Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking Gear Reviews and Roundups





Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er Full Suspension

4.5/5 (14 Reviews)
MSRP : $1839.00

Product Description

Rocky Mountain Altitude 29The Altitude 29 is a big-wheel re-interpretation of Rocky Mountains best sellingTrail bike. Straight Up geometry, FORM™Tubing, and SmoothLink suspension all come standard, as well as choice componentry and Rocky Mountains reputation for well-built and excellent handling bikes (which you absolutely cannot get anywhere else). Features: Straight Up Geometry: Rocky Mountains first of its kind 76-degree seat angle gives you a bio-mechanically correct seat positio

Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er Full Suspension Pro Review

This is a bike that’s very biased to the more cross-country side of “all-mountain”. It has minimal free-ride or downhill pretensions without some serious tweaks to components. For use in Sea-to-Sky country (ie North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler) it is more of a niche offering. Continue reading →

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Reviews 1 - 14 (14 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by ferropur_bikes a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: October 16, 2013

Strengths:    Climbing, weight, looks

Weaknesses:    fork, pivot points, no 12mm axel on rear hub, chain drops out on small ring.

Bottom Line:   
I own the 2010 version in size L. First impressions were good, it climbed really well, but the DH was nowhere near my former stumpy. I adjusted a bit the suspensions getting a decent performance out of the boostvalve FOX, however no chance getting a good travel out of the Fox 32 F29, it rather feels like an XC suspension. No plush feeling whatsoever even with the softer setting. max you'd get 100mm out of it.
I feel like the stem/handlebar is a bit too XC, it could do with a 50mm stem and a riser bar, but that's more a personal taste matter. The driving position is a bit to far forward which takes away the fun of steep downhill specially when riding big mountain at the Alps.
I also faced a problem with the race face chainrings which would drop the chain when switching between medium to small, and the chain would get stack between chainstay and small chainring damaging the frame. I read that this is a problem of the teeth design from RaceFace. I installed a chain tensioner which seems to have solved the problem.
On my last ride I lost the bearing caps and axel of the right rear pivot point, which most likely is due to a bit of slackness from my side in the maintenance, however finding the replacement part is proving to be quite a hard taks (3weeks waiting now...)

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Davos Jakobshorn

Purchased At:   Internet

Similar Products Used:   Specializez Stumpjumper Comp, Jamis Dakar XLC, Kona ManoMano

Bike Setup:   CrankBros Cobalt wheels and CB Joplin post the rest is the stock gear.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mark

Date Reviewed: June 4, 2012

Strengths:    Handling - Climbing - Components - Geometry- Weight

Weaknesses:    Only one model / color available

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike after riding a 2011 Altitude Carbon 70 RSL 26er for many months. After riding such a light weight, great handling 26er for so long, I was skeptical about going with a larger bike with considerably more weight. I wanted a full suspension 29er and loved my 26er Altitude so much, I figured the 970 was a logical choice for going 29er.
I have owned a ridden 29ers before although they were hardtails. This bike was so easy to ride, no "transition period" needed to get used to the larger wheels or geometry. I immediately felt improved stability on the trail, less twitching in the front end and smooth flowing turns I could dive into without fear of washing out. The wheelbase on this bike is only slightly longer than my 26er which makes the feel really nice, and the switch from 26 to 29 easy. You will NOT feel like your lugging around a big oversized awkward bike!
You can buy cheaper full suspension 29ers, but if you want quality components and great geometry, do yourself a favor and test ride the Rocky Altitude 970.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Kyro a Weekend Warrior from Houston, TX

Date Reviewed: April 4, 2012

Strengths:    Bike has great component and lightweight overall.

