TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle One Year Review!

Now that I have had the TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle for over a year, I thought it was time to share my latest TBR7 review.

So here is my one-year review of the TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle, where I share my opinions and evaluations about my year-long adventure with my first motorcycle, A Chinese Made Dual Sport Motorcycle, the TBR7!

TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle.
My TBR7 motorcycle, looks too clean to be also a dirt bike.

How I Plan To Do This TaoTao TBR7 Review.

I have changed much of the original stock TaoTao motorcycle components over to aftermarket TBR7 upgrade parts. This TBR7 review post will be about the stock motorcycle and not its TBR7 upgrades.

Meaning if I replaced a stock part, I plan on explaining why I changed it. Not how the upgrades changed the motorcycle. The upgrade reviews will be saved for actual total assessments of the upgrades. Separate from this motorcycle review.

I will then review the remaining items still stock on the motorcycle and share my opinion of the TBR7 dual-sport(dirt bike and street legal) from a motorcycle owner’s opinion.

Fair Review Of the TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle.

Now that I covered that is a review of the TBR7, not its motorcycle upgrade reviews.

I have made a lot of upgrades since I first unboxed the TaoTao TBR7. For reference, here is my out-of-the-box review from a year ago: TaoTao TBR7 Review & Specs, right out of the box. 

TaoTao TBR7 Upgrades And Why I Upgraded.

TBR7 Headlight Upgrade – For safety and night visibility.

I upgraded the TBR7’s headlight from a halogen to an led. The original bulb was a halogen bulb and appeared dim and very yellow in color. I knew LED’s would offer an improvement over the light pattern and upgrade from the halogen headlight bulb. Please read my post here: TBR7 LED Headlight Bulb Upgrade.

TBR7 LED Headlight Bulb with Package.
Great upgrade for the TBR7 motorcycle.

TBR7 Carburetor Upgrade(s) – turning and performance.

I upgraded the stock TBR7 carburetor for excellent reasons.

First, the stock carburetor was unmodifiable out of the box. TaoTao had the carburetor’s fuel bowl and fuel/air mixture blocked on my TBR7. Therefore, I couldn’t tune the stock carburetor for my riding altitudes or other upgrades I added to the motorcycle. For example adding an aftermarket air filter and exhaust upgrade.

Second, it seems TaoTao tuned the stock carburetor for the TBR7 motorcycle to operate at a higher attributed. This restrictive tuning leads to less fuel being delivered to the airflow into the engine and less power than its full potential.

It seemed that the TBR7 motorcycle engine was being held back by the stock carburetor’s very conservative fuel consumption rates.

By doing a simple carburetor upgrade, the new carburetor allowed me to fine-tune the fuel flow into the engine to maximize the power output of that engine.

My carburetor upgrade allowed me to improve the performance of the TBR7 motorcycle.

My Current Carburetor Upgrade Is A Mikuni Carburetor (VM-26).

TBR7 Mikuni Carburetor upgrade.
Mikuni Carb upgrade to my TBR7 motorcycle really worked.

TBR7 Handguard Upgrade – Stock hand-guards suck.

I upgraded the stock TBR7 handguards. Reason? One shattered after the motorcycle dropped.

The stock handguards were like oversized plastic spoons and only offered protection from the wind. I removed the remaining stock handguard and added a new set with metal reinforcement. Broken Handguard: TBR7 Plastic Handguards Are Trash and New Dirt Bike Handguards, done!

Real Dirt Bike Handguards
Real Dirt Bike Handguard upgrades for my Dual Sport TBR7.

TBR7 Motorcycle Air Filter Upgrade – Improved Performance!

During my airbox modification testing, I found that the motorcycle ran much better after some airbox modifications. I ran Airbox experiments (TBR7 Motorcycle Airbox Modification Trials).

The airbox modifications opened up the airbox and improved the airflow into the carburetor and engine. I was looking to enhance the air and fuel flow further into the engine, which led me to do an airbox delete on the motorcycle.

