Hard Tail vs. Full-Spension

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May 20, 2010
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flyor64 said:
I don't want to hijack Joe's thread too badly but do you care to expand on this a little?

I can actually get one at a relatively decent price and had been considering one...
Do you mean a Giant?
If so, the Giant HT has heavy wheels for a bike in its price range. Additionally, the wheels have been reported to be very difficult to convert to tubeless. This matters because of the oft heard response to 29er riding characteristics (i.e at they feel slow and sluggish when cornering). In my experience in 29ers, the lighter the wheel, the sharper the handling.
The second reason is the geometry.
Gary Fisher's G2 offset fork helps sharpen steering further. If you have the chance to ride a Fisher, give it a go and compare the handling to the Giant.
I reckon Giant has a little bit to learn yet.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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TexPat said:
Do you mean a Giant?
If so, the Giant HT has heavy wheels for a bike in its price range. Additionally, the wheels have been reported to be very difficult to convert to tubeless. This matters because of the oft heard response to 29er riding characteristics (i.e at they feel slow and sluggish when cornering). In my experience in 29ers, the lighter the wheel, the sharper the handling.
The second reason is the geometry.
Gary Fisher's G2 offset fork helps sharpen steering further. If you have the chance to ride a Fisher, give it a go and compare the handling to the Giant.
I reckon Giant has a little bit to learn yet.
Thanks for the reply.

I concur wholeheartedly on the wheels and tubeless. I run my steel SS tubeless on a pretty light wheelset...

Was just considering a "29er race bike on a budget". I actually can and will look at the GF...the price is higher though.

Thanks again.
 
Jul 17, 2009
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flyor64 said:
Thanks for the reply.

I concur wholeheartedly on the wheels and tubeless. I run my steel SS tubeless on a pretty light wheelset...

Was just considering a "29er race bike on a budget". I actually can and will look at the GF...the price is higher though.

Thanks again.
be sure to compare Geometry. Head tube angles vary quite a bit with some frames. GF has a theory worth looking into but it works for some and not for others.

The head angles might be specific to fork offset and the amount of travel you like might not flow for you. I have found that going from 80 mm to 100mm with some frames changes the game quite a bit

also consider top tube clearance and TT length. there is a good chance you can run a smaller frame for the maneuverability cornering with out TT length compromise. I refer to clearance while riding not standing

I like every thing about giant, esp the anthem. But getting giant at a reasonable price for even insiders is a tough one.

as for wheels on a spec bike expect to upgrade regardless of brand. especially if you are racing. get the bike, sell the wheels on thebay for whatever and build a set. Or Handspun have a great wheelset with SRAM x9 hubs and stans flow more than reasonable
 
Jul 11, 2010
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If you're willing to pay the weight penalty, FS generally climbs better on technical terrain than HT. It's all about keeping that rear tire in full contact with the dirt. I was simply AMAZED at the difference it made. Stuff that was completely unclimbable (word?) on my rigid bike was stupid easy on the FS.

The downside of FS is that it does take more energy to pedal over the long hauls even with a Fox "lockout" rear shock - which will still wiggle a little bit when you pedal. I try to commute to the dirt from my house when possible and it does grind you down after many miles.

Whatever you do, don't skimp on the fork. If you get a long travel fork, one that switches into a lower position really will help for climbing the steep stuff. I didn't get that feature, and I wish I had now. Bar ends can shift your weight forward and help, but the real solution is to lower the front end.

If you get out into the NW with your bike, happy to take you out on the trails here. Lots of good riding.
 
