We know, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. But there are some questions you might not want to ask your local shop or riding buddies. AASQ is our weekly series where we get to the bottom of your questions – serious or otherwise. This one is about wheel design, covering symmetrical versus asymmetrical rims, spoke butting, stiffness versus compliance and more! Hit the link at the bottom of the post to submit your own question!

When it comes to choosing wheels for mountain biking or road cycling, the choices seem endless. It can be a complete minefield, with asymmetric or symmetrical rims to choose from, on top of rim width choice, carbon or alloy, butted spokes, before you even start to consider that you might want a super stiff or compliant wheelset. Then you have to consider how your favorite tyres will seat on the rim! And that’s before you even get started on the hub.

To help you understand why different manufacturers build wheels the way they do, we sent a host of reader questions on wheel technology to the experts at Hunt, Crankbrothers, DT Swiss, Vittoria and Stans NoTubes.

It may not tell you specifically what your next wheelset should be but it should help you understand a little more about wheel technology so you can make a more educated purchase.

Why are some wheel spokes butted and others plain gauge? What’s best for stiffness?

HUNT: Butted spokes have different diameters throughout the spoke, usually thickest at the hub end, then taper thinner towards the middle before getting thicker again nearer the rim.

Hunt All-Mountain Carbon H_Impact enduro mountain bike wheels, affordable super tough carbon MTB trail wheelset
Hunt’s AM Carbon H_Impact enduro wheels are built with triple butted spokes (2.2 mm – 1.6 mm – 2.0 mm)

The key benefit of butting is lower weight and a more flexible, or elastic, nature, so are less likely to break under fatigue. Because of this, they tend to last longer than straight gauge spokes which have a constant wire diameter throughout their length.

Straight gauge spokes are therefore heavier than butted ones but do have higher lateral stiffness owing to their constant thicker cross section. The flip-side of this stiffness is that they are less elastic, and therefore are more likely to break under fatigue. They’re easier and cheaper to manufacture.

Crankbrothers: Different spokes for different folks… and also different applications. As the technology and manufacturing capabilities for spokes has evolved the shape and profile has been refined.

A butted spoke typically has more material at the thread or head ends with a thinner middle section. This means the material is where it is most needed to manage strength and fatigue requirements.

cb-synthesis-alloy-mtb-rims-front
Crankbrothers’ Synthesis Alloy front wheels uses Sapim D-Light spokes, double-butted (2.0 mm – 1.65 mm – 2.0 mm)

The other thing to think about with a spoke is this: imagine a spring, because essentially that is what a spoke is. People use stiffer coil springs for a stiffer ride and vice versa.

A light spoke, less than 15 gauge/1.8 mm will have greater elongation properties, so it stretches more compared to a really heavy duty 13 gauge/2.3 mm spoke. So if you are chasing stiffness for a wheel, a higher spoke count (more spokes) and heavier gauge spokes will head you in the right direction.

DT Swiss: Until the early 90s there were just plain gauge spokes available for bicycles. Typical diameters were 2.0 mm or 1.8 mm. The larger the diameter, the stiffer the wheel and it also improved the reliability.

But, a larger diameter means a heavier spoke. The invention of butted spokes changed this: these combine stiffness and reliability with almost no weight penalty. At the same time, a butted spoke will better resist alternating stresses while the wheel is in use.

dt swiss 1501 spline one wheelset get competition race lightweight spokes double butted
The Competition Race spokes seen on DT’s new 1501 SPLINE ONE wheels are double-butted

At least, this is true if the production process of the butted spokes is based on cold forging the material to make it thinner. From the technical side a butted spoke is every time the better choice for a wheel. As the production costs are higher the only reason to use plain gauge spokes is to save money.

Vittoria: A butted spoke actually allows for some elasticity, which in turn, reduces broken spokes. A non-butted spoke is more stiff, but can lead to damage as it is less resilient.

Vittoria’s Reaxcion wheelset uses Sapim Race double-butted spokes (2.0 mm – 1.7 mm – 2.0 mm)

What type of rim is most likely to “ding”? An asymmetric rim or a symmetrical rim?

