Chinese-made quads such as the TaoTao 125cc ATV have hit it off with American consumers. Not only are these machines reasonably priced, but they are also excellent training quads for youngsters preparing for their next big bike. In this guide, you will learn what made this four-wheeler grow so popular.
The TaoTao 125cc ATV is a youth ATV manufactured by Tao Motor. It features a fully automatic transmission, CARB-compliant three-way catalytic converter, speed governor, composite utility racks, and a wireless engine shut-off fob. This mini 4×4 is designed for young riders 16 years old and above.
More than their affordable price point, TaoTao quads inched their way into the hearts of off-roading enthusiasts due to their safety features, surprising durability, and the promise of a fun ride. But do not just take my word for it. Continue reading this article and discover the true capabilities of the TaoTao 125cc ATV.
More to Offer
The TaoTao 125cc ATV is another great product from Tao Motor – the same U.S.-based manufacturer producing 110-class machines that we talked about in a previous guide. Like its smaller-displacement cousins, this mini quad is practical, fun, and feature-rich. It is one of the few Chinese-made ATVs that have successfully won the approval of American households with parents wanting to get their kids on the tracks.
Unlike the 110-class ATVs, these 125-cc series offer sport, rec-utility, and hybrid quads. Additionally, all TaoTao 125cc ATVs come 80-85% assembled from the crate, leaving you with only the tires, control cables, handlebar, and battery to assemble. Since its inception, the TaoTao 125cc ATV has had a total of 11 models and numerous trims released in the market, as follows:
Models and Trims
- TaoTao ATA 125-D
- TaoTao G125 (Cheetah)
- TaoTao T125 (TForce)
- TaoTao 125cc ATV – New TForce
- TaoTao 125cc ATV – New Cheetah
- TaoTao TrailHawk
- TaoTao MudHawk10
- TaoTao ATA 125-F1
- TaoTao 125cc ATV – Rex
- TaoTao Raptor 125cc ATV (2021 release)
- TaoTao Junior 125cc ATV (2021 release)
The New TForce and New Cheetah models are both belt-driven. While the TrailHawk and MudHawk10 versions are purpose-specific with an enhanced 12.4-inch front-and-rear wheel travel. Except for the TForce and Cheetah, all other TaoTao ATV 125cc models have carburetors. All these quads are kid-friendly, although some of them cater to adults and more experienced young riders.
Out of all the 125-cc ATVs listed above, the 2021 Raptor is the most promising. The work-oriented wheeler comes with a Honda-style engine, digital display, LED headlights, 19-inch tubeless tires mounted on alloy rims, dual front adjustable shocks, safety tether, plus a slightly improved seat height (26 inches) and ground clearance (4.5 inches). The 4×4 also features a Polaris-cum-Honda aesthetic and a TaoTao 125cc ATV top speed of 36 mph (58 km/h).
Here is a video by YouTuber Roberto Alvarez, where he does a full review of his kids’ 1-year old TaoTao TForce quads. Some of the highlights of the 125-cc machine include sturdy mechanical components and its remote-controlled kill switch. The presenter warns viewers on the plastics, as they can easily get scratched or bent when hit against hard surfaces:
TaoTao 125cc ATV Specs & Features
Most of the quad’s engine configuration did not differ so much from the 110-cc B1 (or TaoTao Boulder). However, some 2020 models increased their engine displacement to 120 cm³ (7.32 in³). Conversely, fuel tank capacity was evened out to 4.2 L (1.1 US gal) across all 125-cc vehicles. Depending on ambient temperature, you may go for SAE 5W-30, 10W-30, or 10W-40 motor oil variants for any of these quads. Synthetic engine oil is also permitted.
