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Are Taotao ATVs Good?

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Taotao ATVs have exploded in popularity in recent years as budget-friendly options for recreational riding. However, many ATV enthusiasts wonder if these Chinese-made models live up to the quality and performance of big name brands that come with higher price tags. There are a lot of opinions and conflicting reports on whether Taotao ATVs are “good” or just cheap knockoffs of better quads.

This comprehensive review examines key factors like build construction, capabilities, reliability and total ownership costs to determine if Taotao ATVs are worthwhile investments. By evaluating real-world testing and experiences from owners, we aim to provide an unbiased assessment of whether these vehicles stand up to serious off-road use and abuse over time. If you’re interested in getting the most bang for your buck on a starter ATV without sacrificing too much performance and quality, this post will cover the pros and cons you need to weigh.

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ATV Market Overview

The ATV market is dominated by a handful of major manufacturers like Polaris, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Can-Am. These established brands account for over 75% of total market share in North America.

Polaris is the current leader, with a market share of around 30% according to industry estimates. Their popular Sportsman, RZR, and Ranger models are top choices for recreational and utility use.

Other top players like Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki each hold between 10-15% share. They are known for performance models like the Honda FourTrax, Yamaha Grizzly, and Kawasaki Brute Force.

Can-Am has grown in recent years to around 10% share, gaining popularity for their Maverick side-by-side line. Arctic Cat and Suzuki make up the remaining market with more niche offerings.

In contrast, Taotao is still a minor player, accounting for less than 1% of the total North American ATV market. As a Chinese brand founded in the mid-2000s, they lack the legacy and reputation of the major Japanese and American manufacturers.

Instead, Taotao has carved out a position in the market as a budget-priced option. Their ATVs retail for several hundred to a few thousand dollars less than comparable models from mainstream brands. This makes them attractive to value-focused and recreational buyers.

 

Taotao Brand Overview

Taotao is a recreational vehicle brand owned by Jiangsu Linhai Power Machinery Group Co., Ltd., one of the largest powersports manufacturers in China. The company was founded in 1985 and began exporting ATVs to the US market in the late 2000s, establishing a reputation for budget-friendly models aimed at casual riders and beginners.

Today, Taotao offers one of the most affordable product ranges in the ATV industry, with prices ranging from just a few hundred dollars for youth models up to around $2,000 for large displacement utility ATVs. Their lineup includes:

 

  • Youth ATVs (50cc, 70cc, 90cc, 110cc)
  • Recreational ATVs (125cc, 150cc, 200cc, 250cc)
  • Utility ATVs (250cc, 500cc)

 

While not considered a premium brand, Taotao has carved out a niche for itself as a value option for cost-conscious buyers who want access to off-road recreation without a huge upfront investment. Their competitively low prices and wide range of engine sizes make Taotao a popular gateway into the world of ATV riding.

 

Build Quality and Durability of Taotao ATVs

When examining the build quality of Taotao ATVs, the materials used and overall durability are important factors to consider. Many Taotao models utilize steel frames and bodywork, with plastic fenders and seating. The engine components are a mix of metals and plastics as well. Overall, the materials are budget-focused but reasonably durable.

Compared to premium ATV brands that use higher-end alloys and composites, Taotaos may not have the same longevity when exposed to extreme riding conditions over many years. However, the construction is sufficient for most recreational and utility purposes. With proper maintenance and care, Taotao ATVs can still provide many miles of useful service.

Reviews from owners highlight that Taotaos stand up quite well to regular trail and farm usage. The quads withstand bumps, mud, and hauling loads without much issue. Parts like tires, shocks, and bearings tend to wear faster than pricier brands when subjected to aggressive riding. But owners accept this tradeoff given the affordable upfront cost of Taotao ATVs. Most are satisfied with the durability relative to the price paid.

 

Performance and Capabilities of Taotao ATVs

When evaluating an ATV, performance factors like speed, torque, towing capacity and overall drivability are key considerations. Here’s an overview of how Taotao ATVs stack up in these areas:

The most popular Taotao models like the 125cc and 150cc engines can reach top speeds of around 65-80 km/h. While not as fast as high-performance sport models from brands like Can-Am or Polaris, this is sufficient speed for recreational trail riding and fun. Towing capacities range from 300-500 pounds depending on the model, which is enough for light utility use like hauling small equipment or game animals.

