize performance, has signed an exclusive a deal to distribute the G8 Performance 2620 Pro Series Orthotic Insoles in North America. The G8 is available now for direct purchase at bikefit.com, with bulk pricing options for retailers, bike shops and other qualified professional partner/dealers.

The G8 Performance 2620 Orthotic Insole contains advanced, highly flexible material, delivering comprehensive toe and arch support that passively strengthens the arch and enables the foot to better flex and pronate for increased comfort. Its highly customizable arch piece(5 heights included for each foot) augments comfort and accommodates changes in foot strength and flexibility.

“BikeFit and G8 share a common vision to reduce injury and increase athletic performance. They are a fantastic partner, highly respected by the cycling and bike fitting community worldwide,” said G8 Performance founder David Lee.

“We sell the best bike fitting products in Cleat Wedges, Leg Length Shims, and Pedal Extenders but we needed to provide cyclists with arch support as well,” commented BikeFit operations manager Damon Wyatt.  “G8 Insoles deliver exceptional comfort and adjustability which aligns perfectly with our goals.”

Learn more about the G8 2620 Orthotic Insole.

 

Bicycle Stance Width: Origins, Examples, and Solutions

Stance Width Origins

In his early days of track racing, Paul Swift (founder of BikeFit and CEO of CyclePoint) constantly heard the incessant yelling of his coaches, “bring your knees in!”  This assumed that there was something inherently wrong with Paul’s form and he needed to force his knees into the “correct” position.  Paul is unlikely to admit that his form was anything less than perfection, but the “knees in” adage was fundamentally flawed.  At the top of the pedal stroke, the knee was not under the same amount of pressure, and it moved outward naturally to get closer to his ideal position for comfort.  The knee then followed the foot faithfully down to discomfort town forcing it inward at the 6 o’clock position.

Paul was not the only person who suffered from this potentially debilitating issue which not only affects alignment but also places significant torque on the knee when it’s forced into an unnatural position.  The result: pain and potential injury (not to mention the power loss). Even though 150 years have passed since his racing days and bike fitting is much more popular in cycling culture, the concept of stance width is largely ignored.  Our blog article today aims to explain the factors involved, when to make changes, solutions, and our recommendations from years of bike fitting experience.  Before we go any further, grab your favorite beverage and let’s go over the terminology we’ll use in this article:

Stance Width – The distance between the center of one pedal to the center of the other pedal.  This article will also reference individual leg stance width, which is defined by the distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the pedal.

Q Factor – The distance between the outside portion of each crank arm where the pedal attaches.  The term was originally coined by Grant Petersen while he worked for Bridgestone Bicycles.  The “Q” stands for “quack” which referenced the wide stance of a duck.  This is seemingly contradictory because the argument can be made that q-factor (unchangeable and determined by multiple factors such as bicycle and component manufacturers and the width of the chainstay) is, in many cases, too narrow on a road bike.

Pedal Spindle Width – The distance from the outside of the crank arm to the center of the pedal.

Snowboarding Stance Width Similarities

Now that you’ve thoroughly digested the major terms of the article and you’ve realized you need a signifcantly stronger beverage, let’s completely change gears and talk about snowboarding.  When you Google “Stance Width,” a plethora of articles about snowboarding flood the screen.  Significant time and energy focus on the adjustment of snowboarding stance width.  Their starting point is based on a measurement from the center of the kneecap to the floor, applying that measurement as an initial width starting point, and then specifically adjusting both width and foot angle until the individual achieves maximum comfort.  In most of the articles we discovered, a trial and error method was utilized.

Clearly, we are unable to apply the same measuring standards from snowboarding to cycling but there is a striking similarity: the feet need to be set up correctly because once set, the individual is unable to self-select their stance width.  Author, bike-fitter, and physical therapist Dr. Katrina Vogel reminds us that “you self-select your stance (width) when you walk, run stand or jump.”  Therefore, in sports when you are “locked-in,” achieving the correct stance width is paramount to power delivery, efficiency, and injury prevention.

