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Old 21st February 2021, 12:36   #1
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Default Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

I have owned a motorcycle before, Apache 180 RTR, and used to do lot rides around Pune. Then I switched to car and the motorcycle rides stopped. Recently I bought Ather 450X. It reminds me of my motorcycling days. Though being a scooter, it handles like a motorcycle and has good pickup.

The Plan


We have a very active Ather owners group here in Pune. We try to test our 450X limits, range and handling both. Rohit, Chetan, Allan, and I were thinking of a new challenge. Our group already had visited Katraj and Kasarsai dam to build up confidence and ease the range anxiety. Some of the 450X owners had completed the Sinhagad ride. So now we needed something more challenging. Hence, we decided to go to Lavasa on Saturday, 6th February 2021. The route to Lavasa has multiple ghats with steep inclines. Pune to Lavasa is 50KM one way. We started planning for Lavasa a week before. We checked the route on Google maps, identified possible charging points, how much charge should we have at each point, and so on. None of us had a portable charger. We all had the Dot charger which is fixed to a wall in our respective parking. BU Bhandari (Pune Ather dealer) were kind enough to give us two portable chargers for the trip.

On Friday, 5th February we were preparing for our ride, checking tire pressure, extension box, getting GoPro, camera, etc. Thanks to Allan we were able to arrange GoPro camera! But a disaster struck. On Friday evening, Allan was on the way to pick-up GoPro camera and he met with a small accident. He had bruises and his Ather was damaged. We thought of postponing the trip. Allan, being a sport that he is, insisted that as all the planning that has gone into this trip, rest of us should go ahead with the trip. Hence, we decided to go ahead with the ride.

The Trip


We had decided to meet at Subway, Paud road Ather Grid (fast charger) to start for Lavasa. We left our homes around 5:10 AM. As we had consumed some battery from our homes to reach the Ather Grid, we topped up at the grid. We had a time of 20 mins for top up to have at least 98% battery for each of the three 450X at Ather Grid (fast chargers). So, we topped up each 450X to 98%-99% and the journey began at 6:45 AM. We maintained a speed of 45 kmph. On the way there was one small ghat of Manas lake.

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-2-sunrise-manas-lake.jpg
Sunrise at Manas Lake

Then Pirangut ghat was downhill and then was Temghar ghat
Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-3-temghar-road-ghat.jpg
Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-5-themghar-road-ghat.jpg

We reached The Farmstead (Kharawade Village, Temghar-Lavasa Rd, Mulshi) resort. It was a fantastic ride. There were no issues in climbing up the ghat, we were driving in Ride mode. It was very smooth experience. We reached Farmstead around 8:00 AM with around 60% battery left.

Ather App Ride Report: Ather Grid, Subway, Paud Road to Farmstead (Ride mode used throughout)
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Gaurav of Farmstead was exited to know about the Ather 450X. We gave him a quick demo of 450X. He had already arranged for two charging points. As we had two portable chargers, we needed just two points. He told us that EVs like Nexon and Kona have already visited his resort. He said he was happy to provide charging points for EVs, two and four wheelers, for those visiting his resort.

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-9-farmstead-time-breakfast-us-well-our-beasties.jpg

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-10-farmstead-time-breakfast-us-well-our-beasties.jpg

It was a charging time for us as well as our vehicles! We were well prepared with extension box if the wire was not enough to reach our Ather. The resort had a fantastic location, with fresh air (obviously we were not polluting it) and on the bank of a river. We got fresh and had a stroll around the farm, stretching ourselves. We had breakfast, delicious Misal Pav, Pohe, piping hot tea and coffee.

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-misal.jpg
Misal Pav

Now the most treacherous part was ahead. Farmstead resort to Lavasa was a complete ghat road with maximum inclination, 21 km one way. We started around 9:45 AM. Our vehicles were topped up to 65%-70% (Fast charger here would have helped, 3 scooters and two portable chargers, so had to manage in that). Our first stop was Temghar dam. It was around 6 KM from farmstead. We again maintained a very low speed till dam as we wanted to enjoy ghat section in sports and warp mode. We reached Temghar dam and stopped for some clicks.

