I'm the third owner of this trike and I ride it EVERY day.I noticed a few days ago that I had no resistance when pedaling and then this morning it stopped altogether, I hopped off and checked it. The axle there the back chain connects was moving, but where the front chain connects was not moving. I started to walk it home and it started to work again.

What's wrong and how do I fix it? I live in a town where NO ONE does trikes or bikes, and I don't have any way to take it somewhere to fix.


Underside of a Schwinn showing the jackshaft/intermediate shaft and both chains in place. enter image description here

Update: 2018-06

I posted about this about two years ago and the other trike is no longer on the road. New trike (got it about a year ago) is now having the same issue as the last. It's no longer pedaling. I have a video on twitter that I just did to explain it better.


Please help! This trike is my only ride!

  • From images on the web, the Schwinn Meridian is an adult tricycle with two chains. Connecting the two chains is a transfer shaft with two sprockets. The bike is apparently a single speed unit with two hand brakes -- one on the front wheel and one on the transfer shaft. Presumably there is a freewheel mechanism built into one sprocket on the transfer shaft. Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 21:55
  • 1
    Your description is a bit unclear, but it sounds like the freewheel mechanism has failed, such that turning the front pedals moves the front chain, but this does not, in turn, move the transfer shaft. Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 21:56
  • Sam, I have added a photo showing the underside of a schwinn meridian. Does this look the same as yours? If not, please use the Revert link under edits.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 0:22
  • There's a HEAP of information on bikeforums.net/utility-cycling/… - too much to duplicate here. I'm guessing you have a problem with the freewheel part of the front shaft. If it was a normal bike, you might fix it by disassembling and cleaning the pawls in the freewheel, but with this setup it will be somewhat different. If you're mechanically minded, give it a go. Otherwise you might be up for a new shaft assembly. I expect the problem will come and go and gradually get worse.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 0:25
  • It should be noted that freewheel problems tend to come and go with changes in temperature (more problems when cold) and with rain. Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 1:31

2 Answers 2


I'd guess the single-speed freewheel/freehub on the jackshaft has something wrong with its pawls.

That's the bit that lets you coast along without pedalling, and the rear chain will keep moving with the rear wheels.

To fix it temporarily you could try flooding the freehub with solvent and wiggle it lots. When its moving better let the solvent dry off, and lubricate it after a while.

The permanent fix would be to replace that freehub unit on the jackshaft.

The prevention would be to store the bike in a garage or inside, and to rinse the transmission off after every winter ride - I see a bit of corrosion there which could indicate the cause.

  • Yup. Looking at the video, this is the right answer.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 23:39

Check first the tightness of the two hold-down screws on the rear axle drive sprocket. Sometimes these work loose, especially during the break-in period (first 500 miles). Symptom of these screws coming loose is sprocket clatter, chain skipping, and eventually you lose all drive tension (your pedals will spin and the chains move around but you won't go anywhere). Be sure to check that the rear axle drive sprocket and secondary (short) chain are put back in alignment with the center sprocket off the transfer shaft before tightening the hold-down screws. Tighten these two screws down as hard as you can -- this connection point takes a lot of stress, especially on uphill grinds.

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