Weaknesses:    I ordered the small frame and I immediately had issues with pedal wheel interference. I could correct this even when pushing the SPD cleats to the front of my size 8 shoe.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike in regards to build and components. Be aware of wheel/pedal interference when ordering the small frame.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Terry Hershey

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1850.00

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by the duke a Cross Country Rider from Medicine Hat, AB, Canada

Date Reviewed: April 3, 2012

Strengths:    See other reviews of Altitude 29ers as I am not a pro reviewer, and have limited access to comparable models, but I will tell you my impressions.

29ers roll. It’s true. One gulley after another I rolled through the bottom, and far further up the other side than the 26ers. I pedalled far less on the resulting uphill. Given how extremely tight the trails here are, there are times when a 26” wheel is more agile, but the rolling momentum was an advantage far, far more often than a disadvantage. It also glides over small bumps on the flats with tremendous efficiency, as any 29er would.

It obviously descends very well. I’m sure a longer wheelbase and slacker angles would rip even better, but I won’t sacrifice climbing for that. I am not a downhiller, so I’ll simply say that it descends more confidently than anything I’ve ridden, which admittedly doesn’t mean much. Even though it inspires a ton of confidence, I doubt I’ll ever find its limits with my skill. I will say that one LBS employee is a downhiller, and he recommended it over the FSR 29 Comp. He felt the Altitude’s downhilling capabilities were best-in-class. His opinion means much more than mine on this topic. I am excited to open it up on some more open terrain.

Perhaps Rocky’s “straight-up geometry” is a fitting name, as I never felt stretched out over the top tube. I sat straight up, and on climbs, I followed Rocky’s recommendation and didn’t change my posture. I expected the straight up geometry to be a gimmick. It isn’t. Sitting up, the rear tire immediately hooked up, and I was climbing with x-country 26ers. I expected a 29er to roll well, and descend well with 120mm of travel. My fear was it wouldn’t climb like previous generations of Altitudes. I have no reservations in recommending this bike if you enjoy the up.

Weaknesses:    It comes in just one spec. It's likely the one you'd pick if budget weren't an issue, but it's not cheap, and there aren't options.

Bottom Line:   
I live in an area where we normally ride extremely tight singletrack with endless ups and downs that require short bursts to climb. I also regularly travel to Kananaskis, and Canmore, and would like to add an annual Moab trip to the mix. In other words, I needed a bike that can do it all, save big drops, with slightly more importance put on climbing. I didn’t want another x-country racer, as I want to be comfortable doing marathon rides, and get a bike that will take more abuse. I ride with guys who are riding Elements, Epics, and Top Fuels, so going to a 29er was a departure, particularly a longer travel 29er.

I decided to hunt for a 29er on the recommendation of my LBS, whom I trust. I wanted to go a little longer in travel for a little more descending capability and versatility. My logic was simply that a steeper, shorter bike would climb better, but I wanted the 120mm travel, which narrowed it down to just the Rumblefish and the Altitude. The Altitude came highly recommended by numerous sources (favourite bike of all time at my Rocky dealer – for what that’s worth), had the steepest geometry of any trail or all-mountain bike and a shorter wheelbase than everything except the Tallboy (which has shorter travel and costs considerably more with the same spec). Could I tell you the actual riding difference between a Tallboy, Rumblefish, FSR and Altitude? No. I haven’t ridden them all, and they simply aren’t all available. Also, perhaps choosing one over the other is a futile process. I’m sure they are all great bikes, and this may be splitting hairs, but if you're reading this, you're considering a significant purchase.

I think we have all ridden enough bikes to look at a the geometry and travel on paper and get an idea of how it will feel. The Altitude didn't disappoint. Overall, the Altitude is phenomenal. It felt amazing from the first five minutes, and I don't plan on changing anything for fit. Of course I’d imagine most reviewers feel similarly of their purchase, and maybe I’d be writing exactly the same glowing review of any bike in this price range, but I think what sets the Altitude apart is its ability to climb. It seems to me to be the perfect combination of 29" wheels and full suspension.

