I've had some, never paid for em, maybe 75 bucks once. they're shitty for sure but once you get the shitty parts off (there are a lot) you can have a decently reliably bike. generally more reliable than a moped. and parts are cheap, or nearly free. a kit is less that 100 bucks including head and gaskets and even variator weights and jets. it's good for a little over 50, and they pull hard given the 4 stroke torque and a big range variator.
Not something i'd buy, and certainly wouldn't consider myself a tao tao rider.
It kinda fits in the Harley thing or any other brand identity, a "Harley rider" is pretty different from a rider who has also Harleys. If someone rolled up on a taotao and started shit talking other bikes, yeah, get the fuck out. and there are those folks. then there are people who got it cuz cheap and are generally clueless and don't care about bikes anyway, they're a different breed too for sure. not bad, just not likely to fit w me as well