Jul 17, 2009
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AnythingButKestrel said:
If you're willing to pay the weight penalty, FS generally climbs better on technical terrain than HT. .
i guess it depends on ones riding style but this is not my experience.

the constant stiffness and pedaling efficiency of a HT outweighs any bump to the rear IMHO. especially if you have the tire contact point of a 29er

If you are suggesting that rear suspension can allow for sustained momentum on a slow hard hit as it absorbs and allows the wheel to roll over then there is a slight argument for it
 
Jul 11, 2010
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Boeing said:
i guess it depends on ones riding style but this is not my experience.

the constant stiffness and pedaling efficiency of a HT outweighs any bump to the rear IMHO. especially if you have the tire contact point of a 29er

If you are suggesting that rear suspension can allow for sustained momentum on a slow hard hit as it absorbs and allows the wheel to roll over then there is a slight argument for it
My experience is on a 26, but the consensus around here is that FS rules the roost for everything but *true* XC. For that I won't argue against a HT. For all around riding, I simply prefer to climb on a FS just because I feel so confident that the rear tire will hook up. The HT just seemed to spin out a lot more. Maybe it was just bad frame geometry....

Joe's getting a FS and wisely went with the RP23 option, so he'll have about as good as it gets for a XC full suspension ride. :)
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Boeing said:
be sure to compare Geometry. Head tube angles vary quite a bit with some frames. GF has a theory worth looking into but it works for some and not for others.

The head angles might be specific to fork offset and the amount of travel you like might not flow for you. I have found that going from 80 mm to 100mm with some frames changes the game quite a bit

also consider top tube clearance and TT length. there is a good chance you can run a smaller frame for the maneuverability cornering with out TT length compromise. I refer to clearance while riding not standing

I like every thing about giant, esp the anthem. But getting giant at a reasonable price for even insiders is a tough one.

as for wheels on a spec bike expect to upgrade regardless of brand. especially if you are racing. get the bike, sell the wheels on thebay for whatever and build a set. Or Handspun have a great wheelset with SRAM x9 hubs and stans flow more than reasonable
Thanks for the tips. I will keep them in mind. I find that while I ride a "large" frame in a 26" a "medium" passes well for me on my 29er, a Vassago.

I know nothing of the GF geometry other than it is different. If I had one gripe with my vassago it would be the sloppiness in the corners, anything off camber, switchbacks etc. So if the GF geometry and fork offset help with that I would consider it. I hope to ride one this weekend...

As to the insider price on a Giant, nothing so special as that. The shop that sponsors our club sells them so we can get a club discount is all. But at Norwegian prices, every little bit helps :D
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Well...

Howzabout the 29 front end and 26rr?

I have a buddy who works in the industry and he says that it is the best of both worlds...and that the majority of real riders at his work use that combo.
 
Jul 17, 2009
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AnythingButKestrel said:
My experience is on a 26, but the consensus around here is that FS rules the roost for everything but *true* XC. For that I won't argue against a HT. For all around riding, I simply prefer to climb on a FS just because I feel so confident that the rear tire will hook up. The HT just seemed to spin out a lot more. Maybe it was just bad frame geometry....

Joe's getting a FS and wisely went with the RP23 option, so he'll have about as good as it gets for a XC full suspension ride. :)
I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. Sure there are technical answers but In the end it is what works for you and me etc. and our budgets

Geometry is debated too. I have heard it argued either way on short or long stays HT for traction. I have friends who swear that a short stay keeps the wheel under you for traction. But my preference has always been contrary to that explanation although I understand it

I run full rigid again now on a 29 with the biggest tires on the widest rims tubeless and am having a great time. But I can't say one is better than the other. Terrain dictates a lot of that for me. I like FS on slow tech climbs where rocky or stair step type routs really slow momentum. A little cush can get the wheel rolling where a rigid might stop. I have yet to try a FS 29

because my skills are limited i might need a different bike for every course:).....

you know how it is
 
Jul 17, 2009
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Black-Balled said:
Well...

Howzabout the 29 front end and 26rr?

I have a buddy who works in the industry and he says that it is the best of both worlds...and that the majority of real riders at his work use that combo.

My wife cant fit a 29 at her size. She rode the old Trek 69er and liked it a lot but they are discontinued.

