Ather Rizta, range, review, pictures – Introduction

To say that we have been eagerly waiting for a practical and spacious Ather electric scooter would be quite the understatement. Ever since the 450 launched 7 years ago, we (and the public at large) have been waiting with bated breath for a practical e-scooter from Ather. Well, it’s finally here and we have now been able to get a first taste of the new Rizta.

Ather Rizta ride and handling

Unlike other first ride reviews, where we start with the design and features of the two-wheeler first, I’d like to start with the riding experience, because that’s about the only unknown fact about the Rizta. To ride it feels very much like an Ather, well-engineered and sophisticated but it’s a different experience to the energetic 450 models. 

That’s actually quite commendable on Ather’s part because most of the fundamentals are shared between the two models. The suspension feels absorbent but it’s not outright soft (a good thing in my books) and these are the same units as the 450, just tuned very differently here. 

Ather Rizta power, top speed

Around Nandi Hills in Bengaluru where we rode the Rizta, there were very few road imperfections so I can’t comment on how it’ll perform in Mumbai (where the surface is far poorer). The few bumps I did encounter, the Rizta dealt with them in a poised manner and it never crashed through or sent a sudden jolt to my back. 

While it is a calmer thing to ride, don’t mistake the Rizta for being slow or lethargic, in fact, in its top Zip mode I managed to see 82kph on the TFT display. The Rizta’s motor makes 4.3kW (less than the 5.4kW on the 450S), but peak torque on both is an identical 22Nm.

Top speed and performance seem very much in the TVS iQube ballpark, although we can only certify that once we test the Rizta back at base. While taking a corner, the heavier Rizta feels a little lazier to steer than the reactive 450 but the tradeoff is that it feels more sure-footed once leant over. This is not a complaint and will actually be more beneficial to a typical family-centric urban runabout.

Ather Rizta Magic Twist regenerative braking

Riding the Rizta was my first time experiencing the Magic Twist regenerative braking system and I found it quite user friendly, almost right off the bat. The intervention here isn’t as strong as on the 450 Apex and Ather tells us on the Rizta it’s between the High and Low modes that you’d find on the Apex. In fact, at speeds under 50kph you can bring the scooter to a halt reasonably quickly by just relying on the system. 

While the Rizta has moved to a gentler drum rear brake it is still fairly easy to lock up the rear wheel. I feel the Magic Twist feature works in tandem with the rear brake to make this happen and for newer riders, this is something to bear in mind. 

I wish Ather had raised the handlebar height on the Rizta because it still fouls with my knees in situations where I turn it from lock to lock. 

Ather Rizta seat comfort, can short riders ride it?

However, it’s not as bad as on the 450 duo because you can scoot back to alleviate this problem to some extent on that spacious seat. Ather claims this is the longest seat in the segment and it really does feel like it. For reference, me and our photographer Kuldeep (5’11 and 5’10, respectively) both could sit comfortably, with quite a lot of room to spare. The seat foam isn’t ultra plush but it’s quite thick and has a certain firmness to it. I believe this is a good thing because you don’t sink into the hard base underneath too quickly. 

Besides the handlebar fouling with my knees while taking tight u-turns, there’s precious little to complain about on the ergonomics front. Even our 5’3  videographer Roshni, who rides a Honda Activa as her daily, found this to be a well-judged rider triangle. 

Ather Rizta underseat storage, practicality

From the seat we move downwards to the underseat storage area. At 34 litres, it’s not the largest in the e-scooter game but it comfortably managed to fit my full-face AGV helmet outfitted with a bulky Sena Bluetooth intercom system, with some room to spare. There’s also a small cubby just aft of the boot, where you can comfortably store a large smartphone and some knick-knacks. Ather has paid particular attention to space and practicality and it really shows through in all these small touches. 

Our Rizta also had the accessory Organiser which is a carry bag in the shape of the boot. Although with this fitted, my helmet only fits in the middle section which is wider than the ends. 

Additionally, there are a couple of storage hooks both under the seat and on the front apron although the plastic used for these doesn’t feel great. Another small issue we (and other journalists with us on the ride) faced was that locking the seat into place while closing the boot required a lot of effort. These scooters we rode were pre-production units and the company has informed us that these issues will be ironed out on customer vehicles.

Ather Rizta features, design

As is typical with Ather, a great deal of technology is baked into the product. The Rizta Z 2.9 we rode was outfitted with the Pro Pack, which gives you access to the SmartEco mode as well as the features I will reference below.  

While the TFT display is the same here in terms of hardware as the 450, it is not a touchscreen unit and the layout is all-new. This dash can be paired to your smartphone via the Ather app and this allows you to control music playback, accept/reject calls, receive navigation alerts and even check your 5 most recent WhatsApp messages. You can also track the location of your Rizta, from within the safety of your home and much more although we haven’t tried all of these features in the limited time we had today. 

The design of the Rizta is far more homogenous than the angular 450 models and that befits the family scooter design brief quite well. There is more than a hint of the successful TVS iQube when it comes to the rectangular headlight design and the little black flyscreen. It’s not an exact copy but I’d have liked a little more differentiation and authenticity in the Rizta’s design. To its credit, the tapered rear is totally unique and while this won’t be a universally popular design, I for one, quite like it. 

There are a total of 7 colours on offer on the Rizta, with the base S getting 3 single-tone colour schemes and the up-spec Z variants getting dual-tone options. It’s worth mentioning that the backrest you see here on the higher Z 2.9 we are riding is an optional extra on the base S variant. The Rizta’s mirror stalks are simple tubular units not the fancy aluminium ones seen on the 450 but the lenses are the same on both models. 

By this point, you’ve probably come to know that the Rizta has very few chinks in its armour. The biggest thing it has going for it is that the fundamentals are all tried and tested over many years and many lakhs of kms on the 450 and that the Rizta’s reliability should be sorted when it comes to the core components. 

Ather Rizta range, variants

We rode the Z 2.9 variant of the Rizta and over the course of our ride we covered 63km, riding in both the modes. The Rizta can be had in three variants – S, Z 2.9 and Z 3.7 – with the first two sharing the battery and range figures. The Z 3.7 gets the larger battery, quicker charger and is rated for a claimed True Range of 125km. Only the Z variants get Magic Twist, Skid Control and the backrest; only the latter is an optional extra on the S. 

Ather Rizta price, verdict

At its introductory price, the Rizta ranges between 1.10 lakh – 1.45 lakh which is pretty decent pricing that puts it on par with comparable offerings from TVS and Bajaj. If my memory serves me, the Rizta is more spacious than those two but they aren’t very cramped to begin with.

If you valued the slickness and sophistication of the 450’s user experience but wanted something spacious, more comfortable and practical then the Rizta will fulfill those needs. It’s still early days to say if this will become India’s ubiquitous electric family scooter but it certainly has the fundamentals to do so. 

Also see: 

Ather Rizta video review

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