Determining Factors of Bicycle Stance Width

While snowboarding uses multiple pre-drilled holes in the board to customize the stance width of the bindings, in cycling, we have two determining agents (as well as some customizations that we’ll discuss later): q factor and pedal spindle length.

Q Factor

Q factor is roughly the same within specific categories of bike types i.e. road bikes, mountain bikes, fat bikes…etc.. The cranks need to be wide enough to clear the chainstay and a wider tire will, in turn, affect the chainstay width.  We will not spend much time on q factor because it’s largely predetermined (based on bottom bracket width, crank offset, bicycle type, and manufacturer specifications) and since the ultimate goal is to find the most comfortable stance width for the individual, this article will focus on pedal spindle length and stance width customization.  With that said, it’s important to notice the q factor of the road bike vs. mountain and fat bike:

Road Bike: Approximately 150mm.  Currently, many Shimano cranks boast a 146mm q factor and the masterminds at Campagnolo prefer 145.5mm, just to mention a few.

Mountain Bikes: Approximately 170mm.  Sram XO1 and Shimano XTR both width-in at 168mm.

Fat Bikes: 200-230mm. 

Pedal Spindle Width

Largely uniform in the industry (like q factor), this is the best area for stance width customization.  Let’s take a look at some of the common road pedal spindle widths:

Shimano:

Look:

  • Blade, Max, Sprint, and Classic (all versions) – 53mm
  • *Note – Look Keo pedals have a threaded area that is 2mm longer than other pedals, allowing for the safe installation of up to (2) 1.5mm spacers.

Speedplay:

  • Zero Titanium – 50mm
  • Zero Chrome-Moly – 53mm
  • Zero Stainless – 53mm
  • Zero Stainless custom lengths: 50mm, 56mm, 59mm and 65mm

Xpedo:

  • Thrust 8 (all types) – 53mm
  • Thrust 8 custom spindle lengths – 50mm, 56mm, 59mm and 62mm
  • *Xpedo, like Look, provides a 2mm longer threaded area.

Issi:

  • Road – 50mm
  • Road + 5 – 55mm

Keywin:

  • CRM Chrome-Moly 55mm (custom sizes below):
    • 49mm
    • 52mm
    • 58mm
    • 61mm
    • 65mm
The last 2 examples may not be as well known on the market, specifically, Keywin is difficult to acquire in the United States, but we mention them to accentuate pedal manufacturers focusing attention on stance width.  In our opinion, this is a largely ignored, pivotal factor in achieving optimal comfort, power and efficiency on the bike.  Although some companies like Speedplay take this into account, for most riders some customization is required to optimize peformance and reduce injury.

When to Modify Stance Width

Although research for this blog post discovered zero articles on common trends in cycling stance width, the consensus of the experienced minds at BikeFit, our trained BikeFit Pros and the popularity of Pedal Extenders, support the need for stance width modification.  It’s difficult to believe that the majority of every asymmetrical human male and female size 4’8″ to 7’2″ would be accommodated by a 252mm (about 10 inches) stance width (252mm was obtained by using an average 53mm pedal spindle width on each side and a 146mm q factor). Considering the pedal spindle width and q factor example, cycling is like the “one size fits most” of clothing.  We are not sure of who fits the “most” category but in our experience, “most” is more like some.  Granted, we already mentioned the possible extended pedal spindle width but think about the amount of emphasis on bike size rather than stance width–every company offers multiple bike sizes but not every company offers an array of stance width options.

With the argument made for customizing stance width, let’s take a gander at a rider who requires modification:

Video Courtesy of Quest Therapy Consultants
Take a moment to evaluate each knee.  The left and right (more significant) distinctly move outward at the 12 o’clock position and then back in at the 6 o’clock position.  Even without the aid of the laser guide, it’s obvious the knee craves a wider stance width but is forced to follow the position of the foot inward during the downstroke.  This is incredibly common. We challenge you next time you’re on a lovely weekend ride with others, observe the pedaling of your compatriots.  Do you notice knees kicking out at the top of their pedal stroke?

