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Ather 450S First Ride Review: Just Get It!

Modified On Aug 11, 2023 11:56 AM By Nishaad Joshi for Ather 450S

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The Ather 450S gives a very Ather-like riding experience at an un-Ather-like price

The Ather 450X has always been a favourite for quite a lot of us at BikeDekho. Be it its reliability, performance or handling, the scooter always managed to put a big smile on our faces every time we rode it. All of that came at a price though, for Ather scooters have never exactly been cheap. 

But now with the 450S, Ather has achieved a much more competitive Rs 1.30 lakh price tag. So has the quest for affordability taken the fun out of the 450S, or is it still as engaging? Well before we get into that, let’s check out what’s new on this scooter. 

What’s New? 

For starters, the 450S gets a 2.9kWh battery pack with which Ather says the scooter will give a 90km real world range. Sit on the scooter and you’ll see new switchgear. On the left you get a joystick sto toggle through the features, while on the right you get a button to change the ride modes through and a single touch reverse mode button. 

Boot up the scooter and a lovely LCD console greets you. It’s nice and bright but what you’ll notice instantly is how quickly it boots up. In terms of features, here’s what the 450S gets: 

Ather 450S Features

Smartphone Connectivity

Auto Hold (Thank God!!)

Coasting Regen (New)

Fall Detection (New)

Auto Indicator

Guide Me Home Lights

Incognito Mode

Shut Down

3 Riding Modes (Eco, Ride & Sport) 

As you can see, this one gets two new features: Coasting Regen and Fall Detection. The former, as the name suggests, is the regenerative braking when you’re cruising at high speeds. Ather says that it can give you upto 7km of extra range! Fall Detection, meanwhile, will send alerts to your near ones in the unfortunate event you have a crash. 

And finally, the 450S’ motor is less powerful (when compared to the 450X) and the scooter also misses out on the Warp mode. So summing it up, the 450S gets lesser range, power and features over the 450X. Does it then feel like a compromise over the X? We rode it around for a while and here’s all that we liked and dislikes about it: 

Love: Performance & Handling

“But the 450S offers less performance doesn’t it?” Well yes it does, but you see, we’ve ridden the 450X a fair bit and that’s why we felt the difference in the performance between the two. If you’re upgrading to the 450S from your 100-110cc scooter, it’ll still feel like quite a quick scooter. Plus we rode the 450S only on the highway and that really highlighted the difference in performance levels. So if your usage is restricted mainly to the city, we’re pretty sure that the difference will hardly be felt.  

And that very peppy performance is complemented by the 450S’ handling. The 450 series’ handling prowess has always been its highlight and it’s no different here. This one’s motorcycle-like handling is incredibly engaging and by the end of the ride, I was left with a goofy grin on my face, something that not a lot of scooters in India have done. 

Like: New Switchgear 

While the 450X’s switchgear wasn’t shabby in any way, it did feel a tad bit dated now. But this new switchgear, it’s lovely! It feels premium, tactile and is super intuitive to use. Just a few minutes into riding the scooter, my fingers knew exactly where each button was. 

Using the joystick on the left side is easy, but the real highlight of the new switchgear is the new single touch Reverse mode. Gone are the days when you had to swipe the screen (a difficult proces if you’re wearing gloves) or press the brake, indicator switch and the power button simultaneously to engage the reverse mode. This new switch allows the same thing to now be done with the press of a button, making the previous two acts seem unnecessarily cumbersome. For me, this new switch is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) highlights of this new scooter. 

Like: New Console & Same Features

The new LCD console isn’t as fancy as the TFT one and doesn’t really have all the features too. How’s it a like then? 

Well, this console is simple and that’s where its charm lies. The white readouts on the black screen are super bright and their readability is excellent. In fact, we rode the scooter on a rather sunny day and even when the sun was right above our heads, I could read all the important bits on the console fairly easily, on the go too!

And as for features, yes this one doesn’t have the plethora of features that the TFT has but it does retain the important ones. The excellent hill hold, turn-by-turn navigation and reverse mode, all have been retained and honestly the need for other features doesn’t really arise. Because as fancy as they might sound on paper, most of them aren’t even used by most of the customers. And its simpler layout also means that it’s that much more responsive to inputs. 

All in all, this LCD console presents itself as a simpler version of the TFT and not something that looks like it’s made to cut costs. It shows us that simple isn’t bad, at all. 

Like: Overall Fit And Finish Levels

Ather’s fit and finish levels have always been excellent and the 450S is no different. It feels like a properly premium scooter even when you inspect it up close. This one’s available in a couple of paint schemes, of which the gloss black one looks absolutely gorgeous to me.  

Like: Strong Brakes 

Another front where Ather has more often than not got it right, are the brakes. The 450S’ brakes too, have a sharp initial bite and inspire a lot of confidence. What we’re happy about is that Ather didn’t skimp in this department by giving it drum brakes. The 450S still gets discs at both ends.  

Like: Price

Ather 450S 

Rs 1,29,999 

Ather 450S with Pro Pack

Rs 1,42,999

TVS iQube S

Rs 1,41,533

All prices ex-showroom Bengaluru

At Rs 1.43 lakh, the Ather 450S, with all its features, is merely Rs 1,466 more expensive than the TVS iQube S and that makes it quite a lot of scooter for that money. And if you think you can do without the features, that’ll bring the price further down to Rs 1.30 lakh! 

That said, we assure you that the Rs 13,000 you spend on the Pro Pack will be money well spent.    

Dislikes: It Leans Too Much

The way the 450S leans into corners is a lot of fun. But the leaning doesn’t stop once you park it too. Once on the side stand, the scooter leans so much that if you have any luggage on the floorboard, it’ll instantly fall off. In fact, the leaned scooter takes up so much space that parking it in tight spots (something we often do in India) becomes a nightmare, for its mirrors can easily brush up against the neighbouring vehicle. This was an issue that we faced on our long term 450X as well. 

Dislikes: Slightly Cramped Ergos For Taller Riders

The 450S’ compact dimensions mean it too, feels a tad bit cramped for taller riders like myself. My 6’0 frame and long limbs are already a tight fit on the scooter. Add to that even a moderately tall pillion and I would need to scoot forward enough for my knees to foul with the scooter’s handlebar even while taking tight left or right turns. U-turns, meanwhile, require me to stick my leg out. 

Though that is one (and the only) way for me to realise my MotoGP ambitions. The photos too, reveal that I truly do look like Valentino Rossi, maybe a five year old Rossi who had just begun riding motorcycles. 

Meh Bits: Design

Don’t get us wrong, there are no issues with the Ather 450S’ design. It’s just that this design language has gone unchanged for the past five years. So with the 450S, we would’ve liked a bit of a facelift this time around, just to keep it a bit fresh.  

Verdict

All of that brings us to the original question: should you buy the Ather 450S? The simple reply is a resounding yes. Ather has managed to build a more affordable 450 that somehow doesn’t feel like a compromise at all. Every cost cutting step has been done neatly and it doesn’t seem like the scooter was built with a particular cost in mind. And all of this has been done without altering what the Ather 450X has always stood for: a performance-oriented scooter that handles well and will always put a big smile on your face, each time you ride it.  

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