🥇 Best Power Meter Pedals – Bike Rider’s Guide to Compare Garmin, Favero, PowerTap and SRM (not a review)

Choosing the Best Power Meter Pedals is a sensible way forwards for most cyclists looking to get into the “training with power” game. The main caveat to a decision to buy power meter pedals is their COST. Let’s assume you CAN afford a price tag of around £/$/Eu500 and upwards. This leaves the question “Which model to go for?“.

The best power meter (link to: ‘best power meter’ guide) is a somewhat elusive beast and, in reality, your perfect power meter will depend on your precise usage intentions.

Power Meter Pedals,Assioma and Vector 2 sans pod

Background – Best Power Meter Pedals Through The Ages

Power meters are still expensive. Dial the clock back a few years and they were even more expensive than now.

It just made theoretical sense to have one power meter that the more serious cyclist could easily swap from bike to bike. You should get super-consistent readings from one calibrated device (pedals) across several bikes AND also save yourself a pretty sum by not having to buy two, three or more power meters to cover all your bikes. You would probably even pay a premium for that one ‘cover-all’ solution.

Garmin thought so.

Bring on Garmin’s Vector (1) at $1500 in 2013

There was clearly a big margin there for Garmin at $1500rrp. To counter that price tag, there were also many benefits from training with power and the market was steadily growing as a result. Such price tags in a growing market also sounded like a business opportunity to PowerTap, who already made bike power meters. And it also sounded like a business opportunity to Favero, who had little to do with cycling at all.

Before we knew it the power meter pedal market had competition.

Garmin Vector 2 and Favero BePro Pedal Comparison

bePRO vs. Vector 2

These are the timescales showing the new models:

  • Garmin Vector: Q3.2013
  • Garmin Vector 2: Q2.2015
  • PowerTap P1: Q3.2015
  • Favero bePRO: Q3.2015
  • Favero ASSIOMA: Q3.2017 (Q2.2018, notable firmware update)
  • Garmin Vector 3: Q4.2017
  • SRM Exact: Q2. 2018
  • PowerTap P2: Q4.2018

Look KEO Power/Polar and shoe-based products excluded.

There are single-sided power versions available which might count as new models, despite being otherwise identical.

We will look in more detail at some of the following points but what stands out to me the most in the evolution of the power meter pedal over recent years is:

  1. The designs have evolved to, err, look exactly like proper pedals. That means Garmin’s pods have gone on Vector 3 and ASSIOMA’s hub doesn’t get in the way so much.
  2. The designs have refined to be more easily moved from bike to bike – which, after all, is one of the key reasons why you might buy power meter pedals!

Current State of Play

There are still nuances between current power meter pedal models and their detailed compatibilities with all flavours of head unit (cycling computers) and tri watches. The general state of play in May 2018 is:

  • Accuracy – generally ‘good
  • Ease of Installation – pretty much as simple as it can get in the latest models
  • Price – from several hundred to around one thousand Eu/$/GBP… prices should adjust downwards as time passes.
  • Consolidation of features – ANT+ & BLE/BTLE (to cover Zwift), single-sided and dual-sided, easy calibration, battery type & performance, cadence and other peripheral metrics.
  • Durability/Serviceability – not widely appreciated. Changing a battery or bearing or even the initial installation might require your power meter to be sent away.
  • Customer Service – generally good.

Despite being a highly credible option, PowerTap P1 sales have notably declined. ASSIOMA may even be the market leader over Vector 3. ASSIOMA and Vector 3 are highly similar in most respects, except price. Perhaps Garmin looks sleeker.

Market Shares:

  • Favero ASSIOMA – 45%
  • Garmin VECTOR 3 – 45%
  • PowerTap P1 – 10%

Source: Guestimates by PowerMeterCity & Me. DCR thought Vector 3 would be higher due to Garmin’s better retial distribution – probably true.

Product Issues:

Whilst many might note how difficult it is to bring out a new power meter that works. I’d point out that Favero did it with the bePRO and with the ASSIOMA – both of which pretty much worked as described from day 1. Yet it is Garmin’s Vector 3 that has hardware issues that require a redesigned battery cap (May 2018). That kinda negates the premium for the Garmin name, in my opinion. Is it $200 prettier?…probably not. But it is pretty.

