Hi Ather Owners and going to be Owners,
(This review post is very lengthy and subjected to only my personal driving feedback which can obviously vary from driver to driver point of view and also I am not promoting to anyone to buy Ather 450 by this post or Ather has given me any goodies to do this review. Please excuse me)
This is my first personal riding experience review after I brought Ather 450 on 9-Feb-2019. Well @rajeshkav has already provided a detailed review which covers most of my experience with Ather 450 while I drove all these days (I have clocked around 650kms in 25days). So, I will try and keep my review to the point and will just highlight few points which will rate this scooter with 5 stars (which means now it is at 4.5 stars) if addressed. If at all you see any point is repeating, then please consider it as a good sign as it is repeating with most of us and a possible fix to that issue will fix all of us.
Objective to buy Ather 450 (not any e-bike): My daily commute distance from home (Point A) to office (Point B) is 23kms hence round trip will be 46kms and few local trips to bring some vegetables or something to pick for my wife or my son once back from office will sum up to roughly 50kms per day. To cover this stretch of Point A to Point B and round trip I was previously using TVS Apache RTR 180 ABS and it was fun while you drive on open roads(starting from my Home at Yelahanka) but once you reach peak hour traffic starting from MG road till my office which is located in Koramangala 5th Block which is just about 6 to 7kms stretch and will take good 30mins to reach office. This was the point at which I use to struggle and get fed up of driving bike in very tight traffic. So, on some day of my routine work I was browsing some websites and suddenly came across Ather 450 and the news that it is a startup company from IIT finished. Then when I visited their website and understood the Spec. of scooter It was impressive (what was impressive, “no tall claims” True range is 75Kms and max speed is 80kmph). This trigger me to register to get more information on when Ather will start deliveries. So, my whole and sole objective to buy Ather 450 is ride home to office and back home nothing much other than this except in weekends get out to explore nearby places from home. 50kms per day use as on date.
The D day 9-Feb-2019 (booked on 5-Jun-2018, order # 1330): Finally, I got to know that my Ather 450 is ready to get delivered. We reached Ather Experience center in Indiranagar around 10.30am and delivery was scheduled at 11.00am. Initially there was a demo of my Ather 450 followed by Lease paper work. Thanks to Autovert, they are amazing at their work and very good hospitality. Same feeling holds good for Ather team. All done and get set goooooooooooooooooooooooo (Range at this point was 74kms with 99% battery). My wife was very excited to be pillion rider and enjoyed ever bit of it till we reached home. Thanks to Ather and Autovert team for this amazing delivery experience.
Gadi pooja: It was surprising, that evening there was a 30 to 40 mins of good rain and I was like really rain from nowhere. But later was happy to realize it was rain gods blessing to my Ather 450 and tested touch screen in rain naturally and it worked fine with no glitch.
Got a break from rain between 5.30pm to 7.00pm in the evening and took Ather 450 for Gadi pooja at nearby Sri Prasana Ganapthi and Gayathri temple. When poojari learnt that this is e-bike and that too I have taken it for lease, the poojari was shocked and surprised that even such options exist in market these days was his question? and my answer was, it is first of its kind in India. Took Lord ganapathi’s blessings and brought him home for days rest.
Naming ceremony of my Ather 450: After understanding how this scooter works and its ability to learn from driver’s driving habits, I named it as “White Fury” it’s a name inspired by a character in a Movie by name “How to train your Dragon” and the dragon name in that movie is “Night Fury” in which the dragon is completely Black in color and my Ather 450 is completely white. Hence “White Fury” (By the way there is a new movie released recently sequel 3 and I saw a complete white dragon in it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Train_Your_Dragon:_The_Hidden_World ). Also, not to forget its ability to take those tight corners with a smile and to take me out of the very tight traffic in a flash of lightning (20.5Nm torque, 0 to 40kmph in 3.9sec). I totally love this naked power and how fellow riders on road get surprised when I vanish from start line of traffic light till then they keep staring at my “white fury” thinking that its yet another e-bike which will ride max speed of 50kmph with no power. They are so wrong this time . My Dragon is smart and fast as lightning.
Hand Crafted Key fob for a hand crafted Ather 450: My wife’s creative brain gave an idea and she created a key fob which inspired by Ather 450 body colors. Thank you to my Wife as It came out to be amazing and posted it on @Atherenergy Twitter account and they commented as given below.
Ride Experience with Ather 450 in last 25days: If I have to say it in 3 words it will be “Give me more” . The driving experience is awesome. I have been driving TVS Apache RTR180 for almost 5years with 50,000Kms clocked and when I shifted to Ather 450 one morning, it took no much time to adapt to scooter driving. Exceptional weight balance (51 F:49 R) which gives great driving stability and smooth cornering (single rider or with pillion same feeling). Having said that, following are my cons. review comments.
