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Vintage Components - Maillard French-threaded freewheels

Maillard freewheels made under Sachs ownership can be found here.

On this page: 5-speed 14-28


Important: Do Not try to mount a French-threaded freewheel on an British or Italian-threaded hub. It will start, but as it is screwed on it will bind and destroy the threads. Also, do not mount a British or Italian threaded freewheel on a French-threaded hub. It will screw on, but then slip under load.

French Freewheel threading: 34.7 x 1mm (1.366" x 25.4 TPI)
British freewheel threading: 1.37" x 24 tpi

Maurice MaillardMaillard was a French hub, pedal and freewheel manufacturer. Maurice Maillard (picured on the left) started a car-body shop in Incheville, in Normandy, France. Noticing that most of the French component makers were located in St. Etienne, in south-central France, he took advantage of his location to start making bicycle parts for bike makers closer to him, who found shipping from St. Etienne too expensive.

During the First World War, while other cycle component makers switched over to weapons manufacturing, Maillard continued to make bicycle parts. As a result, his company really took off. This was due in no small part to his strong business exporting to the United Kingdom.

Through the 1930s and after the Second World War his firm continued to grow. By 1947 Maillard was making 300,000 freewheels a year.

In the 1960s Maillard took over freewheel and hub makers Atom and Normandy. Both firms had started just after the Second World War.

Maurice's son Pierre took over in 1966. A few years later the great American bike boom hit. Pierre jumped on the opportunity and in a mere 18 months had tripled his company's production of freewheels and hubs. The result? By 1971 the firm was making components in five factories staffed with 1,770 employees.

Then the company took a wrong turn. The bike boom lasted only into the mid 1970s and the company invested heavily into a radical redesign of the hub and freewheel combination, called the Helicomatic hub.

It was (we believe), the first integrated freehub. But the flange spacing wasn't optimal, the rear wheel needed more dish (pulling the rim to the center of the hub's lock nuts by making the drive-side spokes tighter) than other hubs of the era and the bearings were an odd 5/32". The bearings and cones wore quickly. Shimano's later freehub solved the Helicomatic's problems and that's how hubs are made today.

Between the loss of the bike boom business, Asian competition and the cost of the Helicomatic debacle, the Maillard firm became a shadow of its former self.

In 1987 the German Fichtel & Sachs firm purchased Maillard. And then, the now-renamed Sachs company was sold to the American SRAM company in 1997.


Maillard French-threaded 5-speed 14-28 freewheel. Used, $60.00

This freewheel has been cleaned and lubircated. It is ready to go.

Maillard freewheel

Very lightly used

Freewheel

From the back. You can see it is stamped "French"