S.r's Review of the Ather 450


#1

Hello all. Very long post alert!

TL,DR;
It’s been fun riding it. Still getting used to differences from my previous bikes. Yet to fully estimate range. App and console software leave a lot to be desired.

I got my delivery a few days back. Was due in Dec; they gave me a call too around by 20th or something, but since I wasn’t in town, had to have it pushed.
Still getting used to the mechanics, coming from an Apache RTR. I’ll post later maybe a long term experience with the bike.

My very subjective opinions-

The Good:

  1. The zip is a great feeling. I still get that bit of a rush in the first bit of acceleration. Or when rocketing past a slow bus or something.
    1a) The brakes are excellent. I learnt this hard way when I started from zero with a zip and out of muscle memory, the left hand squeezed what it thought was the clutch. Screeched to a halt. Lol.
  2. This is silly and funny, but people are staring hard. They ride by and just ride along and keep staring. I think one of these days someone’s going to crash. Usual questions, price, range etc. A lot of enthusiasm. Ather people, up your production and give us early adopters some perks for the great PR. Kidding. Only half.
  3. For some reason I was under the impression that the home charging pods don’t come with rapid charging. They do, so yay.
  4. Range anxiety can be dealt with, with a little bit of planning, especially if you’re in the centre or eastern parts of the city. Since enough charging pods are available. Unfortunately the city is barely conducive to pedestrian traffic, so even if you’ve parked less than a km from your destination, you’ll have to rely on an auto or taxi or something (depending on that particular stretch of footpath) This is a city issue I guess. Ather people, more pods in the West and South too please.

    (This is Eco off. 2 days of riding and this is the estimate. Will see long term.)

The Bad:

  1. No. Cen*** Sta**. This topic has been beaten to death, so I’ll leave it at that.
  2. I don’t know if the seat design changed after the test rides but I’m unable to find a stable spot. This could just be incompatibility with my behind of course.
  3. The mirror shape while funky visually (I like it); because it tapers out sharply, I’m finding that you can either set it to see far behind or up close next to you, not both. The adjustment is very minor, so I feel like if the outside edge of the mirror were an inch or two wider, the FoV would be so much better. Again, this might just be about getting used to. So we’ll see long term.

The annoying (but I think fixable with some software upgrades or accessories):

  1. The foot area for the rider, is weirdly slippery for me. I’ve tried different footwear. Little unsettling. Rubber duckies will help, or a mat (not sure if it was available at the showroom, I wasn’t offered one for sure)

  2. Again, this is because of the bikes and weight distribution I’m used to, I find the suspension to be a little spongy. Is it adjustable like the usual twin telescopics are? Of course, over time I’ll figure out the right way to deal with this.

  3. The software. Oi vey! Sorry this where I’ll have to be a little stern sounding.
    A) The app - Why isn’t the forum already on the app? I need to type this on a browser. The map in the rider app isn’t scalable, and inaccessible if you’re incognito. So I downloaded the Athergrid app to check on charging points. 2 apps and a browser for one vehicle? The charging grid should be viewable from the rider app itself. Even if it’s just a static (but scalable vector) graphic with the points regardless of whether we’re incognito or not. Likewise on the console. Incognito means no grid map also? Like… Why?? Should I have to print that out? Or take my phone out and open a dedicated app? Come on man. Little bit IRCTC app circa 2015 feels this is.
    B) The console - The lowest brightness possible is still too bright at night. Also autobrightness doesn’t seem to be working too well. Recalibrate. How about a night mode that yellows the screen? Anyone else think this could be more comfortable?
    C) There’s an Odo, and a trip meter that resets with every single turn of the key. So how do you check what distance you get full charge to full charge? Carry a pencil and notepad and notedown distances for every single ride and add it up. Bonus; put it on an excel sheet and draw a battery life graph over several weeks. Or. Have Trip A. Trip B. Please. Both with manual reset. NO auto reset. Just counting distance between switch on- switch off serves whose purpose? Or auto reset only on full charge (for ONE of them)
    D) Now, what is Eco mode (I think this has been brought up). Please don’t say Al-Gore-Rhythm etc. What does it actually do? I find in tight traffic high torque is really useful in squeezing out. But riding at a stable speed, can be a little tricky. How about Eco tops off at 40 or 45kmph? But that initial zip stays.
    E) Offline map and grid locations for incognito mode. Bonus points if you can tap on a charging point and see the address in text.
    F) Documents -



