I'm looking into buying a scooter for my commutes to and from school which happens to be about 26 miles of non-highway traveling. I hear a lot of negativity surrounding chinese scooters, but have a hard time finding a name brand scooter around a similar price. Wondering how you guys think a Tao Tao could handle a daily commute of 50 miles? I am somewhat mechanically inclined and have worked on a few cars.
You are asking about 6000+ miles a year. My Vespa does that, Jes' Fine, and I expect it will be good for at least 13 years more. (I hope I will be scooting at 80!)
Where in the world do you live? IMO a used Japanese scoot would be far more reliable than a TaoTao, can you not find one within 50 miles? You cannot find a Lance or SYM or a Genuine dealer within 100 miles?
Whatever! Most wouldn't have a Chink Scoot on a dare, others actually ride them: http://itistheride.boards.net/.
There's a reason you can't find a name brand scooter at a similar price, a name brand scooter would be better quality and have some sort of after purchase support.
You can either buy a Japanese made scooter and pay more, or buy a cheap Chinese POS and pay less. But with the Chinese scooter, you get to push it a LOT more, and pay a lot more for parts. Every week. And find that no-one has the parts, and they don't make them anymore.