Mountain Bike Maintenance for Beginners

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Mountain biking is an exhilarating experience, offering the rider a sense of freedom and adventure. For those new to this exciting sport, mountain bike maintenance for beginners can be daunting. However, by following simple steps, beginners can ensure their bikes are in optimal condition for a thrilling ride. This guide provides all the information required to get started on proper mountain bike maintenance techniques, from basic cleaning and lubrication to more advanced repairs and replacements. With these tips and tricks, any beginner can keep their bike in top shape with minimal effort. 

The first step to maintaining your mountain bike is understanding its components. Knowing which parts make up your frame and how they work together will help you identify issues quickly and efficiently and provide insight into where potential problems may arise. Components such as brakes, gears, wheelsets, headsets, derailleurs, and forks each require special attention during regular maintenance routines – knowledge should not be overlooked by any beginner cyclist looking to take care of their machine properly. 

Table of Contents

    Basics Of Mountain Biking 

    Mountain biking is an activity that offers riders a unique way to explore the outdoors and seek their adventure. Whether it’s hitting jumps in the park, traversing technical trails, or simply enjoying the scenery on a leisurely ride, mountain biking provides freedom and exhilaration. Regular bike maintenance is important for keeping it functioning properly, but this holds especially true with mountain bikes due to their increased exposure to dirt, mud, water, and other elements. Understanding how often certain components need attention will keep your bike in tip-top shape so you can continue exploring nature fully. 

    The first step when regularly maintaining your mountain bike is understanding what types of components are most likely to require service. Brake levers should be inspected for excessive play, checking tire pressure, and ensuring proper installation of tubeless tires if applicable. Dropper posts also tend to have issues over time, such as not locking into position reliably or having difficulty returning from full extension up top. Chain lube application is necessary after cleaning off excess grit and grime, while brake pad wear must be monitored regularly depending on riding style and terrain conditions. 

    By following these proactive steps in establishing a personalized mountain bike maintenance schedule, riders can enjoy peace of mind knowing they’re well-equipped to tackle whatever challenges life throws their way out on the trail. Exploring different types of mountain bikes is another aspect worth considering for maximizing enjoyment during each outing. 

    Types Of Mountain Bikes 

    Mountain biking is an exhilarating experience that allows riders to explore the outdoors in ways they could never have imagined. There are a variety of mountain bikes available, and choosing one can be daunting for beginner bikers. Deciding on the right type of bike depends on the rider, terrain, and conditions. 

    The most basic types of mountain bikes include hardtail, dual suspension, and fat-tire bikes. Hardtails are equipped with front forks, which absorb some bumps along the way, but no rear shocks or suspension. Dual-suspension mountain bikes feature both front and rear suspension providing smoother rides over rough trails with more control at higher speeds. Fat tire mountain bikes utilize wide tires designed to provide extra traction in wet and muddy conditions and stability when riding on sand or snow. 

    When selecting a mountain bike, there is no single rule of thumb for everyone since each person has different preferences. A good place to start is by researching all the various options online, looking into rental programs if needed or speaking with experienced riders who understand what you need out of your bike and help you find something suitable for your riding style. Additionally, having basic tools such as a pump, multi-tool set, and spare tubes handy will be useful should any unexpected maintenance require attention, like fixing a flat tire or changing worn brake pads or treads on tires. 

    Inspection and maintenance tips play an essential role in keeping your ride safe while enjoying nature’s great outdoors. 

    Inspection And Maintenance Tips 

    Mountain Bile Maintenance for Beginners

    Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, however, in order to ensure safe and enjoyable rides, it is important for riders to understand proper bike maintenance. This includes regularly inspecting and maintaining their mountain bikes. 

    To start, inspect your bike chain for signs of wear or damage. If necessary, lubricate it as needed using bicycle-specific lubricant. Keeping your bike clean also helps improve its performance; use a sponge and water to wipe off excess mud from the frame and components. Make sure that all areas are dry before applying tire sealant on the pedals and wheels. As part of regular inspections, check wheel bearings for any loose bolts or nuts that may have come undone during riding. Additionally, make sure air pressure is at an appropriate level by examining tires after each ride – this will help reduce the chance of a flat tire while out on the trails. 

