Hero Karizma XMR First Ride Review: 4 Likes 3 Dislikes
Does the XMR strike a balance between sportiness and comfort like the OG Karizma?
In 2003, Hero Honda produced India’s first 200cc plus sports bike, and the result was - The Karizma. Back then, there was nothing like the Karizma in the market, which made it a legendary offering. Now after 20 years, Hero MotoCorp has launched the iconic moniker in an all-new avatar called Karizma XMR. But does the new bike have what it takes to be a legend? Let’s find out as we tell you what we liked and disliked about the Hero Karizma XMR.
With a brand new liquid-cooled 210cc engine, the Hero Karizma XMR will have you grinning through your teeth. Sure, it’s not a 250cc or a 300cc motor, but the refinement and smoothness of this engine is a job well done. Additionally, the motor is pretty peppy and exciting as well.
It might not be as exciting under the 5000rpm rev range, however, beyond that, the motor has a strong punch and delivers a good performance. It is also quite tractable at lower speeds, in higher gears. So riding it in the city is not an issue either.
Is it vibey though? Not in our experience, you see the Karizma XMR can sustain speeds of 130kmph in sixth gear with just a slight buzz of the foot pegs and fuel tank. But that is not the case for everyone, I’ll get back to that later.
Considering that the Karizma XMR is Hero’s flagship bike, we expected it to come equipped with a USD fork. However, the conventional telescopic fork and preload-adjustable monoshock do a pretty good job of offering a lovely riding experience. The excellent suspension tuning ensures the rider's comfort even speedbumps and sharp potholes as well.
Talking about comfort, the Hero Karizma XMR retains the OG bike’s DNA. While the bike seems quite sporty, the riding posture is not so committed and features a raised clip-on handlebar, and slightly rear set footpegs. This along with its cushiony seat will ensure that long rides on this bike are super comfy. Also, while the pillion seat is a bit tall to hop on, it too, is quite comfortable and has the right amount of firmness.
The Hero Karizma XMR looks fresh and stunning, there’s no two ways about it. The sharp and sleek fairing along with an aggressive body design makes for a really sporty and premium-looking motorcycle. And the bright colour options increase its appeal even further, especially in that iconic Karizma yellow.
In terms of braking, the Hero Karizma XMR lacks initial bite and could have been better. Apart from that, the progression and overall braking performance on the bike is quite decent.
Not so sporty handling
It sure looks very sporty but doesn’t ride that sporty. Don’t get me wrong, the Karizma XMR is an excellent handler in the city and at higher speeds. But, the plush suspension and the MRF rubber don’t give you enough confidence to push the bike hard on corners and curves. Especially when you compare it with rivals - the Yamaha R15 V4 and KTM RC200.
Once again, Karizma is Hero’s flagship bike but features not a TFT console, but an LCD unit. Sure it does get a clean layout, smartphone connectivity and turn-by-turn navigation, but the monochrome console just feels a bit dated. Additionally, viewing the console under harsh sunlight can be really bothersome.
Now the bikes we got to ride were pretty neat in terms of engine refinement, build quality and more. But that is not the same case with all the models. For example, a few of our peers from other publications, got bikes with really vibey engines and some with build quality issues like flimsy switchgear, visor and more. We do hope that this same consistency issue does not prevail in the final products that are received by the customers.
So finally what the Hero Karizma XMR is, is a great beginner sport bike that strikes the perfect balance between sportiness and comfort. And with an introductory price tag of Rs 1,72,900 (ex-showroom Delhi), it is more affordable than its primary competitors — the KTM RC 200 and the Yamaha R15 V4.
But is it as iconic as the original Karizma? Well, the OG bike was a segment starter, whereas the XMR is just a step up for Hero into the premium bikes segment. So only time will tell if this one turns out to be as legendary as the OG bike.