Hello to everyone. I’m new to this forum, but not to Ather. Even though I meant to sign up here sooner, my busy days prevented it. You see, I am a freelance coder and build fast cars when I’m not doing the former.
A few years back, one of my landlords had a pre production 450 that I rode and fell in love with the build quality. That led me to purchase the 450 a couple of years ago and it was pretty good, even though there was the occasional niggle or two. Also, I think it kept getting louder and slower over time with the battery devolving as well. Still, this scooter served me well. When I heard that the 450X was coming out with “better everything”, my first impression was that they used the existing 450 customer base as test subjects and released an improved, more expensive product. So even though I paid the initial deposit, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with the purchase, especially since I had absolutely no idea what to do with the 450 I currently had. A few days before the Series 1 window was about to close, someone contacted me expressing interest in buying my 450, so I decided to sell it and go for the X. Even though I would still be paying quite a bit of extra money on top of the sale price of the 450 for the upgrade, I figured it would be good, since everything was supposed to be better, and I’d be supporting a company that built their products with love and pride - very similar to how I build my cars.
I finally received my 450X: S1 a couple of days ago, and it’s with great disappointment that I say that I’m not impressed. I sent my sidekick to pick up the scooter while I was busy at the workshop and had him park it at home. At the end of the day, I went back and was greeted by a shiny black form and was grinning from ear to ear.
When I approached the scooter to take in some more of its goodness, the grin shortened a little when I found that there were scratches across the length of the scooter on the left hand side at the level of the running board, including the floating panel, the running board itself, the stand and the rear cover. Upon inquiry, my sidekick confirmed that these scratches were present at the time of delivery. They look like they were sustained during a loading / unloading operation. It was a bit disappointing that this wasn’t caught before the delivery was confirmed. Still, a minor issue at best that I could have let slide if it wasn’t for what followed.
I took the scooter out for my first ride and was immediately greeted by a cacophony of noises. The motor itself sounded better than the 450. There were mild abrasive noises from both wheels that sounded like brake pads brushing lightly against the rotors, which I figured would go away with some usage. However, the most disturbing element was a frequent, intermittent rumble that would travel across the length of the scooter and would be clearly felt on the floorboard. My 450 has similar vibrations, which I’m told are “normal”, but I don’t buy that. I certainly don’t expect that stuff in a brand new, and “improved” scooter. Overall, the entire powertrain felt tight - in the wrong way - with higher NVH levels than my 1.5 year, 3500km old scooter. Not a great first impression.
After getting over the initial disappointment, I started to notice that my handle wasn’t straight. When the scooter was going in a straight line, the handle position was a few degrees to the right. This is extremely annoying and should absolutely not have made it through the pre delivery inspection process. Here are a couple of pictures of the handle position when the scooter is traveling dead straight on an empty road:
At this point, I began to question whether there even was any pre delivery inspection conducted.
If you’re reading this and keeping count, that’s 3 major issues within the first 15 minutes of me being with a “newer and improved” scooter.
Once I was done with the ride, I came back and decided to dig around the software menu. I was especially curious to check out the new Bluetooth connectivity. Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find the bloody thing anywhere! At this point, I started tapping the screen everywhere and when I hit the Maps button on the top right, I was told to sod off because I didn’t have an active subscription!!!? When I was completing my purchase online, I was supposed to be entitled to the S1 perks that I guess included a year’s worth of subscription, just like the 450. So I login to my account and am greeted with yet another unpleasant surprise. The “perks” are meant to be only for service, and connectivity costs extra. Seriously!!!? Is this the beginning of a cash grab operation? Don’t you see it fit to inform me about this on the same screen where you’re touting your Collector’s Edition perks? This is akin to selling me a top of the line D segment car and then telling me after I pick it up that the floor mats will cost me extra. What gives? Anyway, after 15 minutes of cussing - which I’m trying my best to control here - I purchased the Connect Pro plan for a quarter. It’s been two days now, and the Maps will STILL not show up. Great job, Ather!
Speaking of subscription, I plugged the Dot charger into the wall and was greeted with no light at all. So I went through the manual and it said that no light was because of no power flow. This didn’t sound right, because I could hear a relay in the charger click when I powered it on. So I plugged it into the scooter anyway, and it said Authentication Error - C037 on the screen. Awesome! So now the manual is useless and misleading. There’s a very smug opening statement in the manual that says something to the effect “We hate manuals, so we’ll keep it short and to the point”, and yet it completely eats up a MAJOR reason why the charger will not light up. If I hadn’t plugged it in, I would be chasing a power supply issue when there was none.
What’s the idea here, Ather? You confirm that my bike is ready to pick up, and give me an unregistered charger bundled with an erroneous manual? Is the onus on ME to call you up after I stumble upon the discovery that my charger is not registered yet? You should be doing this BEFORE you confirm delivery. Considering this also happened with my 450 charger, it would seem like this isn’t how you operate. If there’s a solid reason behind this operating procedure, I’d love to know what it is. Otherwise, it just seems like you’re taking the piss here.
Let me summarize my issues on a 3 day old scooter here for those who were turned off by my long rant:
- Scratched bodywork.
- Misaligned handle, therefore a vehicle that will not track straight.
- Very bad NVH.
- Poor power delivery - the acceleration hits a wall after 40 kmph.
- Charger that will not work out of the box, and a manual that is useless in addressing the issue.
- Much hyped Bluetooth connectivity missing.
- No connected features on a “Collector’s Edition”.
- A seat that doesn’t close properly. The seat frame and its rock solid closure were some of the standout features of the 450, but on the X, this feels cheap AF. When the scooter is on the stand, the hinge is so flimsy that the seat leans far enough away to misalign the latch and striker so they won’t lock together. Kiss your claims of rock solid engineering goodbye, Ather.
All of this prompted me to take a deeper dive through the forums and from what I see, what I’m facing is not an exception, but the rule.
I’ve raised most of these issues with Support and they’re supposed to be getting back to me as quickly as possible. I haven’t heard from them so far. Regardless, this should never have happened in the first place. Even if they decide to take the scooter back and fix it, I’m now stuck without a ride for the duration since I assumed that this thing would “just work” and got rid of my old ride based on that trust; a trust that has been severely shaken now.
I have a good mind to return the 450X, demand my money back, apologize profusely to the friend who I sold the 450 to, take it back, and use it until it falls apart. I’m that miffed right now. I’m definitely NOT going to be interested in whatever Ather launch next, if they’re still around, that is. Looking at the progression of events, things are headed downhill and people seem either clueless or disinterested in maintaining standards that were the USP of the company. Instead, all the time and effort seems to be spent on figuring out how to make a bloody translucent side panel.
Shame on you.