How Can I Convert My Bike to a Tricycle?

Woman on bike with sunflowers
You can convert adult bikes or children's bikes to a tricycle. (Image: cindygoff/iStock/Getty Images)

You have a variety of options for converting your bike to a tricycle. Typical rear-wheel conversions are ideal for children and riders with special needs. A front-wheel conversion adds a sporting element to the three-wheel experience. Front and rear tricycle conversion kits are available for single-speed and multispeed bikes. Knowledge of bicycle components and a complement of hand tools are required when converting your bike to a tricycle.

Rear-Wheel Conversion

Step 1

Mount the bicycle on a stand or support the bike upright using wood blocks under the frame. Remove the rear wheel and chain.

Step 2

Remove the rear derailleur on a multispeed bike and rest it on the bottom bracket. Remove a rear side-pull brake, or disc brake caliper. Remove the brake cable and the rear brake hand lever. Skip this step for single-speed bikes or bikes with a coaster brake.

Step 3

Review the conversion kit instructions and procedures from start to finish. Organize the components and the appropriate nuts and bolts according to the procedures. Read the list of required tools and stage these near the bicycle.

Step 4

Build the rear axle and sprocket assembly as described. Mount the axle in the dropouts where the rear wheel was removed. Include any brackets, lock washers and spacers at each dropout. Secure the attachments using the provided nuts and the appropriate metric tools.

Step 5

Mount the rear wheels on the tricycle axle and tighten the axle nuts securely. Take the bike off the stand or remove the wood blocks from under the frame and chock the front wheel.

Step 6

Reattach the rear derailleur on a multispeed bike. Depending on the conversion kit, it might be necessary to change a top-swing or bottom-swing derailleur. The exiting cable and shifter remain with most conversions.

Step 7

Remove the master link from the bike chain. Install the chain on the front and rear sprockets and connect the master link. Mount the chain guard as described in the instructions.

Front-Wheel Conversion

Step 1

Mount the bicycle on a stand or support the bike upright using wood blocks under the frame. Remove the front wheel and the front side-pull brake or disc brake caliper. Remove the brake cable and front brake hand lever.

Step 2

Review the conversion kit instructions before you start. Organize the components and the appropriate nuts and bolts according to the procedures. Read the list of required tools and stage the tools nearby.

Step 3

Remove the forks. Save the cap nut, spacers and washers that you remove from the steering headset. Install the tricycle forks into the headset. Complete the attachment using the saved spacers, washers and cap nut. Attach the dual axle to the forks as described in the instructions.

Step 4

Mount the right and left wheel plates and spindles on the dual axle. Connect the steering arms between the forks and the rack-and-pinion fittings on each spindle as described. Typical connections have bushings that you install or were installed at the factory. Refer to the instructions for bushing installation, if necessary.

Step 5

Slide one of the provided inner wheel bearings onto each spindle. Put the front wheels on the spindles. Install an outer bearing and bearing retainer in each wheel hub. Thread an axle nut on each spindle and tighten the nuts as described. Press the bearing protection caps onto each wheel hub by hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Conversion kit

  • Metric tools

Tip

Have a bike shop check the bike over if you're new to bike mechanics.

Warning

Some conversion kits may not include a replacement brake. Obtain a front or rear tricycle bike brake from a bicycle shop or bicycle accessory outlet.

Check the brakes before using the bike to make sure they work.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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