    When performing brake checks, adjust or replace cables if they become worn out or frayed over time (the same goes for derailleur cables). Check the rear derailleur hanger alignment since improper alignment can cause shifting issues when riding over bumps and other terrain difficulties encountered during trail runs. Also, look into replacing worn-out chains; these should be done every 1-2 months, depending on how often you go mountain biking. 

    Taking care of your mountain bike is essential for safety and increased fun when cycling on rugged trails. Regularly checking for damages or deterioration of parts prevents unexpected breakdowns that could harm you while exploring nature’s wonders on two wheels! Transitioning into chain care requires careful attention as this component plays an integral role in the proper functioning of gears when pedaling up inclines and down hillsides. 

    Chain Care 

    Maintaining a chain is one of the most important aspects of mountain bike maintenance for beginners. The bike model and chain ring type will dictate the amount of care needed to keep the drivetrain running smoothly. A good practice is performing a chain checker with each ride, which can be done quickly by listening for any rattling or grinding noises from the chain while riding over rough terrain. Chain slap should also be avoided as it reduces efficiency and increases wear on both the chain and sprockets. 

    Cleaning your chain regularly helps reduce friction between components and prevents dirt, grease, and grime build-up. To clean the chain, use an appropriate product such as a degreaser mixed with water in a spray bottle or a dedicated bicycle-specific chain cleaner that does not require removal from the frame. After cleaning, lubricate sparingly depending on weather conditions and the environment. When using air shocks on dual suspension bikes, remember to oil them too occasionally; this helps prevent corrosion due to moisture buildup inside dampers when not ridden frequently enough. 

    Finally, if you hear any rubbing noise coming from the drivetrain, especially when pedaling hard uphill or accelerating fast then adjust derailleur alignment immediately; this will help eliminate unnecessary strain on all moving parts involved in transmission power delivery during rides. With regular inspection and timely servicing following these guidelines, you’ll have no problems keeping your mountain bike running smoothly throughout its lifespan! Tire inflation levels and treadwear are two other elements that need attention when maintaining your mountain bike repair schedule – something we’ll explore further in our next section… 

    Tire Inflation And Wear 

    Tire inflation and wear are essential components of mountain bike maintenance. Ensuring your bike has the right air pressure in its tires is one of the most important steps to take before each ride, as it helps maintain optimum wheel shape for a smooth and efficient ride. Additionally, regularly tuning your wheels will help prevent unnecessary wear on tires and rims caused by riding on uneven terrain or dirt tracks. 

    After a dirty ride, following a post-ride cleaning process is important to keep your bike running smoothly. This includes wiping down any mud or debris from the frame, drivetrain, brakes, and suspension fork service. When servicing forks, stanchions and shocks, make sure to check all retainer bolts for tightness after every few rides; this ensures that the parts remain securely attached during use. 

    Maintaining proper tire inflation and regular wheel tuning improves performance and prolongs the life expectancy of the bicycle’s components. It is important to perform these tasks often as part of an overall post-ride maintenance routine so you can enjoy safe cycling with maximum efficiency. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your next ride is seamless and worry-free. With brake adjustment and repair being the last step in completing basic mountain bike maintenance prerequisites, let us now move on to discuss how best to adjust and repair disc brakes safely and effectively. 

    Brake Adjustment And Repair 

    Brake adjustment and repair is an essential parts of mountain bike maintenance. Adjusting or repairing brakes can ensure that your bike runs smoothly and safely. Brake fluid, brake rotors, hydraulic disc brakes and discs for disc brakes are all braking system components that should be inspected regularly to ensure it functions correctly. 

    If you feel any rubbing when using the brakes, then this could indicate something wrong with either the brake cable or the brake arms. To adjust these parts you may need to slightly loosen the bolts at each end before re-tightening them once they have been properly adjusted. If you have hydraulic disc brakes, then it is likely that more complex adjustments will be needed, such as a brake bleed or replacement of a lever mechanism. 

    It’s also important to keep your braking system clean by using specially formulated brake cleaner; this will help avoid corrosion and maintain optimal performance levels. Once cleaned and lubricated, check again for any signs of rub and recheck the tightness of all fastenings on both sides of the hubs where applicable. With regular care and attention, your mountain bike can enjoy efficient braking power while providing maximum safety on every ride. The next step in maintaining your mountain bike is drivetrain cleaning and lubrication 

    Drivetrain Cleaning And Lubrication 

    When it comes to mountain bike maintenance, drivetrain cleaning, and lubrication is a crucial parts of the process. While some may think this step can be skipped in favor of more exciting activities like suspension servicing, proper drivetrain care should never be underestimated! To get started, let’s take a look at what tools you will need. 

