TaoTao Scooters

TaoTao Lancer 150

When looking at inexpensive Chinese scooters TaoTao is a brand you often see. Two questions come to mind - Who are they and are their scooters any good?

Even with the internet it's often difficult to track down exactly who is behind the brand names of many chinese scooters. While some brands actually naufacture their own scooters, others get their scooters from one of a number of manufacturing companies and add they own branding via logos and small cosmetic features. So who and what is TaoTao. Well, it appears that TaoTao USA is a importer/distributor based in Carrollton Texas. From some legal documents I found, it seem seems that obtain their scooters, ATVs and other vehicles from Taotao Group Co., Ltd., and Jinyun County Xiangyuan Industry Co., Ltd. It appears that TaoTao scooters probably come from TaoTao Group, while at least some of the ATVs are probably made by Jinyun County Xiangyuan Industry.

TaoTao USA have a website at http://www.taotao.us
TaoTao Group Chinea have a website at http://www.cccme.org.cn
For Jinyun County Xiangyuan Industry ther's a web page at http://gjmyzll7630.tradeprince.com/

Don't expect too much information from the websites though. Technical info is thin on the ground!

$750 TaoTao Zummer 50 . Could this possibly have been inspired by the Honda Zoomer-X?

Honda Zoomer-X (not available in USA) - estimated US price might be ~$3000?)

So that's where the scooters come from. How good are they...well it seems TaoTao has a decent reputation, but the scooters are pretty much the same as most other Chinese scooters from an engineering standpoint. They use they same GY6 series engines and fairly generic wheels, tires, brakes and bodywork designs. Through they make quite a few models, they basically break down into 50cc and 150cc scooters. The individual modes vary mostly in body shape and color rather than differences in components and construction. I suspect that if you pulled off all the bodywork all the models of the same capacity (50 or 150) be the same.

As with all Chinese scooters, when you buy a TaoTao you're not buying a Honda in terms of quality and support - However you aren't paying Honda prices either. A 50cc TaoTao might be in the $600-$800 range while a 150cc might be in the $800-$1000 range. A 50cc Honda will cost you about $2500 and a 150cc will cost you about $3600. For that you get fuel injection, high reliability and an extensive dealer network. Chinese scooters are carbureted, probably less reliable and rarely come with much dealer support. Not that Chinese scooters are unreliable if properly serviced. I've owned a couple of them and and neither one ever let me down. It's just that I suspect that if you took a Honda and a Chinese scooter and ran them side by side until one of the other failed, I suspect it would most likely be the Honda that was would still be running!

Would I recommend a Taotao scooter? It depends on who you are. If you have $3000 or so to spend on a scooter, it's your first scooter and you have zero mechanical knowledge of ability, then I'd recommend you buy a Honda, Yamaha or similar scooter with full dealer support. If you want to save $2000 or more and have some basic mechanical aptitude, then Taotao scooter could be a good buy. They are fairly simple machines with not a lot that goes wrong if they are properly maintained and serviced. Make sure the nuts and bolts are tight, the tires are properly inflated and change the oil every 1000 miles or once a year (whichever comes first) and you really shouldn't have any problems.


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