CUBE Reaction Hybrid HPA SL 500 Review

Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Electric Bike Review
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Bosch Performance Line Cx Motor Skid Plates
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Downtube Integrated Bosch Powerpack 500 Battery
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Bosch Purion Display Panel Lcd
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Rockshox Recon Silver Tk Air Fork 100 Mm
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Shimano Deore Xt 11 Speed
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Standard Quick Release Skewer Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brake Rotor
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Bosch Four Amp Ebike Charger
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Electric Bike Review
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Bosch Performance Line Cx Motor Skid Plates
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Downtube Integrated Bosch Powerpack 500 Battery
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Bosch Purion Display Panel Lcd
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Rockshox Recon Silver Tk Air Fork 100 Mm
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Shimano Deore Xt 11 Speed
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Standard Quick Release Skewer Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brake Rotor
Cube Reaction Hybrid Hpa Sl 500 Bosch Four Amp Ebike Charger


  • One of the coolest looking Bosch powered hardtail ebikes I have seen, matte black and gloss black accents on the frame, fork and wheelset blend perfectly with the motor and battery casing
  • The battery is sunk into the downtube for protection, lower weight distribution, and a nicer appearance, the Bosch CX motor delivers high torque and adaptive response with EMTB mode
  • Available in six frame sizes! The smallest two come with 27.5" wheels while the larger four come with 29er wheels that coast efficiently, remote fork lockout makes this a great urban to trail platform
  • Bottle cages bosses, rear rack bosses, and a kickstand mounting point allow the bike to transform into an all-terrain commuter, 11 speed Shimano Deore XT with shadow plus clutch reduces chain bounce, alloy chain guide keeps it on track

Video Review





Reaction Hybrid HPA SL 500


$3,799 USD

Body Position:


Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail, Youth

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes


2 Year Motor and Battery, 5 Year Frame


United States, Canada, Europe

Model Year:


Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

48 lbs (21.77 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.7 lbs (2.58 kg)

Motor Weight:

8.8 lbs (3.99 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Superlite, Gravity Casting, ARG, Double Butted

Frame Sizes:

16 in (40.64 cm)17 in (43.18 cm)18 in (45.72 cm)19 in (48.26 cm)21 in (53.34 cm)23 in (58.42 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium 19" Stats: 18" Seat Tube, 22.5" Reach, 30" Stand Over Height, 28.5" Width, 75" Length

Frame Types:


Frame Colors:


Frame Fork Details:

Rock Shox Recon Silver TK Air Suspension, 100 mm Travel, PopLoc Remote Lockout, Rebound Adjust, 100 mm / 9 mm Hub, Skewer with Quick Release

Frame Rear Details:

135 mm / 9 mm Hub, Skewer with Quick Release

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses, Kickstand Bosses

Gearing Details:

11 Speed 1x11 Shimano Deore XT RD-M8000-GS Derailleur with Shadow Plus Clutch, CS-M8000 Cassette 11 to 46T

Shifter Details:

Shimano SL-M8000-B-I Triggers on Right


FSA CK-745, Alloy, 175 mm Length, 16 Tooth Chainring with Alloy Guard




FSA 1.5E ZS, Tapered, Top Zero-Stack 1-1/8" (OD 44 mm), Bottom Zero-Stack 1-1/2" (OD 56 mm), Threadless, Internal Cups


CUBE Performance Pro, 85 mm Length, 5° Angle, Three 10 mm Risers, 31.8 mm Clamp


CUBE Rise Trail Bar Pro, 720 mm Length

Brake Details:

Shimano Deore BR-M615 Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Rotors, Shimano Two-Finger Levers with Adjustable Reach


CUBE Performance Grip, Rubber, Flat


CUBE Branded, Selle Royal MTB

Seat Post:

CUBE Performance Post, Alloy

Seat Post Length:

400 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

30.9 mm


CUBE Alex EX23, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 32 Hole, Reinforcement Eyelets