The Uni foam filter helped improve engine performance. Uni Filter Upgrade (TBR7 Air Filter Pod Replacement).

Uni Pod Air Filter
This Uni Pod Air Filter was another good upgrade.

Stock Chain Replaced – Safety And Speed.

The YT, FB, and Chonda forums are filled with stories about the stock motorcycle chain on the bike being subpar for reliability. I’ve seen photos of TBR7 being damaged from a broken motorcycle chain. The chain whipped itself around, breaking parts it struck.

The good news is I saw no one hurt, and still unsure if these were isolated incidents accelerated by poor chain maintenance.

So with my research, I found that motorcycle chains with no o-rings allow more engine power to be delivered to the rear wheel.

The lack of an o-ring in the motorcycle chain, which can cause friction, helps with additional speed and power output, although it increases chain maintenance intervals( How To Adjust Your Motorcycle Chain ).

So I upgraded: (TaoTao TBR7 Chain Upgrade)

New TBR7 Motorcycle Chain.

FYI, to be fair, the stock TBR7 motorcycle chain never failed on me, and even with less than ideal maintenance( TBR7 Chain Adjustment ), the stock chain did well.

TBR7 Motorcycle Seat & Grips Upgrade – Reduce Rider Fatigue.

After doing more and more upgrades to the TBR7, I found I was taking longer and longer rides at faster and faster speeds.

The TBR7 is a single-cylinder thumper, and it vibrates. Even told the engine is counterbalanced, it vibrates. I added an additional layer of padding to the stock motorcycle seat and grips, reducing rider fatigue.

So the stock motorcycle seat and hard rubber handlebar grips weren’t good for me for long rides. I wanted to make my motorcycle seat more comfortable.

Motorcycle Seat Upgrade: TBR7 Motorcycle Seat Upgrade.

Padded foam Motorcycle seat cover.
Foam Motorcycle seat cover.

Foam Handlebar Grips: Cheap Foam Hand Grips For My Motorcycle.

Motorcycle foam handlebar foam grip covers.
New motorcycle foam handlebar grips.

TBR7 Exhaust Upgrade – Sound And Performance Too.

The stock TBR7 suffers from the same problems as the other Chonda motorcycles(Hawk 250, Brozz 250, Raven 250, etc.), cheap metal and cheap design. My TBR7 had a weird hose(air injection?) that came off that you cram under the motorcycle fuel tank that some people advised you to cap off to prevent ‘popping’ sounds during deceleration times.

The material in the exhaust system seemed ‘tinny’ and had no bass. So I upgraded initially for sounds and some looks, but I did feel some performance increase and found the bike was craving more fuel(ran lean after the upgrade).  

TBR7 motorcycle with new exhaust system upgrade.
The new exhaust was so pretty looking on my bike.

My TaoTao TBR7 Exhaust Upgrade.

Spark Plug Replacement – Performance.

The stock spark plug is “OK.” I still have it as a spare. However, we all know the reputation iridium plugs come with, and it was recommended to change the stock TBR7 spark plug first before doing other upgrades to the motorcycle. I am starting with simple upgrades and moving up.

The stock spark plug worked. I just felt upgrading it was worth it; although I have no objective opinion since I did so many upgrades, I am not sure how much the upgraded plug added to the motorcycle. Read the post here: TBR7 Spark Plug Upgrade.

NGK spark plug for my TBR7 motorcycle.
TBR7 motorcycle NGK spark plug.

Well, that covered the significant upgrades to my TBR7; I try to keep a list of my to-do upgrades here so you can follow along with it. (TaoTao TBR7 Upgrades To Do List.)

Now down to the remaining motorcycle review.

My TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle Overall Review

The year with the TBR7 has been fun. I have to admit just getting into motorcycling would have been fun regardless of what motorcycle I picked, but having the TBR7 as my first motorcycle has been an adventure.