Product Pricing (2018):

This gives you a flavour of what to expect

PowerMeterCity CleverTraining CyclePowerMeters CleverTraining PowerMeter 24 PowerMeter 24
USA USA UK UK UK EU
Favero ASSIOMA $799 $799 £719 £729 £694.32 Eu789
Garmin VECTOR 3 $999 $999 £819 £849 £878.24 Eu899
PowerTap P1 $799 (-10%) $799 £749 £999 £789.00 Eu899
PowerTap P2 $899 (-10%) $899
SRM EXACT Single/Dual $899-$1699 (-10%) . – £1299 Eu1259
Favero Assioma Single $519 $519 £449 £455 £430.32 Eu489
Garmin Vector 3 Single $599 $599 £499 £499 £526.24 Eu598
PowerTap P1 Single $529 (-10%) $529 £475 OOS £491.92 Eu559
includes GST+ delivery includes GST+ delivery includes vat+ EU delivery includes vat+ EU delivery
Import Taxes/Duties always Excluded

I had a quick look in the UK at SigmaSports, Wiggle, Evans, SingleTrack Bikes, BikeFast and the prices are near-identical. Except for PowerTap.

Pricing in the USA tends to be more controlled by the manufacturers whereas in the EU it is more controlled by the manufacturers lowering the dealer margin, making discounting difficult. You can get a 10% store credit for DCR with Garmin at Clever training or you can get a 10% store credit from here with Garmin at PowerMeterCIty and your local bike shop may even give you a slightly larger discount if you bought your bike there. There is very little point in devoting too much time to shopping around in the market as it is now. Maybe you will save a tiny amount of money from buying from a smaller dealer. There will be a reason for that….go figure.

Favero Assioma duo uno review p1 vector

L+R, BLE+ANT+

When discounts are not allowed by the manufacturer, then companies like CleverTraining and PowerMeterCity could (& do) offer store credit to be used against later purchases of other products.

Wherever you live I would buy from a dealer in your country/region. You might save $/£/eu10 by shipping from overseas but if ever a return is needed you will have notable costs.

Future of the Best Power Meter Pedals

It’s unlikely there will be an ASSIOMA 2 or a Vector 4 until late 2019-2020.

I can’t see any great new ‘invention’ to materially change pedal power meter functionality (famous last words) – although Shimano cleat support would be great.

Otherwise, I expect the evolution new models to chip away at the relatively small number of issues that need addressing, which range from: accuracy; cleat compatibility; battery type; support for carbon cranks; support for elliptical chainrings; battery life; durability; special metrics (yet more cycling dynamics); and dimensions (stack height and Q-factor).

There will be new entrants to the market. It’s started with SRM in Q2.2018, there will be more. There will also be some going out of business (WatTeam) and others merging (PowerTap).

I’d say that, for most people (including myself) that all those issues are sufficiently sorted out in the 3 major products as of now. But there ARE differences so let’s come back to the present and look at the differences that exist in more detail.

Favero Assioma duo uno review p1 vector

Cleat-ASSIOMA Clearance

The Details

Best Power Meter Pedals – cleat choices

I like Shimano cleats. They just seem to clip in better for me. Unfortunately, only the older Garmin Vectors supported those (via a kit).

ASSIOMA and Vector are LOOK/KEO compatible. P1/P2 effectively is too.

I use the KEO GRIP grey 4.5-degree float. They seem a tad tight on the ASSIOMA and a tad looser on the Vector, cleat wear is also a factor in any apparent tightness or looseness. They seem fine on the P1 although other reports suggest the degree of wear of the cleat might be a factor in the snugness of the fit.

0 degrees and 9 degrees (red) float are also available on LOOK. The meaning of the colour varies on other brands (eg Shimano red has no float whereas an Xpedo red has 6 degrees)

There are probably a lot of people who would rather not use LOOK/KEO cleats but would it be a sufficiently compelling feature to get us to switch brands if someone produced an otherwise inferior but Shimano-cleat compatible alternative? Probably not.

