My TaoTao TBR7 Upgrades To Do List.

As a new motorcyclist and just buying my first motorcycle, a TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle, my goal was to leave the motorcycle as-is, stock as long as possible. I had no immediate to-do list for any TBR7 upgrades right away, and I figured the good people of TaoTao who put together this Dual-Sport motorcycle did so with the rider in mind.

Assembled Stock TaoTao TBR7 250 Motorcycle.
My Stock TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle, it cries for upgrades. 😀

I was wrong. I found myself with a motorcycle that appeared more geared to a price point, making a margin of profit and passing EPA rules to make it road legal. My TBR7 motorcycle screams for upgrades.

Soon, I found myself searching for “TaoTao TBR7 Upgrades” to do almost immediately on my motorcycle. Here is my TaoTao TBR7 story and a list of items I want to upgrade immediately.

Note: this upgrade’s to-do list will grow as I figure out what items I want to upgrade on my TBR7 motorcycle. It’s no fault to TaoTao, but they handed me a blank slate of a motorcycle that wants me to mod it and make it my own. The bike is a great starting point for a new motorcyclist.

Jump To: TaoTao TBR7 Upgrade To-Do List

Why Do I Want To Upgrade My New TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle?

  1.  The quality of stock motorcycle parts.

    The TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle is priced very low to reach a larger market of riders and because TaoTao can build a cheaper motorcycle. If the TBR7 motorcycle was composed of high-end stock parts, TaoTao could never offer this motorcycle at this low price. It’s evident from the selling price of the TBR7 was a focus when TaoTao chose parts and materials for the bike.

  2. The generic stock motorcycle factor.

    Although the TBR7 is a dual-sport motorcycle with a cool default factor, it’s got a generic look. The decals are unique to the bike, but I will probably de-badge the cycle like many owners have (I Removed The TaoTao TBR7’s Dirt Bike Decals.).

    You can customize the bike (looks, sounds, performance, etc.) to your desired level by adding aftermarket motorcycle upgrades. Make the TBR7 motorcycle your customization.

  3. Ease of finding motorcycle parts upgrades.

    The TBR7 is based on an old design—no proprietary parts or fasteners based on forum research. So finding TBR7 upgrades not made by TaoTao is still easy. The after-market supply on eBay and Amazon is amazing.

  4. Interchangeable motorcycle parts.

    The TBR7 shares many dimensions and the same engine as its similar Chonda cousins. The Hawk 250, the Raven 250, and the Brozz 250. The similar bike designs allow for a massive market of consumers, and after-market upgrade manufacturers will pump out products that can be swapped between these different motorcycles.

  5. Money left-over from the initial motorcycle purchase.

    When I thought about buying a motorcycle, there were fears it would be too expensive. After purchasing my TBR7 motorcycle, there was money left over from my motorcycle slush fund.

    I plan to use the leftover money for initial upgrades.
  6. It’s fun! Yes, doing upgrades to your bike can be fun.

    I know the main reason to buy a motorcycle was to ride it; when the weather is terrible, I can spend time with my bike and install some upgrades. Wrench time is still quality time.
  7. Rich Source of motorcycle upgrade information on the web.

    The Chonda motorcycle owner forums, and websites, are full of RPS Hawk 250 owners who upgraded and modified their motorcycles. The Hawk 250 and TaoTao TBR7 have some interchangeable parts.

FYI: Need TBR7 Help? Upgrade Guides? User Support?

The list of Hawk 250 owners seems larger than our list of TBR7 owners. I am glad for these Hawk 250 forum posts and plan to do many of the same upgrades on my TBR7 motorcycle.  

Also, I want to upgrade my TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle to show the Hawk 250 owners that TBR7s are just as upgrade-able as their Hawk 250 motorcycles.  

Also, lead the way for other TBR7 owners to feel they can do the same upgrades I am doing.

My TaoTao TBR7 Upgrades To-Do List

This list is both my To-do list for upgrading the motorcycle and a centralized location to find upgrades I completed for my TBR7. The nice thing is many of these upgrades apply to the TBR7’s cousins, like the Hawk 250. Hope to inspire you.

