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YAMAHA TDM900 (2002-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut"

Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding

"Such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut"

  • At a glance
  • 897cc  -  74 bhp
  • 40 mpg  -  170 miles range
  • Insurance group: 13 of 17
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  • Medium seat height (825mm)
  • New: £8,399

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Yamaha TDM900 is a streetbiking oddball that’s as brilliant beating congestion as it is swinging bends. The parallel twin motor is spunky enough for fun, while the wide bars really let you take charge and hustle. It’s such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Yamaha TDM900's ex-R1 brakes are good and with the slim sides and low-ish seat height the TDM900 feels more like an oversized supermoto than anything else. Motoways speeds up to about 90mph are OK, thanks to the fairing, and pillions are well served with a nicely sculpted seat and decent grab rails. The headlights are rubbish, frankly.

Engine 3 out of 5

The Yamaha TDM900's 10-valve, 897cc, DOHC motor doesn’t exactly rip your arms off with outright power, but there’s a handy 50 per cent more torque than a CBR600 from the time, which makes overtakes safer and punching out of bends more pleasurable. It’s a strange confection – the crank has a 270-degree firing order to make it feel more like a V-twin.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Yamaha TDM900 is miles better than the older TDM850. The stainless exhaust, alloy frame and paint is much improved, but the mild steel suspension linkage is prone to the same rust problem as the 850.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Older Yamaha TDM900s can be had for the same price as a 10-year-old CBR, making them good value to buy secondhand. Compare it to a BMW GS, and it's an utter bargain. Both are aimed at adventurous non-conformists, but only the Yamaha TDM900’s this affordable. Find a Yamaha TDM900 for sale

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

For an adventure-style motorcycle the TDM900 is pretty basic, but that was the norm back when it was first launched. You do get an ignition-based immobiliser (’04 motorcycles onwards), though. Official luggage is available for the TDM900 too and there are plenty of race-style exhausts to fit.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2002
Year discontinued -
New price £8,399
Used price -
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost £140
Performance
Max power 74 bhp
Max torque 60 ft-lb
Top speed 139 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.7 secs
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Specification
Engine size 897cc
Engine type 10v, parallel twin 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 190kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 18
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1991: Yamaha TDM850 introduced. Supermoto-style streeetbike. Makes 10bhp more than the later Yamaha TDM900.
2002: Replaced by Yamaha TDM900, which gained an ignition-based immobiliser in 2004.
2005: ABS version of Yamaha TDM900 introduced.

Other versions

Yamaha TDM900A: Advanced Braking System version. Originally a £500 premium over stocker.

Owners' Reviews

21 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA TDM900 (2002-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA TDM900 (2002-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.2 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

Utter bargain

11 February 2018 by Jiminy

A brilliantly capable, easy-to-live-with all-rounder. I bought my ‘04 a couple of years ago and have had no issues with it. Yes, it might be nice to have a bit more power. Yes, the seat could be plusher. But actually the basic package is pretty good all round for a redesign now approaching 20 years old. It’s light for it’s class, very economical, easy and cheap to service.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The ride is fine. The seat is fine too. Both stock on my bike and I have no urgent plans to upgrade. Perhaps I’m just easily pleased or have low expectations, I’ll check my school reports...
Engine
5 out of 5
I would like it to be a bit more punchy at lower revs, below 3,000 rpm, but I’m now used to using the available rev range and the gearbox appropriately. I love the engine!
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
10 out of 10 for reliability, the TDM drops a star for the flaking engine paint. Perhaps a little harsh because the rest of it seem really well finished. I think the black painted engines (post 2007?) don’t suffer.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
This is a very frugal engine which does not consume any oil between services. It’s an easy for the home mechanic to work on. Without lots of plastic to deal with, most things are accessible pretty easily. OEM and aftermarket parts are readily available. On pre 2005 models check you have the upgraded cam chain tensioner fitted.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Yamaha haven’t provided much to look at, play with or generally distract you other than a fine motorcycle and the view ahead! I think their vision in designing the ‘TDM experience’ was the creation of a zen-like quiet space, ideal for inner contemplation in a distraction free environment. Actually, that’s not true. The information you really need is there though an ambient temperature gauge would’ve been nice. I really like the digital speedo (easy to convert to kph read out abroad). Michelin PilotRoad 3 seem to be one of the most highly recommended tyres for the TDM. I’ve had a set on mine for the last 6,000 miles and have no complaints in the wet or dry. And, there’s still plenty of life left in them yet.
Buying experience

I bought from a dealer after seeing a classified ad on eBay. It’s the first time I’ve ever bought a bike from a dealership and it was a totally enjoyable experience!