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-11_temgahr_dam.jpeg

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450X at Temghar Dam

The crowd starting building up, and were curious about 450X. The regular 'kitna deti hai' and other questions were thrown at us. We are used to all this now, 450X is a conversation starter and an attention magnet! Some were thinking that we were from Ather and came for testing of vehicle. Everyone was asking for test rides and we were worried about our battery usage so we weren’t able to give them test rides. We literally started running away from the crowd. Some even started following us, trying to catch up with us! We 'Warped' away from them.

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GoPro shots in the Lavasa ghat

We left everyone behind, it was a fantastic experience riding uphill at speeds of 50-60 kmph. The 450X performance was at par, the balance was incredible, cornering was amazing, it felt as we were riding a sports bike. At some point we could feel the tires reaching the limit while cornering, the grip was just about enough. Only if we had grippier tires and ABS, then nothing like it.

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-15.jpeg
This is where we are heading!

We reached Lavasa entry gate.

Ather App Ride Report: Farmstead to Lavasa Entry Gate. Ghat climb. (Eco, Sport, and Warp modes used.)
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We bought entry ticket (Rs 200 per for 2-wheeler) and started the down-hill part of Lavasa ghat, we tried re-gen tricks. We have seen 1% to 1.5% re-gen. As expected, it didn’t help much. We reached Lavasa dam around 11:20 AM with 45% battery still available. Clicked some photos with wonderful backdrop.

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At Lavasa

We left Lavasa dam at 12:30 PM. Next stop, Farmstead resort. We reached to a vantage point where everyone was like – “Ek picture to banta hai yaar“.

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-23.jpeg

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-24.jpeg

From here you can see complete valley and backwater of Lavasa dam. If you see the bridge behind us, that’s where we came from. This time we were using Ride mode for the uphill journey to conserve battery.

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Check out the GoPro video of the Lavasa ghat ride:


We reached Farmstead around 1:30-1:40 PM with 33-35% battery. We kept our vehicles for charging and headed over for lunch. Freshened up again and strolled for few minutes enjoying the country side. We headed over to lunch. It was a buffet style lunch with both veg & Non-Veg on the menu. We finished our lunch around 2:40 PM and checked our vehicles charge. After having so much food, it was resting time. We sat under the mango tree, chit-chatting. We had a beautiful nap under the tree, listening to the river flow nearby. Amazing experience. We highly recommend you visit Farmstead resort once. To be fair, we were made to rest as our vehicles needed to be charged at least 60% to reach home. Plus two chargers and three vehicles, took more time. Hence got time to relax. (One more benefit of EV, you get resting time).

We started from Farmstead at 3:30 PM. Around 4:00 PM we reached Pirangut and were welcomed by heavy traffic. We were at a very slow pace. Then came the Pirangut ghat where we had to ride slow due to traffic. We reached Subway, Paud Road around 4:30 PM to top-up for 10-15 mins to reach home. Rohit charged his bike for 10 minutes. Chetan and I had 32-35% juice remaining.

Ather App Ride Report: Farmstead to Ather Grid, Subway, Paud Road (Eco, Ride, and Warp modes used).
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Chetan reached home with 9% battery, Rohit reached with 10% battery and I with 10% battery left.

The journey was epic, remarkable, fun, and electrifying! Ather performed like a pro and outperformed all the challenges. We were missing Allan a lot. Thanks to BU Bhandari team for arranging two portable chargers. Thanks to Gaurav from Farmstead for a wonderful breakfast, lunch and giving us charging points for our Athers. Without Gaurav's help, our trip was incomplete.

The next challenge is coming, and this time we are not missing Allan. Timeline, don’t know.
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Old 21st February 2021, 13:28   #2
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Default re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

Thanks for sharing this beautiful little travelogue KetanT. What I loved most is that you rode in Ride mode to have some fun later on in the Warp mode. Nice to see the dealer support by giving you the portable chargers.