HUNT: The only reason some rims have an asymmetrical profile is to provide a better balancing of spoke tensions between the right and left side of the wheel, improving the bracing angles of a dished wheel.

hunt enduro wide alloy wheelset symmetrical rim profile tubeless ready
Hunt’s Enduro Wide wheels feature a symmetrical rim profile with a H-Lock rim bead with ‘up-kicks’ to the shoulders of the rim bed for secure tyre seating

From our experience of designing and impact testing rims, to achieve the same strength benchmark you have to make an asymmetrical rim approximately 20-30 grams heavier.

So, if you have two rims of the same material and weight, the asymmetric rim will likely be slightly weaker in at least some characteristics. However, ‘dinging’ a rim is a very specific measure of strength and is heavily dependent on the material used and rim design itself.

Crankbrothers: This really comes down to the design and how it was engineered. If an asymmetric aluminum rim is designed well it should have similar resistance to dents on both sides of the rim wall.

synthesis-alloy-enduro-rim-profiles
Crankbrothers went for a symmetrical rim bed on their Synthesis alloy (pictured) and carbon rims

That being said, it is harder to achieve from an engineering perspective. Another factor to consider is this: the industry is always chasing reduced weights for rims which often means asymmetric profiles are not balanced in strength characteristics.

DT Swiss: This is a question which is not that easy to answer. It is not just about symmetrical versus asymmetrical. You need to consider construction of the rim itself as well as the width of the rim. These factors will have a high impact on what could be the better choice.

dt swiss upgrade xc 1501 spline one wheelset carbon wide 30 mm rims 2020
DT’s 2021 1501 SPLINE ONE carbon rims are symmetrical in profile too

Let’s consider narrow rims like road rims or classic cross-country rims. For an inner width of up to 20 mm, it could make sense to use an asymmetrical rim to enhance the lateral stiffness of the wheel and keep the stress of the rim lower.

Vittoria: To me, a ding means a dent, so this one is a tie. Rim symmetry doesn’t really affect (or prevent) dents, as dents occur as a result of a sharp impact in the rim bead area.

Rim beads are symmetrical, even on asymmetrical rims.

carbon alloy wheelsets for xc from vittoria reaxcion 2020
Vittoria’s carbon and alloy Reaxcion rims with an internal width of 28 mm are asymmetrical in profile

Now, if you are talking about the wheel coming out of true, then an asymmetrical rim/wheel will be stronger. The reason the rim is asymmetrical is so the spokes from opposing sides are closer in length, creating a more even triangulation.

A non-asymmetrical rim would have a longer spoke on one side, which can lead to a weaker wheel when comparing impacts from one side versus the other.

Stan’s: Both of these designs are equally likely to “ding” or dent. The only thing that changes on an asymmetric design vs a symmetric one is where the center-line of the rim is, allowing more balanced spoke tensions. Either design is not more or less likely to be dented while riding.

Stan's Flow & Baron CB7 carbon asymmetric tubeless MTB rims mountain bike wheels
Stan’s Flow CB7 and Baron CB7 rims both have an asymmetrical rim bed profile

Are rear mountain bike wheels stronger on the drive side or non-drive side or is there no difference at all? I’m just wondering whether the different dish of the spokes makes a difference. I’ve noticed that when my spokes start to become loose, it doesn’t happen equally on both sides.

HUNT: Almost all rear wheels, but also front disc-brake wheels, have less spoke tension on the non-drive side due to the hub offset. These lower tension spokes are more likely to come loose first over time.

Moreover, the drive side of a rear wheel usually has a lower bracing angle. Combined with the higher spoke tension and pedaling force, this makes it slightly weaker, with the spokes on the drive side more likely to break.

hunt gravel wheels asymmetric rim profile
The HUNT X MASON wheelset for gravel riding has an asymmetrical profile

As mentioned before, an asymmetrical rim profile would reduce this issue by improving the bracing angles, as the spoke tension between the two sides of the wheel are closer to being equal.

Crankbrothers: It’s quite a complex question as there are so many variables. Looking at the basics, a dished wheel is not as strong or as durable as a balanced wheel of the same hub flange spacing using a symmetrical rim.

front-and-rear-wheel-spoke-bracing-angles-dished-unequal-tensions
Note the differences in spoke bracing angles between the front and rear wheels, and also the drive- and non-drive side

A balanced wheel means the drive side and non-drive side spokes have equal bracing angles resulting in even spoke tensions. A dished wheel with an offset will not have even stiffness characteristics due to bracing angles and spoke tensions varying from each side.

