I want to drive a yard cart with a motor / battery. The cart has 13” wheels and weighs ~200 pounds loaded. I want to walk behind it, so I’ll need to be able to control the speed between 1-3 mph.

After looking at different options, I think using an ebike motor is easiest solution. Is there an ebike motor that I could couple with 1:1 ratio and have enough torque?

Ideally, the motor / gearing would freewheel to still allow manual operation. The more 'rainproof' the solution is, the better...

So far: adapting a freewheel to my wheel hub(s) is the best solution I have. If I use a 20T BMX style freewheel and a geared motor with a 9T gear, max speed would be ~9 MPH, but I'm thinking I will be controllable...

  • 3
    So there's no bicycle here? You probably be better off asking on DIY.se or maybe lifehacks.
    – Criggie
    Sep 2, 2020 at 1:18
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is not about bicycles
    – ojs
    Sep 2, 2020 at 4:20
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    cannot see a scenario where this works out cheaper than a pre-built electric cart
    – Affe
    Sep 2, 2020 at 15:29
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    @PeterDuniho I asked the question in this forum because I want to try and use bike parts. In my mind a bicycle question forum is the best place to find someone knowledgeable on the technical abilities of bicycle parts. Sep 4, 2020 at 0:37
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    @MaplePanda If you mean use a golf cart instead of 'my cart', no. I actually own a golf cart. The parts are relatively big and heavy (especially the batteries) and they physically won't fit on my cart. If I was going to salvage parts, I think the best option would be from a mobility chair, but I'd prefer to come up with a bike part solution... Sep 4, 2020 at 11:51

1 Answer 1


Good afternoon,

Whilst I appreciate you prefer to use bicycle parts, you may find it beneficial to search for scooter or wheelbarrow hub motor/wheel. The benefits of which would be - they're water tight, they're simple (a nut to hold the axle at either side is all you need to secure it) and they have lots of tread.

You can also run it using a motor controller which has a "walk assist mode" - this will disable the throttle and lock/limit the speed to around 6km/h, alternatively as previously discussed - physically impede a thumb throttle to limit input.

A 36v "hoverboard" battery would be fine (and small), all the torque is at the bottom end of these motors so that's not something you should worry about.

If you're looking to run more than one motor simultaneously - that's not something I have ever successfully accomplished, it is possible you can just disassemble a hoverboard - use the footplate pressure sensors to turn the motor controller on when you grab the handles, the gyroscopes as the throttle - so the cart accelerates when you lift the handle(s), each of the wheels to drive one side of the cart.

** In fact, don't do any of that, I think just invented something!

All of these things exist, regrettably I am unsure of the rules in relation to posting links but if you're still looking, let me know.

You can even put a sweet rotor on it

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