|ATA 125-D||ATA 125-F|
|Engine Cooling||Air cooling|
|Engine Fuel||PON 87/RON 91 of unleaded gasoline fuel w/ <10% ethanol & no sulfuric content|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||2.3 L (0.6 US gal)||4.2 L (1.1 US gal)|
|Engine Type||4-stroke, Single-cylinder SOHC|
|Carburetion Type||Carburetion, PZ19 or PZ20 carb w/ 35-mm air filter x 1|
|Bore x Stroke Ratio||52.4×49.5 mm (2.06×1.95 in)|
|Displacement||107 cm³ / 6.53 in³|
|Valve Clearance (Intake/Exhaust)||0.3 ± 0.1 mm||0.03 mm / 0.05 mm|
|Starting System||Electric w/ auxiliary pull start|
|Horsepower||7.37 hp (5.5 kW) @ 8,000 RPM||5.5 hp (4.1 kW) @ 5,500 RPM|
|Top Speed||25-30 mph (40.2 – 48.3 km/h)||30-35 mph (48.3 – 56.3 km/h)|
||6.5 Nm (0.66 kgf-m, 4.79 ft-lb @ 6,000 RPM)||6.5 Nm (0.66 kgf-m, 4.79 ft-lb @ 5,000-5,500 RPM)|
|Engine Oil Capacity||400-450 mL SAE 15W-40||800 mL SAE 20W-50|
For most models, power travels to the wheels via a centrifugal clutch assembly and an automatic or semi-automatic transmission with neutral and reverse. A single-configuration/three-way catalytic converter makes the vehicle CARB-compliant. A speed limiter slows down the machine to as low as five (5) mph (perfect for beginner riders). A wireless engine shut-off remote allows adults to intervene should their youngsters be driving too fast.
|ATA 125-D||ATA 125-F|
|Transmission Type||Fully-automatic||3-speed, Semi-automatic|
|Clutch||Wet, centrifugal type|
|Drive System||Chain drive w/ 6-12 mm (0.24 – 0.47 in slack)|
An electronic CDI and AC-Magneto alternator power up TaoTao 125cc ATVs. The wheeler requires YTX5L-BS batteries like Yuasa AGM Maintenance-Free YTX5L-BS Batteries (view on Amazon). But you may use YTX4L-BS battery formats as a replacement – provided they come with 20-mm spacers to compensate for the height difference. As for spark plugs, other options include NGK CR6HSA or DENSO U20FSR-U – mostly used in other Japanese-made quads and motorcycles. Just make sure that the heat range is the same should you use any of these spark plug alternatives.
|ATA 125-D||ATA 125-F|
|Ignition||CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition)|
|Idle Speed||1,400 RPM ± 100||1,500 RPM ± 150|
|Spark Plug||NST A7RTC, 0.6 – 0.7 mm (0.024 – 0.028 in) gap
Torque specs: 12 Nm (1.2 kgf-m, 8.7 ft-lb)
|Battery||12V 4Ah/(10 Hr), YTX5L-BS format|
|Battery Dimensions (L x W x H)||114 x 71 x 106 mm (4.5 x 2.8 x 4.2 in)|
Tires & Brakes
Allowing the kid quad to traverse diverse terrain are tubeless knobbies mounted on steel wheels. 68.9 kPa (0.70 kgf-cm2, 10 psi) is the maximum recommended pressure when seating tire beads. Similarly, do not go below 27.5 kPa (0.28 kgf-cm2, 4 psi) when airing down tires for better flotation and improved grip on dirt roads and dunes. In case of tire wear or damage, replace stock rubber with Cheng Shin C9314 Tires (view on Amazon) or Carlisle Trail Wolf ATV Bias Tires (view on Amazon. The latter will require converting your wheels to 10-inch rims.
