Ducati Monster motorcycle test


Salon revolution

V-Twin Testastretta of 937 cm3, 111 hp, 93 Nm, 166 kg dry (188 kg full made), 11,290 euros

Is a Monster still a Monster if it doesn’t have a tubular trellis frame? This is the question that ignites the Ducatist forums scattered around the world (I’m serious) since Bologna unveiled the photos of the 2021 vintage of its iconic roadster.. And if the bars were not all closed, it would undoubtedly be the number one philosophical debate of all commercial cafes in France..

Thus, Ducati joins the famous club of traitors to tradition that are BMW (“we will never do front-wheel drive, wooden cross, iron cross”), Ferrari (the list is long: turbo, hybrid and soon electric … ) and many others. Finally when I say joined. The Monster – born Mostro – has already had its fair share of trials since its appearance in 1993, especially when it switched from carburettors to injection or when the first “not air-cooled” twin appeared. In short, it is the motorcyclist equivalent of Theseus’ boat, you are free to discuss at the bottom of the page in the comments on the fidelity of this Monster to the original concept … For the record, just know that the official speech of Ducati, somewhat arranged by the marketing department, is that the 2021 Monster – nicknamed Ristretto after coffee – has “returned to the original formula initiated on the first Monster: an engine derived from a sports car and an engine optimized for road use. ”. I put that there you do what you want with it … Finally, note that from now on, there will be no more number (or displacement) attached to this name. So, no 821 as before, nor 937 (its displacement) or 950 like other models based on the same engine..

Ducati Monster testDucati Monster test

Now it’s just Monster. This will be the one and only version available, probably due to Euro5 homologation constraints. There will therefore be no “small” or “big” model. And therefore no more twin air either. Sniff…


If you want all the technical changes to this new Monster, you will find the excellent article from December 2020. I will only cover the most important points here, starting with the new chassis. The engine is load-bearing and the front loop connecting the engine to the steering column is made of aluminum, like the Panigale V4s. The rear loop is made from polymers (plastic, what) reinforced with fiberglass. So yes, there is no more trellis and yes, visually that changes. But it’s the tree that hides the forest.

Finished the trellis, the Monster 2021 marks a break with the family of Italian roadstersFinished the trellis, the Monster 2021 marks a break with the family of Italian roadsters

Ducati did with this Monster what Aprilia does with its little Tuono 660, namely developing a machine that is certainly sportier, but also lighter, easier and more versatile. On the scale, this translates into a colossal weight loss of 18 kg for a total of 166 kg dry and 188 kg in running order (despite the increase in displacement). In detail, Bologna has scraped kilograms all over the place: 4.5 kg gained just with the aluminum front loop, 1.9 kg on the rear loop, 1.6 kg for the swingarm, the twin s 2.6 kg lighter and the rims lose 1.7 kg! Spoiler alert, these are just the most significant changes; no need to add everything up I did it for you and the almost 6 missing pounds were gained everywhere.

The various modifications made have made it possible to reduce the weight by 18 kg!The various modifications made have reduced the weight by 18 kg !

The new full LED lighting with daytime running light and automatic day-night adjustment is probably not foreign to the thing either. Same remark for the dashboard – or rather the color TFT screen – identical to that of the new SuperSport 950 S. The icing on the cake, that which will perhaps reconcile the guardians of the temple of the tubular trellis with this Monster, c t is the dramatic increase in the steering angle to 36 ° which is 7 ° more than the Monster 821. In real life, that translates into a tight turning radius of 1.14 m. I would further develop all the benefits of this change in the essay section..

The Monster's LED headlightMonster’s LED headlight

Paradoxically, this tsunami of change did not affect the architecture of the chassis. The wheelbase is reduced from 1480 to 1474 mm and the trail is slightly reduced from 24.3 ° to 24 °. Not enough to get up at night. A word about driving aids. In summary everything is there, from ABS (3 levels) to traction control (8 levels + off) via anti-wheeling (8 levels + off) and a launch control and of course the driving modes ( Urban, Touring and Sport). And everything is configurable via an interface … at least obscure for a beginner. Unless I am mistaken, Bosch provides all manufacturers with the same hardware and each has its own sauce with the different adjustment parameters (there are several hundred of them) and their respective interactions. Ducati’s know-how in this area is undeniable, the interventions of the electronics are always transparent and the bearings from one setting to another are sensitive. But these systems have become so democratized that in my opinion they no longer deserve to appear in the “+” box of a rating, because it is the standard in this segment..