    First off, you’ll want a rear derailleur hanger alignment tool – which allows for easy removal and re-installation of the derailleur assembly from its spring-loaded mount on the frame. You’ll also need both regular and special chain degreaser devices in order to make sure all components are clean and free from dirt before applying any lube. Additionally, if your system has pulleys or derailleur levers (many do), then you might consider investing in a bit of degreaser specifically designed for these parts as well. 

    Once everything is outfitted with a degreaser, give each component with a good scrubbing using an old toothbrush or rag. Be mindful when doing so not to use too much force – delicate parts like springs are easily damaged if not handled properly! Once everything looks nice and clean rinse off any excess degreaser with hot water before drying thoroughly with another cloth. Finally, apply the appropriate type of oil or grease depending on the manufacturer’s instructions for best results – there are many specialty products available for specific purposes, so check carefully before proceeding! With your drivetrain now cleaned and lubricated, you’re ready to move onto suspension servicing – but remember: always pay attention to detail while working on your bike; after all, safety comes first! 

    Suspension Servicing 

    Suspension servicing is an integral part of mountain bike maintenance and should not be neglected. It requires specific tools, time and attention to detail, but the effort pays off in improved performance on the trail. Suspension systems have rear shocks or full suspension frames with front and rear forks. 

    • Check for lateral movement: Push down hard on the handlebars while seated. If you feel any lateral movements, it might indicate loose headset bearings that need tightening. 
    • Inspect Rear Wheels: Give your wheels a spin and check if they are true (not wobbling). Make sure quick releases are tight and inspect spoke tension. 
    • Adjust Rebound: Barrel adjusters give you control over how quickly springs return after compression due to bumps, jumps or drops. Excess lube can cause rebound problems, so ensure all bolts are tightened securely – especially after wet rides! 

    Regular servicing is essential to ensure efficient operation and maximum enjoyment of your suspension system. A well-maintained suspension will help improve the ride quality and keep you, Bike Happy, out on the trails! Transitioning into the subsequent section about handlebar and stem adjustment, these components play a significant role in properly setting up your mountain bike for top performance. 

    Handlebar And Stem Adjustment 

    Mountain Bile Maintenance for Beginners

    Adjusting the handlebar and stem of a mountain bike is an important part of basic service. For riders who prefer traditional bike design and those with dual suspension mountain bikes, making sure that the brakes are in proper working order can mean the difference between success and failure on a challenging trail. An expert on bike maintenance will typically start by inspecting rim brakes for any signs of wear or brake grab, which may require adjustment to firm up the brakes before heading out.

    If your bike has mechanical disc brakes, then you should look at both the brake caliper and cable brakes to ensure they’re within their prescribed limits. Finally, if your bike features hydraulic disk brakes, it’s essential that every component, including lines and pistons, be inspected before use. This way, you can make necessary adjustments to remain safe while riding. 

    Pedal Maintenance 

    Mountain bike maintenance is an art, and beginner riders should practice it diligently to ensure a happy bike. Pedal maintenance can be done at home with minimal tools; however, riders are advised to seek the help of an experienced mechanic at a bike shop for more complex repairs. 

    Tools Needed: – Bike cable cutters – A pair of bike cables – Bike-specific degreaser – Grease or lube 

    To begin pedal maintenance, start by loosening all the pedals on both sides using a wrench or Allen key. Next, use some bike-specific degreaser to clean away dirt and grime from within the threads of your pedals. Once cleaned up, apply grease or lube to keep them working smoothly, even through gnarly descents. Lastly, reattach the pedals in their original positions snugly but not too tight as that could damage the threading over time. After completing this task, check each side for any loose pieces that need to be tightened again. This process will complete one full round of pedal maintenance, ensuring you have a clean bike ready for the trails! 

    Having completed the necessary steps for pedal maintenance, wheel truing is now next on our list. Wheel truing requires expert knowledge and skill, so read up before attempting it yourself. 