Carver bikes make a 69er as you describe and a lot of people like them. good point

I have thought about that combo for Free ride. for me a 29 is quite difficult to counter steer/slide because of the large contact area and the gyro effect of a big wheel at speed. The 26 in the rear might work that well in back with the roll over up front.

but as I stated, my skills are limited at that level so it might be rider error
 
Apr 29, 2010
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Black-Balled said:
Well...

Howzabout the 29 front end and 26rr?

I have a buddy who works in the industry and he says that it is the best of both worlds...and that the majority of real riders at his work use that combo.
Having to carry two different size spare tubes is stupid.
 
Outcome

Though it didn't materialize until recently, I was able to obtain an MTB: a Giant Anthem X Advanced SL1. Wish the weather in PA was like CA (though without the rain). Thanks to everyone who provided feedback. I don't think I'll ultimately be able to keep the bike, but it's great for now.
 
Jun 29, 2010
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SS rigid 29er, the money you save by not having suspension forks and gears can be put into a better frame and wheels. Niner's Air Nine would have to be the top of my list.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Rip:30 said:
Having to carry two different size spare tubes is stupid.

Yeah well...The jerk store called :eek::rolleyes:

The choice is not for you then, is it? For one who feels the performance is better it is a good choice.

To you I bequeath the following: I M O
 
Black-Balled said:
Yeah well...The jerk store called :eek::rolleyes:

The choice is not for you then, is it? For one who feels the performance is better it is a good choice.

To you I bequeath the following: I M O
Yeah, seriously - can we not insult each other for our ride tech preferences? Nothing here worth fighting over - it's not The Clinic after all.

I'll make a new topic if you want, but unrelated to my original inquiry, now that I have a bike, what exactly should I carry in my tool-kit, and what kind of saddle bag should I use?

Tube
Tire levers
Allen Keys/multi-tool? (if yes to multi-tool, which model/brand?)
CO2 kit

Also, do you guys mount a water bottle cage or use something like a camelback? This bike is so nice that I don't want to even ride it, let alone break the clean lines of the choppy, geometric carbon downtube by bolting-on a water bottle cage. :p
 
Jun 10, 2009
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As with the bike choice itself, I think what to carry depends on where you are riding and with what intent. I tend towards carrying everything and the kitchen sink, mostly because I don't like to keep swapping things in and out of my camelback every ride. So whether I'm doing a quick 25km after work on trails on the local mountain, or doing a backcountry ride where not being able to fix something might mean a 25+km walk, I tend to have the following in my camelbak:

*2 spare tubes
*multitool with chain breaker (I have and carry the original topeak alien, but most everything could be done with just a few allen keys and a chainbreaker for significantly less weight)
*spare chain quick-links
*tire boot (a couple of 1 inch square bits of old sidewall)
*traditional patch kit (the kind with rubber cement, not glueless!)
*pump (topeak mountain morph)
*spare derailleur hanger
*couple of energy bars
*lightweight rain/wind jacket
*phone (friend of mine wasn't carrying one when his GF crashed and sustained a major head injury, had to leave her convulsing at the trailside and ride 15 minutes to the trailhead to seek help. Luckily she's OK now but she was in ICU in a coma for weeks and rehab for many months).
*water (I rarely carry less than 1L unless the ride is short and I'm well hydrated before I start)

Whether you need any tyre levers depends on your wheels/tyres. Some multitools (like mine) have tyre levers built into the body, but I rarely find them necessary other than with a brand new tubeless tyre, or really cold hands.

My riding is almost exclusively non-competitive social riding, and even carrying all this c**p I'm usually nearer the front than the back of the group when the gradient turns upwards, so I don't really care about the extra weight (luckily since I'm also mostly riding a 6" travel Giant Reign). Obviously for riding laps on an XC course it would be foolish to carry much at all, let alone if actually racing...

