Hero Motocorp Karizma ZMR Road Test Review

Published On Nov 6, 2015 By Sameer Sheikh for Hero Karizma (2012-2017)

The Pros: Comfortable bike for short as well longer ride. Refined engine.

The Cons: Power should have been better, Charm of Old Karizma is missing

The Crux: Good Option at this price, which goes well on both short and long journeys

When the company brought it for the first time, it was meant to do two jobs. First, setting a benchmark so that its competitors can notice what actually Indian market needs and secondly, the bike had to raise the standard for the market so that people can get the best products in future.

That’s what Hero did with Karizma. When launched, it was not just the gift for the bike enthusiasts, but also became the first bike to carve the outline of performance segment in the country. It was Karizma which challenged other bike makers to try their hands in upper segment of motorcycles in the last decade.  But, with the launch of other bikes in the market like Pulsar and Apache series, Karizma was not the talk of the town anymore. Realising the fact, Hero company launched the upgraded machine to fulfill the market demand. Let’s find out, how the latest Karizma performs on road.

Design and Appearance:

There is no doubt that Karizma made teenagers run towards the nearest Hero Honda showrooms and drool over the display bike put at the forefront. But same cannot be said about the new Hero Karizma ZMR, the bike is definitely bigger as compared to the earlier models but the design of the bike disappoints.

At front, it has a larger fairing that incorporates vertically stacked dual headlamps, which are flanked by LED DRLs and the turn indicators are mounted on fairing. The front fascia of the bike tries to give indigenous identity to the bike, but lacks the flair of the old Karizma.  The body coloured rear view mirrors are also mounted on fairing. The fuel tank design of the bike does not go well with overall design of the bike and rob the appeal, which front fairing somehow manages to create.

Coming to the rear profile, the positioning of the LED taillight and indicators mounted on it make it look somewhat boring. The instrument console is completely taken over by the previous Karizma ZMR, which is a completely digital unit that comprises of digital speedometer, fuel meter, odometer, tachometer, two trip meters, fuel efficiency indicator and basic tell tale lights. Although it has the same six-year old unit, but it still looks modern and easy to understand.The clip-on handlebars are fresh, but the switchgear, palm grips and bar end weights are inspired from previous Karizma.  

Not just the charm of older Karizma, the new Karizma ZMR also loses on fit and finish. Though the bike still got amongst the best fit and finish in the segment, but there are few things like the non-uniform alignment of the rear tail piece and the vibrations on lower revs are some of the issues with the build quality. The bike though has been put together nicely and the each component has durable feel to it, which all Hero bikes are known for.

Engine and Performance:

This is the area where Hero’s attempt can be appreciated. The older version of the bike always known for its torquey engine, which became the synonym of a budget sports tourer. Hero has maintained the originality of the bike and featured it with its ultra-reliable, four-stroke, single-cylinder, fuel injected, 223cc engine.

Originally, it had the Honda made engine, but now Hero with the help of its technical partner EBR has re-tuned the engine heavily. The freshly tuned engine produces 20PS of power and 19.7Nm of torque. The moment you start engine you come to know that at least there is some ‘Karizma’ left in this machine. While riding it on higher speeds, you can feel the bike is not made for short sprint, but definitely relaxed one for the longer rides.

Ride and Handling:

Being a successor of country’s highly acclaimed sports-tourers is not an easy thing to deal with. With the kerb weight of 157 kgs and fairing of ZMR may not impress you in the first instance, but the powerful chassis and balanced weight duration allows it to shine and puts all the doubts about the machine in dust.

The lowered clip-handlebars, the rear set foot-pegs and lowered rider’s seat makes the riding posture of the new Karizma ZMR almost perfect. The position is not just good for city commutes, but justifies on highways as well. The bike houses telescopic forks at the front and the gas-charged coil springs at the rear. The company should have given second thought to the rear suspension. Although, it performs its duty adequately, but fails against the modern mono shock absorbers, which other bikes of the segment offers.

Similar to the previous models, this also offers disc brakes at the both ends. The braking power is neither too sharp like racing machines, nor too slow like drum units. Both rider and pillion seats are roomy enough to remain comfortable even for longer duration. The tyres of the bike are wider as compared to outgoing variants, but due to more weight and the huge space between the rear tyre and the tail section, the rear tyre looks smaller while looking it fromt the back.


There are many aspects where the new Karizma ZMR comes up as a winner, but while comparing it to the first gen Karizma, it lacks the attitude. The styling of the bike is subjective, the ergonomics takes time to get used to it and few other misses like mono shock suspension at the rear and the engine kill switch makes it difficult to compete with the other bikes of this segment. Considering the price, you may not find a better sports tourer that goes well on both short and long rides.

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