Summary – pretty much the same across the 3 offerings

Best Power Meter Pedals for Accuracy

There’s a whole can of worms waiting to be opened on this topic that I discussed in a little more detail here

Most Accurate Power Meter = Best Power Meter

With ASSIOMA’s new firmware for April 2018, here are the stated manufacturer accuracy levels which are now

  • ASSIOMA – +/-1%
  • Vector 3 – +/- 1%
  • PowerTap P1/P2 – +/-1.5%
  • SRM Exact – +/-1.5%

Even if you’ve trained hard enough to get your FTP over 300w then I reckon that 1-1.5% level of accuracy will be alright ie +/-3w to +/-4.5w. Can you spot a 3w difference on the road? I can’t. (Naturally the absolute +/- numbers get bigger with higher than FTP efforts).

Sure I could spot -3w one day and +4.5w (ie 7.5w difference) the next day. But that hasn’t happened in my experience. My experience is that the accuracy seems consistent on calibrated power meter pedals.

Favero claim with their ASSIOMA pedals that their new IAV power algorithm can deliver further increased accuracies for the vagaries of ‘normal’ cyclists’ pedalling and riding characteristics. That sounds at least plausible and therefore you might wonder if the stated accuracies of PowerTap and Garmin are actually correct for your style.

Summary: Probably alright for nearly all of us.

Power Meter Pedals – Battery Type & Battery Life

  • Vector 3 – LR44 (over 100 hours)
  • PowerTap P1 – AAA Lithium (60 hours)
  • PowerTap P2 – AAA Lithium (60-80 hours)
  • ASSIOMA – USB with custom pin connector (up to 50 hours)
  • SRM Exact – 100 hours rechargeable on a 5-hour charge up

Battery life is self-explanatory and I suspect even 50 hours is sufficient for most of us. Not for all though. Garmin nails the uber-battery life with SRM being a nice second. But PowerTap wins on the practicalities of being easily able to buy a spare battery in a random French Alpine village in the middle of summer.

Summary: Generally alright for everyone but Garmin wins for those with special battery needs.

Best Power Meter Pedals for Clever Metrics

Total/L/R power and cadence are going to be most useful and will save you having a pesky additional cadence sensor. In the ANT+ world, all should be good from the humble Lezyne Super GPS up to the Edge 1030. However, even Suunto’s top end tri-watch will only read one-side of your power (and double it) but a 3-year-old Polar V650 will happily read right and left power over BLE from the ASSIOMA.

The clever ANT+ metrics like Torque Effectiveness and Pedal Smoothness can be useful to spot an anomaly and can be further useful if you can hone in on that anomaly in the Left/Right balance of the same metrics. What to do about such an anomaly is another matter entirely!! These metrics are well-supported on ANT+ compatible head units and watches but not on BLE ones.

PowerTap have some special additional metrics and Garmin have even more super-clever ones. I would say that most of these are of little use to most people. But having said that if you have a specific bike fit need or if you are contemplating setting up OCP Q-Ring positions then some of the additional metrics (PCO and Power Phase respectively) will be super-useful for very narrowly defined use-cases.

PowerTap will work on supporting additional ANT+ metrics (Advanced Cycling Dynamics) for the P2 once the AWG makes them public.

Summary: Generally alright for everyone but Garmin wins for those with special data metric needs. Later in Q2.2019 we are expecting the Favero Assioma to extend their coverage of advanced cycling dynamics metrics

Garmin Vector 2

The Dangly Bit – even the old Vector 2 pods never hit the floor

Power Meter Pedals – Sizings, Spacings, Form

These differences range from the obvious to the very subtle. For example, Garmin has dropped the pods from the Vector 2. If you look closely, ASSIOMA now effectively has an inbuilt spacer compared to the bePRO- the bePRO nearly always needed one or two washers whereas the ASSIOMA occasionally needs one washer to ensure its hub does not touch the crank arm.

The allen key/wrench or spanner are now super easy ways to fit your pedals. Apparently having the right torque is no longer as mandatory as it was with previous versions.

Looking at the dimensions of the products, some may say the P1 looks slightly chunkier. It looks fine to me. Then the key physical factors that might have a bearing on your riding are weight, Q-Factor and Stack height. If you don’t know what the last two are they are almost certainly of no relevance to you whatsoever.