In terms of torque and acceleration, drivers note that Taotao ATVs have decent low-end power but are best suited for slower-paced recreational riding rather than aggressive speed. The overall handling is considered quite stable and easy to control for beginner and intermediate riders. More advanced riders may desire quicker steering response and suspension on rough terrain.

When it comes to value, Taotao earns praise for delivering good capabilities given the affordable pricing. For casual trail riding and light weekend chores, most find the performance provides solid enjoyment. Overall, drivers agree Taotao ATVs match the performance expectations for Chinese-made budget models quite well.

 

Availability of Parts and Service

One common concern with Chinese ATV brands like Taotao is the availability of replacement and upgrade parts. Since the vehicles are not as widely distributed as major brands like Honda or Yamaha, some riders worry they may have difficulty finding parts when repairs are needed.

The good news is that most standard wear-and-tear parts like tires, brake pads, batteries, and filters are readily available both online and through local dealers. More specialized parts like plastics, shocks, and engine components may be harder to source, but can usually be found through online retailers that specialize in Chinese ATV parts.

For service, Taotao ATV owners have a few options. Some dealers provide repair and maintenance services for Taotao vehicles, though this is less common than with major ATV brands that have broad dealer networks. Many riders choose to do their own servicing, which is made easier by the abundance of DIY maintenance videos for Chinese ATV models online.

Getting warranty repairs can be hit or miss with Taotao. Some owners report quick turnarounds when bringing their ATV to a dealer for a covered repair. But others have had issues getting approval for warranty service, especially for more complex repairs like engine or transmission problems.

 

Safety and Regulatory Compliance of Taotao ATVs

When purchasing an ATV, safety should always be a top concern. Taotao has made improvements to the safety features and stability controls on their popular models over the years.

The TForce 125 model comes equipped with front and rear hydraulic disc brakes and adjustable rear shocks, providing good stopping power and stability over rough terrain. It also includes safety features like a tether kill switch that can shut off the engine if the driver falls off.

Other top-selling Taotao ATVs like the Vader 250 and Raptor 200 have similar disc brake systems and shock absorbers for solid performance. These models meet the basic safety regulations for recreational ATVs in the U.S. and Canada, including the requirements for maximum speed limits based on engine size.

In the past, Taotao had some issues with poor quality control leading to stability problems and recalls. For example, in 2018 they recalled the BULL 200 ATV due to potential fuel leaks and engine stalling risks. However, Taotao has worked to improve manufacturing oversight and now has a cleaner record when it comes to recalls and regulatory violations.

While no ATV can be 100% safe, Taotao’s most popular models appear to provide adequate safety mechanisms and stability for recreational riding. However, all riders should take proper precautions and operate Taotao ATVs responsibly.

 

Ownership Costs

When considering purchasing a Taotao ATV, it’s important to look beyond just the upfront sticker price and examine the total cost of ownership over time. Here’s a closer look at some of the key factors that impact long-term affordability.

While Taotao ATVs often have very attractive purchase prices, typically ranging from $500-$1500, there are ongoing expenses to keep in mind. Insurance, registration fees, routine maintenance, storage costs and more will accumulate year after year. It’s estimated that the total cost of owning and operating an ATV often doubles the initial purchase price over a 5-7 year period.

Insurance in particular can become costly depending on your coverage limits and deductible. Full coverage insurance for an ATV often runs \$200-\$500 per year. Costs may be even higher if you are a younger rider or have a history of claims. Always comparison shop to find the best rate.

Registration and taxes will vary significantly by state. Some states require all ATVs to be registered, while others only require registration if operated on public trails or lands. Average registration fees tend to range from $20-$60 per year.

Storage is another expense if you don’t have space to keep the ATV at home. Indoor storage at a storage facility will minimze weather damage but can cost $50-$150 per month depending on climate controlled options.

When it comes time to sell a used Taotao ATV, they tend to hold their value relatively well compared to other budget ATV brands. Properly maintained models less than 5 years old typically retain 50-60% of original purchase price. However, resale value diminishes quickly after the 5 year mark.

Taking all these factors into account, Taotao ATVs remain one of the most affordable options for getting into the sport while still providing years of enjoyment on the trails or around your property. Just be sure to accurately budget for ongoing costs beyond the initial sticker price.

