“A car carries body but a bike carries soul”. I read this line several times but realised only after riding one of my dream bike- Hero Honda’s old war horse Karizma.
Hello everybody, I am Umesh Prasad Rout (UPR) from Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Riding bike is one of my passion. By profession I am an assistant professor in an Engineering College of Bhubaneswar. This is my review of Hero Honda’s old but gold bike that introduced a new bike segment in India – The Karizma R. The name Karizma comes to mind first while talking about performance bikes in India.
My previous bike was HH Passion Plus, the most popular 100cc bike after Slendor. It is a stylish reliable bike of lower displacement but after 5 years of riding I felt that I need a bike of higher power and torque. Then I purchased Karizma (2010 model) as it fits well to my requirement. I had waited for two months to get my dream bike.
The initial riding experience was awesome. There was increase of 9.5bhp, 11Nm of torque and 126cc of displacement in comparision to PassionPlus. I felt like in heaven for the first few month of riding. My Karizma is now 18 month old and I have done 18000kms till now. I like to share my sweet and sour experience with the black beauty through this review.
Karizma looks exclusive and expensive among the bikes of its segment. It gives feeling of a real big bike having a long wheelbase of 1355mm and it is the longest (2125mm) bike among all 250cc and sub 250cc indian bikes (Ninja 250R-2085mm, CBR 250R-2032mm, p220-2035mm, R15-1970mm, ZMR-2110mm).
Karizma own my heart by its beauty. It the most good looking bike in 250cc and sub 250cc segment in india (personal view). Its comfort level is next to a car. Above all it is a VFM machine having good resale value.
Uniqueness of Karizma
- Karizma has electric as well as kick start option. In cold morning kick start option is a kind of boon.
- Two cable throttle is another unique feature which very few bikes have.
- There is a small in-built hole in the exhaust pipe to drain out water.
- The best looking half-fairing among all Indian bikes.
- Only Indian bike to have dual tail lamp .
Though looks is a personal issue, in my view Karizma is an eye catcher despite of its age. It looks awesome in yellow color. The only bike in its segment that looks proportionate in every angle.
The fighter jet design, half fairing, engine under cowl and R lettering put Karizma in a different league among all bikes. The yellow dashboard, black visor, red suspension, golden exhaust pipe and dual tail lamp are the style elements in it.
The dashboard is very well designed in Karizma. It consists of RPM meter, Speedo meter, neutral and high beam indicator, digital trip meter, digital clock, digital odometer and fuel indicator. The dash board look gorgeous with yellow back ground and it helps at night. The digital clock is very handy for me as while going to the office I am in a hurry and cannot look at the wrist watch every time.
The engine under cowl adds style and better aerodynamics. The MRF Zappers give the bike very good grip on roads. The butter smooth gearbox is a rider’s delight.
Being the best tourer, comfort is one of major strength in Karizma R. The riding posture is very comfortable. It absorbs all most everything whether it is pothole or humps. I have never felt any kind of discomfort in it. The comfort level almost like a car. I never felt any vibrations up to 110kmph.
Pillion Rider Comfort
A performance bike is not meant for pillion rider’s comfort. But Karizma has got a good and comfortable sitting posture for pillion rider in comparision to other’s bikes in its leauge. My advice is not to carry ladies as pillion rider because seat is too high and one sided sitting posture is not safe at high speeds.
The most pathetic experience in karizma for me was when my mother fell down from the bike while trying to accelerate quickly from a traffic post. She was not aware of the pick up of bike and hence not prepared for the drag. She fell in the highway and backside her head was struck on the road. Thank God, there was no injury and no problem later on.
Karizma is a proven performer. The 223cc engine generates 17bhp Power and 18.35Nm torque. The rock solid engine can run 24×7 without any stress. Acceleration of Karizma R is amazing though not the best in its segment. The adrenalin rush can be felt from second gear onwards. The power is well distributed in the whole rpm band.
The top speed I achieved is 130kmph (on Speedo). Karizma vibrates a little after 120kmph,but up to 115kmph it is butter smooth.Up to 110kmph it is quick, after that it takes time to accelerate. In 5th gear it denies to go beyond 8k rpm most of the time. It is capable of 115kmph in 4th gear.
Karizma handles well in any type of road condition (bumpy, dusty and wet). Though the long wheel base requires more turning radius, the cornering is quite well. The handling is equally good at higher speeds. The brake is not quite sharp but spongy. Though the rear one is drum, It works wonderfully. I have applied brake at 110+ kmph speed several times and it stopped within few seconds.
Karizma is a heavy bike (150kg). If one looses balance, the weight of bike will come in the arm and one need some muscle to handle the situation.
Performance bikes are not fuel efficient. Also fuel efficient bikes are not performance oriented. The mileage varies on riding style and speed. Karizma gives best mileage when driven in 4k-5k rpm in 5th gear. My Karizma gives 42kmpl in highway and 32kmpl in city. Overall I get 36kmpl. It not fair to expect much from a 223cc bike.
Accidents and Mishappening
No major accident in Karizma (thank God and HeroHonda). Once because of an autorickshaw’s sudden right turn I had to brake hard and as a result me and my bike fell down. The left indicator was broken and gear lever was bent.
The bike fell down twice from my hand due to loss of balance-once whlie trying to ride from right side and the other instance was while trying take a slow right turn with pillion rider. The worst happening was felling down of my mother as told earlier.
Karizma is very reliable and hence requires less maintenance. In 1.5year time I have changed the disc brake pads once in 11000Kms worth Rs 1125, headlight bulb worth Rs 90, one taillight bulb worth Rs15, type B throttle cable worth Rs 75, speedo meter inner cable worth Rs 22 and clutch cable of Rs71. In total Rs 1398 except engine oil. I have also changed the broken main stand free of cost under warranty.
Though Karizma spares are costly ,the genuine parts lasts long.
- Highly reliable engine
- Power packed performance
- Hero Honda service network
- Excellent ergonomics
- Smooth gear shift
- Sound braking system
- Best for touring
- Super refined engine
- Good suspension offers hassle free riding
- Stability at any speed is top class
- Pretty grippy tyres
- Horn is same as 100cc bike
- Head light is not suitable for highway riding.
- Lack of tubeless tyre
- No rear disc brake
- Finding neutral is difficult while riding
- Cold start problem
Karizma for Me
Karizma is not merely a bike for me. It is a source of confidence, smartness and entertainment for me. It is now one of my basic need. Also it has become one of my identity.
Karizma R is a versatile bike. My overall rating is 8/10. If you are looking for a reliable, smooth, comfortable performance bike with good resale value it is the bike you are looking for. Happy Riding.