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Favorite Trail:   Cox Hill

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Similar Products Used:   Specialized FSR Evo, FSR XC Pro, Epic,

Bike Setup:   XT, which speaks for itself. I did not experience any wheel flex out of the DT Swiss rims. I thought perhaps I’d taco the front at one point, but I had no issue. The Fox fork is the Fox 29 Float 34 with 120mm of travel. This must be a special makeup for Rocky as Fox’s website lists it with 140mm travel. Everything else is as listed, and self-explanatory.

As for fit this was a big departure from my bike, or any of my buddies’ bikes. It looks massive. That’s everyone’s first comment. Those wheels look imposing. However, I was very surprised at how comfortable the bike was. The medium fit straight out of the box, which is rare. It took me years to dial in my road bike. I rode it hard for two hours, and by the end of the ride, I concluded that I wouldn’t change a thing. It simply fits, and never felt too big. I would guess that those under 5’8 or 5’9 might find 29” full suspension a bit much. Hard to say.

The sensation of sitting “in” a 29er, rather than on it is true, although not as overwhelmingly so on the Altitude compared to something like an FSR Evo. Still, with a low bottom-bracket in comparison to the hubs, the sensation is there. It took me only a few minutes to forget I was on a 29er.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mtbchik a Cross Country Rider from Telluride, CO

Date Reviewed: May 14, 2011

Strengths:    Relatively light for FS, responsive handling, fun! fun! fun!

Weaknesses:    Rear shock tricky to set up....still don't know if I have it dialed right

Bottom Line:   
I've taken this out on twisty, turny trails and find that it handles as well as my 22lb Ti XC race bike. Rolls fast, corners, fast. Granny is a little big for my multi-injured knees, but getting used to it.

This is my new go to bike. Can't wait for the snow to dry up here in the high country. I'll be finding an excuse to ride it everyday!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Phil's World

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   Stock except for Sram X0 Shifters and Rear Derailleur, Terry Butterfly Ti Saddle and Crank Brothers pedals

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by spadmike a Cross Country Rider from Edmonton

Date Reviewed: May 13, 2011

Strengths:    Easy to set up, decent part spec, fun, fun, fun

Weaknesses:    Straight up geometry, seems to put you a bit too foward. I use a seat post dropper to get it out of the way when descending. A bit too much chainslap.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is blast to ride. Corners and climbs like a 29er should. You start riding and then you totally forget you are on a 29er, but just on a great bike. For the price conscious this is a great bike. The complete bike is not much more than a Carbon Tallboy.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Roller Coaster

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $2800.00

Purchased At:   River Valley Cycle

Similar Products Used:   Tallboy

Bike Setup:   stock, except for Chromag stem and bars

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Flip Z Bird a Weekend Warrior from PHX, AZ.

Date Reviewed: March 23, 2011

Strengths:    I almost got the 2010 Rocky Mountain Altitude 29 SE bike but I waited for the new 2011 one and I'm really glad I did. I've road all kinds of mountain bikes for the last 15 years or so and after my last DH crash I wanted to get a new 29'er that could do everything that I still wanted to ride. The bike comes so well equipped from RMB that I only changed a few things for my own comfort.
First off, as my first 29'er I loved the way it felt out of the trail right from the very first ride. The bike is very well balanced with the Fox 32 F29 front fork and the Fox ProPedal rear shock. The set up was easy enough to set up for the first time and I only needed to tweak it just a little bit after my first two rides. The front fork is very plush and very stiff for a 29'er front fork. I wouldn't get a 29'er for the first few years till they got a stiffer front fork on them. The 15mm front axle really keeps the front tire tracking right over almost everything I've hit out on the trail so far. I went back and forth over switching the 3X9 Shimano XT grearing for the new 3X10 Shimano stuff and I'm glad that I kept the stronger stock 9 speed gearing on the bike. It climbs much better then any of my old 26 inch F/S and hard tail mountain bikes ever did. I love the Maxxis F: 2.4/R:2.25 Ardent Kevlar tires that came on the bike they hook up great out on the desert trails of South Mountain. This is the first bike with Formula R1 disc brakes and the modulation and performance were a great choice for such a nimble bike. I found none of the wheel flex on the new DT Swiss X 470 rims that seemed to be a problem in some of the old non DT Swiss rimed 2010 bike Reviews? Overall Rocky Mountain as made a fantastic 29'er in a price where many of the other competitors can't touch.

