Amidst heavyweights like the Ducati Multistrada V4, Triumph Speed Triple RS, and Honda 650 twins, the Ather 450X seemed like quite the underdog during our ‘Best of 2021’ test. But, in a surprising turn of events, it outscored all of the aforementioned motorcycles and emerged as a textbook example of the David vs Goliath story.
Since we had experienced all the vehicles during the year, we had a general sense of those that were likely to make it to the top 10. And, to tell you the truth, the Ather 450X wasn’t one of them – it was, after all, competing against some very promising offerings, and it doesn’t quite have the power to set the track on fire. In fact, it was the slowest to go around the track this year. The 450X even loses some valuable points in terms of quality – the original 450 before it surely had a better fit and finish. And, of course, given the limited range and the near six hours of charging time, the Ather also fell behind in terms of practicality. But, surprisingly, none of these limitations could stop it back from taking the bronze in our test.
With a 2.9kWh battery pack, which sends power straight to the rear wheel by means of a belt-drive, the 450X is considerably more refined than any ICE scooter. Now, a lot of electric scooters that we’ve tested exhibited a noticeable ‘head jerk’ during acceleration, but not the 450X – it is butter smooth in its power delivery. It feels extremely quick on its heels too, especially in warp mode. And then there is 26Nm of torque on offer right from the get-go. While in terms of outright numbers the 450X is almost as quick as a conventional 125cc scooter, the initial acceleration is pretty damn electrifying (pun intended).
The 450X also manages to outclass pretty much every other scooter on sale today in terms of features and technology. It gets LED lighting, 22-litre under-seat storage, four riding modes, and a reverse mode. But the real party piece of this scooter is its touchscreen colour display. In addition to regular information on the trip meter, odometer, and average speed, it also provides a sea of information, including call alerts and navigation.
And then there is the design. Despite the fact that it looks identical to its predecessor and has a three-year-old design, the 450X doesn’t look dated by any means. In fact, it still has quite a few likeable details, like the exposed frame, sleek-looking mirrors, neatly-integrated side stand, and, of course, sharp overall silhouette.
The Ather 450X is currently priced at ₹1.45 lakh (ex-showroom), but its on-road pricing may vary, depending on the state subsidies. Sure, it is considerably more expensive than most other ICE scooters, but given the skyrocketing price of petrol, you’ll quickly be able to recover the differential. Above all, despite being a start-up, Ather has had a very calculated and methodical approach to the two-wheeler EV space. Now, there are quite a few electric two-wheelers on sale in the country, but some of them have been far too conservative, while others have over-committed and failed to deliver on their promises. Ather, on the other hand, has not only developed a great product but has also built a strong brand image and trust in a very short span. And, for that alone, the Bengaluru-based start-up deserves this recognition.
- Ather 450X (Lap Time – 01:37.3)
|COMFORT & PRACTICALITY||10||6.5|
|RIDE & HANDLING||10||8.5|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||20||13.0|