My everyday commuter is a Montague Boston, a simple, lightweight singlespeed that can take a beating and keep rolling. Riding through a winter in New England takes a serious toll on a bicycle and this one has been through two. The constant moisture, sand, and road salt, pretty much guarantee that anything that can rust, will rust, and anything that can wear out, will wear out. My Boston has been in serious need of an overhaul, and the time is now. The chain is rusted and stretched, the bottom bracket bearings are anything but smooth, and even the brake cables and calipers are corroded. These are things that will eventually need replacing on any bicycle that gets a lot of miles, but riding every day through snow, rain, and bad road conditions, will seriously speed up the decline.

I’ve been riding a (mostly) stock Montague Boston, but I’m going to use this opportunity to rebuild this bike as a truly custom ride. Since Montague bikes use all standard components, they’re the only folding bikes on the market that can be fully customized with any aftermarket components you want. Montague is even offering frame sets for 2013, so you can start with a blank canvas and build your dream bike.

Let’s start by stripping the parts and giving the frame a thorough cleaning.

In the stand, ready for an overhaul (don’t mind the mess).

As you can see, this drivetrain has seen better days:

The effects of all weather commuting.

Let’s pull it apart. Start by breaking the chain. This one is toast and is going straight to the trash:

If your chain looks anything like this, replace it!

Now let’s get that beat up crankset off. You’ll have to remove the crank bolt first. This will require either a 5/16 allen wrench, or a 14mm socket. The crank arms are press fit onto the bottom bracket spindle, so once you get the bolt out, you’re going to need a crank puller to get the arms off:

One of a few specialty tools I’ll be showing you, a crank puller is worth having if you plan to service your own bikes.

The outer nut of the crank puller threads into the crank arm:

Be careful not to crossthread (especially if you’re removing a crank arm you need to save).

Once the nut is securely threaded in, turn the arm of the crank puller clockwise. As you do, it threads into that outer nut and pushes against the bottom bracket spindle. Since the nut is securely attached to the crank arm, this pushes the whole assembly away from the spindle.

Old reliable Park Tool…


Once you break that initial snug fit, it will slide right off:

Leaving you with just the spindle of the bottom bracket:

To remove the BB, you’re going to need a Shimano bottom bracket tool. You can just barely tell (because it’s so dirty) but the bottom bracket cups have a series of grooves to allow this splined tool to lock in:

Now it’s very important to remember, the drive side bottom bracket cup is reverse threaded. That means you have to turn the cup clockwise, to loosen it. This is done to prevent the cup from naturally loosening over time through a process called precession (physics!). The non-drive side cup is threaded normally, so turn that one counterclockwise to loosen it.

The bottom bracket is right down near the road so it’s always getting hit with water and road grime. It’s not uncommon for it to end up completely seized in the frame. I had to use a 2 foot pipe over the wrench to get some extra leverage. If it’s really stuck, you can clamp the bb tool in a vise, and turn the entire frame to get some leverage. I did manage to free it, and I’m dreaming about some smooth, new bearings…

I proceeded to remove the handlebars, brake calipers, and cables, and thoroughly cleaned the frame and bottom bracket threads. I don’t have a picture of that process, but I assume you have some experience cleaning things (I hope). If you’re dealing with serious gunk, you can use some WD-40 as a degreaser. It works great for that, just don’t use it as a lubricant on your bike. Next time, we’ll pull apart the headset, re-grease it, and take a look at some new components (the exciting part).

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