Schwinn Meridian Trike w/ Staton-RobinSubaru 35

Discussion in 'Motorized Trikes' started by bamabikeguy, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Well, the kit arrived late this afternoon, time to get a thread started.

    Here's the customer's trike (#1), purchased at Academy Sports for around $250.

    Single speed, hand brake on the front.....removed both wheels, to tape over the spoke ends, put in puncture-proof tubes, zip-tie the spokes. (#2-3-4)

    The Staton provided sprocket is going to the left of the chain sprocket, so I'll be pulling that axle to the right, after I loosen everything up. (#5)

    Dave Staton said he doesn't have any pictures of a Schwinn Meridian build, I'll be step by step, pic heavy once I get started in the morning.

    He e-mailed me six pictures of similar frames, I'll post them below. I printed full page photos, which I'll use as reference.

    Tomorrow I'll post the contents of the kit.

    Attached Files:

  2. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    The pix Dave e-mailed, most are labeled "SunTrike", but pic #2 looks like some other model, imho.

    Basically, sprocket gets put on the axle, then the bracket is clamped on, mount the engine and gear box, then install the chain.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  3. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Overview and a tip or two........

    It takes two people to install this kit, especially at the critical time when attaching the gearbox/engine to the U-bolt. We had the trike up and running within 2 hours, beginning the break-in (without the kill switch).

    On the Robin Subaru I always do it to spec, run it for 10 minutes, then let it cool for 10 minutes. I always change the Mobil 1 synthetic oil after the first tank of fuel, and then again after the third/fourth tank, before turning it over to the customer.

    Yesterday I let Jack take the first spin down the road, he says he's going to order one exactly like it next week, so that should give you an idea of how well it seems to work. Today I'll take it on a 20-30 miler, to get the Sunday paper, tool around the neighborhood with very little traffic.

    Using my bike stand was a huge advantage, better than working off jackstands on the ground, because everything is at eye-level.

    My customer is not interested in speed, he owns a Harley. He just wants help on hills during his exercise...I ordered the LOWEST drive gear in the gearbox, 13 teeth. When Jack got ready to leave, I had him follow me for a half mile to time my speed, 16-18 mph.

    And that IS fast enough for trike, I really don't see any reason to use an 18-tooth. I may change that initial opinion in a day or two, but that's my 2 cents, I'd take the torque. If you want speed, ride a regular 2 wheeled bike, which won't have the tendency to "drift" along the contours of the asphalt like a 3 wheeler does.

    Pic#2 is the engine/gearbox and U-bolt, and the throttle cable turned out to be PERFECT as to length.

    Pic#3 is the rest of the kits contents, enough 410 chain to do ONE install- 98 links are in the box, I have 45 links leftover (includes 2 master links). The sprocket and collar which slides onto the axle, (including 2 sizes of keyways +++), 2 adjustable hose clamps (for the U-bolt install onto the trike frame) some zip ties, the extra master link.

    The kill switch in the top center bag is not installed yet, we circuit tested it so we know it grounds out, but I'm just not sure the clamp that is provided is what I want to use.

    Does anybody have a "better idea" on the kill switch???? If so, I'd appreciate the info, I don't like the idea of having to remove grips & brake lever to slide that collar on the handlebars until I know there isn't a better idea.

    TIP #1 (pic4).... Take a sharpie marking pen and mark the axle for trikes drive sprocket on both sides. When you re-install it, that makes it POSITIVE that chain will line back up, just like it was from the factory.

    I had both wheels off, using a padded rubber mallet to drive the axle in/out.

    (install continued below)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  4. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member


    Lithium white grease, to slide the Staton provided axle sprocket on the axle.
    Chain breaker, when sizing the chain.
    PRINT the six pictures that Dave sent me, to use as reference while you install.

    So, you loosen the 3 pieces on the axle, pull it to the left, add Staton's sprocket and collar. The sprocket has freewheel action, and that revolves clockwise, (yesterday I asked for a quick confirmation on that direction before I notice the collar slipped into the sprocket on one side only)

    Notice anything missing in Pic#1??

    Yep, I forgot to loop the chain back on after putting on the 5 don't forget to do that.

    Before clamping the U-Bolt to the frame, I put on some blue electric tape (just like the pix Dave sent), to prevent scratching.