 

Advantages of Taotao ATVs

When it comes to the benefits of owning a Taotao ATV, there are several key advantages that make these vehicles a compelling option for many buyers:

 

Affordable Pricing

One of the biggest draws of Taotao is the very affordable pricing compared to major ATV brands. Most Taotao models range from $500-$1500, which opens up ATV ownership to those on a budget.

 

Customization Options

The low upfront cost of Taotao ATVs means there is often extra room in the budget for accessories and customizations. Owners can upgrade tires, add lift kits, customize paint jobs, and more to personalize their ATV.

 

Availability of Parts

Replacement and upgrade parts are readily available for Taotao ATVs through online retailers. Common wear items like tires, brakes, batteries, etc. can be easily and affordably replaced when needed.

 

Good Performance Capabilities

While not as powerful as premium ATVs, Taotao models offer decent speeds, torque, and towing capacity to handle recreational trail riding and moderate utility use for most owners’ needs.

 

Disadvantages of Taotao ATVs

While Taotao ATVs offer affordable prices, there are some potential drawbacks to consider before purchasing:

 

Durability Concerns

Some owners report issues with durability and longevity of Taotao ATVs compared to premium brands like Honda or Polaris. Certain components like plastic body panels may be more prone to cracking or damage over time. Engines may also require more frequent maintenance and repairs.

 

Less Dealer Support

Taotao does not have as extensive of a dealer network compared to major ATV brands. This can make it more difficult to find shops that service and stock parts for Taotao models. Owners may need to rely more on online retailers for replacements parts and DIY repairs.

 

Limited Warranty

Taotao ATVs only come with a 90 day warranty, whereas many competitors offer at least a 1 year warranty. The short coverage period provides less consumer protection in case issues arise.

 

Resale Value

When it comes time to sell a used Taotao ATV, they tend to have lower resale values compared to big name brands. This can make it harder to recoup costs when upgrading to a new model.

 

Safety Ratings

There is limited safety testing data available for Taotao models. Most major ATV manufacturers submit their vehicles for extensive evaluations by organizations like the ATV Safety Institute.

 

Ideal Buyers for Taotao ATVs

Based on their combination of low cost and decent capabilities, Taotao ATVs are likely best suited for the following types of buyers:

 

Price-Conscious First Time Owners

If you’re looking to buy your first ATV and don’t want to spend a lot upfront, Taotao offers very wallet-friendly options to enter the sport. Their models can help first time riders learn the ropes of operating an ATV without a huge investment. While more expensive ATVs have better performance and features, Taotao quads are a sensible choice for new hobbyists on a tight budget.

 

Youth and Recreational Riders

Many Taotao models like the 110cc are designed for younger riders. The small engine size and parental speed controls make them ideal quads for kids learning to ride. Even the 125cc and 150cc Taotaos work well for casual trail riding and having fun outdoors versus intensive work applications. So they can suit teenagers and recreational users nicely as cheaper alternatives to premium sport ATVs.

 

Top Competitors

Taotao faces stiff competition from the major players in the ATV market like Honda, Yamaha, Polaris, and Kawasaki. These leading brands have much more brand recognition and reputation for performance and quality.

Compared to Honda’s popular FourTrax models, Taotao ATVs can’t match the speed, power and capabilities of the Honda engines and transmission. Honda ATVs also have better resale value over time. However, a new Honda costs 2-3 times more than a Taotao upfront.

Against Yamaha’s Grizzly and Raptor ATVs, Taotao lags behind in areas like suspension, handling, comfort and trail-riding enjoyment. But a starter Taotao ATV is thousands less than the starting prices of Yamaha ATVs.

Versus Polaris’ Sportsman, Ranger, RZR and RANGER models, Taotao doesn’t have anything in its lineup to match the utility, performance and accessories of Polaris’ offerings. Polaris ATVs also hold value better in the used market.

Taotao can’t compete with Kawasaki’s Mule and Teryx lines for speed, towing capacity, comfort and advanced features. But Taotao does offer much more budget-friendly options compared to Kawasaki’s higher-end ATVs.