The TBR7 isn’t perfect. It comes with a lot of room for improvement. I only listed stock items I replaced(or improved) with my motorcycle upgrades above, but I also added additional items to increase the reliability and performance of the motorcycle.

What I did:

The TBR7 Upgrades List goes on and on.

The TBR7 Motorcycle Isn’t Perfect, But Still A Good Bike?  

Yes, simple answer, but let me explain.

The motorcycle runs.

When the TBR7 had problems, it was ‘fixable.’ I TBR7 motorcycle parts are cheap, and it works when you ride this motorcycle as intended to be ridden.

Now I push my TBR7; I do highway speeds(70+) on OEM tires!!!

TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle Review, DO Like:

1.- The TBR7 Motorcycle PRICE!!!!!

I had this motorcycle arrived at my door last year, and it cost about $1400 delivered. A brand new, dual-sport motorcycle, in new condition for CHEAP! Why Buy A Cheap Chinese Dual-Sport Motorcycles?

2.- Repairability Of The Motorcycle.

I have broken a handguard, a brake lever, and bent turn signals to mend or replace the parts. The TBR7 has a great selection of aftermarket parts, mostly riding on the back of a more popular Chinese dual-sport, the Hawk 250.

Much of the Hawk 250 parts fit on the TBR7.

I would recommend you start your collection of Must Have Motorcycle Tools.

3.- The Motorcycle Tire Sizes.

The TaoTao TBR7 250 stock tires are 90/90-19 front tires and 110/90-17 rear tires( What Are The TaoTao TBR7 Tire Sizes? ). The tire size is smaller than expected for a dedicated road motorcycle but more significant than a true street motorcycle. This means the stock TBR7 tire size is a happy balance for a dual-sport motorcycle.

4.- The Stock TBR7 Tires’ Durability.

I expected the stock tires to fail within a year of ownership, and they haven’t. The TaoTao OEM tires are still going strong and do an excellent job on the road, although they could do better.  Hawk 250 vs. TBR7.

5.- The Stock TBR7 Battery!

I hear nothing but bad things about the stock battery. Other Hawk 250 owners and TBR7 owners stated stock Chonda batteries are weak and fail within a few months.

Now I feel much of the battery’s life has something to do with my battery tender, but that is a standard item to buy with a motorcycle. Just glad my stock battery is still going strong. Battery Tender Post: What A Motorcycle Battery Tender For Means For Me.

TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle Review, DON’T Like:

1.- The Motorcycle Weight.

The TBR7 motorcycle seems very heavy for its size and its role as a dirt-bike, like extra material was intently used to make up for my next complaint.

2.- The Quality Of Materials.

The steel seems ‘soft’ and bends easily. I’ve stripped nuts with six-sided sprockets (Read about my rear sprocket bloopers: Rear Sprocket Changing Tips: TBR7/Hawk 250/Brozz 250). Screws strip easily, plastic breaks, paint chips, etc. Not fond of the material used on the TBR7 overall.

3.- Electrical Problems!

If you ride even in light rain, your dash lights will come on and off, sometimes you are in neutral, and the neutral light is on. Sometimes the neutral light is on, and you are NOT in neutral. Found connections are not water-tight, and dielectric grease helps.

I was riding home in a downpour once, and all my lights came on my dash. I was both in gear and in neutral at the same time. This motorcycle needs a few steps to help make it more weather resistant. But still fun to ride.

4.- Manual Motorcycle Transmission.

I have a year of riding on this motorcycle, and sometimes the neutral is hard to find from first gear, and I still have a habit of getting into neutral easier from 2nd gear than 1st.

5.- A Small Engine.

I knew it was a small engine when I ordered my motorcycle, but it seems ‘smaller’ than it should be. It has a small oil sump, requiring more frequent oil changes. It has smaller than expected air cooling surfaces, meaning it overheats faster than expected with city driving.

I’ve tried to improve these conditions by adding an oil cooler, which helps keep the engine running cooler and adds additional oil capacity to the engine sump.