    It’s 2019 people, how about we get jpeg compression right on the first try? This is an unusable feature. Cannot show a cop this and say, but but but…
    G) Maps and navigation - I’ve gotten wrong routes and wrong locations. I know these probably come from your mapping provider, and it’s not directly your fault. But having gotten used to super responsive navigation with traffic info on g-maps, this feels like a bit of a let down. Is there any way this can be fixed?
    Major selling points you had to justify the 1.5L price (the subsidy is our taxes being returned to us and then paid to you) and the Ather one subscription costs was the UI/UX and regular updates. Putting in half baked features and then charging for updates is selling sandwiches and charging extra for bread. Your issues with supply of parts was, well, acceptable? Your software team is inhouse? Been around for a while? Some of these problems shouldn’t have been seen after deliveries began at all. I really hope these are addressed soon. I did not pay to be a beta tester. This sounds harsh, but it is what it feels like.

I’ll mail this same text to the support id in toto.

Regards,
Suneel


Ather 450 Ownership Reviews
#3

Hi Suneel,

Thanks for the detailed review of the vehicle and some super valuable inputs. Plugging them for improvements for the future.

The home charging point does fast charge the vehicle, as does the charging cable. However, neither of them charge as fast as the Points at Ather Grid locations do (which are DC fast charging points).

A few of the software concerns you have raised have come up before and we have been working on them, which should start reflecting in the subsequent releases over the course of next few months.

A few things that are we are working on include, (but not limited to)

  1. Lowest brightness setting and a dark mode
  2. Relooking at how the incognito mode is handled on the app. (We missed this, and you were actually the first one to point this out to us. Thank you!)
  3. Evaluating a manual trip meter
  4. Navigation and map impovements (Fixing bugs as well as UX enhancements)
  5. Range estimation and ride modes (As communicated earlier during the Open House)
  6. Charging fan control after nearing full charge.

We will also share the list of feature adds and fixes that are coming your way in the immidiate next release.

Regards,
Shreyas


Ather 450 Ownership Reviews
#4

Been riding almost everyday now for a while. In the coming two months I should have about 40kms travel everyday. I think by the end of that, I’ll know the ins and outs of the bike. More or less everything I have felt has now been covered by @rajeshkav @Abhishek and others. Looking forward to the update now.

The driving tips suggested by @hemanth.anand are strongly applicable I feel. Right now getting ~75kms and above on non-Eco mode. I haven’t bothered using Eco, 1) because of the general sluggishness of ride, 2) on several slopes in Malleswaram, and my own basement ramp, ECO seems to choke the motor. Most recently, when it automatically dropped into ECO mode because battery was getting low, although range suggested I had 10-15km to go, the way that number was dropping, it felt like it would stop much before that. In fact, the uphill slopes in the last stretch were so difficult, the range dropped by a couple of kms in about 2 x 200mts uphill stretches, and I highly doubt it would’ve climbed any further if I had a pillion rider. So right now, I put the bike on charge when there’s more than 20km range left. I feel that last bit of range that is mandatory eco mode needs some attention as I perceive so now, seems to eat up more range than if it wasn’t in eco. (I understand range estimate is not a direct reflection of power consumption).

fun story, I now have an engagement at Lahe Lahe in Indiranagar everyday, and once I sat on what I thought was my bike and fiddled with the key. To my surprise it was someone else’s. What are they odds that two ather owners park at the same place in a small building somewhere. If that person is here reading, let’s have a tea sometime! :grin: and the security guard throws some shade, every.single.day. “Arey, iska toh sirf side stand hain na, kya sir” . Not kidding, everyday I apologise to him.

One thing that I haven’t noticed others have mentioned is, the ride mode screen. We see just the speed and range. I think if Odo and trip meters were seen, It would be helpful. For example, when navigating offline, and someone says, go half a km and take left, there isn’t a way of seeing it. Agreed, this isn’t high priority, but I believe anyone who has driven any vehicle till now is used to seeing all info readily available at all times. I know one might say “clean/minimal” interface, but I don’t think there’s no point to minimality if it is obscuring info.

There seems occasionally a metallic brushing sound from the brakes/regen. It is under observation.

As others have suggested, a passlight switch would be greatly helpful. Would it be possible for the right navigation switch to be assigned to this? @Ather.Team . As of now, I barely use navigation (all reasons as above) and the toggle switch on the right is unused. Wonder if that, or the center press of the Indicator switch (if it has such a position) can be used as a highbeam passlight? That will help with some errant drivers who are on the wrong side. For worse riders, please install a flamethrower in the next version.

Apart from this, the regen feels remarkably like engine friction in an ICE vehicle. Which makes it feel far more stable going downhill on the hill opposite Iskcon. Climbing however, if on eco, that’s a different question.


S.r's Review of the Ather 450