Due to geometry restraints with the front and rear wheels, rotors and drive systems, most wheels have to be dished to give clearance and are engineered to meet fatigue standards, etc.

The other effect that is present is the loading and unloading of spoke tensions. These vary between drive side and non-drive side spokes in a dished wheel. So, when you notice your rear non-drive spokes loosening earlier, this is a direct effect of them being under lower initial tension.

This is why most manufacturers use a liquid thread lock or mechanical lock in the nipple to reduce the chances of the non-drive spokes loosening.

DT Swiss: Most rear wheels do not have equal spoke tension on each side. Usually, the drive side has a higher spoke tension. As a result, the lateral stiffness will be higher on this side.

dt swiss wheel dish spoke bracing angle tune
DT Swiss created a custom tool specifically for the dishing of their wheels – check out Cory’s factory tour here

With changes like Boost (12 mm x 148 mm) or even the old Downhill standard (12 mm x 150 mm) you can try to balance this out.

Vittoria: Basically, it comes down to the angle of the spokes when looking from the rear of the bike. Notice how the drive side is at a steep angle, but the non-drive side is at a less steep angle? If both sides had the steeper angle (of the drive side spokes), the wheel would not be as laterally stiff, which would lead to breakage.

Stan’s: The wheels aren’t stronger or weaker to one side, however, the spoke tension is generally higher on the drive-side of a rear wheel. Different dish, or having an asymmetric rim design will allow those spoke tensions to be more even from left to right. Make sure you check your spoke tension after the first couple of rides. Spokes can settle a bit on a brand new wheel.

Why do wheel manufacturers obsess over building ultra-stiff wheels? I would have thought a bit of compliance helps with traction. Is there a balance to be struck?

HUNT: Stiffness is one of the main targets to achieve when designing wheels meant for climbing or sprinting efficiency. For wheels intended for rougher terrain, a bit of compliance will help avoid riders pin-balling down technical sections and provide more grip.

However, too compliant and the wheel could feel flexi or vague, plus higher impact loads may deform the rim.

hunt enduro wide alloy rim mountain bike wheel front 32 spoke count
The Hunt Enduro Wide wheelset has 32 spokes in the front wheel (pictured) and 36 in the rear

This is why a combination of rim profile, material choice, spoke number and butting has to be taken into account when designing a wheel. The purpose of the wheel is always key when developing a new wheelset. Hence the need for developing front and rear specific wheels to suit their very different roles.

The front needs compliance to help track the ground and provide grip, whilst the rear will usually bear the brunt of impacts, so a stronger and stiffer wheel is more desirable.

Crankbrothers: I believe there is a balance to be struck with wheel stiffness, and there is also rider preference to take into account. Too stiff and the ride becomes harsh and your wheel loses its ability to move with the trail and maintain traction.

On the flip-side, not stiff enough and the wheel will become vague and not able to support lateral and radial loads correctly. The easiest comparison is your tires: too hard and it skates and struggles for traction, too soft and it wallows on the trail and doesn’t support loads.

In 2014, in contrast to the many ‘stiff’ carbon wheels on the market, I developed the first solid single wall carbon MTB rim. This compliant wheel offered greater deflection, more dampening and reduced trail chatter, resulting in better traction.

crankbrothers tune front rear wheels for stiffness compliance different roles traction power transfer
Crankbrothers’ Synthesis 11 Series Carbon Enduro Wheels – F & R are tuned deferentially for compliance and stiffness

The evolution of this rim is the Crankbrothers Synthesis range with a super shallow compliant rim but adding another element, treating front and rear wheel stiffness independently.

The Synthesis wheel system combines a compliant front wheel for improved handling and control in turns with a stiff rear wheel for stability and tracking at speed.

crankbrothers synthesis alloy enduro wheelset review compliant front stiffer rear
Check out our first ride review of the CB Synthesis Alloy Wheels here. Photo by Robyn Wilkinson

This is quite relevant to your original question about finding the balance of stiffness, as the front and rear wheel do different jobs on the trail so they should have different properties to meet those demands.

Jumping back to the example of tire pressures, most people also run lower front tyre pressures for traction and ride feel, then higher pressures in the rear to support peak loads. I feel this tuned approach and having specific front and rear wheels will evolve. Riders are seeing the advantages of it for performance and ride quality.