Did you face anyof those typical ather issues like screen freeze and screen reboot in any of the 3 scooters? Reason why I'm asking this is typically I've observed these issues only during my longish rides.

I've not been to Lavasa. It seems to be a very picturesque location. I can imagine how beautiful it'll be during the monsoon season.
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Old 21st February 2021, 14:31   #3
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Thanks Hemanth. None of us faced face any screen freeze or screen reboot issues during the ride. I have had those issues earlier on shorter rides though.

Lavasa is very scenic during monsoon. Come down to Pune in monsoon, we will plan a Lavasa ride then.
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Old 21st February 2021, 15:33   #4
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Default re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

Thank you Ketan for the detailed ride report and insight into the Ather electric world for reasonable distance travel. Lovely photographs too.

The scooter looks smashing but the Achilles heel of the scooter is the worry about charging it all the time, maintaining speeds to preserve battery and the planning it takes to undertake such relatively short distances. Once in a while it would be exiting, fun maybe, but having to do this regularly would be a pain in the hindquarters.

Personally not for me, but hey, different strokes for different folks.

Keep having fun and ride safe.

Cheers
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Old 21st February 2021, 16:10   #5
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Agree with you, Cyborg. It's not meant to be ridden like this on every weekend! 450X is mainly to be used for office and home runs and it's a city runabout. It's just some of us crazy EV guys stretching it's ability.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 07:52   #6
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

Thanks for sharing! Moving your thread to our 2-wheeled forum so that scooter fans don't miss this one. Also, it's going to our homepage today .
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Old 22nd February 2021, 09:08   #7
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

Thanks for sharing this wonderful journey. When I test rode the Ather I noticed/experienced that the seat wasn't wide enough for me (Rather thin). I wasn't comfortable (even for the short ride). How are you managing the long rides? Whats your take on this? Thanks in advance
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:15   #8
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

Wonderful report Ketan T. The electric wave has started and will swallow everything enroute. I regret having canceled my Ather 450 X booking. Honestly I chickened out for reasons you've mentioned in the report.

I'd like a charging infrastructure that won't stress me enough to plan my trips. In any case weekend rides are supposed to help one relax but nuances like finding chargers, riding efficiently, etc will tire me out.

That said, I loved your report for the way you guys managed to push the boundaries of your e-scooters. Makes the Ather all the more desirable when there's a riding club that gathers around the brand and explores the uncharted on newly crafted tech on wheels.

Cheers.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 12:00   #9
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

Quote:
Originally Posted by moralfibre View Post
Makes the Ather all the more desirable when there's a riding club that gathers around the brand and explores the uncharted on newly crafted tech on wheels.

Cheers.
Thanks moralfibre. Yes, we have a good number of Ather owners here in Pune who are always ready to take up some challenges. We even have some city rides where range isn't much of an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebring View Post
Thanks for sharing this wonderful journey. When I test rode the Ather I noticed/experienced that the seat wasn't wide enough for me (Rather thin). I wasn't comfortable (even for the short ride). How are you managing the long rides? Whats your take on this? Thanks in advance
I did not face any issues with the seat design. I have been using the 450X for two months now. I think it depends on the rider height. Chetan, who had joined me for the Lavasa ride, is 6 feet tall. He did face some discomfort when he got his 450X. He has got his seat modified, added some padding, from a local seat cover shop for his comfort. Posting pictures for your reference:

Before:
Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-before_seat.jpg

After:
Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-after.jpg

You can do a similar modification, based on your need.

Last edited by Ketan T : 22nd February 2021 at 12:07.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 13:23   #10
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

It was a good read, reminded me how much I miss those roads and misal pav. Good to know that those roads are now motorable even by scootys. 12-14 years back bajaj M80 used to rule those roads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketan T View Post
(One more benefit of EV, you get resting time).
We humans are truly optimistic and can find positivity in any dire situation. This statement is akin to a poor person who can not afford any means of transport saying that they like to walk as they are health conscious.

