The Hero Karizma was the only capable sports tourer this country had for a long time (before the CBR’s and the Pulsar 220’s barged in). Since its launch back in 2003, it was the only premium motorcycle if someone wanted a quick and fast ride that was a balance between city and long distance touring. Most of the enthusiast masses in the country at one point have owned the Karizma. The unmistakable chain noise while riding at high gear being the only thing that could be heard gave a feeling of flying past traffic in a discreet way without creating raucous. The Karizma changed a lot of hearts in its earlier day and created a fan base that exists till today. It was (and still is) the country’s sport tourer’s weapon of choice companion for long rides and cross-country (or interstate) tours. The Karizma has gone through many facelifts in its lifetime, none of which had any significant roles to play with the engine or power outputs, finally landing to the latest model of the ZMR. While enthusiasts might mull Hero Motor Corp’s decision to make the ZMR into a overtly plastic clad heavy and alien-ish motorcycle, I think Hero’s decision to do the same makes sense and a good future prospect too.
With the new ZMR launched, Hero has completely updated the looks of the new motorcycle. Now sporting dual-headlights, larger standalone pilot lights and a straight cut rear plastic side panel, the motorcycle still looks like a grad students’ final year project. Still available in Karizma R and ZMR avatars, the bikini and a full fairing options, there are few things to be mentioned in terms of new upgrades. The engine and all the internals are the same. Power and torque figures are bit improved in new versions of Karizma R and ZMR. 2014 Hero Karizma R now produces 19.2 PS peak power and 19.35 Nm of peak torque and 2014 Hero ZMR produces power of 20 PS and 19.7 Nm of peak torque. So why do we say that is there still hope?
Hero Motor Corp. knows their target audience like no other bike manufacturer would. For the sport tourer, the company has changed very less in the way the overall motorcycles functions. And by keeping complexities to the minimum, the motorcycle still proves to be an enticing proposition for enthusiast riders, especially with a sub-lakh price point (Rs 93,119/- on-road Mumbai), it certainly has the fit and finish and the smoothness of that always buttery 223 cc single-cylinder mill. On the other hand, the for the city commuters who are looking for a bulky looking bike with decent power and comfort, the ZMR addresses to their needs with its giant fairing and snazzy looks, while still retaining a competitive price tag (Rs 1,16,630/- ex-Mumbai).