    Wheel Truing 

    Truing a wheel is an integral part of mountain bike maintenance. It requires attention to detail, skill, and patience. To begin truing the wheels, one should first check for loose components such as spoke nipples or hub cones, which can cause wobble when riding. If any are found, they should be tightened with trusty bike tools. 

    Next, it is important to clean off any dirt or debris from the rim, spokes, and other bike components. Winter bike wash tip: use warm water mixed with soap and a toothbrush to loosen stubborn grease and grime on dirty bike components. Once everything has been cleaned off, lube up all bearings with a few drops of lube before reassembling them in their respective slots. 

    Finally, proper brake cable tension must also be checked prior to riding again; this includes brakes that require manual tightenings such as V-brakes or cantilever brakes. Lastly, do not forget to double-check bolts that secure parts like the rear derailleur and cassette cogs – these may sometimes become loose after washing your bike, so make sure you give them a good once over before taking your ride out! With these steps completed, you are now ready to fit the right accessories onto your mountain bike for optimal performance. 

    Fitting The Right Accessories 

    Ensuring the right accessories are fitted on your mountain bike is essential for a smooth, comfortable ride. It can be incredibly difficult to enjoy the experience of riding if there are too many uncomfortable pieces that cause excessive wear and tear. With basic bikes, it’s important to fit brake cable brakes, and lube nozzles as these will help with braking efficiency. Considering what type of terrain you’ll encounter on your rides is essential when fitting different parts, such as wheels or handlebars, making sure they’re at a comfortable height for easy maneuverability. 

    When lubricating chains, use either dry lube, which creates a film of lube over the chain, or bicycle-specific oil for more sensitive components like derailleurs. Use caution when tightening bolts; some are larger than others, so make sure not to over-tighten them. Readjusting gear limit screws is also critical in order to ensure proper shifting between gears while pedaling up hills or going downhill fast. 

    In addition to all this, consider investing in quality tools designed specifically for mountain bikes: tire levers, wrenches, cleaners, etc., as well as any other items you may need depending on how often you plan biking and to maintain your bike. This will save time and money when overhauls and upgrades become necessary. 

    Overhauls And Upgrades 

    Mountain bike maintenance often involves overhauls and upgrades that are important to ensure the optimal performance of your bike. These improvements may vary depending on how much you ride, what type of terrain is typical for you, and whether or not any parts need replacing due to wear and tear. Here’s a 4-item list of some common components to inspect when evaluating an upgrade: 1. Modern-day tires should be replaced after frequent use as they can become worn down from rough terrain 2. Wheel cassette adjustment screws should be double-checked for proper tune adjustments 3. Minor adjustments may be required if there is abnormal suspension or component movement 4. Brake cables, pads, levers, and brakes should all be inspected regularly for any grooves created by brake pad contact and lubricated with dry lube if necessary 

    Upgrading components such as this help keep your mountain bike running smoothly while also reducing the stress placed on other components during intense rides over difficult terrain. To maximize safety considerations, it’s wise to routinely upgrade components that have seen more than their fair share of wear and tear – this will help reduce the chances of mechanical failure resulting in injury or damage to property. 

    Safety Considerations 

    With the previous section focusing on overhauls and upgrades, safety considerations are paramount for beginners in mountain bike maintenance. Brakes, in particular, play an important role in ensuring a safe ride, as these can mean the difference between a pleasant experience and an unsafe one. 

    Proper inspection is essential for bikes equipped with rim brakes or cable brakes before any ride. The brake pads should be checked to ensure they are not too worn down and do not need more attention than just wiping them off with a cloth. Similarly, all bolt-on components, such as wheels and cassettes, should also be inspected to ensure that none of their parts have become loose during regular use. 

    Additionally, paying close attention to the chain tension on your mountain bike is crucial. If the chain looks slack, then this could lead to skipping gears while cycling; if it is too tight, then this could cause premature wear on the drivetrain components like cassette sprockets and derailleurs which will require repair or replacement over time. Lastly, always inspect the frame for cracks or dents, which may indicate underlying structural issues and warrant further investigation by a professional mechanic. 

    To guarantee optimal performance from a mountain bike – especially for beginner riders – seeking qualified professionals specializing in bicycle repairs is recommended for maximum safety outcomes. 