    As an "eye-leveling" of the U-Bolt, I used the level of the top of the chain guard, (pic #2)....when we got finished it has an upward tilt, but that is going to take a major fix, so I'll explain that now.

    IF you are going to do a Schwinn Meridian and want to avoid this hassle, tilt the U-Bolt down a few degrees, instead of being level with the top of the chain guard.

    (Pic # 3) shows that upward tilt. What I'm going to have to do, to bring it down/parallel to the road, is chop off about 1/2" from the all-thread on the left hand side (the chain side) of the U-Bolt. Folks that have used this gearbox system know what I'm talking about, the bolt/spacers that hold the gearbox to the U-Bolt interfere with one sides ability to adjust in major ways.

    In other words, you can do 1/4-1/2" adjustments, anything more and the two bolts butt up against each other. You can see the problem clearly in pic #4, the two bolts on the left side of the photo are nearly touching.

    If I were to advise Dave Staton of a simple improvement to the kit, that would be it. To include a third rod of all-thread, 1/2" shorter than the two on the U-Bolt, so a quick switch could happen on that one side.....

    TIP Knowing how many links I have left, you could break the chain ahead of time, making it easier to handle. But I looped the entire 98link chain into the gearbox BEFORE attaching it to the U-Bolt, zip tied it so it wouldn't slip off.

    The bolt to join the gear box to the U-Bolt has 5 washers and a spacer to go under the chain. When we finished, we ended up with 2 washers on the chain/locknut side, 3 washers on the bolt head side. That's Jack smiling in Pic #4, everything was square, all the chains lined up pretty well perfect.

    Besides that upward tilt, she cranked on the first pull, I was impressed by the torque !! Jack rode first, me second on that initial 10 minute warm-up.

    (to be continued)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  5. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    I've had nearly 60 baby goats hit the ground since last Monday (13 yesterday, including 2 sets of triplets), and everyday have to hike a mile to the back pasture to carry any newborns from over there back across the my time is extra busy, and my legs are killing me from hunting up the little b*sterds. Expecting 110-120 total, hopefully the majority by the end of this week.

    Anyway, I have to do a design fix for the huge basket that came with the trike.

    With the upward tilt, basket and engine cover touch.

    But even without the tilt, the basket will have to come off to change the oil.

    So, what I'm going to do is use some wood, painted black, to raise the basket 1-1/2", then have wingnuts inside the basket for quick removal. This seems to be the most stablizing way to improve that oil changing chore.

    I sure hope some Staton user gives me advise on the kill switch collar, so I can call this build "finished"....

    Speaking of "end of the day", I just have to include my artistic antenna at yesterday's sunset.

    Attached Files:

  6. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Keyway woes-

    This build may have been one of the first using the Schwinn Meridian/Staton, Saturday evening I e-mailed all the photos to Dave, as requested.

    When I ordered the trike kit, it was still at the customers house in Leeds, AL, (an hour south) while we were reasonably sure about the axle size, Dave sent 2 keyway sizes, the largest being a 5mm (I think).

    I did notice a "hitch" in the engagement during the first miles on the Saturday testing, but this being my first trike build, I didn't recognize the problem.

    On Sunday I took it on a 12 mile round trip to get the Sunday Paper....and had to peddle 6 miles back!! I was happy as a lark when it GAINED speed on the steep hill below the driveway, but now that I've had time to think on it, the largest keyway Dave sent was NOT in the slot snugly.

    In other words, the looser keyway slipped or stripped, ever how you want to say it....

    When I called him Monday, to talk about it (and talk about the photos) he recommended me buying a 1/4" stick, when I measured the slot with my calipers, I knew some grinding with my drimel would be required.

    Lining up the axle slot with the notch in Staton's sprocket showed me the BEST fit would be an "L" shape, wider at the axle, narrower in the sprocket.

    And that's what I ended up doing, grinding little by little off with the drimel until I got it close enough to drive in with my mallet.

    That "hitch" in the gear engagement disappeared by doing this, but I only got a short 2 mile test ride yesterday.......

    Meanwhile, I cheated on the kill switch collar, using a Wonderbar/crowbar to widen it, vise grips to narrow it.

    And when I went to town to get the stick of keyway, I picked up two pieces of oak at a cabinet shop to do my basket fix, but that is still incomplete, the last thing to do before turning it over to the customer.

    While it was on the bikestand, the first oil change was completed.