DT Swiss: I would like to say first of all that this is not a wheel builder thing. It’s more related to the perception of the customer: the stiffer the better.

But, as there are a lot of alternating stresses for all parts of a wheel (spokes, rims, hubs, nipples), it is necessary to avoid too much play in between the multiple connections in a wheel.

Therefore, you need to consider carefully the reactions of the different components before combining them into a wheelset. This is the essence of good wheel building. It requires a lot of experience to succeed.

Vittoria: Stiffness means predictability, which means control.

In the early days of MTB suspension forks, there was much talk about lateral stiffness. A few people wondered if a bit of lateral flex might help, but that was quickly disproved as control was impacted.

Remember, wheels are unsuspended, so they must be stiff to provide a consistent feel. Wheels also have the double duty of putting power to the ground, so the transfer of power is more efficient if the stiffness of the wheel is greater.

How come some wheel manufacturers offer their alloy and carbon wheelsets with the exact same wall thickness? I would have thought the different materials had a different strength to weigh ratio.

HUNT: I cannot talk on behalf of other wheel manufactures, but we specifically study the thickness distribution of our rims. Not only do our wall thicknesses vary from our alloy to carbon rims, but also according to the disciplines and intention.

hunt h_impact carbon wheels 28 mm internal rim width
Hunt’s H_Impact Carbon wheelset for All-Mountain riding is their only 28 mm internal rim width offering

When designing wheels, we develop both alloy and carbon independently to make the most of each material. They both have pros and cons and our engineers work hard to design profiles optimised for material and usage.

However, it isn’t as simple as carbon vs aluminium, within the material families themselves is a vast array of options which is why two rims similar in appearance or shape could ride very differently.

Crankbrothers: From a design standpoint they need to be managed differently as they have different properties. Our rims have different thicknesses, profiles and geometries between alloy and carbon.

Crankbrothers Synthesis carbon wheelset- enduro rim cutaways
Crankbrothers use differing rim wall thicknesses for F&R rims of their carbon 11 Series wheelset – see Steve’s review here

So, when I’m designing a rim I need to take the material properties into account to make them work to their potential. Carbon fiber also has the advantage of intricate laminate design and optimization; this means you can change the characteristics of the rim’s profile in different areas depending on your fiber type and ply orientation.

For impact areas you will focus on managing crack propagation, whereas in the spoke bed you’ll enhance stiffness and load properties. Aluminum, however, is isotropic, meaning it has the same properties in all directions, so the extrusion profile heavily dictates the performance and properties of the rim.

DT Swiss: Using the same material thickness for aluminum and carbon rims would not work, in my opinion. Or, at least it would not make sense to make the aluminum walls as big as the carbon ones without a huge weight penalty.

In our case, we develop all our rims for the specific needs for the field of application combined with the latest materials.

Vittoria: Great question. You are right, those materials are quite different, so it may be coincidence, or it may have to do with their tooling. With Carbon, it could also have to do with the lay-up process, which can be manipulated based on the goal of the product.

vittoria new reaxcion wheels carbon alloy same rim wall thicknesses
Vittoria’s new Reaxcion carbon and alloy wheels for XC have the same internal and external rim widths

How does the depth of a rim change the profile of a tyre seated on it? What are the merits of a deep rim as compared to a shallow one?

HUNT: All other things being equal (internal width and bed profile), a taller sidewall would constrict the tyre sidewall for longer, resulting in a more mushroomed tyre profile. A shorter sidewall on the other hand creates a more rounded tyre profile giving a larger tyre volume, often considered closer to the ‘true’ tyre shape.

As hinted at earlier, there are number of dimensions within a rim profile that affect the tyre shape and it is a measured balance of these, based on the wheel’s intended use (along with consideration of the ETRTO standards), that drive the sidewall height.

Hunt 36 UD Carbon Spoke, lightweight wide aero carbon road bike wheels race
Hunt’s Wide Aero Carbon road cycling wheelset rims are 31 mm deep and 24 mm wide

It’s worth noting as internal width increases, the resulting effect of sidewall height on tyre shape diminishes. Externally, the depth of a rim does not affect the tyre shape, however deeper rims are stiffer and more aero than shallower rims.

