Tips & Advice

Trike Tune-up

May 01, 2012 by Elena Noble, MPT

Rifton tricycles last many years. We've visited many classrooms and seen tricycles purchased years ago still going strong. But a quick tune-up once a year helps to keep them in top form. Download the instructions.

You will need the following for the yearly tune-up:

  • Light household lubricant.
  • Phillips screwdriver 
  • 3/16″ hex-head wrench
  • 5/32″ hex-head wrench

Place your tricycle over some newspaper, set the parking brake and begin.

Getting Ready

Remove the plastic storage tote from the rear of the adaptive tricycle

Removing the storage tote from the Rifton Adaptive tricycle


Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw in the side of the chain guard.

Removing the adaptive special needs trike chain guard screw


Remove the top cover of the chain guard by lifting at the back.

Removing top cover from the adaptive special needs bike


Detach the back of the bottom cover by pushing down.

Removing the bottom cover from an adaptive special needs bike for kids


Remove the front of the bottom cover by pushing it forward, then pulling down.

Removing front of bottom cover on an adaptive tricycle


1. Chain Tension Maintenance:

To check the chain tension, lift the lower chain. There should be no more than 1” of deflection. If the chain tension is fine, it is still a good idea to check the tightness of the 2 cap screws.

Checking chain tension on Rifton special needs trike for kids


To tighten the chain, begin by loosening the two screw caps on top of the crankcase using the 3/16" hex-head wrench.

Loosening cap screws on Rifton special needs bicycle


Use the 3/16" hex-head wrench to adjust the bolt. When the chain tension is right, tighten the two cap screws on the top of the crankcase.




2. Rear Sprocket Maintenance: 

Tighten the rear sprocket screw with the 5/32" hex-head wrench. The gear sprocket should be centered left-to-right on the rear axle when tightened.

Tighten rear gear sprocket screw on special needs trike bike




3. Oiling the Chain: 

Place two drops of oil on the rear axle on either side of the toothed gear sprocket where the plastic chain guard rests.

Oiling Rifton adaptive trike bike chain


Place two drops of oil on either side of the front gear sprocket.

Place oil at location of Rifton trike special needs chain


Apply a moderate amount of oil along the chain. Release the brakes, and raise the left rear drive wheel off the ground and rotate the pedals to distribute the oil evenly.

Distribute oil evenly on Rifton adaptive tricycle bicycle chain



4. Replacing the Chain Guard and Storage Tote Box

Replace the bottom chain guard, attaching it to the front first. Then place the top chain guard over it and tighten the screw on the side. Hook the front of the tote on the parking brake bar, then push down firmly on the rear.

Congratulations, you completed your Spring Trike tune-up!

Watch the Rifton Adaptive Tricycle Video to learn more about your tricycle or read about Brooke and her first ride on three wheels.

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Diane Miller, PT | May 01, 2012
How about replacement wheels for the trikes built before 2000? I believe the trikes we use were maybe oringinals and they are going strong. the tires are just running out of tread.
Elena Noble, MPT | May 03, 2012
Hi Diane, If you have a trike built before 2000 it may be time for a new one! But if it’s just wheels that are worn, you can always try calling (800-571-8198) with the serial number of your trike and see if we have a wheel that’s compatible. Elena
Joanne Bundonis | May 16, 2012
Is it possible to attach forearms prompts like from your gait trainer to the trikes handlebars? I have a client who needs his arms secured to ride; I have been playing with this on an older rifton trike but if it was possible his family may be interested in getting one. Thanks
Elena Noble, MPT | May 17, 2012
Hi Joanne, At this point there are no forearm prompts for the tricycle. However I will pass on this suggestion to our design manager to consider for future design. Elena
Tamara Kittelson-Aldred, MS, OTR/L, ATP | June 27, 2012
I work with a girl who got a Rifton trike over a year ago. I assessed her today and she needs some modifications – a loop handle bar instead of standard, and a different backrest with lateral supports. I know we can retrofit the back, but can we change out the handlebars?
Elena Noble, MPT | June 29, 2012
Hi Tamara, It is possible to change the handlebars, but if there is a hand-brake involved, it gets a little tricky. I will have your account manager contact you to help you with the details. Elena