However, it runs better, shifts better, but the oil cooler is more like a double or a triple, but no home run solution for city driving. I was thinking about putting an electric fan on the bike soon.

6.- Power To Weight issue.

Since the motorcycle seems heavy and the engine seems small, I feel the TBR7 could be more powerful than it comes to stock. I tried and succeeded with adding a new carburetor, new foam air filter, and new exhaust, but there seems more can be done.

The advice I received is the head casting is sloppy, and the ports could use some cleaning up. If I do this, I’ll update you; however, in the meantime, I don’t like the power to weight ratio with the TBR7.

My One Year Conclusion With The TaoTao TBR7 Dual-Sport Motorcycle

I like it!!!!! The TBR7 has been wonderful for me. However, I am always Looking For Motorcycles For Sale.

Assembled TBR7 250 dual-sport motorcycle.
My TBR7 motorcycle before taking off dirt bike stickers.

I believe it has been a great first bike. I have pushed the bike hard but never reached stupid speeds with it. I have dropped this bike and found I could bend parts back into place or replace them cheaply from Amazon or eBay. I have done what I intended to do, and this bike has helped me learn how to ride a motorcycle.  

I have completed my 1st year as a motorcyclist(A 2021 TaoTao TBR7 250), it might not be the best, but this cheap Chinese dual-sport motorcycle has made me better.

My Last Day For Motorcycle Safety Course when I completed my Pa Motorcycle License requirements.

Better yet, I have learned motorcycle maintenance, repairs, and upgrades, all at an affordable cost.  

Tao Tao TBR7 or TaoTao TBR7? Which is it?

Notice one has a space between Tao and Tao, while other has none. Just TaoTao.

In forums and FB groups, I noticed people keep referring to the TBR7 motorcycle as Tao Tao TBR7.

So is it TaoTao or Tao Tao?

When I look at the identification plate on the TBR7’s swing arm, I find its manufacturing place is Zhejiang TaoTao Vehicles Co., LTD. (Who Makes The TBR7 Motorcycle? – FAQ )

Notice, it’s TaoTao not Tao Tao.

There is no space between the Tao and Tao. So, not Tao Tao, but TaoTao.

Weird I would focus on this, but after owning the bike for a year, I figure maybe I carry a little weight now to help correct this mistake. Nonetheless, the TBR7 by any other name would still be fun to ride. 😀

Would I Recommend The TBR7 To You?

It depends. Are you looking for a cheap street legal dirt bike that you can drop and have fun on? Sure, the TBR7 is a great cheap dual-sport motorcycle.

Even if you aren’t interested in the TBR7 motorcycle, it comes from a family of cheap motorcycles, Chonda‘s. There are any Chonda types of motorcycles for you to choose from: The Venom Ghost(a Chonda Cruiser), The R22(A Chonda Street Speed bike), and The famous Hawk 250(a more dirt-oriented Chonda dual-sport).

Even with those options, I picked the TBR7 as my first motorcycle, and I do not regret it. I look forward to riding this motorcycle for its second year of ownership.

Thanks for reading along, and if you can offer feedback, please leave a comment.

Ride Safe, Ride Fun!!!

Click To See My Recommended
TBR7 Upgrades

Picture of me, as a New Motorcyclist.
Just Me…Newly Licensed.

Hi I’m Tom, A New Motorcycle Rider and Blog Author.

I am a new rider(Pa Learners Permit at the end of 2020, and I received a Pa Motorcycle License in 2021 after passing a Motorcycle Safety Course).

I bought my first motorcycle, a TaoTao TBR7, at the beginning of 2021 and have been doing upgrades on that motorcycle since.

I added to my motorcycle collection by buying a Boom Vader Gen 2 in 2022, and that Grom-Clone motorcycle has been upgraded by me as well.

I continue to ride my Boom Vader Gen 2 motorcycle as well as my TaoTao TBR7 dual-sport bike.

Read more on my About Me page.

Fun Fact: I’ve only been on one group ride.

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