Weaknesses:    I'm nitpicking only on the things out of my own old riding habits. I had Slippery Pig put on a new Easton Monkey Light composite riser bar only because I don't like the feel of flat mountain bike handlebars. I have big hands and I liked the feel of the new OURY lock on grips better then the stock ones.

I road a lot of downhill and the height of the seat post made me want to invest in the new Rock Shox Reverb adjustable seat post. What a great addition to help make this bike even more of an all mountain bike then it was before. My only slight knock on it is that I had to install the remote upside down on the left side of my handlebar to keep it under the bar. I didn't like it sticking up above the right hand side of my handlebar and possibly getting ripped off in a crash. It really makes hitting the rough sections of the trail and the downhill parts of your ride that much better.

Bottom Line:   
Simply put I'm very glad that I bought this 2011 bike. I felt that this bike was more then worth the price of the build kit alone and if I didn't like the frame I could always go out and get one of the new custom made 29'er frame and use this build kit on it. After my first few rides I was so pleased with my new RMB Altitude 29 SE frame that I'll keep it just the way it is.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   South Mountain

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   Slippery Pig Bike Sh

Similar Products Used:   Way too many to list over the years.

Bike Setup:   Nearly Stock with a few new things I added to it. A new Rock Shox Reverb adjustable seat post, a Monkey Light "Easton" ENT composite riser bar, a set of new OURY lock on grips and my favorite Selle Italla Pro Link seat.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Flip Z Bird a Weekend Warrior from PHX. AZ.

Date Reviewed: March 2, 2011

Strengths:    I have a brand "2011 Altitude SE 29er" and I want to start a new form thread to review it?


Bottom Line:   
How can aI start a new thread for the kind of bike that I have and want to post a review on?

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Slipper Pig Bike Sho


Bike Setup:   2011

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mtn Josh a Cross Country Rider from Salt Lake City, UT

Date Reviewed: October 20, 2010

Strengths:    Climbing was fantastic and the additional tire contact made rolling over rocks a lot easier. I've been riding it for a few weeks and I'm a believer in the 29er. Great bike and components made this a nice buy. I have a Specialized Epic Expert and I can say that this bike gives my Epic a run for the money...

Weaknesses:    Tires will be changed out for a narrower tire, the Conti 29 is a little wide for what I like. I prefer a 2.1-2.2 rather than the stock 2.4 Conti Mtn King.

Bottom Line:   
I'm 6'3" and I bought the XL frame. I test rode the GF HiFi and Specialized FSR I also looked at the Niner and Turner, but thought for the money this was a better buy. I like the ride and cockpit of RM compared to the others. Overall I like the ride of the 29er and can see why they are becoming so popular.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Wasatch Front trails

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $2800.00

Purchased At:   HucknRoll

Similar Products Used:   Test rode the Gary Fiser HiFI, Specialized FSR and looked at Niner and Turner.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by fakeatty a Weekend Warrior from Glendale, AZ USA

Date Reviewed: October 17, 2010

Strengths:    Formula R1 brakes. Stan's Arch wheel set. XT shifters and rear derailleur. Race Face Deus crank set.

Weaknesses:    Formula brakes seem to be a bit touchy in their set-up, but their performance is worth it. Nothing else so far.