    Finding A Professional Mechanic 

    Finding a professional mechanic is an important part of proper mountain bike maintenance for any beginner. Brakes and wheel systems, in particular, benefit from being serviced by a qualified individual, as these components are integral to the bicycle’s performance. Many modern mountain bikes come with cable or disc brakes requiring specific knowledge to install and maintain. Similarly, more advanced bicycles contain cassettes that may need routine adjustments to function efficiently. 

    When trying to locate a professional mechanic, it is best to start by inquiring at local bike shops or repair centers. This can be done either in person or through online reviews and websites. Additionally, many cities have cycling groups where members advise local mechanics who specialize in mountain bike maintenance. Friends and family who ride can also provide valuable information regarding professionals they trust with their bicycles. 

    Ultimately, finding someone experienced with servicing mountain bikes will help ensure your vehicle remains safe and efficient while out on the trails. Taking time when searching for a reliable technician will allow you to make sure your investment receives quality care and attention throughout its lifetime. 

    Frequently Asked Questions 

    What Are The Best Brands Of Mountain Bikes? 

    Regarding mountain biking, the best bike for any individual ultimately depends on their specific needs and preferences. To make an informed decision, understanding what features are important can help find the right ride. Generally speaking, a wide variety of brands offer quality bikes suited for different terrain. 

    Popular brands such as Trek and Specialized have produced exceptional bicycles since the MTB industry became mainstream. These manufacturers focus heavily on innovation and design, offering models with cutting-edge components from leading component makers like SRAM and Shimano. Additionally, some of these top companies also produce dual-suspension bikes, which provide greater shock absorption when riding over rough terrain compared to traditional hardtail frames. 

    For those looking for a more budget-friendly option but still want great performance, Giant is another well-known brand that offers excellent value without sacrificing quality or reliability. Other popular mid-tier options include Marin Bikes and Santa Cruz Bicycles, which both offer high-end products at competitive prices. Whichever brand you choose, doing research into available models and investing in reliable parts will go a long way towards ensuring your experience is enjoyable while staying safe at the same time. 

    It is essential to consider all aspects carefully when selecting the right mountain bike; this includes the frame material, type of brakes used, wheel size preference (27” vs 29er), overall weight capacity, and other factors such as cost and aesthetics. These elements should help individuals make a confident purchase explicitly tailored for them. 

    How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade A Mountain Bike? 

    Upgrading a mountain bike can be an expensive and challenging task for beginner riders. The cost of upgrading components such as frames, wheels, and brakes can vary significantly depending on the type of parts used. Knowing how much to spend is essential to get the most value from your upgrade without breaking the bank. 

    Several considerations should be considered for those looking to upgrade their mountain bike: 1. Determine what kind of cycling you plan on doing – Downhill riding requires more robust parts than Cross Country or Enduro racing, which will require different upgrades; 2. Set a budget – Make sure that any money spent on an upgrade fits within your financial limitations; 3. Research prices online – Look at reviews, compare brands and determine what components best suit your needs. 

    When it comes to purchasing upgraded parts, quality matters as much as price. Buying cheap knockoff parts may seem like a good idea initially, but they tend to have lower performance levels and durability over time. Investing in name-brand products will also ensure compatibility with other components being installed on the bike. Additionally, research additional costs associated with installation ranging from labor fees for work done by professionals plus extra tools needed for DIY projects. 

    In summary, when considering how much it costs to upgrade a mountain bike, consider factors such as the type of cycling planned, total budget available, and research regarding part compatibility along with potential additional expenses related to installation services or tools needed for the job. These elements combined will provide beginners the knowledge necessary for making wise decisions about whether or not upgrading their bikes makes sense financially and otherwise. 

    What Type Of Terrain Is Best Suited For Mountain Biking? 

    When it comes to mountain biking, one of the most frequently asked questions is what type of terrain is best suited for riders. After all, isn’t that one of the main attractions of this exciting and thrilling sport? The answer might surprise you! For those looking for a truly unique adventure in an off-road environment, mountains provide some of the most diverse terrains on Earth. 