Stainless Steel, 14G, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Nobby Nic, 29" x 2.35"

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)29 in (73.66cm)

Tire Details:

23 to 50 PSI

Tube Details:

Presta Valve


Rubberized Slap Guard, Clear Plastic Rock Chip Sticker on the Downtube, Plastic Dual-Layer Skid Plate on the Motor, CUBE Kickstand Provision (Rear Left)


Locking Removable Batter Pack, 1.7 lb 4 Amp Battery Charger, Different Wheel Sizes (27.5" for 16" and 18" Frame, 29" for 17", 19", 21", 23"), No Bottle Cage Bosses for 27.5" Models

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bosch Performance Line CX

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

600 watts

Motor Torque:

75 Newton meters

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

13.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

482.4 wh

Battery Chemistry:


Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

115 miles (185 km)

Display Type:

Bosch Purion, Fixed, Backlit LCD Control Panel with Integrated Button Pad, (Hold - to Cycle Through Readouts, Hold - and Press Power to Change Units, Hold + to Activate Lights)


Speed, Assist Level (Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo), Battery Level (1-5), Odometer, Trip Distance, Total Distance, Estimated Range, Lights

Display Accessories:

Micro-USB Port for Diagnostics and Software Updates Only

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence and Pedal Torque, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 50% 40 Nm, Tour 120% 50 Nm, Sport 210% 60 Nm, Turbo 300% 75 Nm)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

Written Review

The CUBE Reaction Hybrid HPA SL 500 is a hardtail electric trail bike that seems uniquely well suited to urban environments. With a 100 mm travel air suspension fork from RockShox, offering remote lockout, you’re not going to experience efficiency loss from bobbing or sluggish steering from a steep head tube angle as you would with most other trail models that have smaller wheels and different forks. Transitioning from street to trail is a breeze, you don’t have to reach down and tinker with a compression clicker, just pull the lock lever and the rigid fork becomes supple. Large 29″ wheels with 2.35″ wide tires offer a lower attack angle that spans cracks and gives you forward momentum. This isn’t so much a quick twitchy bike as it is a solid, smooth, momentum type bike. Interestingly though, the two smallest frame sizes come with 27.5″ wheels… and that’s meant to bring the stand over height down and provide a similar experience for petite riders. The Reaction Hybrid comes in six different frame sizes! That’s amazing to me, but it could be the deciding factor for a young rider or extra-tall adult. Fit is a big deal when you’re riding further and enduring rugged terrain. Again, this is a cross country setup meant for packed Earth vs. rocky rutty terrain. The hardtail design isn’t going to be as comfortable, but it does provide an excellent platform for mounting a rack with trunk bag and panniers. Make sure, if you go this route, to get a disc brake compatible rack like this. And, depending on your ride plans, many Bosch Certified electric bike shops can even wire in lights that will run off of the main ebike battery. Motostrano can do this, and I met with the owner, Joe Witherspoon, to conduct this review. He was actually preparing to do a 50+ mile ride going from roads to a trail and then camping. They chose this model (and similar hardtail units from CUBE) because of the efficient but powerful motor, sturdy frame design, stable cargo platform (racks), and widely available Bosch battery packs (because they had extras laying around from other bikes that could be swapped-in for long distance riding.