PowerMeterCity – All stacked up and raring to go

Stated Q-Factors

  • Garmin Vector 3: 53mm
  • PowerTap P1: 54mm (P3 spindle length stated as 53mm)
  • Favero Assioma: 55mm
  • SRM EXACT: 54.6mm

Stated Stack Heights

  • Garmin Vector 3: 12.5mm
  • PowerTap P1: 14mm (P2 likely similar)
  • Favero Assioma: 10.5mm
  • SRM EXACT 11.9mm

Stated Weights

If you are under 100kg then the limits of rider weight will not affect you. If you are over 100kg then perhaps consider more closely the P1.

Most of us are weight-weenies to some degree. ASSIOMA & SRM EXACT are each about 305g/pair, the Vector 3 is 316g/pair (ie the same) but the P1 is over 100g heavier than the Vector 3 for a pair (P” is likely lighter but not as light as the others)

Summary: 95% of you will be alright with the physical side of the pedals. But even I would look twice at an extra 100g on the P1. Garmin &, possibly, SRM are the prettiest

Garmin Vector 2 - Installation

Ah the joys of special tools.

Best Power Meter Pedals by Price

With the P1, it seems like PowerTap are matching Garmin’s pricing when they should be matching that of the ASSIOMA if they want to regain market share. With the P2 starting at US$899 then they seem to price in the automatic discount of 10% from powermetercity, CT and the like to be close to Garmin’s which are not generally discounted. It thus seems that PowerTap and Garmin think their brands command a premium.

If you look for older Vector 2 and bePRO models you will find that they are no longer produced and that old stock is hard to come by. With PowerTap’s announcement of a P2 then P1 prices might only fall by $100 or so until all the stock is gone. Then the price competition reverts back to the price differences between the 4 leading pedals and between alternative places to measure power.

Unless a P2 is offering some special feature it will eventually sit in the same $200-or-so price bracket that separate the ASSIOMA and VECTOR 3. Maybe PowerTap would want to go on the low side to regain market share? nah! If a P2 is priced at a premium to a Vector 3 then I’d like to know how it is justified.

The consensus would be that general power meter prices will EVENTUALLY fall. When? Who knows? But it will probably be linked to Shimano getting their act together.

*IF* there is a stock of several 10s of thousands of P1s somewhere AND an imminent P2 then you could imagine a drop in the price of the P1. But that is fantasy shopping. Just get one now so you can actually use it. Don’t rue the $50-$100 you might, just might, have saved had you waited 6 months. 6 months of cycling on great kit.

Competing power meter locations probably don’t affect the pricing of power meter pedals too much. Cheaper products like WatTeam’s PowerBeat and PowerPod, I suspect, are products that have a near-zero bearing on a person’s likelihood to spend over $500 on a power meter pedal. A discounted PM-Crank might switch some people towards crank technology. However such price drops are hard to justify for a variety of reasons including the fact that we all have different cranks (models & sizes); too many people prefer pedals PMs anyway, and the increased volume of crank PM sales would not be there to support the lower price.

Summary Pricing: The prices aren’t going to change much until 2019. The SRM and P2 are too expensive but less so with a 10% savings (below)