Click To See My Recommended
TBR7 Upgrades

De-Badge the TBR7 Motorcycle

Now de-badging isn’t installing anything, but to me, it’s an upgrade to the looks. The TBR7’s graphics are cheap-looking and appeared to damage easily. So figured the decals would be easily scratched and peeling off soon, so plans are to removed the TBR7’s stock decals ahead of time. This might inspire me to paint the TBR7 a different color as well.

>> Done: TBR7 Dirt Bike Decals Removed <<

My TBR7 Spark Plug Upgrade

I’m not too sure how much this upgrade will result in performance or reliability improvements, but it’s on my to-do list. A spark-plug upgrade is commented often on the Chinese motorcycle groups as a quick upgrade that has to be done asap. It’s cheap, and changing over an TaoTao’s OEM spark plug to a well-known NGK version sounds like a good idea.

>> Done: TBR7 Spark Plug Upgraded <<

Change the TBR7 Engine Oil.

Changing oil doesn’t sound like an upgrade, but when the general opinion the oil Tao Tao ships with the TBR7 is of poor quality, changing it sounds like a good idea. It might upgrade the reliability of the engine and shifting. A side note: FortNine did a YouTube video of the oil quality from different geographically categorized manufacturers, and China motorcycles didn’t fair well. Watch the video yourself; he produces excellent videos and offers sound advice for us new motorcyclists.

FortNine YT Video: Which Motorcycle Manufacturer is Best? [Laboratory Test]

>>Done: TBR7’s Reliability With An Oil Change <<

The Planned TBR7 Carburetor Upgrade.

The current carburetor the TBR7 comes with is not modifiable as-is. The screws used to disassemble and access the jets are sealed, preventing adjustments. TaoTao appears to fabricate the TBR7 to run very lean and low power compared to its full potential. The TBR7 needs a carburetor upgrade. Either creating access to the jets with the stock carburetor or change it out to an after-market carburetor.

>> Done: TBR7’s Mikuni Carburetor Upgrade! <<

The Nibbi Racing Carburetor Upgrade.

This upgrade might seem like a repeat of “The Planned Carburetor Upgrade” I mentioned above, but it is different. I am adding this item to the list since I at this time, I have already done the “The Planned Carburetor Upgrade” with a Mikuni (clone) upgrade. The VM-26 I used is basically like the stock carb, just that I now have easy access to the pilot and main jets. My carburetor upgrade after this is a RACING Carburetor. Now that sounds like click-bait! Well, that’s what they call the Nibbi Carburetors, and after the Mukuni VM-26 (clone), I plan to upgrade the TBR7’s carburetor further by installing a Nibbi version.

Finally got around to upgrading my TaoTao TBR7 with a “racing” Nibbi Carburetor. Version: PE30.

>> Done: TBR7 Nibbi Carburetor Upgrade <<

Seat Upgrade For Comfort.

The TBR7 tends to vibrate and buzz. This tendency is often transmitted to the rider’s body. The vibration isn’t bad on short trips, but it can accumulate and make parts of the body feel ‘numb.’ The seating area is one of those areas, and the TBR7 stock seat could use an upgrade.

>> Done: TBR7 Motorcycle Seat Cover Upgrade <<

My Headlight Bulb LED Upgrade.

Who would disagree with changing the stock TBR7 incandescent headlight bulb to an LED version? Whiter, brighter, longer-life light.

>> Done: TBR7 Headlight LED Bulb Upgrade <<

Rear Sprocket Upgrade – Higher Speed.

The TBR7 is geared low. Meaning you have to shift out of first into second quickly, or you over-rev the engine, and the top speed is low and limited by max RPMs of the motor. Upgrading, making smaller, the rear sprocket is supposed to increase the range of 1st gear, making it easier for the rider to shift smoother and increase the top speed with the same rpm limits. These changes suppose to improve the ride-ability of the bike and expand its use to highway speeds. We’ll see. My TBR7’s rear sprocket upgrade package arrived.

>> Done: TBR7 Rear Sprocket and Studs Upgraded <<

Front Sprocket Upgrade For A Speed Upgrade.