ABS, traction control, anti-wheeling, launch control ... The assistance is still presentABS, traction control, anti-wheeling, launch control … The assistance is still present

We will conclude with the Euro5 homologated 937 cm3 twin Testastretta which replaces the 821 unit. Here it delivers 111 hp at 9250 rpm and 93 Nm of torque. In addition to the fact that it is compatible with the A2 regulations, it was entitled to a whole bunch of modifications: connecting rods and pistons, new gearbox housing, new clutch, modified cylinder heads, alternator and timing belt housings … Two horses and Seven Nm gained compared to the 821, it’s not much on paper, but the superposition of the engine curves shows a significant gain in torque over the entire range of use to promote general approval.

The 937 cm3 twin shows 2 hp and 7 Nm more than the previous 821The 937 cm3 twin shows 2 hp and 7 Nm more than the previous 821

In the saddle

The driving position has been completely revised. The handlebars are much closer to the body (65mm) and the footrests have been moved back (35mm) and lowered (10mm). Those who are used to the Monster will be a little confused, but in the end, the position is very natural and suitable for most sizes. The adults were even rather happy to no longer have their knees stuck in the tubes of the old frame … The saddle, very narrow at the junction with the tank – another benefit of the removal of the mesh – allows to my 170 cm to have both feet flat despite its 820 mm height. If necessary, a “low” saddle (800 mm) with a little less foam for the foundation is available in the catalog as well as a suspension lowering kit (775 mm) which – good news – has no impact on travel. suspension (front: 130 mm, rear: 140 mm).

The 820 mm saddle allows you to easily put your feet on the ground, even for the 1m70 riderThe 820mm saddle makes it easy to put your feet on the ground, even for the 1.70m rider

The levers have micrometric adjustments and the new hydraulic clutch is surprisingly smooth for a Monster. Shall we continue with the good news? The mirrors no longer mirror the elbows as on the 821. Well, much less. A little advice for the crutch, it has a large opening angle so push it fully before going down, this will prevent you from holding it with one hand so as not to take it on your feet…

The color TFT screen is identical to that of the SuperSportThe color TFT screen is identical to that of the SuperSport

In the city

One press on the starter and presto, the twin Testastretta wakes up. It always slams a little cold, but we are very far from the concert of castanets of the models of the last century and the exhaust is present without being intrusive either. As I said above, the clutch took lessons in a good way in a Japanese college and the gearbox only slams (discreetly) at first. On the first few meters of evolution, it is the lightness and the feeling of compactness that jump in your face first. I don’t think I’ve tried a Monster that’s as easy to handle as this one, even the smaller ones. Urban mode is entitled to a specific mapping that reduces power to 75 hp while softening the response of the accelerator ride by wire. We drive in step without sweating, the clutch dosage is transparent and the twin accepts to resume at 2,000 revs on the first two reports. If necessary, we can even move at 2,500 rpm in fourth gear at 50 km / h without having the impression of riding a giant vibrator..

Never has a Monster been so easy to handleNever has a Monster been so easy to handle

Setting the angle requires two grams of pressure on the handlebars, barely more to raise everything and above all, you can FINALLY make a U-turn on a two-lane road without having the impression of being in control of a supertanker. Thanks for the normal turning radius. And it is all the easier that this Monster weighs a feather (188 kilos all full) … What else to say? That the Up & Down shifter fitted as standard is also there to make your life easier and that the Urban mode electronic aids set very safe should (logically) save you the bet on wet-fat or a plate of diesel. If all the same, there is something that annoys a little, it is the heat given off by the twin at the level of the right knee. It was sensitive during our test by 12 ° outside temperature and it could be worse in the middle of August !

Weight loss is felt during maneuversWeight loss is felt during maneuvers

Motorway and expressways

The level of protection is surprising, at least for small riders. Apparently, the shape of the headlight and the dashboard would have had the right to some wind tunnel tests to improve this specific point. Suddenly at 130 km / h, we feel only weakly the pressure of the wind and only on the top of the helmet. The “+” version with its nose screen should improve things even more. The other testers – the biggest ones – on the other hand noticed nothing notable for good or bad. We will still note that this Monster pulls a bit short, at 130 km / h in 6th gear, the twin turns at 5,250 rpm (red zone at 10,000 rpm), it is good for lightning overtaking, but less for consumption . And don’t expect to put on a Paris Marseille in one go either. The saddle foam is firm and the hindquarters are stiff enough.