Driving this e-bike is one of the best mid-motors available on the market today, in my opinion. The Bosch Performance Line CX is a mountain specific drive unit that ranges from 250 watts to 570 watts peak, offering up to 75 Newton meters of torque. It’s extremely responsive, measuring rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque, over 1,000 times per second. And, it uses a smaller chainring with reduction gearing to improve grab and increase mechanical advantage. In practice, this motor in particular is a bit louder than the other Bosch units. You can hear it whining at the higher RPM levels and especially at the highest power level. That said, it actually supports you at up to 120 RPM while most other drive unites I have tested fall short. For someone like me who has a knee injury and likes to spin vs. slow and steady, this motor is a winner. There is some pedal friction produced by the reduction gearing, as the chainring spins 2.5x for every crank arm revolution, but that hasn’t stopped me from pedaling beyond the max assisted speed of 20 mph. Note the alloy chainring protector that doubles as a guide. And, not also the 11-speed drivetrain with higher specced Shimano Deore XT derailleur. This derailleur offers a one way clutch, a little grey lever that can click into an up or forward position. The up position increases tension which reduces chain bounce and chain suck (if you get the chainring really muddy and it starts to grab the chain and suck it upwards). Protecting the sensitive parts of your drivetrain becomes more relevant when using a centerdrive motor because it exerts force into the same chain, sprockets, and derailleur as you… but might not be as smart as you. Well, in my experience, the Bosch controller is one of the most responsive and proactive unit around. While it doesn’t offer physical shift sensing like the older Impulse motors or some BBS02 kits from E-RAD, it does use software driven “shift detection” which sounds like micro-gaps in power. When these gaps are presented during shifts, the chain can jump easier and maybe not wear out your components. This said, it’s still advisable to ease back when pedaling, reduce the torque signal to the controller to manually reduce strain.

Powering the Reaction Hybrid HPA SL 500 is… you guessed it, a 500 watt hour battery. This is Bosch’s newest Powerpack, which only weighs 0.3 lbs more than the older Powerpack 400 but offers 25% more power and fits into the same physical casing. It’s backwards compatible in fact, and that’s what I meant earlier about bringing extra packs. If you already own a Bosch powered electric bike, maybe a city model, and you buy the Reaction here for going off-road a bit, your battery packs would be interchangeable. So anyway, I absolutely love the way this e-bike looks and part of the beauty is in how they positioned the battery. Not only is it low and center on the frame, but it’s extra low and partially inset. The Aluminum downtube cups the pack, offering some physical protection, and is painted to blend in with the black plastic casing. Same situation down at the motor, and the motor is also blended into the frame and tipped up to maximize ground clearance. Whether you decide to park your bike near an outlet and charge without removing or take the battery off and store in a cool, dry environment (for best longevity) the battery charger uses the same plug type and offers a fast 4 Amps of power output. The charger weighs less than two pounds, so it’s also easy to toss into a bag for longer rides or commuting. You can easily tell roughly how full the battery packs are because Bosch has built-in an LED charge level indicator on the left side of the pack. And this uses a five bar readout for 20% increments, which is good enough for the battery but a bit less precise than I would have wanted for the display.

And on to the display, it too has a 5-bar battery infographic which leaves something to be desired when you drop down to the last tick. Do I have 20%? or am I down to 3%? Who knows… and who knows why Bosch didn’t go with a ten bar readout or maybe a percentage number as they have with their fancier Nyon display panel. The small Purion display is what you get with the CUBE Reaction Hybrid HPA SL 500 and it tends to be less vulnerable to damage if the bike tips or crashes, but is not as easy to interact with, and is not removable like the Intuvia. It also does not have an active Micro-USB charging port (just a diagnostics software update port). For those who wish to upgrade, select shops can order the Intuvia and install manually. The most important features are still there however, such as current speed, current assist level (Off, Eco, Standard, Sport, Turbo) and range. You have to hold the minus key to cycle through trip stats like ride distance, total distance (odometer) and range… but it’s worth it, because you get more detail about how far the bike might go in each level of assist and based on remaining battery and your last mile of riding. It’s very dynamic and handy, I have made the call to switch from Sport to Standard on a few occasions just to be sure that I could make it back to the car without running low on battery power. And now, as of 2017, there’s a software update to convert the Sport mode to EMTB mode on Bosch CX equipped models. This new mode offers a full range of power that gets activated based on how hard you are pushing (in addition to the other signals), it’s more like a torque sensor, and this frees up your hand and focus to navigate varied trail terrain. It works well, they clearly tested this a lot so that it wouldn’t overpower you or make you feel like you’re working harder than you want. Seriously, this is difficult to get right and I have had some lackluster experiences with some other torque sensors like the TMM4 strain sensor that some companies use. In short, the display does a good enough job and blends in nicely… furthering the stealthy look of this electric assist mountain bike.