4 out of 5

Great value and under rated

02 November 2017 by Bob

Great value bike, probably a better option than a revvy 600 on the road for most people. Feels very light, is narrow and easy to reach the floor for most people.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Much better than most people might imagine with great brakes. A really easy bike to ride.
Engine
4 out of 5
Good spread of useable power. Great MPG when just cruising/commuting, easily tops 200 miles at 80 mph.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Bulletproof and well finished
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Simple home maintenance, long shim intervals
Equipment
4 out of 5
Fairly basic, but does have adjustable suspension
Buying experience

Privately purchased

5 out of 5

07 June 2017 by jon

sold fz1 to buy one. even in 2017 there is not a better all rounder. versys feels cheap and vibey. if your a good rider you can keep up with anything.one fault headlights rubbish.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
superb r1 brakes dont buy abs mega nightmare if they go wrong
Engine
4 out of 5
injection stutter at 2500rpm a pain can be sorted but its not easy,quicker and smoother than a tiger 800
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
never had a problem
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
easy to do yourself 2 drain plugs ??
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

One bike for (just about) everything!

18 March 2017 by Jim Rides This

It's just a fantastic all-rounder. Cheap to run too!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Suspension is a little crude and soft by modern standards but works well enough. Make sure you grease the suspension bush pivots regularly as one of them in particular is prone to seize and difficult to remove. Brakes are excellent, less wooden than the 850 and well matched to the machine.
Engine
4 out of 5
Very economical. I've averaged 63mpg over 5,000 miles of mixed riding. Another few bhp would go amiss but the engine is peppy, and powerful enough for loaded-up touring.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
It's been 100% reliable and the build quality is a few steps up from my previous TDM850 - though the flaky engine paint is still an issue. Minor corrosion on some front did bolts but the rest of it is corrosion free after 24,000 miles.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I service it myself, everything is readily available and relatively cheap, even using OEM service parts. Adjusting valve clearances is a little more involved than the 850 but only needs doing every 24,000 miles or so.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Designed in an era before traction control, riding modes, etc. in comparison with modern tackle the TDM is spartan but actually has everything you really need. I've added a touring screen, Scottoiler, 650 v-strom hand guards and soft luggage. My favourite bits of the bike are the digital speedo (a small silly thing, I know) and the bungee hooks that fold out for luggage attachment. The 850 had 'em, and every bike designed to possibly tour should have them too - very useful.
Buying experience

Bought secondhand from a dealer, I paid just over £2200 for a 19,000 mile example, one owner, full service history.

3 out of 5

I payed well over this bike's worth

30 December 2016 by Cristian L

Overall I don't recommend this bike. It's old and it handles poorly, specially at slow speeds and at high speeds it's discouraging, because of the over-steering, I think due to the high center of gravity.

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
I only gave it 2 stars because the brakes are awesome ! It's the same breaks used on R1. The ride quality is bad bad bad. The bike is VERY top heavy and for some individuals is very hard to get used to. The ride with a pillion and baggage is a nightware. No confidence aspiring in the corners or anything. The baggage and pillion just add so much weight up top the bike is scary to ride fast. And God forbid you drop it, since if you feel that it weighs 220 kg when standing, it weights about 400kg when you try to pick it up... That's how top heavy this bike really is. This is NOT a trail bike. It doesn't like the non-asphalt roads. Also maneuvering it at low speeds its very discouraging. The stock suspension is average. The ride quality for me is so bad that I wanted to sell the bike in my first thousand miles. It's just not my style of bile.
Engine
3 out of 5
The engine is torqy but so damn unusable at low revs. The bike only likes 3k rpm+ and in 5-6th gear only likes 4k rpm +
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Quality and reliability is good. No major problems in my 12k ownership.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain.
Equipment
3 out of 5
This bike is not equipped with proper accessories from the factory. The side fairings are very hard to protect also cause there is no option for aluminum bars or anything...
Buying experience

I payed well over this bike's worth because it came with most touring accessories. But now that I want to sell it I will lose money since people don't expect to pay this much for this bike. So resell value = low.

5 out of 5

Incredible Bike

26 August 2016 by Peter c

Why buy a R1200GS, Multistrada etc when you can buy one of these beautifully uncomplicated bikes that just keeps on going. They are Japanese bullet proof quality that aren't over complicated like many of the latest trendy heavy adventure bikes that are more a fashion statement than anything else.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Comfortable ergonomics and excellent brakes with the use of good pads.
Engine
5 out of 5
Parallel twin with V twin sound. Japanese magic
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Japanese quality and realibility.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Cheap for parts and easy to service
Equipment
5 out of 5
Much as you need in the outback. Otherwise you are carrying too much weight with gizmos that can stop a bike and you really don't need.
Buying experience