Last edited by Sran : 22nd February 2021 at 13:47. Reason: Two words added
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Old 22nd February 2021, 13:39   #11
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketan T View Post

The Plan


Our group already had visited Katraj and Kasarsai dam to build up confidence and ease the range anxiety. Some of the 450X owners had completed the Sinhagad ride. So now we needed something more challenging. Pune to Lavasa is 50KM one way. We started planning for Lavasa a week before. We checked the route on Google maps, identified possible charging points, how much charge should we have at each point, and so on. None of us had a portable charger. We all had the Dot charger which is fixed to a wall in our respective parking. BU Bhandari (Pune Ather dealer) were kind enough to give us two portable chargers for the trip.
Thank for such a nice travelogue!
Sorry for going little OT but I never realized going to these next to Pune places need so much planning and effort to reach even on bicycle (I rode to these places on bicycle).
This double digit range anxiety kills all the joy or may be gives the joy to few people . I am all set to buy Ather, Chetak or whatever EV a good brand provides to us but with minimum 150kms range (in real world) in one go. I know that time is not far but until then.........
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Old 22nd February 2021, 18:33   #12
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

I must say, you guys have a lot of courage and determination to pull off something like this!

With all the range limitations and changes in gradient, having to save battery by riding optimally etc requires a lot of patience and planning and jugad for charging!

For someone like me - the blood pressure increase would compensate any pleasure I would derive out of the ride
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Old 22nd February 2021, 21:09   #13
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

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Originally Posted by Shubhendra View Post
I am all set to buy Ather, Chetak or whatever EV a good brand provides to us but with minimum 150kms range (in real world) in one go. I know that time is not far but until then.........
150km per charge in real world driving condition at a reasonable price is still a dream for many 2 wheeler manufacturers. We cannot expect anything soon. I got 150km range once with sedate driving averaging 31kmph in a city+highway drive condition.

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-screenshot_20210222204218_1.png

I drove back to back in same route in my electric bike and ZMR at maximum possible speed and found the average speed difference between these two are only 14kmph. I maintained 110kmph in petrol bike on empty roads, still could able to manage 56kmph average speed only for the trip. In my electric bike i did the same 70km trip with 66% SOC which is close to 100km range in close to real world condition.

Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X-screenshot_20210222205837_1.png
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Old 23rd February 2021, 00:36   #14
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

You guys mention that you have the Ather home Dot wall charger. What do you recommend purchasing the 450 x with ? the dot wall charger or the portable charger ? Does it make any difference to only have the portable charger instead of the wall dot charger ?
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Old 23rd February 2021, 07:33   #15
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Default Re: Electric Ride: Pune to Lavasa on an Ather 450X

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Originally Posted by M00M View Post
You guys mention that you have the Ather home Dot wall charger. What do you recommend purchasing the 450 x with ? the dot wall charger or the portable charger ? Does it make any difference to only have the portable charger instead of the wall dot charger ?
Both have same charging times but there are some other minor differences. You may choose one that suits you the best.

The home charger- Dot is paired to your scooter and no other Ather can charge from it. So you can be rest assured that in your absence there is no power theft. There is no need to carry anything around in your scooter. Although it still fits in the boot of the scooter, it's impractical to carry it around (some owners are doing that on their long rides). If your usage is more within the full range and there is a dedicated parking slot for you at your home...this is the best option.

The portable charger can be carried around but since it's not paired to your scooter, you can't leave it in your parking slot without locks. This version of the portable charger is quite big and it occupies some space in the boot. With this in the boot, you can only fit a half face helmet...nothing more...if you plan to go on frequent long rides of if your usage needs intra-day charging (at your workplace for example) or if you are in a rented house where the landlord doesn't allow the installation of the home charger, then the portable charger is the best choice.

The previous generation portable charger was just like a laptop charger and could easily be carried around (of course it was slower than previous generation home charger). The previous gen scooters were heavy due to this as they had an on-board charger.
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