The much-awaited Hero Karizma XMR has finally been launched to bring the fight to the 200-cc segment. We got to swing a leg over to find out how it fares in the city and here are our first impressions.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
The first-gen Hero Karizma has been somewhat of a legend when it comes to a motorcycle that offered great performance in its segment at an affordable price. It also held a long-standing record for a 24-hour run completed in 2003 which is also an indicator of how reliable it proved to be. Fast forward to 2023 and we finally have the completely new Karizma XMR. When it comes to styling, Hero MotoCorp has done a good job with a sharp rectangular full fairing that surrounds the 11-litre fuel tank. The sleek LED headlight setup somewhat resembles the unit we have seen on the Xoom scooter. At the rear, the bike gets a split-seat setup and a short and compact exhaust unit. The bike is being offered in three colour schemes; the iconic yellow, black, and red.
As you swing a leg astride, the riding position feels quite nice. The footpegs are set towards the rear for a sporty stance, but the clip-on handlebar is set higher up and allows for a more upright riding posture. The seat height stands at 810 mm which is fairly accessible even to shorter riders and it gets a 160 mm ground clearance. A segment-first feature is an adjustable windscreen. A button on the right of the fairing has to be pressed down to allow the windscreen to be adjusted. This windscreen is not going to really protect a rider from windblast as a rider will be upright most of the time and this system will only come into use if a rider is tucking down to get into an aggressive stance. The bike makes use of a simple LCD dash which has a pretty clean layout. All of the information is easy to read and it also gets smartphone connectivity with turn-by-turn navigation. These are features that we shall test properly in a detailed road test review.
Sitting within the steel trellis frame of the Karizma XMR is a 210-cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder motor. This is the first liquid-cooled Hero motorcycle which is paired with a six-speed gearbox with a slip-and-assist clutch. It churns out 25.5 hp at 9,250 rpm and a peak torque of 20.4 Nm at 7,250 rpm. As I got going, the bike felt very refined with a powerful surge in power once it crossed the 6,500 rpm mark. The clutch action is light and the gear shifts are slick. This is also an extremely tractable motor which proves to be great in the city. I was able to chug along at 30 km/h in 4th gear, while 6th gear easily manages speeds as low as 50 km/h. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a location worthy of testing the top speed of the Karizma XMR. On the one open stretch that I encountered, I managed to top out the 5th gear at an indicated top speed of 128 km/h. 6th gear should allow the bike to do an indicated top speed of around 140 km/h which is quite good for a 210-cc motorcycle.
Surprisingly, the updated Xtreme 160R gets USD front forks, but the Karizma makes use of 37-mm telescopic front forks. Meanwhile, we see a gas-charged monoshock at the rear which gets six-step preload adjustability. I really liked the suspension setup and in the city, I didn’t even feel the absence of USD forks. The ride quality is plush as the bike easily treads past all of the undulations of speed breakers in its way. That being said, USD forks would have increased the overall appeal with a chunkier front end and encouraged even more interested customers. The bike rides on 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in MRF rubber. These tyres provided ample grip throughout my time spent with the motorcycle. When it comes to handling, the bike tips into corners effortlessly, holds a line really well and this ultimately provides a rider with more confidence.
Braking duties are handled by a 300-mm petal disc at the front and a 230-mm petal disc brake at the rear with the assistance of dual-channel ABS. The brakes are not as sharp as I would have liked and don’t complement the overall sporty nature of the motorcycle. The feel at the lever was spongy; I had to get on the front brake earlier and also use the rear brake a little more often than usual to get the bike to stop quicker. This could have also been because air was not properly bled out of the system.
Overall, the Karizma XMR is a really good overall package when you consider the introductory price of Rs 1.73 lakh (ex-showroom) that it is being offered at. With its versatile motor, plush ride quality, and sporty looks, the Karizma XMR proves to be an exciting proposition for the daily commute. Hopefully, sometime in the future, we would like to see a more powerful Karizma that will go on to compete in the highly competitive 400-cc segment.