Without delving deeply into the world of bike fitting, the “knees out” rider may also have a saddle height issue or a need for Cleat Wedges.  If the saddle is extremely low, a similar pedal stroke will develop.  In the case of the video above, saddle height is not the culprit.  The client did require wedges, but in order to not confuse the issue, stance width is the main problem.

Stance Width Solutions and Drawbacks

*In case you’re scoring at home (of course you are), this is a quintuple blog repeat score for using “stance width” in every major heading (spoiler alert, they’ll be 8).  It exemplifies how we feel about the topic.

To solve the “knees out” issue and achieve maximum comfort, the foot needs to align with the knee–it’s not the other way around.  Consequently, the foot must be adjusted/moved out.  Here are some solutions:

1.) Longer Pedal Spindle

Feel free to reference some of the pedals mentioned earlier such as Speedplay, Issi, and Keywin.  While Shimano Dura Ace pedals now offer a 4mm extension, the “regular” spindle width is already tight at 51mm.  As a result, a 55mm spindle width may not be long enough for many riders.  When Road Bike Action reviewed the first model (9000) with the extended spindle option, they made this bold statement, “for those looking for a wider stance without bulky extensions, the Shimano cleat has ample lateral adjustment. The pedals also have a 4mm-longer axle option to widen your stance width even more.”  To say the cleat has “ample lateral adjustment” is like saying that a Ferrari Portofino has ample seating space.  It does, if your only intention is to drive yourself and one other extremely lucky person through the streets in style.  The Shimano cleat does have ample lateral adjustment for some people, but most will require more and even a 4mm longer spindle option will often not solve the problem.

2.) Cleat in, Foot Out (Picture to the Right)

Most bicycle cleats and shoes have some room for lateral movement.  While some cleats/shoes offer more flexibility than others, this simple change makes a noteworthy difference and is the most affordable adjustment.

These small spacers provide an extra 1.5mm to stance width.  We do not recommend using more than (1) per pedal.  It’s important that there are enough threads to safely install the pedal into the crank.  As we mentioned earlier, Look Keo pedals are built with a longer threaded area to accommodate an additional 1.5mm spacer.

This is not a gratuitous sales ploy by the marketing team at BikeFit.  These extenders have helped a multitude of riders.  When the lateral movement of the cleat, a longer spindle or the 1.5mm spacers are not enough, the 20mm pedal extender works wonders.  Using the previous equation based on the q factor of a Shimano crank, adding a pedal extender to each side would add 40mm to the overall stance width for a total of 292mm or about 11.5 inches.  Considering an avg. mountain bike q factor is 170mm, adding 40mm to a road bike at 146mm will likely help many cyclists achieve desired comfort and alignment.  BikeFit offers both a Hex+ 20mm Pedal Extender for those pedals that require an 8mm wrench for installation and our regular 20mm Pedal Extender for all other pedal installation types.

We would also like to note that Road Bike Action’s earlier claim that extensions are “bulky” is the equivalent of calling a pro peloton sprinter overweight.  Clearly, they both are the correct size to achieve specific results.  The extenders are imperative for many riders and at 37 grams, it’s worth the extra “bulk.”

5.) The Combo Move

Every person requires their own specific stance width.  Therefore, combining the different methods together will yield the best results.  If you need more space than the 20mm extenders provide, add a 1.5mm spacer.  If the 20mm extender is just a bit too long, consider laterally moving the cleat out (foot in) after installation.  Many riders even combine the longer spindle of a Speedplay pedal with a pedal extender or a pedal spacer.  