Power Meter Pedals – Other Factors

  • Cornering – if you’ve never hit a pedal on the road when cornering then this is unlikely to affect you. Try to put the other pedal down 😉  It might become more of an issue if you have longer cranks and if you pedal through corners.
  • LEDs – I particularly noted with the Vector 2 and bePRO that you either couldn’t decipher what the number of LED flashes meant or you could never quite see the LEDs whenever you wanted to. But you aren’t buying either of those pedals so you’ll be fine.
  • Charging – Having temporarily mislaid my ASSIOMA charger recently I was somewhat shocked by the potential £50 replacement cost. The earlier bePRO’s generic, micro-USB charging port and cover were alright but I was nervous about the longevity of that aspect of the product even though mine is still perfectly fine. The ASSIOMA has charging pins and that is the correct solution for a rechargeable battery. Garmin currently has an issue with the battery cover, I would REALLY ensure that the one you buy has had this rectified or guaranteed for life that it will be fixed.
  • Clearance – there was a relatively minor issue with the clearance of the Vector 2 on some frames and with the width of some cranks. I don’t think that’s a factor any more. There is/was an issue with Favero where the ‘hub’ must never touch your shoes/cleats. This varies by shoe and requires shims in some cases, this did (kinda) affect me on the bePRO but not the ASSIOMA.
  • Unified BLE channel (means that the two dual pedals appear as one device when pairing). ASSIOMA does that, PowerTap will add that to the P2 ‘in future firmware updates‘.
  • Serviceability – Your pedals might need some attention if you bang them or if you wear them out through use. For example, try to laterally move your oldest, dearest pedals to test bearing wear. I have an issue on my right side that wears out that side’s bearings after LOTS of miles. I’ve not encountered that eventuality yet with any of the power meter pedals over 3 years but, as a test, I did swap out and clean the bePRO’s bearings and it was simple enough to do. Similarly changing a Vector 2 pod is a simple task as bike mechanics go. However as both the measurement and transmission components get ever-smaller and placed inside the pedal spindle then the ability of you to tinker with it might be a DIY job you’d rather entrust to the manufacturer – that is CERTAINLY the case with PowerTap, where the pedals have to be sent off to have bearings changed at $150.
  • Carbon cranks – I don’t think this is an issue now with any model.
  • Elliptical chainrings – Not an issue with the ASSIOMA or P1/P2. I think it is with Garmin. Not sure about SRM
  • Single-sided vs. dual-sided – if you are concerned about accuracy and you want a single-sided solution then you might want to think more carefully as I am sure that you are not perfectly symmetrical. There is a $200-$300 premium for a dual-sided solution. Which is a lot.
  • Upgrading from single-sided to dual-sided – whilst you will be able to do this I’d really suggest waiting until you can afford dual-sided or take the jump with single-sided and then stick with single-sided for a long period.
  • Bike Swapability – yes it’s all easy now. Gone are Garmin’s tricky pods and bePROs unusual tightening routine.
  • A 5-second pre-ride calibration is recommended by all 3 device manufacturers, your head unit or watch might even prompt you.
  • Other: If someone prompts me I will look into issues of activation whilst transporting flattening the battery or time to a full charge from flat or over the air firmware updating or calibration or status indicators on head units. Though much of that info will be in the detailed product reviews (on this site!!) or in the manufacturer links above.
Favero Assioma duo uno review p1 vector

Magnetic Charger Fits To Standard Micro USB Cable but pin connection is proprietary

Conclusion – So, What ARE The BEST Power Meter Pedals?

It’s Christmas. Santa has just bought you a new set of power meter pedals. Let’s face it you’d be VERY HAPPY with any of these the 4 main options. You should be. Santa was very generous and you clearly avoided the naughty list this year. They are all good products and in some way or other could each be classed as ‘proven’.

If you have a VERY SPECIFIC & GENUINE requirement then an overview, albeit fairly detailed, as this article provides might not be enough to help you choose (use the links above). However for the rest of us, with relatively general needs for a power meter pedal, the choice is potentially tricky as they are all relatively similar products.

  • You want data metrics you’ll never use? You buy the Garmin Vector 3 (maybe ASSIOMA Q4.2018)
  • You want the lightest? You will NOT buy the PowerTap P1, hopefully the weight of the P2 won’t put  you off.
  • You want the prettiest? You buy the Garmin Vector 3
  • You want the longest battery life for your round-the-world tour? You buy the Vector 3 or SRM Exact
  • You want a name that your good cycling buddies have heard of? You buy SRM or PowerTap..but, in reality, they’ve certainly heard of Garmin and Favero too.
  • You want the cheapest? You buy the ASSIOMA or compromise for a single-sided solution (Don’t compromise !! unless you really can’t afford dual-sided)
  • No really. You want THE CHEAPEST? You buy a single-sided, manufacturer-refurbished unit eg PowerTap P1 (see comments section, below – these are often listed at powertap.com)
  • You want one that’s compatible? If you cycle in BLE-world, then consult with your headset/watch vendor. Otherwise, ANT+ and BLE for Zwift should be good-to-go for you for any of the 4.

If you want my opinion then I would say the compelling reason to buy the ASSIOMA is the price – ASSIOMA ticks *ALL* the boxes.

If they were all the same price I’d personally still be tempted to get the ASSIOMA. I’d think it MIGHT be the most accurate. They are all great companies with generally good customer service. I might be tempted to go for the Garmin because it ticks quite a few boxes on my ‘nice-to-have-but-won’t-ever-use’ data metric list but that would only be if I already had Garmin-branded everything else – which I do, but I mostly use WAHOO now for cycling.