CUBE is a European brand with only a handful of dealers in the US and Canada right now, but they do a great job with style, quality, and value in my opinion. This model isn’t particularly affordable at $3.8k, but it’s just one of many in their wide range of skews. You can opt for a lower-end drivetrain, lower capacity battery pack, less-fancy fork etc. etc. and the color schemes do change. Thankfully, many of their bikes come in several sizes, and that means you can find a fit for your body and your budget. A couple of extra quick-tips I wanted to share about the display is that you can press the walk mode butt and then hold plus to have the bike move itself forward. This is particularly handy if you’ve got a loaded rack and have to dismount for a technical or steep section of trail. You can hold the minus button and tap the power button to switch from kilometers to miles. And, if you work with your shop to add lights (if you’re into early or late commuting or trail rides) you can hold the plus button to activate them through the display. Yes, the Purion is fairly capable, but it does not show you a clock, trip time, max speed, average speed, or shift recommendation arrows and I have found that it functions best when pressing the + and – keys near the edge of the display vs. down low near the bar mount. CUBE went the extra mile with their paint job and matching hardware here, and they also try to protect it with one of the nicest slap guards I have ever seen (protecting the top and bottom of the right chain stay and matching the paint color) as well as a clear plastic sticker along the bottom of the downtube to prevent chips and nicks in the paint. Big thanks to CUBE for partnering with me on this review, and to Motostrano for letting me review one of their demo bikes and even taking a test ride with me! I have to admit, there are times where I make a purchase decision purely based on looks, and this particular color scheme and frame design has me wanting. It’s easy to love because I trust Bosch and feel that the product would hold its value, be serviced well, and have batteries and parts available for many years down the road.


  • I love the aesthetics of this bike… matte black with gloss accents and branding, angled motor integration for shorter chain stay and higher clearance, semi-integrated battery pack, internally routed cables, beefy 29″ tires
  • Notice how the hubs, spokes, and even the Alex rims are black with minimalist grey accents, they complete the look and make the tires look bigger than they are, also, the rims use reinforcement eyelets for improved strength
  • One of the nicest slap guards I have ever seen, it matches the paint job perfectly and does’t protrude and won’t come off like a neoprene+velcro guard, it’s rubber and thicker than the clear sticker guards and it wraps the top and bottom so you get more chain stay protection
  • Bottle cage bosses and rear rack bosses, so you can bring fluids, accessories like pumps or folding locks, and even load this up with a trunk bag or panniers for multi-terrain commuting without having to wear a backpack
  • Excellent drivetrain, the Shimano Deore Shadow Plus is great for trail riding because it offers eleven speeds to climb with and has a one way clutch (the little grey lever) which tightens the chain when in the up position, this reduces chain bounce and chain suck if you’re in muddy terrain
  • Great brakes, you get Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with adjustable-reach levers for those who have smaller hands or wear gloves, considering that this ebike comes in six frame sizes… it might be supporting a younger rider or someone who is just petite and I think it would do a great job accommodating them
  • CUBE didn’t just make six frame sizes and stop there, the two smallest frame sizes (16″ and 17″) come with smaller diameter wheels at 27.5″ vs. the 29ers on the larger models, this brings the entire bike down closer to the ground so shorter riders can still get a cross-country feel for their body size
  • Both wheels offer quick release for easy trail maintenance and portability, same with the battery pack, it’s easily removable and can be charged on or off the frame, given that it weighs ~5.7 lbs, I usually take the pack off when transporting bikes by car rack or even just lifting them
  • To me, this would be a great urban platform because it offers large efficient wheels and a cross country fork with limited 100 mm travel and remote lockout, you can easily transition from packed trails to urban streets and paths, or if you spend most of the time on pavement you could swap out the tires for some 29er slicks like these Schwalbe Big Apple 29″ x 2″
  • The chainring has a black alloy chainring guard to keep your pants from snagging and also prevent the chain from bouncing off track as easily, some other bikes use a plastic guard which just doesn’t seem as tough
  • There are lots of Bosch certified dealers in the US that can provide warranty support and you get a comprehensive two year warranty on the motor, battery, display which is above average… they should last well if you take care of them, and many shops know how to wire-in lights so you can run them right off of the battery pack
  • There was a software update in 2017 which activated EMTB mode, basically turning the Sport level (second highest) into a full-range torque sensor, so you can ride in one assist level and get power feedback based on how hard you are pushing, it’s great for mountain biking where you need to stay focused on the trail vs. clicking buttons
  • The battery pack mount works with the older Bosch Powerpack 400 and the design of the cases for both this and the new Powerpack 500 are just so well done, you have an integrated loop handle at the top for secure carrying and there’s an LED charge level indicator built into the left side so you can know how full it is even off the bike
  • It sounds like most CUBE electric bicycles that run with Bosch motors can have walk mode enabled, and this can be useful if you go off-road and decide to walk and push your bike through a particularly rough section, some other brands have disabled this
  • I noticed a mounting point towards the end of the left chain stay and Joe explained that there’s a CUBE kickstand that could be added to this bike, that’s awesome for those who do plan to spend most of their time in an urban environment and don’t want to lean their bike against a wall constantly, most mountain bikers take them off to reduce rattling and snags