 

Safety Considerations

Riding an ATV can be an extremely fun experience, but it can also be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Here are some key safety considerations to keep in mind when operating a Taotao or any other ATV:

 

Wear Protective Gear

ATVs can reach high speeds and crash risks are ever-present, so wearing proper safety gear is essential. This includes an approved helmet, goggles, long sleeve shirts, pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves. Make sure gear fits snugly but allows a full range of motion. Consider body armor for extra protection.

 

Take a Safety Course

Even experienced riders can benefit from taking an ATV safety course from a qualified instructor. They will cover critical skills like proper turning, braking, riding over obstacles, and more. Follow all operational guidelines and only ride within your abilities.

 

Avoid Paved Roads

Only ride on designated ATV trails and avoid paved roads whenever possible. ATVs are difficult to control at high speeds and can be unstable when turning on pavement.

 

Don’t Carry Passengers

Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, as it can adversely impact stability, braking, and handling. Only ride multi-passenger models with someone else.

 

Supervise Young Riders

Children under 16 should not operate an adult-sized ATV. Provide supervision and age-appropriate vehicles. Follow all manufacturer guidelines for riders and only allow responsible use.

By following these safety tips and riding responsibly, Taotao owners can have many miles of enjoyable off-road adventures.

 

Conclusion

In summary, Taotao ATVs offer a mix of advantages and disadvantages compared to more premium ATV brands. On the positive side, Taotao ATVs provide very affordable upfront pricing, making them accessible for budget-conscious buyers. They offer decent capabilities for recreational trail riding and lighter utility use. Parts and service are fairly easy to access, and the vehicles are compliant with key safety regulations.

On the downside, Taotao models do not have the same long-term durability and performance as pricier models from established brands. The ride quality and handling are not on par with premium ATVs. Taotao’s reputation for quality control and reliability is also not as strong as leading manufacturers.

Overall, Taotao ATVs can be a good option for casual or beginning ATV riders, especially kids and teens. They provide good value for the low price point. However, serious enthusiasts or those needing an ATV for heavy-duty work purposes may want to opt for a more reputable brand. Taotao ATVs are probably best suited for light recreational and utility use rather than high-performance applications.

In conclusion, Taotao ATVs can be a worthwhile purchase for the right type of buyer. They deliver adequate quality and performance considering the very affordable pricing. Buyers should not expect a Taotao ATV to have the same capabilities as more expensive models. However, for entry-level and budget-focused ATV shoppers, Taotao models like the 125cc and 250cc can be a good choice.

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Taotao ATV Q&A

Taotao ATVs can be a good option for recreational riding in Canada. They offer decent performance and reliability at an affordable price point. However, they may not hold up as well to very rugged or extreme off-road use compared to more premium brands. For occasional trail or farm riding, Taotaos are a popular choice.

For riding Canadian trails and forests, a mid-sized Taotao ATV in the 125cc to 250cc range generally works well. Models like the Taotao TForce 125cc, Bull 200cc, or Thunder 250cc have enough power and clearance for most conditions while still being compact and nimble on tight trails. Larger utility ATVs can also handle trails but may be less maneuverable.

Yes, many Canadian dealers carry or can order both OEM and aftermarket parts for Taotao ATV models. Popular engines like the 125cc TaoTao TForce use versions of the Honda GY6 design, for which parts are widely available. Larger dealers may also stock common wear items like tires, batteries, brake pads, filters, etc. If needed, parts can also be ordered online.

Some good upgrades for Canadian riding include:

– More aggressive tread tires for traction

– Skid plates for underside protection

– Sealed battery for cold weather starting

– Winch for getting unstuck

– Heavy-duty suspension springs and shocks

– Hand guards, bumpers, racks for cargo

With regular maintenance like oil changes, lubrication, belt replacement, etc. most Taotao ATVs can reasonably last 4-6 years or longer depending on use. Models with popular engines may continue running past this point with good mechanical care. Heavy use or lack of maintenance shortens lifespan. Proper storage and winterization also extends years of usable service.

In Canada, most provinces recommend an operator be at least 16 years old to ride an ATV unsupervised. Models intended for children are available beginning around age 6. Under adult supervision, youth ages 12-15 may be permitted to ride larger ATVs. Always check provincial regulations and only allow children to ride age-appropriate sized quads. Proper training and safety gear should be required.