Crankbrothers: The total depth of the external profile of the rim should not affect tire fitment. The internal profile, however, of the rim channel and bead seat (bead seat is where the tire is located during use) will have a large effect on tire fitment and how secure it is.

There are a few industry standards that are used to reference the internal geometry such as ETRTO. Most manufacturers follow similar geometries to achieve a ‘tubeless ready’ system.

Some companies go outside the norm and this is when you can get issues with tire mounting, seating and sealing. Another factor that can affect tire fitment is inconsistent manufacturing tolerances, both from the tire and rim manufacturers side.

DT Swiss: Firstly, it’s important to note that with tubeless systems becoming more and more the standard on any bicycle, the sizing of tires has changed a lot. This means a modern tubeless tire will have its seat in the corner of the rim sidewalls and the rim bed.

dt swiss upgrade 1700 spline rims to welded

To get the tire mounted the rim needs to have a section in the middle of the rim which is deeper than the rim bed on the sides. The sidewalls are therefore just to make sure the tire will not fall of the rim. The overall rim height, on the other hand, will have an impact on the stiffness of the rim. Usually, the bigger the overall profile the stiffer the rim will be.

Vittoria: Per ETRTO, the rim bead and tire bead will be designed to match. Once the tire is inflated, the beads find each other, so the depth of the rim won’t change the tire profile.

However, rim width will change the profile, as the wider the rim, the more square the tire becomes. The opposite is also true, where a more narrow rim will make the tire profile more round.

Stan’s: The depth of a rim will not change the profile of the tire. Rim width, bead seat, and sidewall height will all change the tire profile in subtle ways. Deeper rims do offer an aerodynamic advantage over shallower wheels, but that aero advantage sometimes comes at a weight penalty.

Thank you to Sam Meegan of Hunt Wheels, Mello Bouwmeester of Crankbrothers, Friso Lorscheider of DT Swiss, Ken Avery of Vittoria and Drew Esherick of Stans NoTubes for contributing to this week’s “Ask A Stupid Question” feature!

Got a question of your own? Click here to use the AASQ form to submit questions on any cycling-related topic of your choice, and we’ll get the experts to answer them for you!

18 COMMENTS

  1. Are there unique requirements for dish or lateral stiffness for wheels used for trikes where steering is done from the two front wheels and there is no leaning to turn?

  2. Hmmm. “DT SWISS: Until the early 90s there were just plain gauge spokes available for bicycles.”

    ^ This is not even true of DT Swiss, let alone other companies. Butted spokes were available from decades ago; I don’t know when they were first produced, but they definitely existed in the 70s, and I think from at least the 50s – and quite possibly earlier.

    IMHO, there were several dubious statements and over-simplifications made by the various respondents; I hope they’re marketers rather than engineers or historians. 🙁

    • #1 problem the bike industry has is lack of understanding of history even at high levels. A lot of green people and many who’ve never worked in a shop much less work on their own bikes. Even if they do, they lock themselves into a category (I’m a SS guy, a mountain/road only guy, only do XC or Enduro or whatever) and never look at the whole history of the bicycle. Lot of things have already been done and come back around not because of historical understanding but because basic engineering principals tend to stand the test of time so thus, conclusions arrived at 50 years ago for a given problem will be “found” again. Or in case of mountain biking, just 10-20 years.

      A lot of good people leave the biz because of bad pay and mismanagement or lack of vision. Thus, we have a lot of old ideas rehashed or important details forgotten because marketer/engineer X is just a mountain bike or road guy who’s too cool school for his brah brain to look at bikes of all types across history.

      Just go buy back issues of Bicycle Quarterly and the Rivendell Reader. Find mountain bike mags from the 80s/early 90s (90-95) and you’ll see much more free thinking in design approach. Something that’s gone in this day and age where few bikes stand out aside from color choices and price they’re basically the same. Some of this is smart for selling to the masses, but it also does little to attract more people.

      That said, looks like Stan’s and Crankbrother’s were on point. No surprise, they also make some of the better wheels on the market.

    • Marketing dept peeps answering these tech questions has always been a problem, and that is even more the case when its someone who only recently got into the sport, either due to age or circumstance.

  3. So is it correct to say that an asymmetric rim makes for a stronger/more durable build regarding to tension distribution, but is more flexible/weaker than a symetric rim?
    If I’m correct, then what compromise is the best? Strong rim + weaker build or weaker rim + stronger build?