One of my friends is much more minimalist than I, carrying only a spare tube and CO2 inflator all taped to the seatpost for short rides of an hour or so. For slightly longer rides, a single bottle of water in a cage, and a tiny multitool and extra tube are jammed in a wide-mouth bottle in the second cage for rides up to a few hours. For all-day rides he usually carries a camelback with extra spares and water, but still stays relatively minimalist. He probably "borrows" my 'spare' food on 25% of rides!:rolleyes:

As for the bottle vs camelbak argument:
Camelbak
*won't fall off
*can drink from it on rough terrain
*can carry more water
*doesn't weigh your frame down (bike is easier to throw around)
*gives your back a little crash protection
*useful for carrying other stuff you probably need anyway
*can feel heavy on your back
*make you hot when working hard (less airflow on your back)
*can swing around and throw your balance off if you don't tighten the straps (e.g when jumping an obstacle)
Bottles
*don't make your back hot and sweaty
*lightweight and simple
*fall off your bike, spill all your water, and litter the trails
*can only be drunk from when you can ride one handed
*fast to swap empty for full at race transitions
*faster to fill

On balance I prefer the camelbak, but if you ride smooth XC trails with long enough straights to get a good drink, bottles are probably a good way to go.








joe_papp said:
Yeah, seriously - can we not insult each other for our ride tech preferences? Nothing here worth fighting over - it's not The Clinic after all.

I'll make a new topic if you want, but unrelated to my original inquiry, now that I have a bike, what exactly should I carry in my tool-kit, and what kind of saddle bag should I use?

Tube
Tire levers
Allen Keys/multi-tool? (if yes to multi-tool, which model/brand?)
CO2 kit

Also, do you guys mount a water bottle cage or use something like a camelback? This bike is so nice that I don't want to even ride it, let alone break the clean lines of the choppy, geometric carbon downtube by bolting-on a water bottle cage. :p
 
Feb 4, 2010
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dsut4392 said:
As with the bike choice itself, I think what to carry depends on where you are riding and with what intent. I tend towards carrying everything and the kitchen sink, mostly because I don't like to keep swapping things in and out of my camelback every ride. So whether I'm doing a quick 25km after work on trails on the local mountain, or doing a backcountry ride where not being able to fix something might mean a 25+km walk, I tend to have the following in my camelbak:

*2 spare tubes
*multitool with chain breaker (I have and carry the original topeak alien, but most everything could be done with just a few allen keys and a chainbreaker for significantly less weight)
*spare chain quick-links
*tire boot (a couple of 1 inch square bits of old sidewall)
*traditional patch kit (the kind with rubber cement, not glueless!)
*pump (topeak mountain morph)
*spare derailleur hanger
*couple of energy bars
*lightweight rain/wind jacket
*phone (friend of mine wasn't carrying one when his GF crashed and sustained a major head injury, had to leave her convulsing at the trailside and ride 15 minutes to the trailhead to seek help. Luckily she's OK now but she was in ICU in a coma for weeks and rehab for many months).
*water (I rarely carry less than 1L unless the ride is short and I'm well hydrated before I start)

Whether you need any tyre levers depends on your wheels/tyres. Some multitools (like mine) have tyre levers built into the body, but I rarely find them necessary other than with a brand new tubeless tyre, or really cold hands.

My riding is almost exclusively non-competitive social riding, and even carrying all this c**p I'm usually nearer the front than the back of the group when the gradient turns upwards, so I don't really care about the extra weight (luckily since I'm also mostly riding a 6" travel Giant Reign). Obviously for riding laps on an XC course it would be foolish to carry much at all, let alone if actually racing...

One of my friends is much more minimalist than I, carrying only a spare tube and CO2 inflator all taped to the seatpost for short rides of an hour or so. For slightly longer rides, a single bottle of water in a cage, and a tiny multitool and extra tube are jammed in a wide-mouth bottle in the second cage for rides up to a few hours. For all-day rides he usually carries a camelback with extra spares and water, but still stays relatively minimalist. He probably "borrows" my 'spare' food on 25% of rides!:rolleyes:

