Due to (understandably) large wear after 16 years of usage, I wanted to replace sprocket, chainwheel and chain on my byke.

With my surprise the workshop where I took my byke was not able to find a spare for the sprocket, a 6 speed Maillard, and told that in the Netherlands they are pretty rare. They tried to install a 6 speed Shimano but it did not fit.

I did also a quick search on some spare parts dealers in Italy, and also they didn't have it.

Is it really that rare, or I have been simply out of luck?

  • Yes - 6 speed is getting pretty old. You might have more luck fitting a 7 speed cassette and simply not using the smallest cog. Or if you have friction shifters then an update to 7 speed may be cheap.
    – Criggie
    Jun 22 '17 at 7:05
  • @Criggie, would a 7 speed cassette fit where a 6 speed was?
    – L.Dutch
    Jun 22 '17 at 13:44
  • If the biggest cog is the same it probably would. You might get a 28t as biggest and get that to work as well.
    – Ola
    Jun 22 '17 at 13:51
  • @Ola The worry is whether the drop-outs are wide enough. Jun 22 '17 at 14:31
  • 1
    You might be lucky searching in France.
    – Carel
    Jun 22 '17 at 18:14

If the Shimano freewheel didn't fit, it means that your bike uses French threading for the freewheel (which isn't surprising given that it has a Maillard freewheel; the other non-bmx standards are interchangable). You're basically out of luck and need a new wheel (or at least new hub).

Depending on the hub, you may have to re-space the frame(*), since 6 speed likely means 126 mm rear spacing, where a newer hub would be 130 or 135 mm. This isn't difficult, and a shop that has a decent amount of clients with older bikes should be able to do this easily. You can also still find 126 mm wheels on the market if you look (Velo Orange still sells them, for example), so you wouldn't need to respace the frame. Or, you can respace it yourself. But this is the way I'd go.

(*) Assuming its steel, which given the age, it probably is.


It's also possible he has a Maillard Helicomatic hub (http://www.yellowjersey.org/helico.html) in which case it wouldn't be compatible with ANYTHING.

You can usually find replacement freewheels and lockrings for those on ebay. At the moment they're not as expensive as I thought, about $50 for a freewheel.



If you are lucky the threads are English and not French. If so I think you can get any new freewheels to fit.

But they will be 7sp.

  • They tried a Shimano cassette but did not fit.
    – L.Dutch
    Jun 22 '17 at 13:43
  • If so you either source eBay or get a new wheel.
    – Ola
    Jun 22 '17 at 15:04
  • 1
    Maillard is stiffly and purely French threading. It means either finding old new stock or throwing away the wheel or just the hub if you want to go through expensive rebuilding.
    – Carel
    Jun 22 '17 at 18:12
  • @Carel It might depend on where your at? At least in Sweden we have Maillard with both French and English threads.
    – Ola
    Jun 30 '17 at 16:26

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