    One key factor when selecting which trail to ride is understanding the types of trails available. Generally speaking, there are two categories: cross-country (XC) riding with rolling hills and short climbs; or downhill (DH) riding with long descents over steep terrain. Cross-country trails tend to be challenging but offer beautiful scenery, while downhill trails have more technical features requiring higher skill levels and greater risk tolerance. Of course, it’s also possible to combine both styles into ‘all-mountain’ rides. 

    For beginners starting on their first mountain bike journey, XC trails may be a better choice as they typically have fewer obstacles than DH tracks and generally require less strength or stamina. On these routes, riders can enjoy spectacular views at a leisurely pace without having to tackle huge jumps or drops like on DH courses. As their skills improve, however, many will want to step up the challenge and explore more extreme terrains – this could include anything from tight switchbacks through dense forests to rocky single tracks down steep slopes littered with roots and other natural obstacles! 

    Mountain biking provides an adrenaline rush unlike any other outdoor activity – no matter if you’re starting out or if you’ve been doing it for years. With such variety in the geographical landscape across different countries, finding your perfect route should be easy – so go forth and conquer! 

    What Safety Gear Should I Wear When Mountain Biking? 

    Safety is paramount in mountain biking; the right gear can make a difference. It’s important to consider all possible hazards before hitting the trails, including crash-related injuries, environmental elements, and weather conditions. This article will discuss what safety equipment should be worn for maximum protection. 

    First and foremost, wearing a helmet while mountain biking is essential as it provides vital head protection in case of an accident or fall. A properly fitting helmet with adequate padding should also reduce fatigue from vibrations caused by rough terrain. Other protective items such as elbow pads, knee pads, and gloves are highly recommended for added security on longer rides and more technical trails. This equipment provide extra cushioning against sharp objects like rocks or branches, which could otherwise cause serious injury. 

    Eye protection is another key item that riders should consider when going out on the trail. Sunglasses can shield eyes from dirt, dust, debris, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, helping keep them healthy over time while providing comfort during long rides in bright sunlight. Additionally, they can help improve visibility in low light conditions such as foggy mornings or evenings spent riding under trees where shadows may obscure vision. 

    No matter how experienced or skilled a rider might be, having the correct safety gear is imperative for a fun and safe ride each time you hit the trails. Investing in quality products now could save costly medical bills later, so always wear your helmet – it could prove invaluable if something goes wrong! 

    Are There Any Special Tools Needed To Maintain A Mountain Bike? 

    Mountain biking is a popular activity that requires the correct maintenance of one’s bike to ensure safety and optimal performance. This raises the question: Are any special tools needed for mountain bike maintenance? The answer is yes; several specialized tools can make it easier for riders to maintain their bikes. 

    The types of tools necessary for mountain bike maintenance vary depending on what kind of repairs need to be done. For general upkeep, basic wrenches, screwdrivers, and Allen keys will suffice. Bike-specific tools such as chain whips, bottom bracket removers, pedal spanners, and cone wrenches are useful when making more detailed adjustments. Additionally, lubricants, cleaners, and degreasers should all be kept close at hand. 

    Ultimately, having the right set of specialized tools makes maintaining a mountain bike much more accessible and enables riders to complete tasks more precisely. Moreover, these tools help prevent damage due to incorrect repair methods or inadequate materials. As such, they can provide peace of mind for those who want to experience freedom through mountain biking without worrying about potential technical issues stemming from poor maintenance practices. 

    Conclusion 

    Mountain biking is a thrilling and challenging activity that can bring great joy to those who engage in it, giving them an adrenaline rush. This guide has discussed some of the best brands for mountain bikes, how much it costs to upgrade one, the type of terrain most suitable for riding, the safety gear needed when biking, and special tools required for maintenance. 

    Given all this information, it should be easier for beginners to make informed decisions about which bike will suit their needs, where they should ride, what protective clothing they need to wear while riding, and what tools will help keep their bike running smoothly. By following these simple steps, new riders can ensure they are properly outfitted and ready to hit the trails confidently. As the saying goes, “preparation is key”; being prepared before hitting the track will allow novice riders to enjoy every moment of this exhilarating sport safely. 

    From selecting a reliable bike brand to having the necessary tools on hand for regular maintenance, considering everything mentioned above ensures that mountain bikers start on the right foot. With adequate preparation and awareness of both potential risks and rewards associated with mountain biking, beginner enthusiasts can enjoy safe rides and experience the optimal performance from their trusty steeds.