  • The Bosch Performance Line CX motor is responsive and powerful, but it’s also the loudest motor in their lineup, you may notice a high pitched whine when operating the highest levels of assist or spinning faster, but this is usually mostly obscured by the sound of the knobby tires on off-road terrain
  • Notice the smaller chainring, it rotates at 2.5x for every crank arm revolution which means there is increased pedal friction, it doesn’t create drag when coasting, but you will work slightly harder when pedaling on a Bosch motor like this than with some of the competition that uses standard sized chainrings
  • Even though I feel that the battery and motor integration are very well done here, this is still less stealthy than fully integrated batteries and some of the newest super-compact motors, for those who don’t want to be noticed at all, it could be a drawback… but it’s about as good as you can get with the Bosch Powerpacks, keep an eye out for the Powertube integrated battery in 2018
  • Bosch makes several displays and the Purion is their most compact, but it lacks a few readouts and doesn’t have a dedicated i button to cycle through menus, you have to hold the minus key instead, which is slower
  • The Micro-USB port on the display does not allow for charging, just software updates, and this display is also not removable like it’s bigger brothers, the Intuvia and Nyon (which is only available in Europe right now)
  • To me, CUBE is a high-quality but value-driven brand and I was surprised to learn that the Reaction Hybrid HPA SL 500 is priced at roughly $3,800 because that’s the upper end for an alloy hardtail, but the styling is there and you get an air fork and the larger battery… so I guess it makes sense ;)


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Comments (6) YouTube Comments

6 years ago

The bike is a very good compromise between commuting and off time in forests and fields. With additional equipment, small lights and some fenders, the bike is really perfect for daily use. Even with a bike trailer and two kids the bike and the Bosch motor can handle 15% steep roads. My experience after 14 months and nearly 10.000km / over 6,000 miles.


