The resurgence of Karizma XMR

Can Indians finally get served their Karizma ZMR the way they want?

If you are a regular on this site then you might be aware of my newfound fondness for Motoring on two wheels, At the moment I am borderline obsessed with them, and currently, the motorcycle that is fueling my obsession is the recently launched Hero Karizma XMR that was launched after much anticipation and pessimism attach to it, and justifiably so, the Hero (hero honda back then) Karizma from 2004 till 2011 or so, was a fairly appreciated motorcycle among buyers because of its 220 cc engine derived from Honda’s lot which made about 17hp to 20hp in its latest iterations.

It was sold as a performance sports bike curtained over a practical two-wheeler, and about twenty years ago Hero Honda got away with it, as the Indian market was still opening up to mass-produced performance-orientated bikes and with disproportionate looks, it stood out in the sea of Pulsars, Splendors, etc.

But with time Hero Parted ways with Honda and after some internal disputes that took place among the founders, Hero Motocorp went into a bit of a stalemate, With hardly any innovation on the Karizma, Hero kept on lugging the same old model with some updates here and there which started to lose market interest as it aged and failed to compete with proper sports bikes that showed up on the market, it did get a major change in 2014 with an updated styling albeit with the same engine but with a different tune and wider tires. But it failed to gain the same popularity as its predecessor, losing out to its competition on many levels from performance to price and sadly had to bid goodbye in 2019 due to poor sales.

I think it hit Hero where it hurt the most because it was their sort of Halo product that struggled to keep its books ticking but also failed to instil the same passion as other sports bikes from its competition managed to do, it no longer was desirable let alone not doing well in terms of sales. Which I believe got Hero to go back to their drawing boards and build a motorcycle that will not only tickle their sales chart but also their customers’ hearts. So, they did, In July of 2020 when the whole world was down and under Hero silently launched their new performance-oriented bike, a 160cc street fighter to challenge the existing leaders of the segment Yamaha Fz, Bajaj Pulsar Ns160 and TVS Apache RTR 1604v and it fared well against them, it was a 15hp motorcycle that comfortably took care of highly popular Yamaha’s FZ – A king in its kingdom, so to speak.

Now, I may be biased towards this bike since this was the first sort of official test bike I got to review. So, the story goes this way, When the Xtreme 160r was launched I was randomly posting articles on the Drive Tribe website and approached a Hero Dealer and told them I was a journalist from a website and showed them my articles and views they got, manager there was more than content to let me have a go on their newly launched Hero Xtreme 160r for a day, I got to ride it wrote an article on it made a video and posted on the Youtube and maybe i was ecstatic to get a bike to review through official channels or the bike was just good I don’t know, but I was impressed I was praising the bike wherever and whenever I got the chance to, but yes it wasn’t particularly good looking or instantly desirable and as one of my close friends called a commuter looking Sh*t, but it was fairly good looking motorcycles wasn’t ugly.

But what it was, was quite literally a perfect entry-level Streetfighter, It did not have high HP figures like the Pulsar NS 160 and Apache 160 4v or ride quality like Yamaha’s FZ but Hero Got the basics right, which is the bike had engine that was full of character, handling dynamic that was responsive and engaging and ride quality wasn’t that bad either. but this was almost three years ago by now Hero has launched multiple and more aggressive iterations of Xtreme and with each iteration, it became better and undoubtedly faster than before.

So, when Hero was about to launch the new Karizma XMR I was fairly excited, but as I said it was also accompanied by a touch of Pessimism. And despite its shortcomings over the recent years, Karizma surely strung some heartstrings when it strolled on the Indian soil over the years, mine included – I was in awe of this bike in my childhood, and I spent the majority of my lifetime (most of my childhood) in UAE and spotting a two-wheeler that wasn’t used by some restaurant was rare so whenever I used to visit my grandparents one of their neighbours used to own one of these in bright yellow and me being a naive young child presumed it was the same Suzuki Katana that was starred the Dhoom Movie.

So, yes Karizma holds a special place in my heart mostly due to the naive young version of me. I was excited, to say the least, and a bit pessimistic, since the last time the hero upgraded the KARIZMA it was a bummer. But boy did they deliver on the 29th of August 2023 Hero proved their engineering mettle and design prowess by launching an absolutely beautiful piece of machine that not only looks great but can back its beauty with more than respectable numbers on the spec sheet.

This beautiful sports bike is powered by a 220cc DOHC single-cylinder engine that produces 25 hp and 20 Nm of Torque, impressive! To say the least.

Sadly, I couldn’t get to ride this motorcycle but most of our company’s notable journalists got to ride it and their thoughts are embargoed till the 31st of August. Guess Now I have to make a call to the Hero Dealership and somehow convince them to let me ride this motorcycle when it becomes available – I hope The New Karizma XMR is not just a form-over-function product and can actually deliver on those numbers the company claims it to produce, and with the price tag of 1, 72,000 /- it better be good if not better- But better will be nice.

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