Upgrading the front sprocket, making it larger, has the same effects as improving the rear sprocket, increase the TBR7’s top speed. 😀 By making the front sprocket larger and it moves chain per revolution, which equals an increased top speed for the same engine RPMs.

The mod is easy to do, meaning the upgrade requires a small change for more performance boost. It’s easier to access the front sprocket than the rear and shouldn’t need a chain change. I might do this upgrade first.

>> Done: TBR7 Front Sprocket Upgrade <<

TBR7 Upgraded Exhaust

TBR7 Sound and Performance Improved!

The stock exhaust on the TBR7 seems to be made of thin metal and is painted flat black. The exhaust doesn’t seem rich in sound or stand-out by sight. I plan on upgrading the exhaust to add a little more character and performance to the motorcycle. More power to rear wheel would be nice. 😀

>> Done: The TaoTao TBR7 Exhaust Upgrade <<

Storage Fix, Better TBR7’s Rear Rack Use.

Although the TBR7 has somewhat a rear rack, when compared to the Hawk 250, it’s not impressive. I see using it with lots of bungee cords, but there are more practical uses. Many forums have owners adding storage boxes, which gives the TBR7 some benefits to carry small times and do commute service for their owners. I will be looking for rear rack storage solutions once I figure what I genuinely need. It’s on my to-do list.

Note: I improved the onboard tool box storage by upgrading to the TaoTao TBR7 Tool Storage with a Burrito Tube( Hawk 250 Storage Options For My TBR7? Burrito Tubes? )

Place holder for future Upgrade Completed Post.

My TBR7’s Fork Oil Upgrade.

Like the engine oil, the TBR7’s fork oil is mystery oil. They commented that the stock oil is very thin for those who changed it, and when switched to a more suitable fork oil, the TBR7 rides more comfortably. When using the brakes, the front end dips down too much, and the rebound is unnecessary. I’ll see how much this affects me since I believe rider weight might have a LARGE bearing on this problem. :p

Lowering the TBR7’s Seat Height.

The motorcycle feels ‘tall’ for me, and being a dual-sport, it makes sense. Ground clearance is a feature for off-road motorcycles, but I plan to focus on street riding as my first motorcycle. Right now, to get on the bike, I hold the front brake and step up on the left foot peg. A short person trick, and once on, I am on the balls of my feet. Not comfortable, and not building confidence.

I predict this will mess up my kickstand height since it already keeps the bike standing very tall; it almost looks like the motorcycle will tip over in a breeze. So changing the kickstand, modifying the stock kickstand, or buying another is on my list of upgrades/modifications.

A Real Dirt Bike Kickstand Upgrade

I’m not too fond of the stock TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle kickstand; it’s too long and doesn’t lock well. I’ve had the bike fall forward on uneven ground and run the engine to warm it up. The kickstand isn’t perfect for rough grounds. So I figured to get a real dirt bike kickstand that can be mounted, but which dirt bike kickstand is best? I might have to settle for a basic motorcycle kickstand for now.

Update: I bought a new kickstand: My TBR7’s Kickstand Upgrade Arrived!

Handlebar Cell Phone Mount

Having your cell phone easier to see while riding prevents distractions like having to pull over and humble for your phone, or worse, holding your phone in your hand while riding your motorcycle. So I plan to add a cell phone mount to my TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle.

>> Done: Cell Phone Handle Bar Mount Update:

Best Budget Motorcycle Handlebar Phone Mount Under $20 I found
Best Budget Motorcycle Handlebar Phone Mount (Under $20!)

TBR7 Stock Motorcycle Chain Replacement.

First, let me put this out there, I ran with the stock motorcycle chain for over 4k on my odometer. I had no problems, but why I changing it is probably going to be why you might think about changing your stock motorcycle chain.

They fail. The stock TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle chain fails.

Not only does the stock motorcycle chain fails and breaks, it often does so destructively. I’ve seen photos of damage left behind by broken motorcycle chains, and both Hawk 250 and TBR7 owners are experiencing failed chains. The loose ends flail about when they fail, damaging and breaking anything they strike, including flesh.

It was cheap. I plan to change my stock motorcycle chain to a heavy-duty racing chain with no o-rings, so maximum engine power makes it back to the rear tires.

