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2014 Hero Karizma R

05 December 2014, 07:42 PM Ninad Ambre

Introduction

2014 Karizma R

The Karizma is perhaps the first of the modern day Indian motorcycles to have a significant cult following.  Since its inception in 2003, the Karizma has gained plenty of followers, who still vouch by its performance and reliability. It was the first of its kind, big capacity motorcycle which was also put to every sort of use including cross-country touring.

Apart from a cosmetic update in 2007 that involved nothing more than a stickering job, the company never made any changes to the design or the powertrain of the Karizma until 2014. Now after 11 years of its existence, the manufacturer has brought in a comprehensive update for the motorcycle to face the new sub-250cc motorcycles. The delay has certainly helped competitors to catch up but still we test the new one to find out if it does justice to the cult image.

Looks

2014 Karizma R

Drawing inspiration from the EBR 1190RX superbike, the fairing on the Karizma R is similar to the one seen on the ZMR, except for the fact that it does not cover the engine. The motorcycle fairing is revised and now houses the dual headlamps setup stacked one above the other. The side indicators are integrated into the fairing, surrounded neatly by LED lamps that garner lot of attention for the bike. The mirrors are now body-coloured and rooted in the fairing unlike on the handlebar on the old model, also the new visor is tall and more curved.  The front fender gets extra crease lines making it look sharper. The previous black coloured engine cladding is gone, and is replaced by a new smaller, body-coloured belly-pan.

2014 Karizma R

The design of the side panels has changed but still continues its tapering flow towards the tail-end section of the motorcycle. It gets split seats and new grab-rails, while the rear mudguard is gone now replaced by a floating tail light with a number plate holder and multi-reflector indicators. The tail light is a horizontally slatted single lamp. The red paint-scheme on the shock-absorber is carried over, along with the same five-spoke alloy-wheels, the exhaust though, misses out on the chrome embellishment and gets silver accents instead.

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Hero Karizma 2014

Hero Karizma 2014

  • Displacement223 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)19.2 bhp
  • Kerb Weight154 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 85,312

2014 Karizma R

I'm sure if given a chance, many Karizma fans and loyalists will still opt for the older version for its looks over the new one. Though the company has given the bike a fresh avatar, I’m not sure if the company is going to be able to please many consumers.  I remember how my excitement was marred when I looked at this updated motorcycle when it was unveiled for the first time. Probably I was wrong in hoping that the new motorcycle would not look like a mixture of design cues from here and there – so while looks continue to be subjective and a matter of perception, I personally hope that Hero does not take as much time to bring in the next version of the motorcycle with substantial changes in this department.

2014 Karizma R

Features

2014 Karizma R

Hero MotoCorp has made plenty of changes to the design of the bike but sadly has kept the instrument panel the same. The Karizma R misses out on a fully digital speedometer like the one that can be seen on its elder sibling- the ZMR. The only new addition is the side stand indicator while the age old three-pod cluster is carried over from the previous model. The current one also gets surrounded by the analog tachometer on the left and the digital display on the right that shows the fuel gauge, tripmeter, odometer and the clock. As it still clearly gives out all the information needed, there were no amends that were needed; however, an upgrade would have been much appreciated.

2014 Karizma R

On the other hand, two new changes on the bike that are commendable are the set of fixed clip-on handle bars and the split seat. Both are in line with the trend of technical upgrades which all upcoming motorcycles boast of. Another change is the new tail lamp which is repositioned from the tail section panels to the rear fender. Still there are no other additional features like an under-seat mobile charger which the younger sibling, Xtreme is equipped with. The Karizma R also misses out on the engine kill-switch that most of its rivals get. The updated motorcycle would have had an edge over its competitors if the company would have equipped the bike with these few features which have become more of a necessity rather than an add-on feature.

2014 Karizma R

Performance

2014 Karizma R

The latest development for Hero MotoCorp includes the updates to the powertrain of the Karizma. Eric Buell Racing, American racing bike manufacturer and now Hero’s partner, not just designed the bike but also tuned the tried and tested four-stroke SOHC 223cc mill on the Karizma. The result - a 2bhp increase in power! This means the 17.2bhp of power and 18.35Nm of torque that the motor earlier produced now has been boosted to 19.2bhp of power and 19.35Nm of torque.

This difference in the power figures cannot not be clearly pointed out at one go, but is distinctly evident when one rides the new iteration of the motorcycle and the old one back to back. The engine packs the punch in lower gears and sprints enthusiastically. The motorcycle is still very sluggish to reach its top-speed and this is something the manufacturer should have worked upon this time. Nevertheless, the motorcycle is quick in the low- and mid-end range of the power band making it sprint at the drop of a gear. Though the new engine takes a lot of time to warm up at the start, the refinement while on the run is still unmatched.

2014 Karizma R

Ride & Handling

2014 Karizma R

Once I sat astride the bike with my hands on the new clip-on handlebars, the sporty riding position with lower handlebars became quite evident. Unfortunately, the sporty feel was short-lived as uneasiness overcame it as soon as I put my feet on the foot-pegs that are still in the same centre-set position. While riding, neither does the bike inspire much confidence to squeeze in to the gaps in traffic, nor does the change in posture give enough comfort in the stop-and-go traffic in the city. Though the seating position could have been better, the suspension setup of the motorcycle is something that definitely helps for a relaxed ride even on the non-existent Indian roads. The seat’s height is lowered a bit and is soft and wide enough to provide oodles of comfort on a long ride not just for the rider but for the pillion as well.

2014 Karizma R

The unpleasant design of the new fairing adds to the misery as it rattles a lot while sending the vibrations to the mirrors rendering them useless on the run. The much welcomed change comes in the form of the rear tyre. The Karizma R is now shod with a wider rear tyre though the rim sizes of both tyres still remain 18-inch. The 120-section soft compound tyre at the back that replaces the 100-section gives the bike a more planted and grippy feel. While the front 276mm disc brake does its job well, the absence of the rear disc brake is not felt as the combination of the 130mm rear drum brake and the MRF tubeless rubber tyre surprisingly does an efficient job.

Though the manufacturer has made amends to the ergonomics giving the rider a different feel, the chassis still remains the same old one from the previous version. With no other comprehensive changes, thankfully the motorcycle still offers a good ride if not a better one than the earlier model. It inspires the same confidence in handling it in city and highway riding conditions.

2014 Karizma R

Verdict

2014 Karizma R

Hero MotoCorp continues to be the clear market leader and the brand loyalty it enjoys will definitely help the new Karizma R, along with its refinement and reliability. It might sound heartbreaking for fans and followers when I say that the new bike doesn't do a very good job of defending the persona or the charm of the older Karizma and it is also sadly true that it doesn't stand anywhere close to the image built by the previous version. However, it is still the only model under Rs 1 lakh that will give you a feeling of a big bike with a fairing and it being controversial, yet sporty.

2014 Karizma R

Coming to terms with the motorcycle and its competition, it goes neck to neck with the Bajaj Pulsar 220F. Both the motorcycles offer a similar package under the one lakh rupee price bracket. The Karizma R though is a bit expensive and less powerful than the Pulsar 220F, it earns brownie points for being the latest product with fresh looks and features, while still possessing the reliability of the engine that has been flawlessly operative since its birth.

2014 Karizma R

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