- Published On: 6 April 2017
- 4 min read
Hero's sporty new Karizma is redesigned, retuned and thoroughly re-imagined. But is it as good as it looks?
Since it was first launched in 2003, the Karizma catered to a mixed audience - racing enthusiasts and others who needed a combination of excitement without compromising on comfort. Over the years, the Karizma saw a few cosmetic and engineering upgrades including a fully faired-in version named the ZMR, but underneath it all, the bike remained more or less the same. This new version though is more aggressive, and is much closer to being a sportsbike than any other iteration. But is it as good as the uber-quick KTM Dukes, or the sporty CBR bikes from Honda?
On the outside
The Karizma now has radically reworked design elements and body panels that have helped save 2kg of weight over the previous bike. From the front, the long and curvy front-fairing continues to use vertically stacked DC-powered headlights with an LED strip sitting beside clear lens indicators. The large tinted visor protects you from wind blasts pretty well. The bike’s new fairing flows quite neatly to cover the engine bay. The blue backlit digital instruments display a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, fuel-gauge, dual trip meters, a clock, real time mileage indicator and also a reminder to wear your helmet before you ride.
The short clip-on handlebars come fitted with familiar switchgear, as well as a nice set of grips and control levers. The ZMR’s slim fuel-tank is familiar, while the riding saddle is now a split unit, that’s nicely textured – the company has paid good attention to detail. Both side panels extend from the rider’s thigh region up to the bike’s tailpiece, where you see a unique, horizontal-set tail-light with indicators attached to it. The suspension and the engine cases use the same light gold, faux magnesium alloy theme as on the earlier bike. The new ZMR is well built and overall fit and finish is good.
The fuel-injected engine remains largely similar – it’s a 223cc, four-stroke, air-cooled powerplant, with an oil-cooler in place to help keep cool. The tweaked engine now produces a healthy 20bhp at 8,000rpm, while peak torque of 2.01kgm is produced at 6,500rpm. The ZMR continues to use the same, time-tested five-speed gearbox, which shifts in the one-down, four-up pattern.
The engine is quite peppy and responsive and the bike can cruise easily at speeds of 100kph. Also, acceleration is strong when called upon. The bike can go from standstill to 60kph in just 4.48seconds and 100kph takes only 12.39secs. Top speed remains identical to the older bike, at 129kph. The new bike, however, vibrates a lot more than the earlier model at high rpms.
From the saddle
The riding position on the new ZMR is more aggressive now, aided by the shorter clip-on handlebars. The seat feels plush and, combined with well-positioned footrests, makes the ZMR a comfy bike to pilot on the highway. Your wrists, however, will feel strained after a while. The new ZMR’s wheelbase has increased slightly. The ZMR’s rear tyre is a wider, a 120/80 section unit, and it uses disc brakes at both ends.
The updated bike handles better now, changing lanes and attacking corners quicker than earlier, owing largely to the more focussed riding position. Straight-line stability is good but ride quality is acceptable. High speed handling though, is really good. The brakes bite well, with both disc brakes working together to provide reassuring, safe stops. The ZMR stops from 60kph in 16.24 meters.
Though it makes more power, there is no significant drop in fuel-efficiency. The motorcycle delivered 37.5kpl in the city and 42.9kpl on the highway.
Is it worth the money?
Hero’s latest ZMR doesn’t blow away the competition – far from it. It could have been better styled, and could have done with more power and pep. Yes, handling is improved and it does feel more sporty but its peers are far superior. It’s aggressive price tag and fuel economy might tempt a few buyers its way though.