Bottom Line:   
I wasn't sure what to expect switching from a 26er and my Trance X was no slouch, but this bike is amazing. I've ridden it twice and I have cleared two sections of my local trail that have eluded me the entire time I've owned my Trance. I have concluded, the primary reason is the geometry of this frame. I rode an XL before, but my Altitude is a L. Additionally, the 76 degree seat tube angle allows me to sit in the cockpit, rather than on top.

The chainstays are a bit long, but I've perceived this to be a benefit while climbing. All though the bike is equipped with the venerable RP23 shock, this bike wants to stay planted and doesn't require artificial platform to get up the steep climbs.

I was ready to buy a Trek Hi-Fi, but they are not equipped with a thru-axle fork. As this will be the last bike I have for awhile, I wanted everything up front. Don't compromise here. The additional height of the 29er wheel will allow the lowers to flex in the rough stuff. With the F29 RL FIT and 15QR, this bike is truly a point and shoot trial weapon. In fact, I have to be much more attentive as this bike will corner quickly enough to cause whiplash. Okay, all hyperbole aside, the 15QR works.

Finally, this bike makes me faster. I'm rolling over stuff that used to slow me down. I'm less tired at the end, partly due to the 36 tooth rear cog. I'm grinning from ear to ear through out the ride. Compared to the competition, this bike will stand up, but for the price I paid, this is best 29er in the world.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Trail 100

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   I used to ride a Trance X2

Bike Setup:   Stock except Maxxis Ardent (F) and Crossmark (R), Stan's tape for tubeless and Sunline lock on grips.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by bluesbrother49 a Cross Country Rider from Squaw Valley, CA-Girdwood, AK

Date Reviewed: July 21, 2010

Strengths:    Lightweight, plush, fast, great spec's, great suspension

Weaknesses:    Rear tire size, slight flex in the wheels

Bottom Line:   
I bought this a month ago and have been riding it exclusivly in Alaska, but will soon take it back to Tahoe. Wanted a full-suspension 29r- I demo'd Santa Cruz tallboy, a Niner (not sure which, one) as well as the standard Rocky Mtn Altitude 70. Part of the reason I went with the Rocky Mtn was because I have had such great times on my Slayer and the day i was able to try the 26' Altitude.

I am 6'2, 215lbs and I ride hard. Usually 4 days a week with at least a all day epic thrown in once a week. I beat up my stuff pretty good.

My initial impressions was that the 29'r wheels were an immediate difference over my Slayer (duh), and the thing climbs so dam well. Just sit in the cockpit and spin, responds well to getting out of the saddle too. I felt the stock Easton EA 70 flat bar made the bike feel a tad twitchy- the cockpit is small, but not cramped- so I switched to the Race Face carbon 3/4 riser and it completly changed everything. A little more up right (not moto style, like my Slayer setup) and it made the downhills so damn fun. The suspension is worry free-set it up and forget it. Loved the additional clearance as well.

Not many, but I thought there was a couple I should point out.
Continental 2.4 tires- great tire, hooks up amazing in wet, rooty stuff. The problem is a major over site in design- The rear tire is to wide when in granny gear or the top 3 rear chainrings. The chain rubs on the side of the tire and causes it to ghost shift when you really are cranking up steep stuff. I was really surprised that they had not seen this in testing and R/D. I have just got the same tire for the rear in a 2.2, which should fix the problem.

Wheels felt a bit flexy at points, but that could just be me getting used to the bigger hoops.

I would highly recomend this to someone looking for the 29'r feel, but still values the "all-mtn" riding. It is really at home for all day riding as well as quick cross-country loops. Alaska is very much like the Northwest- rooty, wet, and good packed dirt. I will post a Tahoe follow-up to see how she does in the high-ALTITUDE rocky,dusty rides. It delivers.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Hillside Trails-Anchorage, Sawtooth Ridge-Truckee, CA

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $4000.00

Similar Products Used:   Rocky Mountain Slayer SXC 90, Specialized Stumpjumber FSR Comp

Bike Setup:   Stock except- Race Face Dues 3/4 Carbon bar, Race Face Dues stem, Race Face Dues XC Stem, WTB Pure V saddle (sucker for Race Face over Easton EA70, WTB Stock saddle didn't fit)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by sjordan72 a Cross Country Rider from San Diego, CA

Date Reviewed: May 3, 2010

Strengths:    Light weight, good compromise in travel between XC and AM bikes, climbs and descends well

Weaknesses:    Only one level available though I suspect that will change next year. A frameset would be ideal. Would like to see a more rigid wheelset, but again this was a demo so maybe they just needed to be tensioned.

