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Old 5th February 2013, 23:31   #1
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Default The story of my Karizma ZMR

Statutory Warning: A very long post. It isn’t a typical ownership review either. Read at your own discretion!

THE BREAKUP

It all started back in 2004 when I got a phone call from dad.

Dad (Angrily): Where are you?
Me: I’m watching a movie with my friends.
Dad: Come home now itself. We have to go somewhere!
Me: But dad, I’m in the middle of a movie.
Dad: Doesn’t matter. Get your *** up and come home now. Don’t you have any studying to do!? Why do you always waste time!? If you keep spending time at the Cinemas then I don’t think you will even get a First Class this semester!!! Anyways, we’ve to go to Ravi Uncle’s place and it is important.
Me: Ok Dad.

To give you an idea, I was pursuing my engineering course then and I’ve always been (even today) scared of my father for reasons unknown so I wouldn’t dare not going home at that very instant even if I was offered a million bucks!!! I went home and as usual dad was huffing and puffing with anger and mom was silent. My sister had that look in her eyes, “You are gonna get screwed today!!!” I didn’t utter a word nor did anyone speak to me. I silently got dressed and sat inside the car to go to Ravi Uncle’s place. More silence. Dad was driving as rashly as he could. Mom was not speaking to me, which was weird. Sister still had the same look in her eyes and it was now complimented with a strange grin!!! The earth below started to sink. We stopped at a traffic signal and it was taking an awful long time to turn green. Various thoughts were going on in my mind. Will dad scold me at Ravi Uncle’s place in front of everyone???Will he blast me after going back home???Will he spare me today, only to get back at me some other time???Will he…..……Will he not!!?? I was a wreck! Ah…the signal was still red.

The signal finally turned green and my dad took a left turn. Hang on. We’d to take a right to go to Ravi Uncle’s place!!! But I dare not speak then! What if I start a conversation and he scolds me then itself? I kept quiet. He drove for a while I did not know where and finally pulled up outside what looked like a hospital. I was confused. He said we’ve to go to Ravi Uncle’s place and he has bought us here! Mom was still silent and my sister’s wicked grin had grown from ear to ear. I was confused. Dad got out of the car and started walking in the opposite direction. I gathered some courage and asked him where he was going. He pointed at a building and said, “I’m going there”. I looked up and I felt happiness that I had never ever experienced in my life! It was a Bajaj showroom!

I was gifted my first bike, a black Pulsar 180 DTS-i. It was the best moment. More so because it was a surprise from dad and after all the drama, it was he who urged me to go for the 180 when I was ready to settle for the 150 because the dealer said he’ll take some time to get the 180! I was happy but to be honest, I always had my eyes for the Karizma. But it cost INR 90k on road which was a huge amount of money to spend on a bike back then (or even now, for some people). I was happy to settle for the second best. We booked the bike that day and was delivered within the next 4-5 days. Everything was butter smooth for a while until the day when I saw an ad in the newspaper from Hero Honda. It said “The new Hero Honda Karizma – now at INR 69,900”!!! They had made a price cut (as a limited period offer) just after a month or so I bought the 180!!! I was literally in tears. The bike which I had always dreamt was available for a reasonable amount of money more than what I’d paid for the 180!!! But I could do nothing. I had to be consoled for quite a while by dad and eventually I got over it. Life was all good again with the 180 and I never thought about the ZMA again. Not for the next 6 years atleast.

The 180 was a brilliant bike and never gave me the need to replace it with anything else. After 6 years and 35000 kms of happy motoring, one fine day, the engine died on me beyond repair. It was painful because I had developed a special bond with her and I had to let her go!!! Finally, towards the end of 2010 I parted with her without being able to ride one last time and never got a chance to see her again.

Life went back to normal. I changed my job sometime in 2011. The company provided transportation was full and I was forced to travel on my own. I was driving to work and it was taking a toll on me. Driving a car on the wretched ORR to Whitefield via Silk Board was next to impossible. So I was back in the market on the lookout for a bike.

