I love my HT. It's been a real learning experience. Plus it's really tolerant to my overall ignorance. I think most people should start with a HT just because you learn SO much about the overall mechanics of motorizing a bike. It also looks really cool.
The HT appeals to those of us who like to play with mechanical things...nothing like doing it yourself, and tinkering and adjusting. The Honda/Staton read friction drive i have on my other bike was so easy to put on, and never needs adjusting or anything. That's boring. Reliable so far, but boring.
Until recently (I'm a little slow sometimes!), I never even knew the hatred some have for the HT engine. Stronger hatred than reasonable IMHO. I say these engines can be made reliable, can be made to scoot and van be quiet without a ton of money. If you expect this for $150 out of the box, it isn't going to happen.