  4. Hi guys at xtreme carbon we engineer our wheels and found that if you actually do the mathematics related to the design of the wheel a lot of the anecdotal traditional wisdom of the past is not supported by the physics and mathematics of the wheel as a rotating object. We do not use a simplified triangular truss model of the bicycle wheel because the physics and the maths is flawed and the results are erroneous. We use a prestressed cable/ strand model which more accurately the reality of the bicycle wheel. Agree with other comments regarding marketing types answering engineering questions.

  5. If you want to be taken seriously when writing these articles why would you include a cheap wannabe Taiwanese brand like HUNT? American Paul Lew is acknowledged as the world’s leading wheel designer so why not reach out to him for some ‘real’ insight.

    • The vast majority of what Paul Lew designs is produced in Taiwan, just like the rest of the bike industry. Don’t fall into that trap of country-of-origin bias, it’s too easy to screw up. Lew is currently involved with Edco (rims made in Taiwan), who are all but completely off everyone’s radar. Actually surprised that brand hasn’t folded yet. However I do agree that these companies could do a better job in getting engineers on the horn to discuss this stuff instead of marketing interns. Some actually make sense here, but the DT answer to double butted spokes is a straight up facepalm.

    • No offense to Paul Lew, but who determined he is the leading wheel designer? Who’s acknowledged this? There are a lot of great wheels that didn’t originate with Lew’s input. Lew definitely made an impact on the industry bringing CF clincher rims to our sport in 1998, but there’s a lot that happened since then and a lot that didn’t involve Lew. You’re selling a lot of bright people short by only mentioning Paul Lew, and you’re offering up a distorted view of the industry.

      • The professional bike industry universally considers him to be so, that’s who. That’s why he’s the technical head of the UCI wheels committee, duh.

  6. Shimano made innovative changes with WH-7700 in 1999! (16 inverted paired spokes crossing and attached to the side of the rim and a radial drive with 1x non-drive rear.) Strong enough for a tandem. I still have a set that I use daily and would kill for a NOS set. It was a design that really deserves another look.

    Otherwise, it has been backwards progress. Carbon rims, then fix the braking with disc brakes, then fix the sidewall issue with wider rims and tires, reduce the pressure. All to sell carbon rims.Mad Fiber was cool, but ahead of its time and needed development. My carbon wheels are all my old HED H3’s with an aluminum rim. Bulletproof. Ridden coast to coast. Even my old Specialized Trispokes are still running. (And I luckily scored a NOS Campy rear, so I’m set for a while. Please HED – make a tri-spokes again.)

    • @Aaron, agreed, those WH-7700s were really innovative, and it’s mind blowing that in their “Sweet 16” form they held up so well to tandem use. The Santana tandem articles on them made them seem like the best thing ever. The crossover spokes also seemed like a great way to improve our ever lessening bracing angles on drive side spokes. I have since seen some other info indicating that crossover spokes can lead to some instabilities in certain situations, but that was with spokes attached to the inner face of the rim, not the side, so not sure if that makes a difference. I’d really love to know what inside discussions went on that lead to abandoning the design, rather than continuing to evolve it on future wheel releases.

      • I’d like to know as well. I’ve ridden about every wheel type there is. Aluminum, tubular, carbon, spoked, trispoke. And I still come back to the WH-7700 for day-to-day use. (Used on PBP and many many 24 hr events.) They are 20 years old and have been tensioned once and trued once. Never had any issues with instability.

        Biggest issues with it were: Rim is tight. Could be a real pain to install tires. Reports of rim cracking. But all aluminum will crack – just a matter of when. Will hate the day mine fail.

        But the concept of a stiff hub and radial drive side spokes really solves a lot of rear wheel design issues.

        The Santana Sweet 16 were pushing the limit as any tandem will. Biggest issue is they needed to be brought back up to tension after a few hundred miles as spokes got seated. People just wouldn’t do that. I think a welded and machined rim rather than the sleeved rim would have helped the tandem set. Certainly the design could have been developed further.

        Wide rims vs narrow for speed? I’ll go with my HED H3’s and 20c any day over my wide rims.

  7. Yes. This is exactly the right place to differentiate yourself. We totally believe that you, at xtreme carbon, know WAY more than any of these established brands. You are right. They must not be engineering their products at all.

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