Hero MotoCorp’s Karizma has come a long way since birth, gaining its fair share of loyalty among motorcycle enthusiasts along the way. The design this time round is radically changed, although the core does still remain the same. The new ZMR, just like the previous ZMR is still fully faired and retains some of that ‘big-bike appeal.’
The latest ZMR looks leaner than the previous, with completely reworked body panels that create a sense of aggressive urgency around the bike. In the front, vertically stacked twin headlamps peek out, and work well to provide good visibility at night. LED pilot lights look appealing, next to a set of clear lens indicators.
A tinted, generous size visor does a good job of deflecting wind away from the rider, with the number plate sitting smack in the center of the show. The ZMR’s blue backlit digital instruments display a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, a fuel-gauge, dual trip meters, a clock, real time mileage indicator and even reminds you to put on your helmet.
The ZMR comes with familiar switchgear, a comfy set of grips and adequate feeling levers. The motorcycle deploys a familiar looking, slim fuel-tank, with a fairing cloaking the engine. The new well-textured split seats look sporty, while the ZMR’s side panels are completely redesigned. A horizontal layout LED taillight is in place. Bits of the suspension and engine cases get a rich gold shade, while the Hero bike’s alloy wheels and chain cover remain black.
The ZMR continues to use Hero’s 223cc fuel-injected, four-stroke air and oil-cooled engine, whose power output is now up to 20bhp, delivered at 8,000rpm, with peak torque 2kgm coming in at 6,500rpm. The ZMR retains a five-speed gearbox, engaging with a nice smooth feel in a one-down, four-up shift pattern. And the bike offers better clutch feel, thanks to improvements within the engine. The fuel-injected Hero engine provides good low-end power, that allows it to zip through city traffic with ease, with revs building smoothly across a wide powerband.
The ZMR feels at home when cruising at speeds up to 100kph. Opening up the ZMR, we achieved good acceleration to 60kph from rest, the new bike taking 4.48 seconds, thereafter touching 100kph in 12.39sec. This is quicker than the older ZMR, on which we managed 60kph in 4.56s, and 100kph in 13.63s. Top speed is likewise identical to the older bike, a true 129kph.
The riding position on the new ZMR has now become more aggressive, due to shorter clip-on handlebars, resulting in slightly aggressive ergonomics. The plush feeling seat and well-positioned footrests make a decent combination for the open highway, but your wrists tend to feel stressed when riding the sporty feeling bike in city. To its credit, it’s slightly lighter than the previous bike at 157kg, which results in nice handling. Nice sraight-line stability and good cornering manners remain a constant. Braking feels progressive with decent enough bite when called upon, with disc brakes at both ends. The Karizma ZMR comes with a broader rear tyre now, this providing improved grip as compared to the previous model.
The Karizma ZMR’s fuel economy figures have improved, providing 38.6kpl in city riding conditions as compared to an earlier 37.4kpl, with 42.7kpl available when cruising on the highway.
Overall, although it’s disappointing to see Hero’s new flagship hasn’t become much quicker performing, the stylish ZMR offers good value-for-money for enthusiasts looking for a well built, and smooth running sporty bike. While the Karizma ZMR isn’t ever going to make a segment leader or match its rivals from Bajaj and KTM on performance or razor sharp handling, it does offer enough zing to make a dent in its segment.