KarizmaEver 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. 

VFR800In 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.

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I am bike enthusiast, keen to discuss everything and anything about bikes.. A software professional at work. In love with any machine with two wheels!

comments (6)

  • Reply

    August 5, 2015

    Karizma R new model has not comfirtable upright riding position for long travels as the old karizma has such position.front dome is heavy and extended to forward .it is not suitable for most users execpt for sport racers who have few members when compare to other users.hero has to think it and reintroduce better model of karizma R.
    I suggest to hero to introduce karizma R with two type of handles .make a bike which is suitable to both handles so that normal person will choose normal handle(old handle) and sports racer should choose sporty handle now with new model.My advise not only for this bike but all of 200-250cc bikes.

  • Reply

    June 4, 2014

    Nitin.. good day. Am a regular follower of your posts. have you seen the 2014 edition of R and ZMR ? what do you think about them? I was planning to go for ZMR. (would have taken R if it was featuring dual disks). Any reviews read? coz from last day i heard bookings are open, (last week i called the toll free number of hero for it’s launch date and the guy who took the call said “no idea” on my face :). Any updates?

    • Reply

      June 4, 2014

      Hi Vishnu,

      First of all thanks for following my posts, I had lot of expectations with the launch of 2014 series of Karizma. I myself own a ZMR and go frequently on tours. The new 2014 R and ZMR delivers a decent amount of power and torque(19.35) if you are not looking for a very high performance figure.

      The looks are subjective, personally i dnt like the looks of the new karizma series. The design looks similar to pulsar 220. the head light looks alien and doesnt suits the bike. They tried to copy Eric Bull design and it didn’t come out so well. The instrument cluster if you will check is also old taken form previous R and ZMR.

      From my opinion the more bike is equipped with latest technology, the better it will perform and more safe it will be.So having a rear and front brakes are must, they save you time by not constantly adjusting the rear brake tensioner of drum brake and are more safe on a hard stopping. A puncture tubeless tyre can take you more Km before getting full flat. A fuel ignition system will give you more power and mileage and a tension free engine start on a cold morning, unlikely a carburetor engine. I am presently getting 5Km more mileage than the previous R model.

      From comfort , Karizma are not very comfortable to ride on a long distance, although the karizma has least forward lean angle in the sports tourer category, still its not very comfortable, the seats are not very broad and will give you pain in the ass after some 100Km.

      you can check this link to check the ergonomics of the all the bikes currently selling in india http://cycle-ergo.com/.

      When i ask the showroom guys for the availabilty of new 2014 model , they gave me a date of march-2014, but so far its still not out.
      So overall i wouldnt have gone for new Karizma R because its not just the disk brakes, but also Fuel ignition and tubeless tyres and i dnt like the overall design

      I wll suggest you to keep a check on other bikes also, many new bikes will launch in couple of months

  • Reply

    May 13, 2014

    good article..

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