No, Taotao ATVs do not meet on-road vehicle regulations and cannot be made street legal in Canada. They lack signals, mirrors, proper tires and other safety equipment required for street use. Taotao ATVs can only be operated off-road for recreation, farming, hunting and similar legal activities. Riding on public roads may result in fines or confiscation of the vehicle.

Taotao 125cc sport ATV models like the TForce are electronically limited to a top speed of around 35 mph (55 km/h) to comply with federal ATV regulations. This speed limiter helps prevent unsafe operation. Actual top speeds may vary slightly between specific models depending on gearing, tire size and other factors. Always ride appropriately for conditions.

Most Taotao ATVs have fuel tank capacities between 5 to 8 liters. This typically translates to a range of 30 to 50 miles (50 to 80 km) in combined trail/off-road use on a full tank depending on the engine size, load weight and riding style. Smaller 110cc models will be at the lower end while larger 250cc quads reach the higher figures.

A 125cc Taotao ATV like the TForce model can safely carry about 200 lbs (90 kg) of total weight including the operator, passenger, accessories and cargo. It can also tow up to 300 lbs (135 kg) in a small trailer or cart over flat terrain. Load limits vary across models – always consult the owner’s manual for rated capacities.

Most Taotao ATVs feature between 7 to 10 inches (18 to 25 cm) of ground clearance. This is suitable for handling conditions found on the majority of recreational trails across Canada during snow-free seasons. Very rocky, uneven terrain may present challenges depending on obstacles and line choice. Overall the underbody clearance is comparable to similar entry-level sport quads.

Taotao ATVs can adapt reasonably well to colder temperatures with proper preparation and maintenance. Using good winter oils and lubricants, installing a battery warmer, changing drive belts before snow season, and taking other preventative steps helps ensure reliable winter operation. While not specialized snow machines, Taotao quads can handle light trail riding when equipped with snow tires and dressed for the conditions.

TaoTao Canada offers a 6-month limited warranty on new ATVs covering manufacturing defects. Wear items and damage from use are not included. Most repairs like carb cleaning, belt replacement, brake servicing can be done affordably at home for the mechanically inclined. For major engine or transmission rebuilds, parts prices are reasonable but labor costs may add up at a shop depending on job scale.

The Taotao Thunder 250 is a highly capable hunting and farm ATV well-suited for Canada. It makes a great choice with features like:

 

– 250cc air-cooled engine for pulling power

– Tow hitch for hauling carts/trailers

– Front and rear racks for carrying gear

– Winch for heavy loads

– Full skid plate protection

 

This rugged and value-packed Taotao model is at home on any hunt camp, trail, or back forty.

Taotao ATVs use older carbureted engine technology which can make cold starting more difficult, especially in sub-zero weather. However, using fresh winter-grade fuel, proper synthetic oil, a battery warmer, lubricating the throttle cable, and/or using starting fluid will help ensure reliable cold-weather operation. Electric start models also aid winter starting. Once running, the engine generates enough heat on its own.

The Taotao kids quad line features seat heights ranging from approximately 22 to 27 inches (55 to 68 cm) depending on the model to accommodate different age groups. This allows proper leg reach for children to control and balance the ATV while seated. Always check your child can comfortably reach the foot pegs and handlebars before allowing them to ride the vehicle.

Most Canadian provinces permit carrying a passenger on an ATV if designed for it. Taotao models like the TForce 125cc and Bull 200cc provide straddle-seat two-up riding capacity. Passengers must be able to properly grasp handholds and plant their feet on rear footrests. As the operator, you assume all responsibility for a passenger’s safety. Always refer to provincial guidelines and never exceed weight limits.

While Taotao ATVs are very capable recreational machines for trail and off-road use, they are not specialized for extreme mud riding or water fording. Extended operation in very muddy conditions can prematurely wear drivetrain components. Deep water crossings risk getting water ingestion into the engine or CVT housing, potentially causing damage not covered by warranty. Avoid completely submerged operation.

The Taotao DB10 125cc ATV uses 10W-40 4-stroke motor oil for most riding conditions. Approximate oil capacity is 13 oz (0.8 quarts) for an oil change including oil filter. Always check your owner’s manual for the exact recommended oil specifications, change intervals and volumes specific to your model and riding usage. This keeps the engine running in top condition.

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