Ather 450 Apex first ride review | The best electric scooter out there?

The Ather 450 Apex is the 450 X dialled to 11. With a new colour scheme and a bump in power, this aims to be the perfect Ather for the enthusiast
The Ather 450 Apex is the pinnacle of the platform that underpins the 450 series of scooters.
The Ather 450 Apex is the pinnacle of the platform that underpins the 450 series of scooters.Shot by Aditya GT for evo India

The Ather 450 X has been around for some time now. It was one of the first products in a now saturated market that actually made sense. That allowed users to justify the premium over an ICE scooter and switch to a new form of mobility. The 450 X has also been our benchmark for what a performance / enthusiast-focused EV scooter should be. Over the years, the scooter has received several upgrades that have ironed out most of the kinks and even made it a more comfortable scooter. Ather has completed ten years of existence and this deserves a celebration. Ather’s solution is its latest product — the 450 Apex. The Ather 450 Apex is the pinnacle of the platform that underpins the 450 series of scooters and from what Ather tells us, it will be the most performance that the company is willing to extract from it. With more power, new features and a swanky design scheme is this the final hurrah the Ather 450 X platform deserves? 

In terms of the overall design, the Ather 450 Apex remains unchanged.
In terms of the overall design, the Ather 450 Apex remains unchanged.Shot by Aditya GT for evo India

Ather 450 Apex design

In terms of the overall design, the Ather 450 Apex remains unchanged. It has the same shapes as before, the same dimensions and even the same updated switchgear that now includes the joystick which makes navigating the UI that much easier. What is different however is the paint scheme. To call that a minor change would be an understatement. What Ather has done with the Apex is quite the visual treat. To begin with, the company has done away with the philosophy of a bright colour accenting each other with a muted colour or vice versa. The Apex proudly uses bright colours for both the primary colour and the accent. The blue that you see is called Yinmn blue which is a mix of yttrium, indium, and manganese colour pigments. This colour was discovered pretty recently around 2009 by an Indian professor. This is accented by a bright orange colour and if you look closely the rear panel is almost transparent with an interesting feel to it. It has a smooth gloss finish on the outside and a frosted matte finish on the inside which makes for a really interesting sight. Even the rest of the scooter has a nice almost satin-like matte finish which feels nice to the touch. The bright orange contrasting bits like the rims and the aluminium frame accent the blue really well and this scooter will definitely turn eyes.

If you look closely, the rear panel is almost transparent.
If you look closely, the rear panel is almost transparent.Shot by Aditya GT for evo India

Ather 450 Apex performance

The Ather 450 Apex is powered by the same 3.7kWh battery that does duties in the rest of the range, but the motor is rated for a higher output than earlier. It now makes 7kW (9.3bhp) of power which makes it 0.8bhp more powerful than the 450 X. This extra power is harnessed by a new Warp+ riding mode. Ather has heavily recalibrated and added new algorithms to the proprietary motor controller to maintain thermal balance while ensuring higher levels of performance. One major criticism that owners and prospective buyers had with the 450 X is that it couldn’t touch the magical 100kmph number. The 450 Apex is the shot in the arm that addresses that. It has a claimed top speed of 100kmph and along with that even the 0-40kmph time has gone down from 3.3s to 2.9s. These figures will be tested and verified in our road test but in terms of feel the scooter does feel a bit faster than the 450 X. We rode the scooter exclusively at the Meco Kartopia go-kart track and there the scooter was comfortably and more importantly, consistently hitting around 87kmph on the relatively short main straight. This makes the Apex feel that much more engaging especially with the ‘midrange’ feeling a lot more potent while exiting corners. Ather claims that the thermals are set up such that you should get a few good minutes of continuous high-output power before the motor starts to derate courtesy of the heat. But once the scooter cools down you can switch back to Warp+ and that is a great feature in my opinion. 

The 450 Apex gets a new Warp+ mode.
The 450 Apex gets a new Warp+ mode.Shot by Aditya GT for evo India

Another new feature which is currently exclusive to the Apex is the addition of what the company is calling Magic Twist. This is essentially a regenerative braking system but Ather claims that it is a lot more than that. In most cases, regen works only after the SoC drops below 80-85 per cent and even then it isn’t something that you would really use in place of your brakes. Ather’s solution to a more effective regenerative braking system is Magic Twist. This uses the negative turn of the throttle tube to engage and the noteworthy feature is that it can be used despite the state of charge. This means that you have regen right from 100 per cent charge. Ather aims to eventually fine-tune the system such that regen can take care of 100 per cent of the riders' braking needs in city riding conditions. As of right now the company claims that 75 per cent of braking in the city can be handled by the Magic Twist function. To use this, you turn the throttle beyond the resting position and the quarter turn of a turn that is available can be used for granular control over the system. The braking performance is effective and I can foresee it coming in handy in most riding situations as long as you are the kind of rider who anticipates situations in advance. We rode the scooter on track only, and in that use case, relying solely on regen was out of the question. This is because there is a slight delay till regen kicks in and by that time you would have already overshot the corner. Another reason for it not being an alternative to the brakes on track is because the slowing down happens at the motor, i.e. the rear wheel and that is not something you want when cornering hard. Credit where it is due, Ather intends for this feature to be used only in the city and in those riding conditions, the Magic Twist feature will be quite handy. A proper road test to test the efficacy of this system is definitely something I look forward to. 

Despite the bump in power and performance and the usage of the same battery capacity, Ather says that the maximum claimed range of the 450 Apex has gone up by 7km to 157km over the Ather 450 X’s 150km. This is courtesy of the more effective regen system. That being said, if you are the kind who rides hard and will primarily stay in Warp+ mode, your range will drop below that of the 450 X. Small price to pay for the extra performance on tap. 

Ather 450 Apex ride and handling

Luckily for us, the changes to the 450 Apex are limited to the performance and colour scheme. The ride and handling package is the same as the 450 X and that is a good thing. As wise men have said in the past if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This means that you get the same aluminium alloy frame which hangs off of a telescopic fork and a monoshock. The wheel setup also remains the same 12-inch front and rear setup. Even the braking setup, barring the addition of the new regen, is the same as the other 450 models.  The handling remains the best attribute of the scooter and we were all reminded of this when hooning around the go-kart track. The extra power on the scooter made one thing really apparent though — that the scooter will become so much nicer with 14-inch wheels. Maybe that is something Ather can consider with future models. 

You get the same aluminium alloy frame which hangs off of a telescopic fork and a monoshock.
You get the same aluminium alloy frame which hangs off of a telescopic fork and a monoshock.Shot by Aditya GT for evo India

Ather 450 Apex accessories and verdict

The Ather 450 Apex is a limited edition scooter that will be produced only till around October of this year. Ather tells us that this is the most powerful and feature-packed version of this platform and that this (in terms of performance) is as far as Ather wants to safely take this platform.  It won’t be a numbered series but will be available but will be made based on demand. It will be available only in the aforementioned colour scheme and in my opinion, the Apex is a great way to celebrate 10 years of Ather. The scooter comes bundled with a 750W charger and a helmet that is made with colours similar to that of the scooter. In terms of accessories, the Apex will come with all of the features unlocked and will also benefit from TPMS as standard fitment. All this is yours for an ex-showroom price of Rs 1.89 lakh. This is without the FAME incentives. So if you calculate the cost of the top-end 450 X with all the features unlocked and without FAME, the price should work out to around Rs 1.8 lakh. So there is no question that you get your money’s worth for the extra Rs 10,000 you’re paying.

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