Sachs Maillard freewheel spacing wrong.


Dirt Disciple
Hi everyone, I have just purchased a tandem as some of you know, and in the process of smartening it up, I removed and cleaned the freewheel, and replaced the chain.

The issue is that, when in the 3rd biggest (in size) cog, the chain rattles and pings on the next largest cog. The freewheel indexes perfectly with the shimano 7 speed, apart from in that cog. It will shift into it perfectly from the next smallest one, but from the next largest it will simply run over the top.

The issue appears to be that the cog is too close to the next largest one, but fine compared with the next smallest.

The B-limit is correct, and so is the chainlength, and it does it in every chainring.

I'm very confused, as it looks like the spacing is wrong, but why only in one gear. If this is normal for Sachs freewheels them please let me know. It's an early 90s ARIS one which uses the Shimano removal tool.


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Captain Stupido

Senior Retro Guru

I'd sort of expect to have problems with any freewheel that isn't specifically marked or sold as SIS compatible. Most new ones are. 90s Sachs, I don't know for sure, but I doubt it.

If I were you I'd go for a new Sunrace one, decent enough quality and they will definitely work so rules out the freewheel as the source of the problem. Shimano still sell something too, but it's uglier.


Senior Retro Guru

The maillard compact system did index with Shimano 7, so you might be right about that one sprocket not being spaced correctly


Senior Retro Guru

It does look closer than the others as though it's a ruff spacer. From memory, the original maillard spacers were green

jim haseltine

Devout Dirtbag
It may just be the picture but it looks to me as if there are two narrow spacings there.
Assuming that the 1st-2nd spacing is correct it looks like:
1-2 ok
2-3 narrow
3-4 ok
4-5 narrow
5-6 ok
6-7 can't see
I wonder if somebody has been playing around and has mixed (and not quite matched) spacers from a different make of freewheel?


Dirt Disciple

Hi everyone, thanks for the replies, I checked again about SIS compatibility, and from what I can find ARIS freewheels should be SIS compatible but thanks for making me check. I brought the bike on eBay from its original owner and considering everything else is all original, I doubt they would have changed spacing, although with it being a tandem potentially some sprockets on the rear have been replaced. Does anyone know if I can get spacers for them (and which cogs unscrew — just the smallest one, or the 2/3 smallest together). As pointed out it may be cheaper just to get a modern one, which would also give me the benefit of hyperglide.
Although I'd like to fix the current one as I'm trying to hold off spending money on the rear wheel/hub area, since the hub's axle is bent and one bearing is rough, and by the time I've replaced those it would make more sense to go for a modern hub with a cassette and avoid axle bending again.