Despite the lack of protection, we hardly feel the wind pressure at 130 km / hDespite the lack of protection, you can hardly feel the wind pressure at 130 km / h


Rhaaa! This is where the new Monster is most comfortable. In addition to the weight in less, it is especially the centralization of the masses and the lightening of the unsprung masses (the rims therefore) which transform the behavior of this Monster. With most of the masses compacted around the center of gravity, inertia in changing angles is reduced to a minimum. The Ducati roadster is a hunting bike. The corner entries on the brakes are done naturally and without forcing and the new chassis allows an almost confusing dose of improvisation on the first kilometers. I wouldn’t complain, Vexin truckers have the unfortunate tendency to ride right in the middle of the road in a series of turns and I would probably write this article from my hospital bed if I had been on the handlebars of the older generation.

111 hp and 93 Nm for 188 kg with full tank, perfectly figures the attitude of the roadster111 hp and 93 Nm for 188 kg with full tank, the figures perfectly reflect the attitude of the roadster

The suspension settings have been designed for versatility more than for pure and hard arson. It’s gentle enough over the first few inches of travel to filter out most of the bad grain from a rough road without the Monster turning into a rocking horse when you push the pace. But the feedback is not at the top. The ultra healthy and obvious chassis more than compensates for this small defect, but for a really sporty driving or a foray on the track, a more braked hydraulic will probably be necessary..

Suspensions are tuned for maximum versatilitySuspensions are tuned for maximum versatility

And this is where the bottom hurts, because apart from an adjustment of the preload at the rear, there is no adjustment possible. Too bad, we were not far from faultless. It is versatile first and sporty after, but between the riquiqui weight, the explosive character of the Bolognese twin and excellent pneumatic mounting (Pirelli Diablo Rosso III), the Monster remains a formidable tool in good hands..

Unfortunately the settings are not adjustable, but the Monster is still a beastUnfortunately, the settings are not adjustable, but the Monster is still a beast.


Nothing to say about the pancakes and calipers. The Brembo monobloc M4.32 4 pistons up front that bite 320mm rotors are flawless. Power feeling, everything is there. Only the bite on the attack is behind what we know with the brand’s sports machines, but given the general public vocation of the roadster, it is better for beginners. The simple 245mm rear disc is forgotten as is the ABS (cornering ABS included please) which is triggered less accidentally than most sporty roadsters in the segment..

No complaints about the quality of the Brembo M4.32 monoblock calipersNothing to say about the quality of the Brembo M4.32 monobloc calipers

Comfort and duo

We are in the wrong standard. No sporty roadster is really comfortable on the long haul, and the Monster complies with this rule. After a little over 160 km during the day, punctuated by numerous breaks, my gluteal muscles were starting to show signs of fatigue. As for the passenger, she is not treated any better. No side handles, not too much room either. At least it dominates the road and the reservoir in the shape of a “buffalo’s back” dixit Ducati is close enough to it so that it can lean against it easily during braking phases….

Comfort is within the standards of the roadster segment, including for the duoComfort is within the standards of the roadster segment, including for the duo

Consumption and autonomy

On the highway at legal speed, the computer announces a consumption varying between 4 and 4.3 l / 100 km, or even a little less if you take portions at 110 km / h. And on the whole of our course punctuated by multiple photo / video passages – the worst for the consumption – a lot of urban (foaming) and some phases of arson, the average consumption stabilized at around 5.6 liters. With a 14-liter tank (against 16.5 l on the old 821), we can expect an average range of around 250 km..

The 14-liter tank allows around 250 km of autonomyThe 14-liter tank allows around 250 km of autonomy

Who wants options ?

In addition to the “+” version which gives the right to a nose screen and a passenger seat cover, Ducati presented us with a small selection of options that are already copious and which should be expanded in the years to come: fairing for low engine, offset plate holder, racing silencer (+ 4% power and torque) and homologated, two GP or Pixel decoration kits (specific plastic body panels) or for less two sticker kits (Logo or again GP , the budget must be amortized in MotoGP).


