Our overall number one pick when choosing the best adult tricycle has been the Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle for several years now. Available in both 24″ and 26″ wheel configurations (more on the difference below), it also has several different color options, one of the larger rear cargo baskets, and is a great option for most casual riders.
If you’re trying to figure out whether to go with the 24″ or 26″ wheel size, we’d say in most cases it isn’t going to be make a big difference. The smaller wheel size helps if you have limited space, otherwise we give the edge to the 26″ wheel because of more stablility and ease of peddling. They larger wheels will also give you a smoother ride. Really though, the difference isn’t going to be noticeable for most people, so go with whichever one is available.
Performance of the Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle
Cruise around town in style and remain comfortable throughout your ride in the easy-to-use Schwinn Meridian. This is a single-speed model, so there aren’t any gears you have to keep straight. This has the advantage of simplicity, and it removes one of the most common items that will break down. The disadvantage is that you don’t have the option to change gears. If you’re on flat, paved ground this is not a big deal. However, if you’re riding in a really hilly area, or plan to take your tricycle on grass or gravel, we’d recommend something with gears. In particular, the Barbella 7-speed might be a good option for hills, and the Vanell Mountain trike is a good choice if you’re on unpaved or rough terrain.
The Schwinn Meridian features a low step-through frame for getting on and off the trike more easily. The wide handlebars let you maintain an upright position while seated, helping to reduce strain on your back and neck. There’s also a padded spring-loaded saddle that is quite comfortable and has good shock absorption to keep the ride feeling smooth. Also, Schwinn builds the Meridian with alloy rims, stainless steel spokes, and smooth-riding tires in a light-weight aluminum frame. All of this helps give the Meridian a stable, fluid ride and helps to prevent wear and tear from the weather or water that gets on the bike while ride.
In addition to the features for comfort, there are several safety features that are worth noting. There are both rear and front breaks to help stop the trike more quickly. This is somewhat of a concern on most trikes since the added weight of the tricycle makes stopping less responsive than you on a two-wheel bicycle. There is a bit of a pulling sensation when trying to break a trike that you need to familiarize yourself with. We’d recommend you take the first couple of rides in the driveway or on the sidewalk. You will have more control and can adjust to the feel of breaking with the tricycle. We’d recommend this with any trike, really.
There’s also a folding rear cargo basket that’s extremely useful. It’s one of the larger cargo baskets that we’ve found on adult tricycles, and can easily hold groceries or a backpack. The cargo basket also folds down so you can strap down a larger item if you choose to. The only constraint here is that the item needs to fit between the two rear wheels, so you can’t have something that’s really overly large without attaching a special cargo carrying cart.
Features and Specifications
- Single speed, 3-wheel bike with lightweight aluminum step-through frame
- Rear hand brake and front linear pull brake for reliable, sure stopping
- Alloy rims with stainless-steel spokes and smooth-riding tires
- Comfortable padded spring cruiser saddle; upright handlebars
- Folding rear basket for groceries or bags
- Dimensions: 10.8″ x 31.3″ x 53.6″
- Weight: 70 pounds
- Available in several options which seem to change from year-to-year, but almost always available in Red, White, Blue, Green, Black, and Cherry
Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle Assembly
What’s in the box
A quick section to give you an idea of assembling the trike and how difficult it is. This is to help you make a buying decision and plan ahead with respect to getting a bike shop or a mechanically inclined friend to help out. There are also plenty of good videos to walk you through the process step-by-step.
You’ll find a couple of main parts when you first unpack the tricycle. There is the main part of the frame which has the handlebars, brakes, chains, and drive. Also, there is a rear part of the frame that you need to attach. This is the part of the frame that goes between the two rear wheels of the tricycle. Finally, you need to attach the three wheels to the bike.
The tricycles comes partially assembled. The brakes and chains are all set up on the main unit. That way you don’t need to worry about trying to get those assembled and mounted to the frame. The handle bars are not yet attached to the frame. The brake cords are attached, so the main frame and handle bars are connected by those cords. However, you’ll need to actually mount the handlebars on the frame and tighten them down with a wrench. This is pretty easy and can be done in 5 or 10 minutes.
Then you’ll need to attach the rear section of the frame. Next, attach the chain from the frame to the rear section which is what drives the wheels. This is not too much work. Finally, you’ll need to attach the wheels and the cargo basket if you choose to.
We think most people can put this together using the provided instructions and a little help from the internet. The only difficulties are getting everything lined up properly since the fenders on the wheels can be off. It’s up to you if you want to take it to a bike shop and have them do it. It’ll certainly save time and ensure the job is done properly, but it’ll probably cost a bit extra.
Things to Watch Out For
Some notes that we think you should keep in mind with any adult tricycle, and also with the Schwinn Meridian.
First, although you can put this together yourself, a professional can make sure all of the parts are tightened aligned. A wobbling wheel or a fender that rubs against a tire can lead to problems down the line. If you are at all uncomfortable with assembly, then get someone to help!
Second, there is an adjustment period to riding a tricycle. There are some habits you might have from bike riding that don’t really translate to trike riding. Riding a bicycle you typically put your foot down on the ground before you actually come to a complete stop (so you don’t fall over). With a trike, this doesn’t work since the rear wheels will run into your foot. You do have to get used to coming to a complete stop while still sitting on the tricycle.
Third, riding on sloped ground requires you to be aware. Most streets are somewhat sloped so that water runs down to the gutters on the side of the road. On a bicycle, you probably barely notice this slope to the road. On a tricycle, however, this slope will be very noticeable since the rear wheels will be at different heights, giving a big tilt to the entire tricycle. Just be warned, this definitely takes some getting used to!
Pros of the Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle
- Option of wheel sizes: 26-inch wheel are a bit bigger, faster and smoother-riding, while the 24-inch wheel option can save space and provides a tighter turning radius.
- Sturdy and stable, built with safety in mind, and designed with a carrying capacity of 350 pounds for rider plus cargo.
- Easy to assemble with only a couple of parts to attach. If you’re comfortable with assembly it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, but any bike shop should be able to assemble it for you for a small fee if you’re not comfortable with the job yourself.M
- Minimizes strain and pressure on the hips, back, and neck for a more relaxed cycling experience and a healthier outdoor activity.
- Stylish front and rear fenders and vibrant colors. Getting out and exercising is important, but looking good matters too!
- Best adult tricycle overall in terms of quality, durability, comfort and price.
Cons of the Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle
- It can produce strange noises at the back if you don’t keep it regularly oiled and tighten down the bolts on a regular basis. If you do hear noises, definitely take the time to oil and tighten the bolts since leaving them loose can be dangerous, and can also lead to more lasting damage to the bolts or wheels.
- The most common complaint from user reviews is that the back fenders can be misaligned and rub against the tires. Make sure to get them aligned properly when putting the bike together.
- It is definitely one of the larger adult tricycles, and has no folding option, so keep that in mind when making a buying decision. It’s not likely to fit into any standard size car if you need to drive to wherever you’re planning to ride.
This is a really fine adult tricycle and has a nice combination of comfort and safety for most riders. That’s why it’s our top choice. If you have a more specialized use and want to take it off road, then there might be some better options, but if you’re just looking to get outside on a bike trail or other paved area then this is really our top recommendation. The Schwinn Meridian will last a long time, won’t need constant maintenance, and will give you a comfortable ride.