Single Leg Stance Width

This one may seem like a head-scratcher but it’s true for most riders.  We’ve mentioned this in other articles but a bike is a beautifully crafted, symmetrical machine.  The human body is a flawed, somewhat challenged, aging, potentially injured, often uncoordinated, sometimes imbalanced, asymmetrical biped.  Consequently, when we are bent over and clipped into a symmetrical machine, problems arise.  In order to fit an asymmetrical being to a symmetrical bicycle, it’s important that each leg is evaluated independently.  This means that one leg could be perfectly aligned and the other one could have the 12 O’clock kick-out occurring during every stroke.  Each leg will potentially require its own modification independent of the other.  For example, BikeFit sells more single left-only pedal extenders than the right-only.  This doesn’t mean that human nature has a propensity to a wider stance width on the left-hand side (it may, but that’s another blog post), it further supports our assertion (spearheaded by Paul Swift), that “each leg has its own individual stance width.”

After Stance Width is Adjusted

Considering our earlier video of when a stance with modification is needed, here is a view of what alignment looks like after adding a 20mm pedal extender:

The diagram to the right displays the differences an adjusted stance width offers the rider.  Although it shows a “longer pedal axle” as the optimal intervention, the same methodology can be applied using the solutions mentioned previously.

Conclusions and Final Stance Width Thoughts

If research was conducted on cycling stance width, a bell curve of the most prevalent measurements may exist.  Even if that information for cycling was available, in our experience, bike fitting is somewhat subjective.  Therefore, the perfect formula for cyclist A may be horrific for cyclist B.

Stance width is worth examining for every cyclist on any type of bicycle.  As we’ve mentioned in other articles, if a cyclist is out of alignment riding at 85 rpm, that’s 5,100 pedal strokes per leg, per hour.   If we carry this scenario out further, let’s say the average cyclist rides 6 hours per week, which is roughly 122,000 pedal strokes per month and over 1 million per year, per leg.  With that number of pedal strokes, the strain on the body (especially the knee) is significant.

In cycling, the industry usually grabs us with the flash of style: aero helmets, new colors, more gears, less friction, larger pulleys, more carbon…etc, but none of these are more important than fit.  Does it matter how your bike looks or functions if you’re in too much pain to ride it?

If you’re a bike fitter or a bike shop, we implore you to analyze the stance width of every rider you fit or bike you sell.  If you’re a cyclist, as much as tinkering with fit may improve your comfort, it also may make it worse. It’s worth every penny to get a professional fit.  Before you schedule a bike fit, ask your fitter whether they examine stance width and what modifications or process they use.  Glean as much information as possible before you book it or you’ll be unhappy with the results.  If you have questions about fitting or stance width, feel free to drop us a line.

Enjoy your ride.

-The BikeFit Team

Cleat Wedges in the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish is well known in the cycling world for being one of the greatest sprinters and arguably one of the best cyclists of all time.  With 48 grand tour victories, 30 in the Tour de France alone, and winning the 2011 Road World Championship, his accolades are undeniable.

BikeFit products are used throughout the cycling world and these pictures of Mark’s new kicks complete with Cleat Wedges clearly show the need to adjust for foot tilt among the pro ranks.

Will Cleat Wedges help you win the Tour de France or at least a few stages?

The BikeFit legal department was crystal clear to us that we can’t imply a direct correlation between using Cleat Wedges and attaining grand tour victories.  At the same time, it’s extremely difficult to achieve your best performance when you experience bike discomfort.  Many cyclists find relief from foot pain, knee pain, and even saddle discomfort by using wedges.

Find your Cleat Wedge #

Measure foot tilt with the Foot Fit Calculator and your Android phone!  All you need is a friend to help, and you can quickly find out if Cleat Wedges will improve your ride and how many you require.

If you don’t have an Android phone, see our blog article for more help on discovering foot tilt and the importance of cleat wedges.

New Plastic and Packaging for BikeFit Products

Fantastic New Colored Plastic

We are excited to announce our new plastics and packaging for 2018!  Many of you may have seen these in your shipments already, but we’ve revamped plastic and packaging throughout the line to provide you with the best functioning (and looking) bike fitting products on the planet.

Unlike some other knock-offs in the industry, we insist on using high-density plastic for our 3mm Leg Length Shims(seen above).  For 2018, we decided to step away from the black on black on black on black and spice up our products with a smattering of color.  Our Universal (all 3-hole applications) and Look Keo models are a beautiful cobalt blue and our Speedplay and SPD/MTB 2-hole models sport a ferocious lavender.  Yes, we described lavender as ferocious.