Ducati increasingly space its revisions now, brought to 15,000 km (after the first to 1,000 km) with a revision for the valve clearance every 30,000 km.

The Monster test in video


I was the proud owner of the first “carb-fueled” Monster 900 (I was born during the first oil shock) and take my word for it, those who say it was better before are liars. I still remember the ridiculous turning radius that required 250 maneuvers to turn around on a large boulevard. The rear cylinder which heated more than the front with a significant impact on the twin carburation. The improbable driving position, the blatant disagreement between the front and rear suspension, the firmness in reinforced concrete and the reduced travel of the whole. From the dry clutch which made so much noise in neutral that it covered the noise of the engine (though not discreet either) and which required weightlifter’s arms. The sway imposed to make the beast turn as soon as we wanted to ride with a little rhythm and guidance from beyond the grave on something other than billiards if we had not paid for a steering damper as an accessory … After in the right conditions, yes, a Monster was magic and really efficient.

This new Monster doesn’t have much to do with “my” Monster, apart from the magical moments. In all fairness, this 2021 vintage is the best I have tested (tied with the 1100 evo version). The ease of driving and handling, the featherweight, the exacerbated versatility … Objectively, apart from the absence of suspension settings, I do not find any real fault. And that’s probably where the problem lies for die-hard Ducatists. Ducati has refined its roadster and erased its institutional flaws so much that – indeed – this roadster has less personality than the most flamboyant generations despite an always charming twin. And there is no more 1200 version if you want more.

The Ducati Monster (950)The Ducati Monster (950)

Today, if you are looking for a really hairy roadster, something that will make you overdose on adrenaline, turn to a Yamaha MT-09 or to the Triumph Street Triple, less radical, but almost as temperamental. It is a question of compromise. And if you really want a man thing, I need to be able to track down the current owner of my old Monster 900, but it’s at your own risk … All kidding aside, your best bet is to go for a turn to dealership and test this new Monster for yourself. I fell under the spell…

Strong points

  • He’s still a Monster
  • General lightening and centralization of the masses
  • Efficiency AND versatility
  • Ease of handling and driving position
  • Turning radius !
  • The falling price
  • The twin Testastretta

Weak points

  • No more air motor…
  • The lack of suspension adjustment
  • The interface not at all “user friendly” for navigating the menus
  • Some finishing details (on our pre-series)

Ducati Monster technical sheet

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: A 160-kilometer loop in the Vexin, west of Paris, mixed route with many departmental and national roads (too) often punctuated by crossings of villages and a small portion of the motorway to go and return.
  • Motorcycle mileage: 450 km
  • Problem encountered: The confinement of Italy which deprived us at the last moment of a real international presentation, but Ducati France perfectly managed the situation in record time. Hat !

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14 thoughts on “Ducati Monster motorcycle test

  1. Ah that … the ablation of the CBS is not very fine on the part of Honda.

    But you raise THE strong point of the manufacturer: reliability. Difficult to change brand then because it is an important point …

  2. Regarding the abandonment of C-ABS on this machine, Inayama San, the engineer in charge of the project answers this:

    "We are constantly updating our brake systems to make sure we are providing the right equipment for each model." He also added that there was "customer feedback on the previous Crossrunner giving preference to the ABS without the combination element. Thus, this would give the rider a little more control and flexibility, leaving him to choose to brake either. from the front, either from the rear, or from both … "

    For my part, I think that the economic argument of standardization has played fully.

  3. It’s not a problem, too long reports. A simple change of crown, with 3 or 4 more teeth, and voila!

  4. Heavier than my vfr 800 fi from 2000!

    Where is the evolution when the 1000 trails are lighter.

    I love the fi motor. With 30 kg less it would be great!

    Mr. Honda: get to work!

  5. Hello everyone !

    I just bought this model 1 month ago, after trying its competitors (triumph xrx, yamaha tracer 900/700). Although more expensive, I immediately knew that I would choose the HONDA. The use on expressways and in duos has largely confirmed this choice. Comfort, versatility, aesthetics, manufacturing quality, equipment: for me, it represents the best compromise.

    On this subject, the comment of OLL is not too appropriate since it concerns the old model, which I also know, and which has nothing to do; these are 2 different motorcycles.