    Tip: I have boxes of veterinary syringes for the goats, and using a 12mm after taking the needle out, it takes 5 clean "squirts" to fill the oil pan, very little mess. If you have a Robin/Subaru, and pass a vet's office on your travels, you could pick up a syringe for about .20 cents.

    Attached Files:

  7. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    She's ready for pick-up.....the painted black oak shims, countersunk then wingnutty on top, are there in pic #1.

    And that's what she ended up looking like in #2 & #3.

    My verdict on the trike?

    Those rear wheels really need to be heavier duty, especially the drive wheel on the right side. There is a "slight" wobble on that right side, and I've checked and triple-checked to make sure the tire is seated, there is NO bulge in the tire, the guideline is identical on both sides.

    The wobble IS small, the customer probably wouldn't notice it on his initial ride, but I'm going to advise him to swap those out, spend a few bucks to bring this lowest end trike up into the motorized-acceptable, not depend on the cheapest wheels Schwinn could use.


    Pretty good brakes, including "emergency brake lock" on both handles.

    The handling on the front got better once I replaced the tube with a slime/punctureproof, and zip-tied the spokes, I just got around to that finishing touch yesterday.

    I'd upgrade the saddle size, maybe get a shock absorber seat post. Since the guy owns a Harley, I presume he'll do all that accessorizing once he finds a good bike shop in his area.

    Attached Files:

  8. Jax Rhapsody

    Jax Rhapsody Member

    I've got a 2wd trike, I need all the speed I can get., its heavier than a regular trike aswell.
  9. scottcol23

    scottcol23 New Member

    I purchased a new schwinn meridian and I was wondering what your thoughts are about the reliability of this setup you completed? Did it feel like it was trying to rattle the bike apart? I had a Worksman Tri-Fecta trike that i put a front mount staton friction drive on. I was not happy with the construction of the trike so i parted with it. The friction drive was nice, although it did slip a little. and avoiding wet streets is a must with friction mounts.
  10. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    No, it did/does not shake nor squeak, that is partly in beefing up the tires/tubes/those little zip ties on the spokes. Adding the thick tubes weight to the wheels makes a BIG difference.

    At 15-18 miles per hour or lower, and around your own neighborhoods and regular routes, everything is easy as pie.

    What you don't want to do is go wide open throttle on unfamiliar roads, where a pothole jumps out at you. Take your time when exploring.

    I've heard back from the fella, he's out there every chance he can get.
  11. scottcol23

    scottcol23 New Member

    Thanks, I think I will order that kit tomorrow. Mabe I can get it without the motor (i still have the front friction kit with a robin subaru 35cc. or i should just put both kits on the trike. hehe.

    The roads here in new orleans are beyond horrible. We actually fix sink holes in the road by putting a 2" thick iron plate over it and spike it down. but that is only after it destroys enough cars. My schwinn cruiser with the 66cc Chinese setup is no match for the rough roads.

    My usual commute is no more than 4 miles for anything. And i very rarely need to go over 20mph. I would like to be able to go out on a long cruise without having to worry about evey mile away from home is a possibe mile to petal back if the system fails.
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  12. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    email me your address: bama_bikeguy at yahoo, I'll send the photographs that Dave sent me and the ones I took, to use as a guide.

    The correct size of key-way for the axle slot is the most important factor, I'll see if I still have some of the stick in my shop.

    If I do, I'll mail it too.
  13. scottcol23

    scottcol23 New Member

    thank you for your help I have sent you an email.
  14. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  15. heyscuba

    heyscuba New Member

    nice build

    I have a Meridian Tricycle,...
    was thinking more of a 4 stroke engine mounted on top of the tubes that re directly over the sprockets, (where the big basket was,...)
    and then going straight down with the drive chain.
    My question,... where did you ordered the extra sprocket from,..?
    and could you explain again how to install it,...?

    Also, I don't know what Staton is either,... the motor type,...?

    any tips would help,...


    Attached Files:

  16. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Bama Passed On

    bamabikeguy passed away some time ago.:sad:
  17. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Dave Staton is the owner of Staton Inc., a company that makes a number of small engine powered devices as well as kits for motorizing bicycles. The company is well known, long established, dependable and makes quality products. They can be reached at:

    No, I do not work for nor am I associated in any way with the company or Dave Staton - I just appreciate quality.
  18. Jax Rhapsody

    Jax Rhapsody Member

    Thats sad. He was cool.