Bottom Line:   
I was really happy with this bike. It climbed well in PP and full open on the shock. The fork is amazing, and the head angle made for a great descending bike. I felt it rode uphill as well as the VPP Tallboy, and downhill was better. A Tallboy with a 120mm fork might be as good, but I have not been able to try that yet.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anywhere in the Laguna Mountains

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Purchased At:   Zumwalts

Similar Products Used:   Santa Cruz Tallboy

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ericfoltz a Cross Country Rider from Laguna Hills, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: April 20, 2010

Strengths:    Really good climber in both the middle and granny with the propedal on and off.

Great descender with a very balanced suspension.

Weaknesses:    None that I found.

Bottom Line:   
I'm not completely sold on a 29er but this bike moved me a heck of a lot closer to making a change.

All the benefits of the large wheels were very obvious. The bike had great traction, cornered great, rolled fast and absolutely flowed through the ST.

On the climbs I tried standing, seated with an even spin and mashing the pedals and the bike performed great with the propedal on and off. I was truly surprised at the efficiency of the suspension.

The front and rear suspension were amazingly balanced which was a huge difference from the only other 29er I've ridden.

Who should buy: XC/Trail riders looking for an all-day machine that will take them anywhere they want to go. Would be great for riders who have to deal with sandy, rocky or rooty trails.

Who shouldn't buy: DHers, XC Racers

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything at D'Ville

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   Intense Tracer 29 (prototype), BMC Trailfox 01/02, Intense Tracer, Mongoose Teocali, Turner 5 Spot, Yeti 575, Titus Motolite

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by turtlepaul a Weekend Warrior from Anaheim, CA, USA

Date Reviewed: February 20, 2010

Strengths:    It accelerates well. Suspension is plush. Relatively light.

Weaknesses:    I wish it could be little more laterally rigid.
I wish it could be little more efficient.

Bottom Line:   
I think this is an outstanding full suspension 29er.

Rocky Mountain has done a great job balancing climbing and decension. This bike is relatively light, espcially compared to Pivot or Turner. It accelerates well. It is splightly yet stable. On climbing, there is just ever slightly perceptible bob, probably because I was looking for it. With propedal on, there is no bob. Still I like the way this bike climbs better than Pivot or Turner. I think Ellsworth may be slightly more efficint in climbing. But with propedal, I say about the same. It steers and handles easily and accurately.
It absolutely shines in descending. It uses its full 29er 4.5" suspension in a plush, ground hugging, snake-like manner. Its suspension descends at least as well as Turner, and clearly better than Ellsworth. Every different suspension has its unique feel, and I just really enjoyed how fluid the suspension felt and behaved.

It seems that 4-5" full suspension 29ers are divided between cross-country leaning(i.e. Ellsworth evolve, GF Fly) vs trail/all mountain leaning (Turner sultan and Pivot) types. (Admittedly, I think I am realizing that I am favoring crosscountry-leaning types when it comes to fully 29er.)
In any case, I think Rocky Mountain has done a fine job in trying to marry these two types. It is a serious contender. I wonder if I really need to demo Santa Cruz Tallboy before deciding...

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   Ellsworth evolve, Turner Sultan, Pivot 429, Rocky Mountain Hammer 29, Redline Flight 29er single speed.

Bike Setup:   Demo package.

Reviews 1 - 14 (14 Reviews Total)

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