    For the consumption: highway over 200 kms, at 140/150 and much more when overtaking – not too frequent because not many people in the evening during the week – the computer indicates 6.8 l / 100 kms.

    On the road, in duo: less than 5.8l / 100.

    In the city (hypercentre and agglomeration of Bordeaux very congested in normal times + aggravation due to tramway works): 6 l maximum.

    As for the "less expressive at low revs" engine; I confirm that the 3 competing cylinders are more (and even too) violent; the passenger must be attentive and hang on well. However, I challenge anyone to open wide, even with the HONDA, under normal road and traffic conditions. Daily use of the ordinary motorcyclist not practiced on closed roads or under the same conditions as test journalists.

    What does not spoil anything:

  6. I’ve been riding a Crossrunner for 4 years and 35,000 km, it’s simple I didn’t think I would find a replacement for my ex GS 1200, and yet the VFR 800 X did !

    What a joy to his handlebars, so soft and comfortable and at the same time so reassuring and effective on days of big attack, difficult to find a replacement for him..

    And what about the soundtrack !

    One of the last mechanical masterpieces of the thermal engine era, thank you Soпchiro Honda for having democratized it !

    This type of motorcycle, the Crossover, is for me ideal for traveling small or large roads with sometimes uncertain surfaces, we are far from the waders that are the "pseudo" Trail which I do not care about their ability to cross the desert (who does it?) of their hymalayesque saddle height and their "fashion victim" side.

    In this category the Honda Crossrunner is just perfect, and I would never understand its commercial failure except that it is difficult for a Japanese manufacturer to play in the "premium" court and their detestable elitist image..

    And in the end what a pleasure not to ride on everyone’s motorcycle, arf !


  7. Salvation

    I’ve had mine for a week and I have to say it’s a really nice bike after 1500 km. One small regret, the gearbox which scrapes a lot especially when downshifting 5th / 4th. Compared to the GS, it is necessary to lift the leg less and the engine is of exemplary flexibility. On the other hand, I am still waiting for my options which are not available, no power station, no pot, no parapet, no luggage except the heated handles on the start button a little crappy. You can feel the weight during the maneuver but well balanced it is not felt after a few days. Once the engine is on and the first turn of the wheels, a bike that takes an endless angle, especially if you are lucky enough to receive it with Pirelli scorpion. I tried the one with the Bridges, it’s night and day. For the conso count 6 liters. Hello and have a good trip

  8. QuoteTitivroum

    I’ve had mine for a week and I have to say it’s a really nice bike after 1500 km. One small regret, the gearbox which scrapes a lot especially when downshifting 5th / 4th. Compared to the GS, it is necessary to lift the leg less and the engine is of exemplary flexibility. On the other hand, I am still waiting for my options which are not available, no power station, no pot, no parapet, no luggage except the heated handles on the start button a little crappy. You can feel the weight during the maneuver but well balanced it is not felt after a few days. Once the engine is on and the first turn of the wheels, a bike that takes an endless angle, especially if you are lucky enough to receive it with Pirelli scorpion. I tried the one with the Bridges, it’s night and day. For the conso count 6 liters. Hello and have a good trip

    I tried the two standard box and DCT box versions twice for quite a long time (in Lorient and in Rennes) and I agree with you totally on the fact that the mechanical box is very hard; it was also much more so on the Rennes test bike than the Lorient one: in Lorient I found the gearbox hard but without missing any gear shift while for the Rennes test, I didn’t have not stopped having false dead spots and missed passages with an obviously harder box. overall I find that this is the only frankly negative point of this Crosstourer but it is real.

    As for the tires, I also had a bike with the Bridg BW 501/502 and the other with the Pirelli Scorpion Trail and the latter give much more handling without any annoying liveliness. But that I already knew from having tested them on my two successive stelvio and the result is exactly the same.


  9. I have 800 kms with mine, no pb with the gearbox (manual) it is ultra soft and very precise. this bike is impressively homogeneous with a motor!!!!

    The accessories are late because the europe honda stock of spare parts is being transferred from belgium to england, it will not be long.

    average consumption 5.3.

  10. Salvation,

    I was able to do 3 tests of the 1200 VFR-X alias Crosstourer in concession and now … I recently own a 1200VFRX alias Crosstourer.

