“Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.” Motorcycles have always been a craze in India. But there are a few bikes that have made it possible. One such is the Hero Honda Karizma. It was not just a motorcycle, it was an emotion. Hero Karizma is the first high capacity motorcycle from the company which was launched in 2003. It was capable of top speeds of more than 125km/h hence it was seen as a high-speed tourer of the decade. Let’s take a look at the history of one of the first semi-faired bikes of India.

2003 – Hero Honda Karizma Launched

It was a time when youth was looking for something more sporty, flashy and powerful. Hero Honda was quick to understand the need and launched Karizma in India. Let us first take a look at the engine specifications of the Karizma.

Engine Specifications

Engine 223cc 4-stroke single Cyl. air-cooled
Transmission 5-speed Manual
Power 17hp @7,000rpm
Torque 18.3Nm @6,000rpm
Top Speed 125kmph
0-60kmph 3.8 seconds
Fuel Delivery System C.V Carburetor with CCVI (Carb Controlled Variable Ignition)
Fuel Efficiency 40kmpl
Hero Honda Karizma 2005
Hero Honda Karizma 2005 | Source

Hrithik Roshan was appointed as the brand ambassador for the bike. It was launched with a tagline, “Now you can ‘Jet Set Go’ and have the ride of your life.” It came with a price tag of ₹69,900 which was a bit too pricey at that time. Then in 2004, the price was dropped by ₹10,000 and the company offered the new price as limited period ‘celebration’. But the price remained the same ahead. For the braking purposes, it had disc brakes at the front while drum at the rear.

2007 – Hero Honda Karizma R Launched

Hero Karizma R
Hero Karizma R

There was no competition in the 200cc segment for Karizma until 2007. Bajaj came up with the Pulsar 200Fi and suddenly the heat was felt. Hero Honda had to do something. So they gave an upgrade to the old Karizma with new decals. On the engine front though, there was nothing new. Pulsar had a fuel injection system. Bajaj ditched it soon as there was no demand for this and instead, the carburettor was added. This made the price gap vanish and people were attracted more towards the Bajaj Pulsar 200. Mere sticker upgrade was not able to make things better for Karizma R. So, there was a need for something new, something more exclusive.

2009 – Hero Honda Karizma ZMR tries to rescue the Karizma brand

Bajaj Pulsar became a problem for Hero Honda Karizma already. But there was another storm brewing. Yamaha entered the segment with R15. The bike became a huge success due to a lot of reasons, we’ll look into them some other day. Hero Honda came up with the Karizma ZMR. Let’s take a look at the engine specs.

Engine Specifications

Engine 223cc 4-stroke single Cyl. air-cooled
Transmission 5-speed Manual
Power 17.6hp @7,000rpm
Torque 18.3Nm @6,000rpm
Top Speed 128kmph
Fuel Delivery System FI
Fuel Efficiency 45kmpl
Hero Honda Karizma ZMR
Hero Honda Karizma ZMR

It was equipped with fuel injection instead of a carburettor. It also had a 16-bit ECU. The power figure increased negligible but there was a good increase in fuel efficiency. Both the ends received disc brakes. There was a whole new design that people liked a lot. It had a fully-functional digital console, integrated LED tail lamps and new rearview mirrors. There were four colour options: Panther Black Metallic, Vibrant Orange, Blazing Red and Spotlight White.

2014 – Hero Karizma ZMR – More Powerful

Hero Honda ZMR
Hero Honda ZMR

Honda and Hero’s joint venture came to an end. Hero Motocorp was formed. Hero Motocorp added Eric Buell Racing company into the list of its subsidiaries. Karizma ZMR was given an upgrade using the tech from the newly bought venture.

Engine Specifications

Engine 223cc 4-stroke single Cyl. Oil-cooled OHC
Transmission 5-speed Manual
Power 20hp @8,000rpm
Torque 19.7Nm @6,500rpm
Top Speed 129kmph
Fuel Delivery System FI Fuel Injection

The all-new Karizma ZMR with more power and a new design was launched in 2014. It had dual dynamic headlamps and LED position lamps, multi-functional digital console, wider tyres and sporty LED taillight and winners. Colours available were: Blazing Red, Panther Black, Spotlight White and Vibrant Orange.

But it was too late for Karizma to recapture the market. Yamaha R15, FZ and Bajaj Pulsar had already taken their share of the market leaving nothing for the Hero Karizma. The popularity began to fade away. Hero Motocorp silently discontinued the Karizma ZMR.

Still, the bike can be credited to be one of the initial bikes in India which changed the course of the Indian two-wheeler industry. What are your thoughts on Karizma? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also, read 10 Forgotten Bikes In India: From Yezdi to Mini Bullet

GoMechanic Blog on Google News

1

2 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply