Ather Rizta first ride review | The family EV this segment needed?

With its practicality-first approach, the Ather Rizta promises to appeal to a completely different audience. Does it manage to do that?
The Ather Rizta is priced at ₹1.4 lakh, ex-showroom
The Ather Rizta is priced at ₹1.4 lakh, ex-showroomShot by Rohit G Mane for evo India

The Ather 450X has always been an enthusiast-focused scooter. Fast, nimble, and over the years, it has proven to be one of the most reliable EVs in the country. But it is hardly the sort of scooter you’d want to take your grandma to the shops on. The inherently sporty nature of the 450X is what has alienated a big chunk of buyers from the brand. To rectify that and diversify the brand’s portfolio, Ather has introduced the Rizta. Touted as a family scooter with the biggest seat in the segment, does the Ather Rizta have what it takes to sway buyers away from a more traditional scooter?

Ather Rizta design

With the Rizta, Ather has clearly taken a more traditional, conservative approach to the styling – a departure from the 450X’s aggressive angles. Practicality has taken centre stage in the design process, and that is very evident. You have a flat front end with a wide light strip that spans the width of the front. The front flows seamlessly to form the side skirts, and then there’s another boxy unit that makes up the rear half of the scooter. We were riding the 'Z' variant, which also gets dual-tone colours – white and seafoam green on this one. Overall, the scooter looks exactly like you would expect a family commuter to look, with Ather adding its flair by way of the fun pastel colours and the tech elements like sharp LED lighting and the large 7-inch instrument cluster. The design also reminds me of another EV in the segment, but that might just be me. On the practicality front, you can option the scooter with a 22-litre frunk, which is essentially a bag mounted on the front apron, and that adds to the large 34-litre boot. Ather has also designed a nifty accessory organiser that can be removed and carried around like a shopping bag. Neat feature, this.

The star attraction of the Rizta is the seat. Ather claims it to be the largest seat in the segment, EV or ICE. Now, I didn’t turn up to the ride with a measuring tape or measurements of the seats of its rivals, but upon interacting with the Rizta, it certainly feels well-endowed. Even a girthy person such as myself could comfortably accommodate a person my size behind me without having to be involuntarily felt up. The screen is a familiar affair with the switchgear being identical to the new 450S. The Z version does benefit from a colour-TFT screen, but bear in mind it is a non-touchscreen unit.

Ather Rizta performance, range, and features

Powering the Ather Rizta is the same 2.9kWh battery that does duty on the 450S and X. You can also get it with the larger 3.7kWh battery to increase the claimed IDC range from 123km to 159km on a single charge. The battery powers a motor that is good for 4.3kW of peak power and 22Nm of torque. Ather claims a top speed of 80km/h and a 0-40km/h time of 4.7 seconds. The scooter gets a single ‘Zip’ mode, and if you get the Pro pack, that unlocks a SmartEco mode. If you want to equate it, the performance in Zip mode is similar to that of the Ather 450S in its mid-performance mode. It gets off the line as you would expect an EV to, but it isn’t rapid by any means. It accelerates well until about 50-55km/h, beyond which it's a slow climb to its top speed. SmartEco mode dulls things down further, and I would stay out of this mode unless I’m desperate to find a charger. The Rizta doesn’t struggle to climb slopes, and everything will be fine if you’re willing to slow things down a little. The throttle response is linear and welcoming to riders of all skill levels, making it accessible to everyone in the family. The Rizta, in terms of the riding experience it offers, is far from exciting and very unlike an Ather in that sense. But considering that it is a family scooter, it really doesn’t need to be thrilling. We got very little time with the scooter, so a range test was out of the question, but getting 90km out of a full charge shouldn’t be much of a challenge.

The Ather Rizta gets 4.3kW of peak power
The Ather Rizta gets 4.3kW of peak powerShot by Rohit G Mane for evo India

Where the Rizta really impresses is in the features that drive the entire riding experience. MagicTwist, a feature that debuted with the 450 Apex, is available on the Rizta and it really works wonders. For the uninitiated, this is Ather’s take on a regen system, but Ather’s goal is to eventually make traditional brakes redundant. To that end, the system really works well, and if you begin to anticipate obstacles, you can actually rely on the feature to take care of a large chunk of your braking. The best bit is that it works from 100 per cent charge to zero, unlike most regen systems which really only kick in when the battery drops below a certain state of charge. It works by twisting the throttle past its resting point, and you get around 15 degrees of granular control. Another intuitive feature is skid control, which is Ather’s take on traction control, essentially using a front wheel-speed sensor in tandem with a rear sensor to ensure that both wheels are spinning at the same speed, ensuring optimum traction. The system works in the background rather well and should help, especially in parking lots while going uphill on slippery concrete. Both these features are a part of the Pro pack and certainly add a lot of value to the riding experience. So I would suggest you account for the ₹15,000 extra if you plan to get the scooter.

The Ather Rizta gets a 200mm disc at the front
The Ather Rizta gets a 200mm disc at the frontShot by Rohit G Mane for evo India

The ride and handling setup is taken care of by a telescopic fork setup with a monoshock at the rear. The front frame and geometry are picked off the 450 series, but the rear subframe and swingarm are new. This is to accommodate the larger boot. The ride is much better (read softer) than the 450 series, and even in terms of handling, it is a very predictable and easy-going scooter. Exactly what you would expect from a family scooter. Braking is handled by a disc at the front and a drum at the rear. Braking performance is not the sharpest, but supplemented by the MagicTwist feature, that is a non-issue.

Ather has nailed the features game with this scooter. Atherstack 6.0 has unlocked a lot of features, including WhatsApp on your screen. All of this has been safely implemented and is inoperable while on the move. The lack of a touchscreen is a bit of a bummer, but the fact that nearly everything can be controlled via the very intuitive app on your smartphone makes things easier.

The Ather Rizta gets a telescopic fork upfront and a monoshock at the rear
The Ather Rizta gets a telescopic fork upfront and a monoshock at the rearShot by Rohit G Mane for evo India

Ather Rizta verdict

The Rizta, unlike any product from the 450 series, is hardly what you would categorise as exciting. But adjectives like adrenaline, speed, and excitement aren’t what you would want for a family scooter. What you are looking for is a comfortable, practical, and dependable scooter that everyone in the family can enjoy. The Rizta is exactly all of that and then some. It looks good and packs in a bunch of features to keep your tech-savvy, learner’s licence-holding nephew entertained without making things too complicated for your father, who just wants to go and buy a carton of eggs and milk. At ₹1.4 lakh, ex-showroom with the Pro pack, which I really recommend for all the value-adding features it unlocks, it isn’t what you’d call affordable, but with what the Rizta brings to the table, it certainly justifies it.

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