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2014 Hero Karizma ZMR

12 November 2014, 07:18 PM Pratheek Kunder


Evolution, it is a gradual process where things change.

I was a programmer once, who loved riding motorcycles. Today, I don’t code. I ride bikes, and get to write about them. I am emphasising this because we are talking about the New Hero Karizma ZMR – a fully-faired motorcycle that has been on Indian roads since the last five years and five years is good enough for a motorcycle to evolve. So Hero MotoCorp decided to give this motorcycle a major overhaul – cosmetically and mechanically, with the help of their new American technology partner Erik Buell Racing. But have both of them have done a great job? Let’s find out!


Looks & Styling

The new Karizma ZMR looks so much better in flesh than in the pictures. We remember the older version because of its overall slightly overdone body styling. But this model looks quite different – thanks to Erik Buell Racing. The major change is the front fascia of the motorcycle that has been inspired from the EBR 1190RX superbike. The vertically stacked twin-headlamps, reminds me of the minion character with one eye, just that this one has another on top. The clear lens turn indicators are integrated on the head lamp assembly unlike the old one which had blinkers integrated into the fairing. But the interesting development on this model is the introduction of daytime running lamps (DRLs) above the turn indicators; these, however don’t work by default as it is in cars and you need to switch on the parking lamp. 

Hero Karizma ZMR [2014]

Hero Karizma ZMR [2014]

  • Displacement223 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported40 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)20 bhp
  • Kerb Weight157 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,07,423

Have a look from the side and you will notice the overall body proportions have been toned down heavily, which I think was a good call. The side panels have also been redone making the bike look nice. For me, the side angle is the best way to look at the new Karizma ZMR. The tail section with inspiration from the 1190RX looks much better than before. The rectangular LED brake lamp along with the clear lens indicators makes the rear end of the motorcycle look very sharp. Overall, I think the new Karizma ZMR looks better than the outgoing model, but there is something that just doesn’t feel right and makes the bike look incomplete. It looks and feels big and surely has the charm of a 225cc motorcycle, but I am very sure Hero could have made the ZMR even more appealing.  


Instrumentation & Ergonomics

Nothing has changed on this front. The instrument cluster on the updated Karizma ZMR is the same one that was seen on the outgoing model. The big screen displays tons of details like the speedometer, time, fuel indicator, tachometer and real-time fuel indicator which I found quite useless during the entire testing phase. It also displays some “feel-good factor” messages like “Welcome rider” and “Good bye”. The only new message integrated on this system is the side stand indicator. I would have appreciated if Hero had given a new cluster for this motorcycle. The reason I am saying is because, the old bike is almost five years old, so was the instrument cluster and knowing Hero, the current ZMR might also go for another three to four years – so no evolution on the instrument cluster end. 

Just like the instrument cluster, I am not happy with the switch gear which  is pretty old. Some would say, “Why fix something which is not broken?”, but five years is a pretty long time. I would have been happy if there was news of the ZMR getting updated in the next 1-2 years but no! I don’t think so Hero MotoCorp will give us a new ZMR anytime soon. So expect the same switch gear to do the duty for around seven years which is a pretty long time and this, comes from a company that always talks about innovating. The quality of the switch gear is not up to the mark, just like the outgoing model and it still doesn’t get the kill switch button, which is not fair for a motorcycle at this price point. 

The ergonomics of the Karizma ZMR has changed drastically and gone for a toss. It gets a shorter clip-on handlebar making the riding position aggressive – a way for the rider to experience the sports bike feeling. The previous model was known for its touring capabilities and I know lot of people who bought the motorcycle only for that. But the new ZMR has lost the touring charm with that riding stance. The bar end weights for example, is extra-long and that is an issue for someone like me, it keeps touching my knees while taking a u-turn. And once you get that problem out of the way, your index finger will touch the fairing which is a sign of very bad ergonomics. This happened to two of my teammates who were part of the shoot. However, Hero has done a brilliant job with the new split seats – it is well cushioned, doesn’t look cheap and is very comfortable. 

Engine & Performance

Hero MotoCorp has marginally updated the new Karizma ZMR. It continues to get the 223cc fuel-injected single cylinder engine, which now produces 20bhp at 8,000rpm – almost 2bhp more than the previous model. Peak torque is up by almost 1Nm at 19.7Nm at 6,500rpm. The engine is refined like the old one and doesn’t feel strained when revved hard.  Cruising at 100kmph feels like a breeze but you will feel slight vibrations on the handlebars and foot pegs once you cross the 90kmph. Due to an increase in torque figure, zipping through the city traffic is easy, credit the low-end torque. The new Karizma ZMR gets the same five-speed gearbox, with more than decent one-up four-down gearshifts and because of the changes done within the engine, the clutch feels light. 

Hero MotoCorp claims a top speed of 129kmph, which might be achievable. With a fuel-tank capacity of 15.5-litre, the motorcycle can easily make you ride for approximately 550kms before stopping at a petrol station. 


Ride & Handling

The Hero Karizma ZMR gets the same diamond type frame like the outgoing model. The handling isn’t that great and you will need to be extra careful if you plan to tackle the twisty sections.  And due to the change in its riding position from tourer to aggressive, it might become quite difficult to ride in heavy traffic - blame the big body proportions and the kerb weight of 157 kgs. And to keep things in perspective, the riding position of the ZMR lies between that of the Yamaha R15 and the Bajaj Pulsar 220F. 

Let’s talk about the ride quality which has slightly improved due to a longer wheelbase and fatter rear tyre. The suspension setup is the same with telescopic at the front and a five-step adjustable GRS system at the rear. Ride the bike over a pothole and the bike takes it pretty comfortably. The braking power comes from a 276mm disc at the front and 240mm disc at the rear and I was mightily impressed in this department. It’s been very long since I rode a motorcycle with such amazing brakes. It increases your sense of control over this bike by a big margin. Honestly, this is one place where I feel Hero doesn’t need to put in more effort. An ABS variant in future will only make the package sweeter.



Hero MotoCorp has taken lots of effort to update the Karizma ZMR. These efforts could be seen through the number of big changes it has made on the mechanical and cosmetic front. This is just not a basic facelift but more than that, making me believe that this bike will continue to be sold for another three to four years along with the HX250R, which is slated to launch early next year. But has this bike really evolved? I don’t think so. This bike is better than its predecessor when it comes to styling but feels incomplete in some areas. It just doesn’t feel like a ZMR anymore.

At an ex-showroom price of Rs 1.06 lakh, Delhi, it is Rs 22,000 expensive than its closest competitor, the Bajaj Pulsar 220F but with its big sports bike body proportions and decent features, it is sure to attract buyers who are looking to stand out from the rest of the bikes on Indian roads.