|ATA 125-D||ATA 125-F|
|Front Tire||16 x 8-7||21 x 7-8|
|Rear Tire||20 x 9.5-8|
|Recommend Tire Pressure (F/R)||34 kPa (0.35 kgf-cm2, 5 psi)|
|Tread Type, Limit||All-Terrain, 4 mm (0.16 in)||All-Terrain, 3 mm (0.12 in)|
|Front Brake Type, Operation||Drum brake (right hand operation)|
|Rear Brake Type, Operation||Hydraulic disc brake (right foot operation)|
|Parking Brake Operation||Foot control / hand control|
To compensate for the lack of rebound damping, the TaoTao 125-cm3 quads offer generous suspension travel – both front and rear. While this feature makes for a more stable ride, some parents find it too stiff for very young riders. If you have a TaoTao, you may replace factory shocks with shorter ones – doing so will make for easier and better handling of the quad. To do this, first identify the shock length you need. Then, select replacement shocks that permit the wheels to travel up and down without twisty turning.
|ATA 125-D||ATA 125-F|
|Toe-In||15 mm (0.59 in)|
|Ground Clearance||91 mm (3.6 in)||135 mm (5.32 in)|
|Wheelbase||810 mm (31.89 in)||1,080 mm (42.5 in)|
|Front Suspension Type||Double A-arms w/ 5-way adjustable spring preload, 274 mm (10.8 in)||Double A-arms w/ 5-way adjustable spring preload, 340 mm (13.4 in)|
|Rear Suspension Type||Double A-arms w/ 5-way adjustable spring preload, 279 mm (11 in)||Double A-arms w/ 5-way adjustable spring preload, 360 mm (14.2 in)|
|Adjustment Type||Shock-mounted adjustment|
Differences in overall vehicle dimensions are noticeable for sport-oriented and utility-oriented TaoTao quads. Workhorses like the ATA 125-F1 are heavier and slightly taller than the sport and hybrid types. Little to no changes were made to TaoTao 125cc ATVs from the time they launched. However, seat height improved to 630 mm (24.8 in) in 2020 for the 125-D and 840 mm (33.07 in) for the 125-F1 version.
Capacity-wise, the maximum loading limit of the 125-cc TaoTao is between 132 lbs (60 Kg) and 150 lbs (68.3 Kg). But especially for 125F models, riders stretch the quad’s payload capacity to as much as 350 lbs (158.8 Kg). This practice is not advisable as the vehicle’s net weight is only 105-130 Kg (231-286 lbs).
|ATA 125-D||ATA 125-F|
|GVWR||107 Kg (235 lbs)||137 Kg (302 lbs)|
|Length||1,270 mm (50 in)||1,580 mm (62.2 in)|
|Width||850 mm (33.5 in)||985 mm (38.7 in)|
|Height||965 mm (38 in)||1,120 mm (44.1 in)|
|Seat Height||381 mm (15 in)||640 mm (25.1 in)|
|Dry Weight||95-105 Kg (210-231 lbs)||130 Kg (286 lbs)|
|Maximum Vehicle Load Limit||60 Kg (132 lbs)||68.3 Kg (150 lbs)|
|Rear Rack Capacity||20 Kg (44 lbs – optional)|
The 125 comprises a tubular steel frame and plastic body panels with the following color options: Spider Red, Spider Black, Rose/Pink Leaf, White Camo, Green John Deere, and Metallic Blue. Work-oriented models feature a 44-lb-capacity rear utility rack. For other versions, the rear composite rack is optional. All vehicles come standard with footwells, handgrips and handlebar, saddle seat, and front/rear fenders. Select trims like the TrailHawk come standard with handguards.
How Much Is It Worth?
Depending on the model, trim, year made, and inclusive accessories, the auction listing of a TaoTao 125cc ATV could range from $500 to $1,648. This amount usually does not include shipping fees. Units sold for cheap (below $600) mostly have missing TaoTao 125cc ATV parts or non-functional components, so take care not to get overly excited if you come across one. As for MSRPs, below is a table that consolidates pricing for all 125-cc TaoTao models released – sans lift gate service and product warranty:
|Year – Model||List Price|
|TaoTao ATA 125-D (Destructor)||$1,039.95|
|TaoTao G125 (Cheetah)||$1,129.95|
|TaoTao T125 (TForce)||$1,129.95|
|TaoTao 125cc ATV – New TForce||$1,329.95|
|TaoTao 125cc ATV – New Cheetah||$1,329.95|
|TaoTao ATA 125-F1||$1,299.95|
|TaoTao 125cc ATV – Rex||$1,599.95|
|TaoTao Raptor 125cc ATV (2021 release)||$1,520.00|
|TaoTao Junior 125cc ATV (2021 release)||$1,525.00|
TaoTao 125CC ATV – Pros and Cons
Now that you know the specs, features, and price of the different TaoTao models, let us go over the strengths and pitfalls of the four-wheeler:
- For the capabilities of the quad, its price point is truly remarkable.
