I have been riding this bike since 2010. Always has been a fan of Karizma, because of its super smooth engine and ride quality. Its not an imposer on the road, making loud grunts and dramatic agility, but a smooth comfortable rider. I'm a tourer than a stunter or a racer. So I would prefer these qualities ahead of everything.
But the Karizma R have had some serious issues with its carburrator like cold start, poor idle, poor fuel efficiency, and even stalls. So even though I loved this bike I decided to wait for the Fuel Injected model to arrive. I thought it would be just an optional higher model. But when it was launched, it was a redesigned bike.
I'm not entireley a fan of its design but chose it for reasons under its appearance. The over all styling is good but a bit too over done on the fromt fairing part. It looks rediculous to some in pictures, but in real it is a head turner. In flesh ZMR is a much better looking bike. It is imposing and handsome. The rear looks good and the LED lights, meter console, head lights are well designed. The fairing is quite tough despite its plasticy looks. I had 1 collision and 1 fall in 3 years, didnt break the fairing.
Engine Performance, Fuel Economy and Gearbox
This bike is not built to be an outright performance bike. But dont mistake me, its right up there with the likes of 220 and R15. Because of its oversquared engine design it produces lot of torque in the more usable range 3000-6000 rpm and so comfortable for touring and cities alike. The gear changes are rarely required. But due to same reason it is not very rev happy in nature. I still believe in a drag the 220 will get the better of ZMR but not without breaking some sweat. I did a top speed of 127 KMPh several times on my bike. It easily touches 120KMPH , best when shifted at 7200 rpm at all lower gears and then levels out at 127.
Fuel efficiency is a highlight of the bike. The FI is superbly well mapped by Honda. It returned me 43-46 KMPL regularly even after 3 years for my usual riding at 80KMPL mark shifting at 4500-5000 rpm. But It is crucial to do running-in of the motorcycle in the first 1200 KM. Keep speeds under 65KMPH and under 4000rpm. for this period. Because I know people owning ZMR who gets 32-36 kmpl and top speed of 110KMPH who revved it from word go.
Gear box is a touch notchy at low speeds but as speed picks up gets smooth.
Ride Quality & Handling
ZMR is one of the best riding motorcycle in India right now. The ride quality is so plush, that I hardly miss my car to go to work. I have done 600 KM per day on my touring days comfortably. The erect riding posture with great clipon handle bars gives us the perfect cruiser feel to the ride.
Handling is a bit on the week side at speeds. Its not the kind of bike u can throw into corners and rub your knees on the tarmac. Its full fairing puts a lot of wight on the front side making it tought to get out of corners at speed. U need to really lean and shift weight to get it turned above 100KMPH. Also not very easy to park in tight spots. Its easier to reverse into small parking lots than to get in the front side.
Great cruiser/tourer with ample power and torque,still have enough fun with it in perfo mode, best ride quality, butter smooth engine, fuel efficent, tough built quality, reasonable price, awesome FI, great brakes, useful digital clocks, ever reliable, not well handled at speed, and tough to park, poor service experience of Hero.
Areas of improvement
Front fairing design, access to spark plugs, headlight poor, use 60/55W, No practical use for real time milage indicator, make it Average milage indicator which resets on reseting trip.
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