The Karizma has come a long way since its inception back in 2003 and has catered to a mixed audience, some of whom are power hungry and then those who simply required a sweet combination of excitement with reasonable comfort. Deliver this the Hero flagship did, with charm, and over the years, the Karizma has seen a few cosmetic and engineering upgrades including a fully faired-in version named the ZMR, but the bike has, at its heart, remained more or less the same.
This time around, Hero has made the Karizma more aggressive, tipping it closer towards a sportsbike. Can the new ZMR compete with today’s generation of uber-quick KTM Dukes, or the sporty CBR bikes from Honda?
Let’s find out.
The riding position on the new ZMR is now more aggressive than ever due to shorter clip-on handlebars that have resulted in focussed, sporty ergonomics. The seat feels plush and, combined with well-positioned footrests, makes this a decent motorcycle when riding on the open highway. Your wrists however, do tend to feel stressed when riding this sporty bike in the city. The new ZMR’s wheelbase has increased slightly within the tubular frame, 18-inch rims doing duty at both ends and a rectangle section swingarm with needle rollers supporting its pivot.
Up front, the ZMR deploys a set of twin telescopic forks, while gas filled shock absorbers work at the back. The rear tyre is wider, a 120/80 section unit, and it uses disc brakes at both ends.
In the saddle, we found that Hero’s latest motorcycle does handle better, changing lanes and attacking corners quicker than earlier, owing largely to the more focussed riding position. Straightline stability is good, the bike always handling with a predictable feel. Ride quality, meanwhile, is fair, and allows for comfortable riding on bad road surfaces. High speed handling is good too.
Brake feel is nice as well, with both disc brakes working together to provide reassuring, safe stops. We managed to bring the ZMR from 60kph to rest in 16.24 meters.
The Karizma ZMR though slightly up on power, to its credit, did not show any significant drop in fuel-efficiency. The motorcycle delivered 37.5kpl when test riding it in real world Indian city riding conditions, and returned 42.9kpl during economy testing on open highways.