As for the bottle vs camelbak argument:
Camelbak
*won't fall off
*can drink from it on rough terrain
*can carry more water
*doesn't weigh your frame down (bike is easier to throw around)
*gives your back a little crash protection
*useful for carrying other stuff you probably need anyway
*can feel heavy on your back
*make you hot when working hard (less airflow on your back)
*can swing around and throw your balance off if you don't tighten the straps (e.g when jumping an obstacle)
Bottles
*don't make your back hot and sweaty
*lightweight and simple
*fall off your bike, spill all your water, and litter the trails
*can only be drunk from when you can ride one handed
*fast to swap empty for full at race transitions
*faster to fill

On balance I prefer the camelbak, but if you ride smooth XC trails with long enough straights to get a good drink, bottles are probably a good way to go.
That's a pretty standard carry for most folks, but I'd really encourage all MTBers to carry at least some sort of 1st aid kit. Somthing to clean wounds, stop bleeding, and cover them up. I've been on a few rides over the years were having a kit was if not lifesaving, was at least very very helpful to have.
 
Jun 29, 2010
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My two cents on the Camel Back V water bottle:

- water bottles quicker to fill.
-water bottles easier to monitor consumption, as I race endurance events this is important. Very simple,finish one bottle every lap and your never going to get caught out.
-water bottles get gritty around the mouth piece but can fit into your back pocket. Funny how people will cram all sorts of strange items into the back of a jersey but always feel obliged to put a water bottle on the frame :confused: if nothing else it keeps the grit away safely stowed in your back pocket.

Having said that, for a simple fun day out the Camel Back gives you more range between fills and would be my choice.
 
Thanks - now what about the handlebars

Thanks again to everyone for their ongoing participation in this discussion. I have a feeling that the thread is going to merit a title change, perhaps to something like, "Tips for the beginning MTB'er"!

Good point about carrying first aid, but are the crashes any worse than those on-road? I guess it's not such a concern where I am, b/c there's no opportunity for real back-country riding where you're significantly removed from civilization. Maybe an emergency locator beacon or distress signal for those time's when you've fallen and can't get up...

Next question - the handlebars: my last bike was a Merlin Ti w/ Onza ti bar-ends, so these new fangled riser bars are strange and confusing. Am I obliged to keep the bar at its original (wide) width, or can I trim it down by a few cm's on each side? Or would that be a mistake? Also, what's a good tire (f/r) for sticky muddy multi-use trails pockmarked by horse hooves and covered in leaves?

Thanks!
 
Jun 22, 2010
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Ran into (karma) an S Works 25 year stumpjumper FSR carbon. Ok I ride Spi Roubaix 2007 elite and a Time RXS Vibraser on the Road. My Mountain bike is a Cannondale F2 Caffeine. The Stumpy is so much better. I ride in the south of France and it more small stones than under woods single. The brain is brilliant It kicks in when you need it.
It’s the same really the flash Time should be better than the Spi, but I prefer the Spi.
The Caffeine should and is quicker than the Stumpjumper but I prefer the ride on the Sumpy. Ok the Stumpy was an exceptional bike in 2006 and for me still is.
You need the rear suspension
 
Jun 6, 2010
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I had a Cube Reaction untill it was stolen (****ing Bulgarians :mad:), it was a good bike, nothing bad to say about. I went looking for a second hand bike, the Cube was only a year old and didnt want to spend the same amount again .
And then i found a Trek Top Fuel. I wasnt really searching for a fully but it was a great price and the right size so i went for it, and damn ... i'm so pleased i (accidently) went to a fully.
This summer i bought a second hand frame (hardtail) because i still had some wheels, derailleurs, shifters, etc. The bike was a lot lighter then my fully, more agressive so i was really looking forward to it ... i drove that bike once and went back to my fully.

I never had problems with my back, never had problems with the fact my hardtail was too hard ... but the moment i stepped on a fully i was sold
 
Quick update

Just a quick update that after having had the chance to ride the bike during the spring and returning to it late-Summer and really getting out a lot on the mtb during the past month, I'm glad I opted for FS. The trails around here are definitely technical and demanding enough that my riding benefits from that rear shock...
 
