Hero Karizma XMR review: Nothing like the old model but better than new rivals?

Hero Karizma XMR review: Nothing like the old model but better than new rivals?

HeroMotoCorp has been on a launch spree over the last few months, targeting the premium end of popular motorcycle segments in the country. It all started with the Xtreme 160R 4V street fighter, then progressed to the medium capacity cruiser segment with the Harley-Davidson X440 and the OEM has now brought it home, by launching the all-new Karizma XMR. The Karizma is a name that enjoys equity among many Indian enthusiasts and an inherent premium appeal. We can give you endless references to the first Karizma and the motorcycle-lore associated with it but this won’t be that kind of a review. That is because, the first Karizma came two decades ago in 2003. Since then, the first-generation bike (co-developed with Honda) has been phased out and most of its fans have probably moved on in their preferences or quit motorcycles altogether. This is also why despite having a well-established legacy, the new Karizma XMR needs to be on top of its game from the word go. The target audience for a 210 cc, faired sports bike, is not as starved for choice as it was 20 years back and that could make or break the Karizma’s fate this time around. Today, it is stepping into the ring against motorcycles that offer world-class styling, race-spec equipment and superior level of ride and handling. The audience itself is now more demanding and uncompromising, they want segment-first features, top-notch equipment and that too at a reasonable cost. Keeping these fundamentals in mind, we recently rode the Karizma XMR and here is what we experienced after establishing a safe amount of detachment from the emotional quotient associated with the name.

All-new design blended with the right amount of first-gen cues:
When we say the all-new Karizma, it literally means ‘all-new’. However, design cues like the iconic bright yellow shade, red-painted rear suspension and close-to-original font for the Karizma badging instantly establish the motorcycle’s lineage. Then of course there is the all-LED lighting, including auto on/off LED headlamps and H-shaped LED DRLs. The design highlight for us however, was how well the motorcycle is rounded off with its 17-inch alloy wheels that are powder coated in grey colour and have a 3D effect on the rims, something that signifies attention to detail. Then there is the segment-first adjustable windscreen for which we are sure, enthusiasts would give a tall thumbs up to Hero MotoCorp and everything is wrapped around the rear with a sharp tail with an integrated LED taillamp that has an opaque finish and looks upmarket. Know more about the design, equipment, tech and riding experience in our video review down below.

Hero Karizma XMR 210 review: Is it worthy of the Karizma badge? | TOI Auto

How it all comes together:
As soon as you swing your leg over the Karizma and take a seat, the first thing you will realise is how light the motorcycle is. The next big surprise was the fairly relaxed riding position. Despite being a sports bike, the footpegs are set low and the clip-on handlebars do not require you to dip into the front end. However, when the chance to wrap yourself around the motorcycle comes, you can instantly crouch, push yourself against the raised rear seat and wrap around the sculpted tank.
The power delivery however felt too linear for a sports bike in the lower gears and the motorcycle really starts to move from the third gear onwards. Most of the grunt is felt beyond the 5,000 rpm mark and starts to taper off slightly above 7,000 rpm. That is in line with the spec sheet, as the 210 cc, 4-valve, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor puts out 25.15 hp of peak power at 9,250 rpm and max torque of 20.4 Nm at 7,250 rpm. The 6-speed gearbox is super smooth and intuitive and the slip and assist clutch works beautifully. The clutch assist also allows the rider to carry more speed into turns and corners and also instils a lot of confidence in the rider. Hero claims that the Karizma XMR can do a 0-60 kmph sprint in just 3.8 seconds and while we did not have timing equipment on hand, the acceleration claim seems to be in line with the bike’s real-world performance.

103230876 - Hero Karizma XMR review: Nothing like the old model but better than new rivals?

In terms of heat management, the bike does not throw a noticeable amount of heat onto the rider’s leg, even after the fan kicks in and that is a big plus. With the throttle open in sixth gear, the bike felt very stable as we raced to 100 kmph and cruised there onwards. The vibrations were subdued and in line with what you expect from a fairly refined single-cylinder engine and the bike felt like it could sit at that pace all day. While we did not push the Karizma to its limit, short spurts to 100 kmph and beyond felt like the bike could do 120 clicks without much fuss.
After realising that the Karizma does not get USD front forks, we were curious to see how the 37 mm telescopic forks would perform on a bike that is supposed to be sporty. To our surprise, the front end offers ample feedback at high speeds and during braking, while being not too stiff or plush in city conditions or during quick sprint. The riding experience is complemented by the 6-step adjustable gas-charged mono-shock at the back and the BYBRE dual-disc brake setup is in one word ‘flawless’. At one instance, we had to drop the hammer on the XMR and the vehicle came to a confident halt without the dual-channel ABS making it feel nervous. Combined with the peppy engine, slip-and-assist clutch and steel trellis frame, the Karizma can slice through traffic and curve across corners at pretty mean speeds making the motorcycle a lot of fun.
Overall, the Karizma XMR is a very well-sorted package and will be an all-rounder for many enthusiastic riders. It is a good-looking sports motorcycle with a functional fairing and adjustable windscreen which can be extended by up to 30 mm. It gets all the latest tech and is also well appointed in terms of equipment. The inherently relaxed riding position means that it will be a comfortable daily rider and good for long trips as well. Then, of course, there is the well-refined engine and the butter-smooth gearbox that definitely puts the Karizma among the top choices of buyers in this segment.

103230907 - Hero Karizma XMR review: Nothing like the old model but better than new rivals?

Armed with tech as well:
The inverted LCD display is sharp and bright and also offers Bluetooth connectivity with turn-by-turn navigation. Apart from the navigation the Karizma also gets 37 additional functions like fuel meter reading, smartphone notifications and more. The backlit switchgear indications are not something new but make a big difference to a rider’s real world experience during the night and it is good to see that Hero made the effort of including those as well. The dual-channel in itself sets a new benchmark for the OEM and the offering.
In a nutshell, if the recently launched Hero MotoCorp motorcycles are anything to go by, the OEM has certainly figured out a very good balance between price, performance and appeal across its product range and the Karizma is no different. At an introductory price of Rs 1,72,900 ex-showroom, the Karizma ZMR completely obliterates its now ageing competition in all departments. Against the more aggressive and well appointed competitors, the XMR brings a worthy fight while being more than Rs 40,000 cheaper. Moreover, considering recent introductory price trends among much more premium segments like the Harley-Davidson X440, it would be safe to assume that the retail price of the new Karizma would be hardly a deal breaker for those who make up their minds later on.

103230921 - Hero Karizma XMR review: Nothing like the old model but better than new rivals?

So if you are a young college goer, a professional with a passion for motorcycling or even someone who never got around to buying the Karizma when you actually wanted to, the 2023 XMR checks all the boxes and should definitely be in your shortlist. It is an approachable yet sporty motorcycle that has a definite space in the 2023 sports lineup.

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