For decades, all-terrain vehicles have served a multitude of commercial functions and have taken adventurers to trails and places normally inaccessible in a full-size vehicle. Several Chinese companies saw the continuing opportunity and jumped into the industry – manufacturing quality ATVs at a fraction of the cost of popular name brands. The TaoTao Rhino 250 is among these versatile quads.
The TaoTao Rhino 250 is a utility style ATV that features a 4-speed manual transmission with reverse, molded utility racks, and an electric start engine. It is a full-sized machine that offers excellent value, functionality, and power.
The Rhino 250 has gained popularity for several reasons. Among them is its high clearance, extensive speed range, and easy handling. Conversely, some do not like it for reasons we’ll cover in this review. Not all vehicles are the same, and it is essential to know their pros and cons before deciding whether this is the right vehicle for you.
About the TaoTao Rhino 250
The TaoTao Rhino 250 is one of the most feature-rich and economical adult-sized quads on the market. This high-output machine features a manual transmission with reverse, double A-arms suspension, and racks with plenty of tie-down points for game and cargo. The vehicle also has a speed limiter that provides throttle control and hydraulic disc brakes that give the wheeler its stopping power. Bolstered fenders and a durable front bumper make this ATV even greater given its price, which starts at $1,769.95 MSRP.
It is easy to start the machine with its push-button electric start mechanism. Although not water-tight, the vehicle allows you to go through 4-6 inches of shallow water crossings. High- and low-beam LED headlights provide excellent visibility for fun late-night wheeling. The TaoTao 250 Rhino top speed is 50 mph, which isn’t the fastest but will get you where you need to go. It weighs the same as a Honda 300, can hold 300-400 lbs of weight, and comes in different colors and design options.
Recent versions of this four-wheeler are California-legal. Pertinent documents, including MSO/MCO, do not immediately get shipped out, but you can request these to be mailed to you by USPS. It comes in a metal crate and is only 80% assembled. Owners would have to add parts like tires, handlebars, batteries, and front and rear racks themselves. For guidance, the quad comes with videos and PDFs for instructions on assembly and basic care.
TaoTao Rhino 250 Specs & Features
- Engine – The Rhino 250 uses a four-stroke, air-cooled, single-cylinder SOHC engine. Engine displacement is 197 cubic centimeters. The air-fuel mixture is handled by a 26-mm PZ26/PZ27 Keihin carburetor and a 48-mm fully adjustable air filter, and the fuel tank capacity is 4.2 Liters/1.11 US gallons. Use unleaded gasoline with a 90 or higher octane rating.
- Drivetrain – Power travels via a four-speed manual transmission with neutral and reverse. Its foot-operated 530 O-ring chain drive has a maximum torque of 6.2 ft-lb (8.5 Nm @ 5,000-5,500 RPM) and advertised top speed of 40 mph (but is reported by users to hit up to 55 mph. It comes with a mechanical governor that slows down the machine to 8 mph for beginner riders – adjustable up to 40 mph as the rider becomes more familiar with the quad.
- Ignition – The Rhino 250 uses an electronic CDI ignition with an auxiliary pull-start system. An AC-Magneto alternator powers up electronic accessories. The wheeler requires a 12V 9Ah battery but is compatible with a 12V 12 Ah, 155- CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) battery with assembled dimensions of 5.81 x 2.25 x 3.50 inches (142.8 x 55.9 x 85.8 mm – L x W x H).
- Tires – Large tubeless 23 x 7-10 front tires and 23 x 10-10 rear tires with textured tread are mounted on steel rims and enables this quad to navigate through dunes, mud, or snow. Tire pressure should be between 4 and 8 psi/27.58 to 55.16 kPa (0.27 to 0.55 kg/cm²).
- Brakes – Unlike the brake setup for most ATVs, you can find the hydraulic disc brakes at the front and the mechanical sealed drums at the back. This vehicle has dual front drum brakes and an oversized rear hydraulic disc brake.
- Suspension – The Tao Tao Rhino 250 features independent double A-arms for front and rear suspension with five-way adjustable preload shocks. The front suspension has 15.7 inches, while the rear suspension has 13.4 inches. 5.32 inches of ground clearance enhances handling over irregular or rough terrain.
- Dimensions – The quad’s overall dimensions are 69.3 × 42.1 × 43.3 inches (1,760 x 1,070 x 1,100 mm – L x W x H). The vehicle wheelbase is 43.9 inches. Net weight is 140 Kg/308.65 lbs, while gross weight is 165 Kg/363.76 lbs. The seat height is 31.89 inches. Despite the absence of a trailer hitch, the quad has a 364-lb maximum loading capacity.