- The quad’s semi-auto or fully automatic transmission helps young riders to focus on handling more than shifting gears – hence, promoting familiarity with operating the machine and boosting rider confidence.
- A kill switch and a speed limiter are in place as safety measures. What’s more – the kill switch comes with a wireless fob, making for better parental control of the vehicle.
- Utility-oriented models have front and rear composite racks, just like big-name brands.
- The machine’s electric starting system is straightforward.
- It has front and rear dual-beam lights and comes with a front bumper protector.
- Power output is plenty enough to pull a trailer or lawnmower, given there is a hitch attached.
- Quad assembly is easy as it is already 80-85% complete fresh out of the crate.
- It is not the top choice for carrying heavy loads or for plowing fields.
- Ground clearance may feel a bit restrictive for the advanced young rider.
- Tires are a bit disappointing, especially for utility-oriented models.
TaoTao 125cc ATV Won’t Start Issue
Like the 110-cc TaoTao B1 Boulder quad, the 125-cc series is also known for “won’t start” issues. You can validate this through Chinese ATV forums and online tutorial videos. As a quick workaround to no spark or starting challenges, some owners install an extra starter switch on the left side of the quad. However, remedial steps still are not enough to stop them from referring to the machine as an electrical nightmare. This no-start propensity is not necessarily true for all TaoTao quads, but better to be safe than sorry.
In this video by Backyard Builder, the presenter advises against buying the quad if you are not handy or mechanically savvy. And for good reason. Addressing starting problems will undeniably require compression and voltage tests, spark plug inspection, and CDI box/wiring diagram checks (among other things). Depending on the cause identified, you may even go to the extent of inspecting exciter coil voltage, the status of trigger coils, or earthing of black/white kill wires.
The list does not end there. In certain situations, an overload of TaoTao 125cc ATV performance parts suffocates the vehicle. Or a cut wire inside the stator may be the culprit. You would be a tad luckier if the source of your starting issues leans toward the engine. Sometimes, replacing the air filter and gas filter, fitting in a fuel petcock, replacing worn gaskets, using a fuel stabilizer, or flushing old fuel and putting in ethanol-free gasoline would be all you have to do to get your four-wheeler to start. Whatever the resolution is, be sure to have your TaoTao 125cc ATV manual – for guidance.
About Tao Motor
Tao Motor – the maker of TaoTao 125cc ATV – is a subsidiary of Taotao Vehicles Company Ltd. and a premier Chinese manufacturer producing quads, go-karts, scooters, dirt bikes, and other electric vehicles. Founded in 1985, the company has successfully entered the North American market and established several warehouses in Indiana, Georgia, California, and Canada – all the while earning itself a reputation for producing quality off-road vehicles at family-affordable prices. Today, Tao Motor continues to follow through with its commitment, providing consumers a means to enjoy outdoor adventures on value motorsports vehicles.
Conclusion – TaoTao 125cc ATV Review
The TaoTao 125cc ATV boasts of a lot of things. It is one of the few youth ATVs with a foot brake, 3-speed shifter, wireless engine kill switch fob, and a California Green Sticker. For half the price of a big-name kid quad, the 4×4 is comparably sporty, reliable, and fast. It does have a few snags and may not be the best in class on rough surfaces and technical trails. But it performs remarkably on dirt roads, sand, and wooded trails. All in all, TaoTao 125cc ATVs are an excellent buy. Need I say more?