Are Chinese Quads Worth It?

In ATV Setups by Kevin

Are Chinese Quads Worth It?

After seeing an acquaintance ride with a 250cc Chinese quad, I was thinking: Are Chinese Quads Worth it? obviously like we all know, many Chinese goods and equipment suffer from quality issues and they generally have a reputation of being inferior and somehow flawed. this was my initial reaction of my friends quad. I decided to ask if I could ride on the quad. the quad was way too small for my body size but I was able to ride for 10 to 20 minutes and I got a few impressions of the machine. I also did a bit of research of other Chinese quads to see if they are worth it.

So the question is: are Chinese quads worth it? If you are looking for a more affordable option than brand-name quads, with a more “spartan” performance, then they are definitely worth it. but if you are looking for a more polished riding experience, are looking for a machine that will last you a long time, or have bigger pockets to buy something better, then Chinese quads are NOT for you!

One of the most recent developments in quad riding has been the introduction of several Chinese brands to the market. I have seen brands like Coolio, Trickster, TaoTao, and Dongfeng occasionally when riding ATVs and some of those brands are honestly quite good. this is a far cry from Chinese ATVs in the late 90s or early 2000s which were honestly pieces of junk. 

5 Facts About Chinese quads

Since there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to Chinese quads, I decided to make a list of facts so that people have an idea of what they are getting into:

  • Chinese Quads are cheaper than mainstream brands: This is one of the main pros about Chinese quads and also one of the main reasons why people are buying more and more of them. depending on the engine displacement and the specific model than you are buying, a Chinese “off-brand” ATV can be hundreds, even thousands of dollars cheaper than a popular ATV brand like Polaris or Yamaha. Some 150cc Coolster models are over 2000$ dollars cheaper than a Honda TRX90 which has an MSRP of over 3000$. so if you are on a budget, it might be wise to buy Chinese
  • Chinese Quads are more likely to be powered by electricity than normal brands: ATVs from China are mostly powered by electricity. an electrical quad is much quieter than one that has an internal combustion engine. obviously, because of this they do not hurt the environment because there is no gas to be burned. the torque curve with electric quads is different too which is important to know if you have never ridden in a quad powered by electricity. however, there are some Chinese quads which are powered by gas, especially if the quad has a large engine displacement.
  • Chinese Quads are a bit more “rough” other brands: Chinese quads have always had that reputation of being badly put together, rough, tinny, and unreliable. and I believe that those adjectives do not fit the machines anymore. and while there are a lot of crappy models that aren’t worth a damn, there are also some very good models. anyways, if you buy one of these ATVs for yourself and your kids then you will quickly realize that these quads have less “give” than other models. they might rattle and have a bit of harshness or vibration which I think is completely understandable given the price point. anyways, these quads aren’t exactly the most refined of the bunch.
  • Chinese quads are a great value: last but not least, I think that Chinese ATVs are the best bang for your buck option for somebody looking for that. in the past few years, brand name ATVs like Polaris and Honda have become way too expensive and people agree with that. new mid-sized quads are going for over 10000$ MSRP and those are for the most basic quads. normal folks are going to have a bit of trouble paying that amount, even if it’s financed. and that’s where Chinese quads come in. they provide half of the performance but are 5 to 6 times cheaper than your average Scrambler. another reason why they are a good option is because they ahve a lot of smaller, cheap quads, made for kids, which makes for a great birthday or chrismas present.
  • Chinese quads are not as reliable as more familiar brands: this is something that most of us knew already and most people say the same thing: Chinese quads aren’t as reliable as other quads. now to be fair, foreign manufacturers have improved a lot since the dark days of late 90s and early 2000s. but they still have some quality issues that are important to mention. engine and transmission problems are pretty common, as well as electrical issues as well. if you are thinking of buying a Chinese quads, I would recommend that you buy from somewhere that will give you a decent warranty or a store that accepts reimbursements in case something goes wrong with the quads.

Review of Chinese ATV Brands

1.Tao Tao

Probably the most recognizable brand in this list, Tao Tao ATVs have made a drastic improvement since years ago when they only used to sell mini-ATVs that fell apart after 2 weeks. my friend lent me a model called the Rhino 250 which is their 200cc offering and like most of these quads, the quality of the ride and the engine performance was lacking compared to an equivalent American or Japanese ATV. however, the great thing about Tao Tao is the pricing of their products. that Rhino 250 that I was talking about is under 2000$ when equivalent homegrown ATVs can go for over 8000$. they are a great deal honestly.

2. Coolster

Coolster is another obscure Chinese brand that is appearing more often in videos and ATVs forums all over the internet. the main problem with Coolster is that they do not really offer anything over 150cc. I for example cannot really ride any of their quads because the engine chassis is simply not fit for my body frame. the quad with the highest sales is this one and like the Tao Tao, it’s also super cheap. 

3. Apollo

Now, Apollo isn’t a Chinese brand but I think it deserves a spot on this list because like Tao Tao and Coolster, these are entry-level ATVs with small engines and affordable price tags. I have never used these quads but my elder son has and from what he tells me the quality isn’t that bad for a quad brand with no reputation. anyways, the quad that he rode in is the Sporttrax.

Where to buy Chinese quads?

In the States, it’s very hard to find a Chinese ATV dealership. I honestly haven’t found one yet so I think the best choice would be to buy them online. each of these quads has a website that allows you to buy them online and they ship them where you live.

There is also the option of buying them from Amazon. Amazon has excellent customer service and I never have problems with them. when I need a quart of oil or a new set of tires I just buy them there without any hassle. so I think your best choice would be buying directly from Amazon.

Your last option would be going to Craigslist to see what you can find there. depending on where you live you might see a lot of variety or nothing at all. 

Should you buy a Chinese quad?

The decision to buy a Chinese quad or not depends on several factors: these are a few things you should tell yourself before looking for a quad:

  • Do you need something affordable? this is the first question to ask. are you on a budget? because like I said earlier in the post, the main pro about these quads is their pricing and their bang for your buck. they certainly won’t rock your world or anything but they aren{t super bad or anything like that.
  • Are you buying the quad for your kids? this and the first question are the reasons why Chinese quads are so good for parents who want to buy their kids a gift. most Chinese ATVs are under 1500c which means that they are quite small and fit for kids under 15. combine this with comfortable pricing and you have a great gift for your sons birthday
  • Is this going to be your first quad? another good fit for these quads are people getting into ATVs. there are some folks who are enthusiastic about this but they aren’t sure if they are going to stay riding for months or if they are going to get tired of it. buying a cheap Chinese 4-wheeler means that you won’t plunk a big amount of money on something that you won’t use in a few months.