Leg Length Shim Design and Availability

Our design on the Leg Length Shims remains largely the same.  We continue to “ramp” the front of the shim in order to provide optimal cleat/pedal engagement and safety for those who need them. 

For the most popular three-hole cleat models, our Look Keo Leg Length Shims are designed to use a smaller base plate that matches the cleats.  The Universal Leg 3mm Length Shims have a larger base plate and will fit any 3-hole type of cleat.  Our Speedplay Leg Length Shims are offered with either Walkable Screws or the old style V2 screws.

Beyond the plastic itself, we’ve also changed our packaging across the BikeFit product line to provide not only a strong visual of our shims, wedges, and extenders but also to aesthetically display products in fitting studios, bike shops, pain caves and indoor cycling facilities. Look for our new packaging at your local shop or on our site!

Mounting the Saddle Changer

You may already know that BikeFit sells the most amazing saddle fitting and sales tool on the planet.  Yet, many potential customers ask us the same thing, do you mount the Saddle Changer directly to the customer’s bike?

The answer is yes and no.

You can mount the Saddle Changer to a customer’s bike and we do have many successful clients who’ve used this methodology with fabulous results.  The problem: stack height is a considerable factor since the Saddle Changer adds 9cm, and you have to adjust the seat post to the original position after fitting.  This works (although it adds time) if you are doing a bike fitting, but the Saddle Changer provides a perfect opportunity for customers to demo multiple saddles in seconds.  Why utilize it only for fits when you can display and use it daily?

Therefore it works great for fitting, but we’ve found that customers find much more lucrative and less tedious applications.

Super Ingenious Saddle Changer Mounting Methods

Method 1: The Indoor Cycle

 

Indoor cycles are ubiquitous in the industry and if you are looking to save some money, there are used ones floating through cycling message boards.  If you want to go Cadallic, high-level indoor bikes measure power while the customer searches for that elusive perfect saddle. Bonus points for the pro touch–matching your indoor bike knobs to your tool chest (see pic above) satisfies the detail-oriented personality of the fitter.
Method 2: The Fit Bike
You already made an investment in a fancy fit bike, why not capitalize on it as a sales tool?  Although a fit is a perfect time to discover saddle bliss, a fit bike with the Saddle Changer attached and strategically placed in front of a plethora of seats provides customers with a custom saddle-testing experience!
Long of the short, there are many applications for mounting the Saddle Changer and there’s technically not a “wrong answer.”  This article is meant to help you obtain the most out of your investment.

Feel free to send us your Saddle Changer photos (e-mail info@bikefit.com) and we’ll post them on social media!

Look / Shimano 2-Degree Cleat Wedges

At BikeFit, we’re always searching for avenues to increase efficiency.  In this case, we listened to the myriad of Bike Fitters who inquired on whether we could create a 2-Degree Cleat Wedge.  Lining up wedges and installing screws increases in difficulty as you increase wedges.  You asked and we listened. After a year of development and testing, voila!  Look 2-Degree Wedges!

These new wedges decrease installation time and reduce the chance of slippage apparent with multiple wedges.  They are also undeniably cooler than our previous wedges.  Look 2-Degree Cleat Wedges are compatible with Look, Shimano SPD/SL, Time and most 3-hole cleat configurations.

How to tell the Difference Between 1° and 2-Degree Cleat Wedges

Our 1° and 2° Cleat Wedges are incredibly similar, but we’ve added clear labeling to help you discern them from one another.  The new shape is much more durable for cleat installation and the rigors of hard rides.  1 or 2 Degree, Cleat Wedges are necessary for most cyclists.

Look 2-Degree Wedges are available now in 20-packs.  At this time they are only available at your local BikeFit Pro or if you are a bike fitter or a bike shop, you must be logged in and have a wholesale account at www.bikefit.com to view these products.

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