- Exterior – It is composed of a tubular steel frame and plastic body material (in burgundy, blue, black, and Tree Camo finish). All models feature modern styling and front and rear utility racks. The fuel tank is at the front under the indicator lights. LED headlights, shift indicator, and fender guards come standard with the vehicle.
TaoTao Rhino 250 Pros and Cons
In addition to the machine’s specifications, let’s also look at the pros and cons of the Tao Tao Rhino 250:
- It is very cost-effective.
- Assembling this ATV is straightforward and does not take up too much time.
- A kill switch on the left handlebar allows you to stop the engine for emergencies.
- It uses a speed limiter for safety.
- The brakes are easy to apply.
- The integrated air-cooling system works against overheating.
- Several protective devices increase the longevity of the unit.
- Front and back storage racks accommodate enough gears and luggage.
- Convenient footrest and foot guard provide comfort and protection.
- Recent Tao Rhino 250 ATVs are California-legal.
- Instructions that come with the quad are quite vague.
- There is no onboard trailer hitch, and the frame is not as strong as most riders expect.
- It has a weak fuel system that is likely to fail quickly, especially if used for mudding.
- The Rhino 250 is known to have carburetor and clutch issues and frail starter and sprockets.
- More than six inches of water gets the clutch wet, causing slippage.
- Out of the crate, the engine’s starting power is low.
- Stock parts need to be replaced right away – LED lights, sprockets, spark plug, and starter, to name a few.
- The chain keeps falling off.
Changing the front sprocket from 15 teeth to 13 should rectify the engine torque issue and lift the front tires. Current owners highly recommend replacing the chain as the stock one never seems to tighten. A MIG welder can make the frame a bit stronger. Additionally, replacing the carburetor will also improve the vehicle’s performance.
As for the loose chain, this is due to a pivot design flaw that makes the chain tighten only when someone is putting weight on the quad. It also attributes to the front and rear sprockets’ weakening. An automatic chain idler tensioner addresses this issue. Together with new sprockets and a new chain, your four-wheeler will be good as new.
Learning from Experience
Anticipate wear and tear to happen earlier than other four-wheelers. With a vehicle this affordable, it is to be expected that some of its parts may not be as reliable as those found in Can-AM, Honda, or Polaris ATVs.
Here are some things to note:
- Choke lever on left handlebar control, and the clutch cable tends to break.
- At some point, the front shock absorbers will stop dampening.
- The taillight and headlights dim after a while.
- Support for the rear rack (the part that holds the welded nut at the bottom) tends to break as well.
- The battery does not hold a charge.
- The pilot jet in the carburetor gets clogged.
For clogged pilot jets, you may need to swap the carburetor, especially if the issue gets so severe that the carb overflows.
Some of these problems are self-induced (for instance, the choke lever breaking) or an outcome of being miserly on fuel expenses. A clogged carb is sometimes caused by using non-premium fuel in the quad. In some cases, problems occur if we use the four-wheeler beyond its capacities – the rear rack support may break due to tension from mounting.
At other times, aftermarket parts and accessories added to the Rhino can lead to problems. Take installing a winch as an example. You may think that you have a faulty battery only to discover later that the electronic winch added consumes power even on standby, hence draining our battery and affecting its ability to hold a charge.
On the other hand, the clutch cable is one of the defective parts the Rhino comes with. The reason it breaks is that the barrel end is too small for the hole in the lever. When the lever pulls, it hangs up and bends the cable strands instead of twisting them. This explains why clutch problems are typical for the Rhino 250.
- Where can I get a Taotao Rhino 250 service manual? For the engine, you can download a copy of a Honda factory service manual for any CG125 motorcycle as this has similar mechanical components as the Rhino 250. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to find a full owner’s manual online. You may seek assistance from TaoTao forums or your local mechanic as an alternative.
About Tao Motor
Tao Motor, a subsidiary of Taotao Vehicles Company Ltd., is a premier Chinese motorsports vehicle manufacturer with warehouses in Indiana, Georgia, California, and Canada. The firm has a reputation for producing quality ATVs at family-affordable prices and is the maker of TaoTao Rhino 250. Since 1985, the company has followed through on providing families with great products of excellent value to enjoy the outdoors. The Chinese company’s product line includes all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes, go-karts, scooters, and electric vehicles.
Conclusion – TaoTao Rhino 250 ATV
All in all, the TaoTao Rhino 250 is an excellent choice for both recreational and utility riders. It is easy to install and repair and is an inexpensive alternative to name brands with heftier price tags. This four-wheeler comes with protective features and is an excellent vehicle for farming, hunting, racing, or having outdoor fun with family and friends. If you’re looking for a durable, affordable quad, then go for the Rhino!