  • the design, even after a year, i still like it
  • the motor is strong …. really strong!
  • the Bosch Purion, all necessary information, fixed on the bar, no possibility to loose it or to drop and crack it
  • preparation for additional equipment like racks or fenders
  • the battery pack, easy and fast to mount and dismount, easy to carry, compact
  • the XT derailleur and the cassette are doing their job pretty well
  • The plug in the frame for charging the mounted battery is great


  • the Bosch Motor – yes it’s also a con, the default motor cover is not that good designed, due to dirt in combination with moisture the bearing can fail (regular cleaning behind the cover)
  • the handles/grips are absolute basic
  • the BR-M615 Shimano brakes are OKAY, I would recommend an update, especially for heavy users
  • that darn cover from the charger plug in the frame – I lose it from time to time
  • After 5.000km / 3,000 miles the free wheel in the rear wheel will be defective – take the steel variant instead of the aluminium one

I love the bike! In combination with the Ice Spiker pro you will have lot’s of fun on snowy roads and icy trails. The Bosch Motor is now getting a little louder – but still works fine. I like the sound of the Nobby Nics on the road. Get a loud bell – you need it.

A review with pics in german,

6 years ago

Wonderful update! Thanks for taking the time to list out your pros and cons, Alex. I saw your website and the bell you got, looks like you have really set things up well. Your tips about the freewheel and cleaning the motor casing are great. Hope the bike continues to work well for you!

Russell Dawkins
6 years ago

I just bought a one year old Reaction Hybrid HPA SL 500 and I see, after giving it a full charge, that the range indicated in ECO is only 47 km (29.3 miles). Should I be concerned? The total odometer reading is 1,064 km or 665 miles, and the seller said he bought it a year and a quarter ago. I see indications this bike may have been used as a rental unit by the bike shop, so I’m wondering whether it is possible that the dealer reset the odometer to zero when they did the update to the Purion unit to allow the the eMTB setting, about a year ago, apparently. Thanks for any help.

6 years ago

Hmm, it’s difficult to say (even if I was physically with the bike). I don’t have as much experience with software updates and am not aware of ways to reset the odometer, but perhaps it is possible? Maybe someone in the Bosch ebike forums would be able to help more. When looking at range, you can hold the reset button to have the bike take another fresh look at estimating how far it can go (based on no riding, otherwise I believe that it looks at the last mile or so). Worst case scenario here is that you could replace the battery pack someday for the full range again. Hope you got a decent deal on the used bike and can enjoy it. Hopefully they weren’t dishonest or misleading with you… but it is still a great platform that you could love and take care of ongoing :)

Russell Dawkins
6 years ago

Thanks for your consideration and reply, Court. Since I posted this question, I took the bike to a dealer selling Bosch equipped bikes (as well as Shimano Steps) who had the necessary software to do an analysis of the bikes history. It appeared that the bike was used hard, since in a total of 1,060 km (662 miles) 17 complete charge cycles had been done for an average of 62 km (39 miles) per charge. Everything else appeared to be in order except for the highest temperature registered for the battery was around 45º C or 113º F which exceeds the max recommended temp of 35ºC or 95ºF. The dealer installed a number of updates and I went on my way. After the updates, although my battery had been fully charged by me just before this analysis, my range showing on ECO was 39 km (24 miles)!

Thinking it might be something to do with the firmware having been overhauled, I suspended judgement until I put some distance on the bike so that it would modify its range estimate based on my fairly modest riding style. The next day I went on a 20 km ride, mostly in ECO, but using TOUR on modest hills and SPORT on steeper hills. I left the indication on ‘Range’ to monitor progress. This figure kept increasing from 39 km at the start to a maximum of 92 km after 15 km was showing on the trip odometer, suggesting a total range of about 107 km or 67 miles. This is enough for my purposes and now I feel that the battery is actually fine. Also, apparently, the dealer cannot set the master odometer to zero without registering that with Bosch, so the mileage was confirmed as 662.

I’m liking the bike a lot, but I’m modifying it a little to be more road oriented, with handlebars and grips from a Trek Verve+ (10º sweepback and comfortable grips), Schwalbe G-One Speed 2.35″ tires and, get this, a Manta saddle for reputed extreme comfort and the novelty of buying something designed and built only 2 km from where Danny Macaskill came from, on the isle of Skye! The video of his ride on the ridge should not be missed.

Thanks for the immense amount of work you put into this series of reviews, Court.

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