Ever since the launch of Karizma, the first 223 CC bike of India in 2003, it has been a phenomenal success in the market. A dream of every young rider and a major head turner, it was given a cosmetic upgrade in the form of Karizma R in 2007. In September 2009, it was supplemented by another variant, the Karimza ZMR. The bike blended a perfect balance between performance and handling. The chassis of this bike is a gem, considering the Indian road conditions. Also it provided the level of comfort needed on a sports tourer without sacrificing too much on the handling front.
The chassis and design is infact derived from the infamous Honda VFR800 Sports Touring series, which helped making the Karizma R extremely potent for both touring and commuting.
In it’s early days, Karizma was quite successful in attracting the rider who was in pursuit of a motorcycle that strikes a perfect balance between good power and great comfort in touring. But the latest slew of launches from competitors has to an extent dented Karizma’s market share. Rivals like KTM Duke 200/390 or Pulsar 200NS or CBR250R, are providing higher satisfaction to their owners who were looking to span their wings with more powerful and elegantly designed machines than Karizma.
From being the Best Bike of the Year in 2009 to Just Another Bike, here are some of the key reasons why the golden era for Karizma have seen a new low:
Karizma got no performance upgrades:
The lack of performance upgrade is the major reason, why many bike enthusiasts have turned away to other machines. From the launch of Karizma since May 2003, there has been no improvement in power and torque output of the engine. The engine still continues to make 17 BHP@7000 RPM with a torque output of 18.35 Nm@6000 rpm. The figures are pretty much the same as of Yamaha R15, which manages to give almost the same output with just 150cc engine, while Honda 250R with 250cc gives 25 bhp@8500 rpm and peak torque of 23 Nm @7000 rpm and KTM 200 22BHP and 19.2 Nm of torque. And it’s not just the power output of these foreign invaders that have eaten away the market share of Karizma. Manufactures like Honda, KTM, HYOSUNG are providing better ride quality and a more futuristic design.
No design upgrades:
Other major area where Karizma lags behind competition is design upgrade. The bike was just supplemented with a engine guard and a yellowish sporty instrument cluster in 2007. Later in September 2009, a new variant Karizma, ZMR was launched with major upgrade in design and technology, but it failed to draw much expected attention of the bikers because of its fully covered fairing and skinny tyres.
No technical upgrades:
Apart from design, Karizma hasn’t seen any significant technical upgrade since the day it was launched. While other bike manufactures have come up regularly with new technical upgrades in preformance and handling, Karizma relies on its old age technology. Present model Karizma ZMR still flaunts same specifications with which it was launched in 2009. Cross wind stability is another area where bike needs a significant improvement.
No adaptation to change:
India is the largest manufacturer of two wheelers in the world. The Indian two-wheeler market possesses a significant potential, and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of around 11% during FY 2011- 2015 to reach 17.8 Million Units by FY 2015-end. The motorcycles segment, accounts for over 70% of industry volumes for the two wheelers in India. Two wheelers registered a massive sale of 13.8 m in India in FY13, a growth of a mere 3% over the previous year. In terms of market share, while Hero MotoCorp continues to remain the distant leader with a share of 41.5% in 6m 2013-14, it saw its share erode by 136 basis points (bps) compared to 2012-13 (45.1% market share in 2011-12). And all this due to entrance of new two wheeler manufacturers in the market making it hard for Hero moto corp to dominate the market.
To keep up with the present market trend, Hero moto corp has launched two new bikes NEW HERO KARIZMA 2014 and an ERIC BULL DESIGNED 250CC HERO HXR 250R to tap the market of 250cc segment in India. Now we have to wait and watch, how further these bikes will be able to throttle the legacy of Karizma in a hot market like India.