May 7, 2009
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RE: bar-ends vs riser bars

I may be a retro-grouch in this specific area, but I prefer the flat bar and bar ends. I have an old pair of Onza bar ends that I have had on three seperate MTBs through the years. I didn't like the feel of risers while climbing, but I started MTB-ing in 1989 on a fully ridgid 26er. Maybe I've developed habits that won't die?

other thoughts: I have a 26er hardtail with V-brakes and a long stem that puts me in a very agressive climbing position. This is great for going up steep stuff like slickrock (sandstone) slopes. However, this geometry makes me vulnerable in downhill situations as I am more likely to endo when going over a drop-off.

I also have a newer 26er FS that I got a few years ago. the full suspension allows me to go faster more comfortably on rough trails and climb rougher stuff. I also have flat bars and bar ends on this, but the bars are a bit wider. The disk brakes are a huge improvement over the v-brakes and this makes more difference in the overall ride that the suspension. This bike is more fun to ride on the rough stuff than the HT.

When going from my road bike to the full-suspension MTB, it feels very strange for a while, but I get used to it. When I think about body position for downhilling on a rough trail/road. it's so totaly different than body postion while descending on a road bike. The road bike is for peddling, the mountain bike is for riding.

I love all three bikes for what they are. I've ridden a few 29ers around parking lots and such before/after MTB rides with freinds. It does feel quite a bit different, but I'm not familiar with how it would feel on the trail. I'm sure there would be an adjustment period.

It sounds like you are already out there having fun on your Giant.
If you do make it out to the Colorado front range to ride the trails, there are probably many people here who would show you around... Many around here are now going to FS 29ers... They are MTB only types, not roadies.

FWIW, good luck with your legal issues.
 
Deagol said:
...It sounds like you are already out there having fun on your Giant.
If you do make it out to the Colorado front range to ride the trails, there are probably many people here who would show you around... Many around here are now going to FS 29ers... They are MTB only types, not roadies.

FWIW, good luck with your legal issues.
Thanks firstly for sharing your MTB/cycling experiences, and secondly of course for the encouragement! :eek: I am terrified of what's ahead and simply try not to think about it as there's just no way to cope with the waiting and the unknowns, especially as I'm virtually on my own here (speaking in terms of practical support...I've received tremendous encouragement/support from folks communicating via email/web/phone but that virtual contact doesn't translate so well to butts-in-seats or a hug or slap on the back...but anyway).

Yes the Giant has proven to be the best distraction I could imagine apart from http://twitpic.com/540u5g, but don't want to upset Susan W. by speaking of details or importing images ha!

I am disappointed with the performance and durability of the SRAM X9 components, although the X0 items have done better. I'm considering upgrading to X0 shifters for these last few weeks of freedom since there is supposed to be a significant improvement compared to the utterly crap X9's.

The full suspension is amazing, right? But what's utterly crazy is the performance of the disc brakes!! Not having had an MTB since 2000-ish, these are the first discs I've used on a bike and they are insane. Wow! Crazy.

I'd like to trick out the bike w/ a carbon bar/stem, the better drivetrain components, maybe lighter tires, etc. but even w/o that stuff it's been so fun so enjoyable so nice to get back into the woods on such a nice machine relative to what I had before (Merlin Ti w/ XT, I think). Not that Ti is bad but a hardtail merlin from 2000 vs. 2011 FS Giant ... no brainer for me.

How funny though is the fact that last night I decided to swap the Continental Mountain King tires I'd put on in the spring for better mud performance w/ the stock Maxxis Cross Mark's that came w/ the bike and which are still new (the rear Conti is really worn down from the 20min/ride I spend on the roads heading to and from the park) - the trails were like baked clay after a hot summer! At about 5pm last night I started to swap tires and by 5:10PM it was raining and only just stopped lol. Doh.

OK ... back to worrying about the future but feeling like there's not much that I can do about it. :(
 

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