>> Done: Motorcycle Chain Replaced (Upgraded).

K&N Motorcycle Air Filter Upgrade

Now I have K&N filters on all my cars, and I love them; they seem to outlast all my cars. Every time a car died beyond repair, the K&N air filter was still in the air filter box, still working.

We all know the benefits of reusable air filters, also looking for gains from a low-resistance air filter. I want my TBR7 motorcycle to breathe better, and ditching the paper air filter for a cloth K&N air filter is a great idea.

I’ll update you if I feel any power increases from my motorcycle.

>>Failed: TBR7 Motorcycle K&N Air Filter Upgrade

Motorcycle Foam Pod Air Filter

Still trying to create clean air with low resistance for my tiny TBR7 engine, I tried upgrading from a paper air filter to a K&N motorcycle air filter. This failed, and I couldn’t get it to fit in the motorcycle air box properly. Well, now I am looking at another, cheaper solution a foam pod air filter. I saw Uni made some excellent universal foam air filters for dirt bikes and figured my TBR7 might benefit from one. Stay tuned; I will update you!

>>Done: TBR7 Motorcycle Foam Pod Air Filter Installed

Install A Motorcycle Battery Tender

Soon after I bought my TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle, I heard that the stock batteries shipped with Chonda motorcycles were weak and often failed within a few months. My goals are, first, not to spend more money on items I ready paid for(the battery was part of the price of the motorcycle) and not have a bike dead on the side of the road(even though I have a kick starter). I believe installing a motorcycle battery tender would be a great idea to meet these goals.

FYI: Do I Need A Trickle Battery Charger/Tender For My Motorcycle? & A Motorcycle Battery Tender Means To Me.

New Motorcycle CDI Replacement

The Word is that the stock OEM TaoTao capacitor discharge ignition(CDI) box isn’t the best. Worse yet, the motorcycle’s CDI is overworked with the resistive spark plug boot. Prone to premature failure. So I am looking for a new universal motorcycle CDI replacement. A few racing CDIs are easily interchangeable with my motorcycle, but I will have to shop around. The nice thing is motorcycle CDI box replacement costs are low for our Chonda motorcycles, less than $20. Still figuring out if an Aftermarket CDI Worth It?

Install A Motorcycle Oil Cooler

The truth is, as I do awesome TBR7 upgrades to my motorcycle. I get to do longer and longer rides, which also occur at higher speeds.

As a stock, the TBR7 top speed isn’t impressive. After some upgrades and mods, some say the TBR7 top speed isn’t remarkable. However, these upgrades have gotten me results where I get out and do highway travel(and highway speeds) for short periods.

These highway runs help me avoid traffic and get to my favorite riding areas faster. Wow, did I digress…

Well the point is the little engine started having overheating symptoms after longer and faster rides. So I decided that adding a motorcycle oil cooler might help my overheating concerns. The nice thing about an oil cooler for the Chonda bikes(TBR7, Hawk 250, etc.) is that they are cheap.

>>Done: TBR7 Motorcycle Oil Cooler Installation.

Future Additions To My Upgrade To-Do List.

As for updates I finally do, I will come back and place links to the updates I do to my TBR7 so you can follow along. Again, I am a new motorcyclist and a first-time motorcycle owner. I am experimenting with motorcycling and want you to please see my posts for their entertainment value. Not a how-to since motorcycle modification is dangerous and should be only done by professional mechanics. Thank you, and Ride Safe!!!

Why So many TBR7 Upgrades and Mods? Did TaoTao Mess-up?

No! TaoTao built the TBR7 to a specific price point.

A price point that a person like me, a new motorcyclist, to enter the hobby. Motorcycling can be expensive, and starting can have a new rider, like me, needs a lot of upfront funds. I feel, TaoTao created the TBR7 to reach more people and make a profit through increased sales.

Purely my opinion. The TBR7 is ‘cheap’ compared to other motorcycles, and it’s affordable. And best yet, it’s a blank slate where the owner can add upgrades and mods, to customize the bike to their taste.

So go ahead, upgrade your TaoTao TBR7 Motorcycle and have fun. I know I will!

Click To See My Recommended
TBR7 Upgrades

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