Wheel height: 27.25"
Orifice height: 25"
Weight: 13 pounds
- Folds to 21.5" h x 8.25" w x 15" d.
- Integrated storage
of bobbins, flyer, and whorls for transport
- ratios from 4.25 to 13.75:1
Scotch tension $785.00
NOTE: In this review, Jillian's comments
sit to the left of the page in regular
type, Amy's are to the right in italics.
First Impressions Jillian: A whole lot of the spinning world
let out a collective “Squee!” when it was announced
that Schacht was releasing a travel wheel. I was among
the fans waiting, impatiently, for the wheel to release. I
have and love a Schacht Matchless.
Amy: I was one of the squee-ers.
But my disappointment came before it arrived:
I really wanted it to be small enough to
fly as carry-on baggage, and it wasn't.
I was really happy with my Schacht
here] and imagined I
was set for a while, and had no plans to
When I first saw the wheel, it was like nothing I imagined.
When I got the wheel under my hands and feet,
I was excited and a tiny bit disappointed.
put that right out there. I was disappointed
because it didn’t
feel like a Matchless.
As a newer spinner, I confess that I've never spun on a Matchless.
Intentionally. I have only heard exemplary
things about that wheel, and since it's far
out of my budget, didn't want to fall in
love with something I could never afford.
No, it is not a mini Matchless, but it is still a Schacht
with all of the attention to detail and quality
of product that you would expect. It is a
great wheel. I have used my Sidekick for
6 months and love it. There are times I choose to spin on her
over my Matchless.
I get to meet spinners as I travel to teach,
and kept hearing very good things about
the Sidekicks that were shipping. One well-reputed
dealer told me it was the most well-balanced
wheel she'd ever spun on. That got me thinking.
I really liked the idea
of a wheel that got slim for travel. My
Ladybug was a solid traveller, but moving
her in and out of rooms and cars was awkward.
A wheel that folded began to appeal to
I finally test drove a Sidekick at the 2011
TNNA [yarn industry trade show] last June.
It was loaded up with wool, and by then I was
so eager to spin that I just stuck my wool-allergic
hands on the roving and got to it. I made crappy
yarn, but loved how it treadled, looked, sounded.
That was good enough for me. Order placed and
the Ladybug found a good home with a new spinner.
the new wheel arrived, I got to spinning
on it and my trust in the Schacht brand
was not misplaced. This wheel is fabulous.
As recommended by my co-author, I spent
some time on it without the WooLee Winder
[which I already had for my Ladybug...and
which swapped in to use on the Sidekick
as easily as the bobbins that are also
interchangeable]. An afternoon of delicious
spinning, effortless treadling and it was
confirmed: the Sidekick is the best wheel I've ever spun
Ed note: the cup holder shown at right is an
add on available from FBN
It's quiet, works effortlessly, and thanks
to all the innovations in design, I find
I prefer it to the Ladybug. Aesthetically
and functionally, it just suits me better.
I love how small she folds down, able to slip into the smallest
spots in my car and into a suitcase. She’s small, but
the orifice height is still 25” letting me still up while
spin. She weights 13 pounds, which is what some of my knitting
It takes me about 10 minutes to set her up from folded to
ready to spin. I have learned to take another couple of minutes
to double check and fine tune the set up. I learned quickly
that taking an extra minute or two to fine tune the Sidekick
makes the difference between smooth spinning and a lot of bad
My personal area of fine tuning is making
sure the front and back maidens are absolutely
vertical. Iif they aren’t, it will cause drag.
Yes, it's true. When I was spinning recently,
I set up the wheel and didn't
notice that the maidens were tilted slightly
inwards. No amount of oil would loosen
up the treadling until I realized my error
and corrected it, which took seconds. Bonus:
The Sidekick is Scotch Tension only, and can use Schacht’s
slow, medium, fast and high-speed whorls
(it comes with the medium and fast whorls) giving you a
ratio range of 4.25:1-15.25:1. I spin mostly
woolen and can spin fine to super bulky yarn
quickly and smoothly.
And I spin mostly worsted at the moment,
since I'm a non-wool spinner, which means
I live my life on the fast whorl. I've
been loving the tussah that's been coming
off the wheel. I feel like I have more
control over the yarn I spin and am really
happy with the finished product. I can
start and stop treadling with just my feet
[no hand required on the wheel to help
it go], most times.
am so happy Schacht was able to keep the
treadles big, giving me options on where
I put my feet to treadle. I
really love the quick release levers [Amy:
ditto]. Changing bobbins and whorls is just
a little more efficient with them, plus they
look cool. I
did buy the Bulky Plyer Flyer for the Sidekick
and love it, I think it works better on the
Sidekick than on the Matchless. It’s much easier
The drive band is nylon and has a built in tensioner, for
when it starts to lose its spring. The Scotch
Tension band is the same cotton as the Matchless.
It is really wonderful that I can use the same bobbins and
whorls and WooLee Winder I use on my Matchless
on the Sidekick. A really petty dislike I
have is the new plastic bobbins. They are
lighter than Schacht's wooden bobbins and
much less prone to break when traveling,
but they rattle on the wheel and the dark brown is
ugly. I can live with the rattle, but would
really love if the plastic would come in
a variety of colors, fun! Plus I could color
code my projects with the bobbins.
I recently gave my wheel the ultimate travel
test flying with my Sidekick. I used a Samsonite
27" suitcase. The wheel and her bobbins fit
in one half of the case with plenty of room
for fiber or clothes to
tuck around her. I know my suitcase got thrown
around -- I
could see it out of the window of the plane
--but she came out fine and happy and spun
like a dream.