Dealer $3750 Australian

5 out of 5

One of biking's best kept secret

24 April 2016 by Kevin

The MCN review is spot on, it's a great all rounder that is so easy to ride and great fun. What I am confused about is why some die-hard sports bike riders in particular hate the TDM with a passion. Even some riders of all-rounders and adventure bikes seem to view them with disdain. The old nick name of Tedium given to the 850 version seems to have stuck but if you are thinking of buying a TDM 900, I can assure you that it is anything but tedious.....it's bloody brilliant and great fun and is one of biking's best kept secrets. I was going to spend just over 8 grand on a new Tracer but I am so glad I didn't. I bought my TDM for three and a half grand with 9200 miles on the clock.....best bike I've owned in years. Do buy one if you're looking for a comfy, fast, fun real world all rounder. Don't buy one if you care what people think of your bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Extremely comfy both for me and my other half. I got fed up with the aches and pains my sports bike used to bring on after an hour or two.....those days are gone! The brakes are excellent but the soft suspension can cause a bit of front end dive if you really yank the brakes but generally it's not a problem.
Engine
5 out of 5
It's got a lot less bhp than my mates sports bikes but as I keep pointing out to them, how much of their 150 plus ponies can they actually use on traffic filled pot holed roads. There's more than enough grunt for easy overtakes and winding it on out of the bend and a well ridden TDM will keep up with most things on our British roads.....well mine does anyway.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I've only owned it for 6 months so can't give it 5 out 5 but so far, it's been great, no problems.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Why no centre stand? A sightly taller aftermarket screen will help too.
4 out of 5

Still up there with today's adventure bikes

01 October 2015 by Richard70

Generally overlooked but this has a lot to commend it. The handling is great for twisty A and B roads, the off-beat engine has soul, and you can ride it all day in comfort.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Ultra comfortable ride, excellent brakes (with ABS too)
Engine
4 out of 5
Characterful with the off-beat firing sequence. With scorpio exhausts it sounds really nice with the with the road legal baffles in place. Thinking about a quick action throttle as it sometimes is a bit cumbersome to wind all the power on.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Finish is good, never broken down, only had to do routine maintenance in the last 30,000 miles
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Fairly cheap to maintain, insure and fuel.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Could do with a centre stand. Mine has heated grips, hand guards, givi luggage and scorpion exhausts. I will upgrade the lights next.
Buying experience

Good value second hand. I paid about £3K for one with 3 piece luggage and scorpion exhausts

4 out of 5

Ahead of its time

10 November 2014 by TheHood64

I bought a TDM 900 in may this year (2013 reg, 500 miles) and am very pleased with it. It does every thing I want/need, Commute, tour, Back Lane Scratch, has bags of character and fun to ride. The Yamaha TDM was light years ahead of its time and a really good bike and only now people are cottoning on to it, shame because Yamaha dropped it in 2010, but in Europe they got it and the TDM sold very well.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Top All Rounder

13 October 2012 by thedavedent

I've had my TDM 900A for 18 months now and will probably keep it for a good few years yet. Why? Because it does everything I need, it's a commuter, a back lane scratcher, a motorway cruiser & hoot to boot. I use it in all weathers and it's never let me down or missed a beat. Great on twisty A roads, comphfy on long motorway hauls, superb on overtakes,great fuel economy, over 200 miles per tank whether ridden hard or easy, gives me a smile on the way to work & puts a smile on my face after. Bad points hates winters despite regular cleaning snatchy at low revs,no auto choke. Overall if I was to change this bike it would be for another one ;-)

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

lorryles

15 April 2012 by lorryles

only had my tdm a week but loving it.should of brought ost thought about itne 3 years a go.when i fir

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Good all rounder for tall people

05 August 2008 by Mjollnir

I use mine to commute, and to tour. It does both capably. I have had two pillions fall asleep on the back on three seperate occasions, say something for the comfort. OK build quality isn't perfect, the engine paint hates road salt, but then most bikes never see that. Don't be decived by it's looks it isn't very good off road. The mechanics are simple, and it is easy to service. You won't go wrong with one of these

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
3 out of 5

Had a borrow!