    So if this info can be useful to someone ……………

    Royal comfort in solo as in duo, upright and relaxing position. Very good rear view, no vibration in the mirrors either.

    Thick and very soft seat, no abnormal or unpleasant vibrations, including in the passenger footrests.

    Complete, clear and easily readable instrumentation including the tachometer (everything is displayed simultaneously!)

    The finish is exemplary, everything is well adjusted, no visible thread.


    This is THE good surprise of this bike. Coming directly from the 1200VFR the engine has been revised and reworked for better torque and its power of course revised downwards.

    And the result is stunning. Torque galore and omnipresent power. It pulls on the arms with force until the breaker !


    I took the model with the manual gearbox because I like to have 100% control and feel and also be able to spin the clutch just in case..

    The gearbox is a little noisy on the neutral / 1st passage.

    Otherwise the gearbox is smooth, the gears go like butter both up and down on 6 gears.


    The Honda C-ABS is always so nice, just the best braking anyway for me.

    I tested the TCS (traction control) on gravel, efficient, no slippage. TCS can be deactivated.


    Original screen a little too low even in high position for my 1m77. High screen ordered (+ 14cm) 160Ђ the tip anyway and it will be good.

    The legs are fairly well protected from the wind. Hand guards are good too.

    Cycle part

    Very light steering including at a complete stop, turn around in a pocket square. Satisfactory ground clearance for what I’m going to do with it. Healthy handling, including in fast bends and duos.

    Fork side and rear shock absorber everything is adjustable, nothing to report on this side.


    I haven’t driven at night yet so I don’t know about the lighting and its quality. The original sound of the exhaust is super nice so I will stay in origin.

    The stationary weight 275kg is to be taken into account taking into account the height at 850mm from the ground.

    A place is available under the saddle for a Honda U-lock or other which is quite rare today. No empty pockets, too bad !

    My conclusion: a well-born KM swallower for both solo and duo, an expressive, lively and powerful engine, excellent finish.

    Goodies: Engine, finish, cycle part.

    Cons: High windshield compulsory as an option а 160Ђ, no empty pockets, weight at a standstill.

    a +

  11. The question is "do these markers sell"?

    According to me from a communicator from Ducati, this new Monster is aimed at a clientele of brand new bikers and at a female clientele.

    Not for old Ducati fans who will rarely be customers of this bike.

    I am indifferent to this bike, it looks too much like its competitors, but as I am not in the target audience, it does not matter. …cool

    But otherwise, a trellis frame is great.

  12. Quotescoo
    Here is my short experience,

    Having a manual gearbox crosstourer and with 700km, I also find that the gearbox is really too hard, especially in downshifting, it annoys me enormously I find it dangerous. I will see with my dealer what they can do because I will not be able to continue like this. I used to have a 2006 Varadero and it was really something else.

    Rev counter illegible (rнen not worth a good needle) and high bubble mandatory to add to the price.

    For the rest it’s good.

    Hi everyone.

    hi scoo,

    I will soon have 2000km and RAS gearbox level. It sometimes happens that on the way up it gives an impression of "not locked" but in fact it is 🙂 so it’s ok.

    I’m frank I have no problem with a hard point anywhere neither on the way up nor on the way down. You must certainly have a pbm, come see your dealer without delay, especially since you only have 700km. Sorry for you ! I am also on an Anglo-Saxon forum where there are Crosstourers from all over the world and no one has had this pbm … 🙁

    The Honda warranty will work automatically since your machine is new, don’t worry. wink

    I should soon receive my high screen and the side deflectors too.

    I find the dashboard successful (everything is displayed simultaneously) including the tachometer which is easy to read for me BUT requires a bit more time than a needle to know where we are. But a V4 can also be heard by the ear fire

    What happiness for 3 weeks ! V

    A +

  13. bj to all, after having had a varadero, a VFR1200 and for 3 months a crosstourer with 4000 km built in Corsica it is a great motorcycle, it held the road of a sportswoman with the comfort of a road what better to swallow the klm. I have a manual and it is a treat to play the revival in 2nd. in small bends (Corsica) do not hesitate to drive with the legs it falls all alone good I stop there to leave the surprise to the new owner. i want to say another successful motorcycle at honda. good road

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