There is a concern about seat design. I really didn’t understand why the seat is tapered from back till front and it has some slope in front starting from halfway from pillion seating. This is causing the rider to slide front while riding on a bumpy road or uneven finished road (I want to be clear when I say bumpy road, it means there is proper tar road, but it is not flat and driving speed is around 50 to 55kmph). Specially the stretch (both sides of the road) from Makri circle to cant. railway station via Jaimahal road.
A major design limitation is having only side stand and no center stand. It is difficult to park in office space where lots of 2-wheelers are parked close to each other to accommodate more vehicles, because of side stand style of parking needs more space. @Ather.Team please revisit on this topic in drawing room and I am sure whoever took the final call for Ather 450 should be included in this design review meeting because now he/she has user feedback to be considered and now it will be a challenge for him/her to justify the decision of having only side stand. This is one of the best methods to start working on next model year design.
Other limitation is no central locking option (I am not sure if this can be implemented in scooter formfactor). Due to this the mirror will touch to the vehicle parked next to my scooter on left hand side and when they are taking out of parking area it will easily touch mirror and a possible risk of making Ather 450 to fall off. (Below image is from my office parking space.)
Another design limitation is pillion rider foot rest. My wife started complaining about the foot rest design. She says the pillion seat is comfortable and wide enough but when you rest the foot on foot rest it is like squeezing your legs close to body of scooter which will lead to pain after riding for 5kms continuous without stopping, so basically long pillion drives are painful. And if at all she seats side ways there is no side foot rest except saree guard. Again @Ather.Team please revisit on this topic in drawing room.
When I said earlier 3 words “Give me more” I was talking about predicted range which will make you feel some anxiety to most of us. But to be honest for me as on date the numbers are promising and repeatable on daily basis (hence my anxiety level is about 10% that is when I park in office and is in idle state and I loose just 1 or 2 km for a period of 9 to 10hrs idle time, and on few days there will be no drop or 1km drop from the time of parked) and is given below.
With 100% charge, initial 2 weeks of delivery my range in ECO mode was 68kms and based on my driving style it improved by 3 kms as on date means 71kms in ECO mode.
Coming to my driving style, while going to office I drive like a decent school boy and my top speed is 55 to 60kmph (only when I want my dragon white fury to take me out of the cluster of vehicles in peak traffic) and average speed reading by the time I park at office is almost 24 to 25kmph and total run time to reach office is 60 to 70mins based on peak traffic. Never used re-gen breaking which I know if used will further improve range predication. Hence my anxiety level further reduced by 5% . But when I return home from office I am no more decent school boy because I shift to normal mode and I enjoy the torque available to dispose and my top speed ranges between 55kmph to 75kmph and by the time I reach home still 22 to 25km range will be available for local use. The final numbers are below,
- Start from point A = 71km (As on date)
- After reaching point B = 48km to 50km (0hrs idle time)
- Start from point B = 47km to 49km (9hrs of idle time)
- After reaching point A = 23 to 25km
I Also did a photo logging of my first 5 days of ride to office and back home and observed the predicted values are repeatable or improved based on my riding style. This showed consistence in range prediction algorithm and hence the only thing left is “give me more range” (Ok that means whatever is happing till now with my ride is starting with 71kms predicted range. So, I want all my other conditions or parameters and driving style remain same except predicted range changed to 100kms from 71kms).
Know issues faced till date on my Ather 450:
a) Display screen went blank one fine morning when I started to office. Tried to call them around 8.15am and there was no response. So, I drove with blank screen for almost 6kms and then automatically screen turned ON. Later in the day Ather customer support called me to check if I had called them in morning (This is what I call professional way of handing issues) and I explained them the issue and they told me it called as display screen freeze and explained me why this happen on my bike (since Ather scooter is connected to Ather servers and when there is no signal and lot of data gets cache and doesn’t get pushed to server this type of issue occurs.) Solution: re-boot the software by holding both brakes and press start button for more than 7sec and you will see software re-boot. This should solve display freeze issue.
b) Charging pod at home suddenly stop charging, this issue occurred because I had a voltage fluctuation issue in my area and home charging pod light turned continuous red. Again, this time it was around 8.45pm when I called Ather customer service center and it was closed. So, I just turned pod off and next day morning at around 7.30am I turned my pod On and this time it was continuous green and so I connected scooter to charge. Later in the day Ather customer service team called me to check if I had called them last night and then I confirmed and explained my issue to them. So, they told me that there are two cases in which pod status LED’s can get red
- Voltage fluctuation at source (BESCOM)
- Open earth.
Since mine was type 1 issue it resolved by itself, but if I had left connected and gone and when pod becomes functional again still scooter would not charge automatically and needs manual power cycling at scooter. Ather has already noted down this issue and will provide a fix in next OTA as confirmed by Ather customer support.
Finally thank you to anyone and everyone who has read and reached this point of my review and felt it was useful and forgive me if it was boring and repeated things mentioned again.