10 December 2007 by zx7rdelboy

Don't own one but me Brother does and seeing as he's laid up in Hospital (non Bike related) have been using his TDM. Overall a nice package, engines good and it certainly can be hustled through the London traffic.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Great mile muncher

13 April 2007 by KWAK6ftRider

I have had mine for a couple of years now, and I cannot fault it for being a mile muncher. It is comfy to ride all day long, and then again the next day. It is ok handling through the corners as well, and the high bars and thin engine make it good at filtering too. Then engine has a smooth power band all the way up, nothing overly spectacular, but then this isn't meant to be a sports bike. It has been very reliable, very little has gone wrong with it. In fact I think I have only had to replace one coil on it, which was cheep as chips. My only real grip about the bike is the quality of build, the engine paint flakes after no time, the rear brake caliper is terribly prone to salt getting behine the pad guides. But then I didn't buy this bike to look pretty, but to be a work horse, and it is superb at that

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Bought for everyday commuting and weekend fun

12 December 2005 by Trevini

The TDM took a little getting used to after riding a multi, but what a great torquey twin. It'll pull from next to nothing in any gear (although it is a bit lumpy below 3k), consistently return 200-225 miles before it hits reserve on the fuel gauge (average 59mpg), is comfy 1 or 2 up, great roll on acceleration at sub 100mph speeds and can cruise at a ton. Handling is very confidence inspiring as is grip (Metz Z6 work really well). Got 12k on the front tyre and headed for 8k on the rear. Servicing reasonable (£150). Strengths: Brilliant all rounder. I've put 12k on the clock since April 05. 70 mile commute daily. Economy is good. Weaknesses: Suspension is a bit soft, but an extra click on everything seems to sort it out ok for my taste. Doesn't have the street cred of a sports bike (although it will shock a few of them).

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Second TDM and it just gets better

07 November 2005 by ivorsmee

ABS is a god send but only for the rear, when the front is activated the wheel still locks for a split second which is scary. All the other tests say it all. I am a bit lacking in height (29'' leg)and can still touch the floor due a narrow seat. Strengths: Ride for miles in comfort. Easy to get luggage. 210miles average on 17 litres pushing hard it will drop to 180miles. Fitted larger screen to help with wind. Dunlops work well. Weaknesses: Front ABS. First gear clunkey. 18 inch front wheel does restrict tyre choice.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Great pice of kit

19 October 2005 by homer75

Great all-rounder. Have ridden sports 600's for years to the point they were almost getting bland for me. This really has put the smile back on my face. Wish I'd done in sooner. Strengths: Engine, seating position, comfort, tank range, brakes. Weaknesses: Tyres (Bridgestones when the Dunlps wear out), exhaust not loud enough, NO centrestand on a twin exhaust bike?

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Purchased 2005 - 3 years old but less than 5,000 miles on the clock. Fitted with touring screen.

23 August 2005 by CedHills

Used daily for commuting into central London. This bike is ideal; great for filtering through town traffic, but then a real blast when you hit the dual cariageway on the way home! Heated grips and high screen make cold mornings bearable. Strengths:
Good low down torque and great fuel economy for a bike of this size. Averages 59mpg, with 63mpg from some tankfuls. Beats most stuff away from the lights. Weaknesses: Very lumpy at low revs, which can make the trickle in traffic queues uncomfortable.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

TDM 900 in Silver Tech - Oxford Heated Grips - Yamaha Touring Screen (Tall)

05 June 2005 by sepulchre

This bike looks a little quirky granted, but from some angles it looks stunning - This is most definatley a wolf in sheeps clothing - Fire the twin up let her warm up for a couple of minutes get a couple of miles of heat in the brakes and be prepared to be shocked - This bikes torque is awsome, the answer to rapid progress is via quick gear changing at around 6500 rpm - for everyday use and real world riding this bike is great, it'll cruise at 90 mph all day long, fuel economy is impressive, tank range is good, comfort leaves supersports for dead - then you come to the handling, braking power on the TDM is almost too good, you'll need to crank the front and rear suspention up to avoid to much dive under heavy braking (Fully adjustable), and believe me this bike ANCHORS up quickly and with huge amounts of control - The funny thig about a TDM 900 is the handling is it just keeps giving you more, and when you think you have found it's safe limit it just goes and gives you some more.
Strengths: Handling - Torque - Riding Position. Weaknesses: Quirky looks - Soft factory setting on suspension (adjustable).

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

2005 Model with a centrestand dealer fitted. The black frame pulls the look of the bike together

31 March 2005 by SimonEldon

If you want a bike to do plenty of miles on in total comfort, but still have loads of fun on the way, this is the one. The engine is full of mid-range power, and strong enough for most. Strengths: That flexible engine. The gearbox is excellent. The riding position gives a fantastic view and just does not stress your body at all. The finish looks good to last, and the pillion provision has made my wife a happy woman - and if she's happy, I'm happy. Weaknesses: Standard headlights are not that strong, but that is about it.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

New Yamaha TDM 900

12 August 2004 by hedingham27

Just swapped in fazer600 for the new TDM 900,this bike is a proper mile muncher, superb riding postion lots of fun and very easy to ride for a tall bike. Strengths:
Excellant riding postion, very economical (45mpg) even when ridden hard. Weaknesses: Shorter riders would struggle with the seat height (under 5'10) and you get a lot of wind noise at 70mph+.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha TDM900 motorcycle review - Side view
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