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I purchased a Schwinn Meridian adult tricycle hoping to have a flexible means of exercise. After giving it a close look, I tried it with disappointing results. When pedaling from a stop, the chain sems to click and skip, and I can't get a full rotation wihout this happening.

Am I too heavy for this trike (350+) unmodified or is something wrong with it either from manufacturing or my assembly of it?

Some pictures:

The amount of slack I can get pulling the secondary chain upwards: the amount of slack I can get pulling the secondary chain upwards

Overview of the chains: overview of chains

EDIT: I can't add comments but thanks guys... I will try this and come back and confirm that it works if it does. I suspect it will. All it takes is a solid lean for the chain to fall off. I should've thought of it before, but having the frame slid out some seemed a bit sketchy to me so I ignored the chain part of it.

Edit 2: Ok, that fixes that specific problem. Thank you all. I unfortunately have other issues with this bike though. I may ask them later.

  • If you post a photo it would help with diagnosis. – andy256 Mar 16 '15 at 0:38
  • Okay, already kind of hate this site... I'm not even the same user after setting a password so I can't even manage my own damn question. I can't even fix my typos from using a kindle for the first draft of the question. First of all I don't know what I'd take a picture of. It'd help to know just what'd diagnose this. The only hunches I have are the rather loose looking back chain, and that's about it. In any case here are the images I have. Bear with me as I am lending my actual camera out and have to use my flipphone. I took more but they're coming out pretty badly. Other supplementary info: – The_Funktasm Mar 16 '15 at 0:50
  • Sorry to hear you're having trouble. I'm sure one of the moderators will be able to help. I suggest a photo of any part you suspect to be related to the problem. The info we have so far doesn't give us much to go on. Stay cool, everyone's a volunteer here :-) – andy256 Mar 16 '15 at 1:43
  • Thank you for bearing with me as I am very unused to bikes to begin with. – The_Funktasm Mar 16 '15 at 2:00
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    If the chain is skipping on a new bike you should take it back to the shop and have them fix it. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 16 '15 at 2:45
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If it did not come with a manual you can get one online

MERIDIAN OWNER'S MANUAL

Page 12 states how to install the secondary chain
It states the secondary chain should have less than 5 mm of play up or down

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I would venture to say (and Blam confirmed with his link to the manual) that you have some excessive slack in that chain, and removing it would help.

In your first picture, where you're holding the chain, it looks like there is a lateral movement available on what appears to be the axle shaft, to the right. I'd loosen those bolts and try to slide the rear axle backwards to tighten up the chain. Since you have a trike, you'll have to move both sides of the axle evenly backwards to keep the wheels parallel to your direction of travel, or you'll end up with the tires scrubbing as you roll forward.

From the scratch marks on the frame, it looks like you may have played with this already, and if the axle is at its furthest rearward setting, you may have to move the intermediate axle (the left one in your two pictures) forward. Of course, doing so will introduce slack in the other chain. Since the other chain is likely connected to the cranks, which won't have any fore-aft adjustment, this may not work for you.

That leaves you with option 3 which would be to remove some links from that intermediate chain (the one you're holding in picture 1), then readjust the rear axle forward to accommodate the now shortened chain. To do this, you'll need a chain tool that will push the link pin out of the chain, then push it back in when you've taken out a couple of links. You can buy one (bring the trike with you, as different chains may need different size tools), borrow one from a friend, or take the trike into a shop which will have a stock of them in their shop. They probably wouldn't charge much to make a small adjustment like this.

After a second look, it looks like the slotted frame that holds the secondary chain is a separate piece that can be pushed backwards to tighten up that chain. Loosen the bolts holding the intermediate axle (on the left), then push that slotted frame backwards to tighten the chain (again, make sure it's even to keep your rear wheels parallel to the direction of travel), then tighten. Confirm this with the link to manual in Blam's answer.

  • To help with moving the axle back the same distance, look into getting some chain tensioners (or chain tugs). It might be a little tricky for this but it is easy to remember "half turn here, and a half turn there". – BPugh Mar 16 '15 at 15:40
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Agreed, secondary chain tension was too loose. Weight design capacity of Schwinn Meridians is 250 lbs, rider + load. Over-capacity weight is going to be more of a problem with other components (wheel bearings, rims, spokes, and to a lesser degree with frame welds, axles and brakes) than it is with chains and drive chains.

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