Summary: Buy the ASSIOMA. I find it very hard to see reasons to buy any other power meter pedal. To ME it’s a no-brainer, but we all have different needs.

#InMyOpinion

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12 thoughts on “🥇 Best Power Meter Pedals – Bike Rider’s Guide to Compare Garmin, Favero, PowerTap and SRM (not a review)

  1. In regards to price… Last holiday season Powertap put the REFURBISHED p1 pedals on sale for (I think) $550 (dual sided!). I have had 0 problems with them. If I didn’t know I ordered refurbished, they could have fooled me. According to their site, refurbished currently list at $699 (but out of stock). Definitely something for people interested in a deal to be on the lookout for, if they ever come back in stock (or if any of the others offer refurb).

    • thanks Mitch. good point.
      i had thought of including REFURBISHED. I just shied away from that as I wouldn’t buy one nor would I buy any refurb’s electronics. having said that i was forced a couple of times to have refurb’d 920xts as repalceements but they were ok.actually i guess the first wasn’t as that’s why i got the second…then came the 935

      • Really? I used to work at a starter/alternator remanufacturing facility, and have a pretty good handle on the process of refurbished electronics. It is pretty simple for manufacturers to take apart units, test components and replace anything faulty. If you have ever gotten a car repaired, where the mechanic has kept (not trashed) the part, chances are he is turning it in as a “core” and the part he used to fix your car is refurbished (whether you knew it or not). This is the reason car batteries usually come with a $10-15 core charge. The seller wants to essentially purchase your old battery for $10 (no use to you anymore), remanufacture it for a few bucks, and sell as refurbished for 20-50% less than the cost of a new unit. In my experience refurbished parts have about the same failure rate as new (we sold new starters/alternators too), and the remanufactured units represent a tremendous value to both the consumer and the seller (who may only invest a few cheap components, and then sell for much higher profit margins than new units).

        Here is what DCRainmaker said about buying powertap refurb units: “THIS IS A GREAT SALE FOR REFURB ITEMS. INCREDIBLE DEALS. AND HERE’S THE THING, SOME FOLKS WILL IGNORE THIS BECAUSE THEY ARE REFURB, BUT REALISTICALLY, THEY GO THROUGH THE SAME QA PROCESS AS OTHER ITEMS (JUST WITH FANCY NEW EXTERIORS). SERIOUSLY, YOU WON’T BEAT THESE DEALS, AND IF I WAS BUYING A POWERTAP UNIT RIGHT NOW, I’D TAKE UP SOME OF THESE DEALS (UNFORTUNATELY, I BOUGHT A UNIT TWO WEEKS AGO…)” -https://www.dcrainmaker.com/holidays2016

        Please excuse the caps, I copied and pasted, no yelling.

        • I remain to be convinced that the longevity is necessarily there, although I take your points onboard. I would say what I said above to friends and family and would follow the same thought process myself. DCR may or may not use refurb units himself, I’ve no idea.

          • It depends honestly on which companies are doing the refurbishing. In the case of PowerTap, it’s as I described. In the case of Garmin, it’s actually the same too (except refurbs are really only used for support cases). In fact they go all the way back to Taiwan to the same factory they started in, and basically start life new again. When you send in a RMA device to Garmin, there’s just a gigantic bucket they throw devices in by category, and that bucket gets sealed up and shipped to Taiwan. I think my ‘Behind the Scenes at Garmin HQ” post a number of years ago I show it.

            I do have some refurb things floating around, but most is new. Both are equally fine.

      • hey mr 5k you are wrong there.
        no way will mr dcrainmaker use refurb gear himself. he might want me to buy some of it to turnover a dime or two for himself

          • I’ve bought trainers and power meter refurbed. Most is new, but there are cases where I’m re-buying stuff later in the curve and i see refurb or used stuff and pick it up to have in inventory. Not to mention replacement gear, which is virtually always refurb.

            Most times I don’t buy refurb simply because I can’t. Meaning, when I want to repurchase it, there isn’t an option to buy refurb yet because it’s too new.

  2. For info: Prices of Powertap P1 pedals are now £584 (new & dual sided). So I bought a pair from Probikekit. To me, it’s still a lot of money for fancy pedals verses what my bike cost, but with some thoughts of entering TTs in 2019 it feels worthwhile.

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