The Hero Karizma is back in an all-new avatar, but does it live up to the hype?
Hero MotoCorp is on the charge as it has introduced a slew of new products such as the Hero Xpulse 200 4V, Xoom 110 scooter and recently, the Xtreme 160R. But it missed a halo product in its line up, and for this reason, it has resurrected an iconic brand in the Indian two-wheeler space. Yes, the legendary Karizma is back in a new avatar as the Hero Karizma XMR and as you can see it's an all-new product from the ground up. So the key question is does this bike deserve the Karizma badge.
Styling & Features
First things first, the new Karizma doesn’t look anything like the OG Karizma or even the Karizma ZMR that followed later. So kudos to Hero designers for taking this bold decision. I feel the new Karizma looks properly modern and sporty. The sleek headlight, the large windscreen and the bulky fairing makes it look attractive. Also, the indicators have been positioned right below the handlebar, which is quite unique.
The split seat suits the sportbike DNA and I liked the stubby exhaust muffler. The rear is compact and sharp. What's impressive are the fit and finish levels, the quality of welds is good and panel gaps are tight. Even the switchgear looks appealing. It’s available in three colour options, but IMHO the bike looks the best in yellow, just like the original Karizma.
On the features front you get all-LED lighting, and an LCD instrument console that's easy to read and isn't cluttered. Apart from the conventional details, you also get real-time fuel efficiency and distance to empty on the console.
There's Bluetooth connectivity for call and message alerts and turn-by-turn navigation as well. You also get a USB charger next to the handlebar to charge your phone on the move.
An interesting feature is the adjustable windscreen, which can be manually operated via a button on the fairing.
The big highlight of the new Karizma is the new engine. It comes with a lot of first for a Hero motorcycle - liquid-cooling, DOHC, and slipper clutch.
210cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC
25.2 bhp @ 9,250 rpm
20.4 Nm @ 7,250 rpm
6-speed with slipper clutch
As you can see the power and torque figures aren't that bad. In fact, it’s amongst the most powerful bikes in its class. The new Karizma feels peppy and acceleration off the line is good.
City speed is easily maintained in 2nd and 3rd gear and the addition of slipper clutch makes city commutes less tiring. Out on the highway, the Karizma XMR cruises well between 100-110 kmph and this should make it a good tourer.
What I don't like about the engine is the vibrations, it kicks in at 4,000 rpm and increases as you head towards the redline. Also, the older Karizma had a larger displacement and since the new Bajaj Pulsar F250, the successor to the Pulsar 220 is powered by a 250cc engine, I think Hero should have gone for a 250cc motor.
Ride, Handling & Braking
The Hero Karizma XMR is the first product from Hero to use a steel trellis frame. And the impact of this frame can be seen immediately. The new Hero motorcycle feels very agile, and direction changes hardly take any effort. And when you wanna corner hard, the Karizma feels right up to the task and you will have a great time hunting corners with the new bike.
Suspension hardware is quite basic as it misses out on a USD fork. Ride quality is actually good on most occasions for a bike of this segment. But sometimes the rebound can catch you by surprise, especially on roads with depressions. But on rough roads, it performed well.
Although it gets disc brakes and also dual-channel ABS, the lever action is a bit too soft for my liking and one has to really squeeze the lever hard for any bite.
As you can see Hero engineers have worked really hard on the 2023 Hero Karizma. It's peppy, the styling is eye-catching, the new frame makes it a fun bike to ride and the bunch of features does make it attractive. And more importantly it remains a versatile motorcycle like the original Karizma with a relaxed and sporty riding posture.
But having said that the pricing is on the higher end and it should have been close to 1.65 lakh (ex-showroom) introductory. Since it will compete with established bikes such as the Bajaj Pulsar RS 200, Pulsar F250 and the Yamaha R15 V4. And as I mentioned before the engine displacement could have been 250cc.
Having said that, the initial impressions of the Karizma XMR is positive and it does justice to the Karizma badge. But we would like to do a proper road test for a definite opinion.
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