2014 Hero Karizma R Review
Bike Tested: 2014 Hero Karizma R
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 93,110/-
Styling aside, the updates of more power and goodies to the 2014 Karizma R is welcome.
The year 2003 was a glorious year for the Indian motorcycle industry. Reason? Hero in collaboration with Honda came up with the Karizma. A 223cc motorcycle which gave the power craving enthusiast a huge relief. The figures were outstanding at that time. A 2-valve engine producing 17 PS of power and 18.3 Nm of torque at low and middle revs was recipe for fun on our streets. Still, the Karizma still enjoys the cult despite the fact that it did not get any power upgrades for 11 years! However, it is time they got a jump in power and torque because competition is seriously severe in the 200-250cc segment.
A 150/180cc motorcycle is now producing figures that the age old Karizma produced. Hero has taken all the good bits from performance motorcycles in the country and put it on the new Karizma to give it the comprehensive update it truly needs. What we have here today is the new Karizma R, which is like the old Karizma but entirely new. Confused? Join us to find out how it is, as we take a short and quick spin to let you know what the fuss is all about.
Styling wise, the new Karizma R is identified as the old Karizma but every panel, every single piece on this bike is brand new. Hero has done a fantastic job of keeping the so call “charm” of the Karizma alive somehow. However, as we know the front-end looks finicky but at the same time it looks substantial with the new LED lights. The fatter tyre and new LED tail light instantly stand out from the crowd but this is something we saw on the new Hero Xtreme as well and will also see on the ZMR. Overall, the Karizma is striking but pretty? Nope!
The same three-pod cluster (with the addition of a side stand indicator in place of the right indicator warning with the left one blinking for both right and left indicators) and switchgear are carried over and a shocking omission of engine kill switch continues. Come on Hero, distinguish yourself from Honda completely and give us the kill switch. The new things in the cockpit are a brand new set of clip-ons that are finished in grey colour. They are narrow in width and replace the chrome handlebar of the old Karizma. Handling seems promising, manoeuvrability as always is light and more feedback, which comes through the handlebar, is welcome. Ride quality stays superb. Brakes are good too and offer a sure bite.
Sit on the motorcycle and you notice the seat height is lower than before, but marginally. All this is to help the rider adapt to the new lower set clip-on handlebar, which gives it a sporty riding position, very much like the Honda CBR250R. The seats are on the softer side and offer generous space to move around. Pillion seat is quite comfortable too.
Coming to the most awaited part, which is the engine. The 223cc engine remains the same in every aspect except for some changes which makes it produce 2.2 PS more (19.2 PS) and 1 Nm (19.3 Nm) more torque. Both of these outputs are produced at 1000 RPM lower than the previous model. To cope with the added power, Hero has slapped a 120-section soft compound tyre at the rear on the same 18-inch wheel. The 0-60 km/hr time is reduced by .2 seconds as per Hero’s claims (3.6 seconds). How does that feel on the road? Well it definitely feels more punchy than the older version by a substantial margin.
We had the honour of riding an old Karizma R a few weeks back and we can vouch on this fact. All of this is possible because the engine feels the same in character. The same metallic clicking noise from the exhaust, same flawless, free and fast revving nature of the engine remains identical. What comes as a shock when we were ridding the Karizma in its comfort zone (low and mid end) was the rattling from the front fairing. Something, which has always been there but not sorted out till now.
What surprisingly remains the same is the same old intensely tall gearing of the engine. First two gears are short and third gear is excessively tall and fifth does not come into context before 70 km/hr. We tried doing 30 km/hr roll-on in fifth gear and it knocks vigorously. Something that is expected from a torquey 2-valve and 5-speed gearbox equipped performance motorcycle. Now you can imagine how it feels as there is no change in gearing which means it is extensively punchy in low and mid-end of the power band and top-end takes a lot of time to wake up.
We will confirm this fact in our comprehensive road test and tell you if the Pulsar 220 remains the top speed king. However, for now, the battle on the streets is going to be neck and neck and there will not be any bullying by the Pulsar for sure because of the added punch the new Karizma packs. The wider rubber gives the Karizma R improved grip and the sportier seating position enables you to push the bike harder through corners but the old and outdated chassis does show its age if you try to corner too hard.
The 2014 Hero Karizma R definitely packs a lot of punch with the new engine upgrade. Not to forget, a lot of goodies have been added to the motorcycle. LED tail and pilot lights, new styling, clips-ons and of course fatter rubber. The best part is, Hero hasn’t increased the prices of the new bike, instead the company has reduced the price by Rs. 1000/-. The Karizma R is now officially value for money and comes with the same reliable workhorse that hasn’t given up since 2003. Reliable and value? The Hero Karizma finally comes in the league and this time, it is not lacking anything!
* Value for money
* More power
What’s Not So Cool
* Rattling fairing
* No rear disc