The Pulsar 220 was the ‘maximum bang for your buck’ bike at that time. But I did not want another Pulsar. I could recollect only the happiest memories of my 180 and I didn’t want them to be replaced by another Pulsar. The other choices were the ZMR, R15 and the CBR 250R. The CBR had a waiting period of 4 months and I wanted a bike immediately. So it was out. It boiled down to the R15 and ZMR. The R15 indeed was the better bike. I decided on a Racing blue when I was interrupted by a voice in my head. Let’s call the voice, Jack Sparrow (just for the kicks)!

Jack Sparrow: Ahoy there!
Me: What? Where? How? Who?
Jack Sparrow: Mate, you bought a Pulsar back then when you wanted a Karizma. Now you have the chance to go for a better ZMA…The ZMR!!!
Me: But, R15 is leagues ahead in every respect!!!
JS: But you always wanted a Karizma!
Me: It’s got 6 gears, delta frame, mono shocks and the works mate!!!
JS: But you always wanted a Karizma!
Me: It looks like a mini R6!!!
JS: But you always wanted a Karizma!
Me: Damn you!!!

The ZMR was indeed a better choice considering that I had to travel 52 kms every day to office and back. It was comfortable and would be easy on my back. Also, my brother-in-law bought a blue R15 just a month before I was to get my ZMR and he insisted that I go for the ZMR and that I could ride his bike whenever I wanted. Finally I took the plunge and bought home my black ZMR in June 2011. At last, the moniker “KARIZMA” was with me!!! I had fulfilled my dream of owning it.

However, it was not to be a ‘happily ever after’ story.

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Old 5th February 2013, 23:44   #2
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HATRED

They say you should never meet your icons, never drive your dream car and never ride your dream bike. There is always a possibility that when you live your dream, you might be disappointed with them which in turn will make you feel bad because you’ve dreamt about them so much.

The bike was terrible to ride! One thing I knew for sure about HH bikes were that they had butter smooth gear shifts. Right from the Splendor to the Karizma. I was dead sure that it’d be worlds apart from the 180 that I had! Surprise, surprise!!! Mine had a notchy, clunky gear shift. While the up-shifts were ok, the down shifts were outright pain. I could never do a quick downshift as it would not slot into a lower gear unless you stood on the gear lever!!! I initially thought that it was ok since it was a new bike and over time it’ll be alright. Well, it did not. Even today it’s clunky but a whole lot better than how it was. Or maybe I’ve gotten used to the gearbox!

The ride itself was nothing to write about. It was marginally quicker than my 180. Not that I was expecting it to be like a quarter liter rocket but was hoping that it’ll have a bit more speed than what my 180 could do in any gear. It later occurred to me that the 17PS of the ZMA and the 16PS of my 180 felt better than the 17PS of the ZMR. The weight of the bike was the spoilsport and with a meager 17PS, it wasn’t fast either.

Have I mentioned that I’d be commuting through ORR to my office in Whitefield? Oh yes, I have! Travelling on the ZMR was worse than driving!!! In the car, my legs used to hurt because of the constant gear shifts. On the ZMR though, my legs were getting roasted!!! The bike used to heat up a lot while in bumper to bumper traffic and it was unbearable in the Bangalore heat.

Now, you might think that I bought home a lemon. But no. The bike was alright. It was me, who always had a notion that a Karizma would be perfect in every sense (Again, this was probably because I’d owned a first gen 180 DTS-i and they were not known for their refinement. The present 220 and the NS are brilliant though!). More on this later.

I lowered my expectations for the bike and started from scratch. The office commute wasn’t getting any pleasurable. It was still a pain riding in the heat and thunderstorms. After about 8-9 months since I joined my new company, I managed to find a seat in the office cab. I was elated! No more breaking or roasting your legs in traffic! Now, there was a problem. The main purpose of me buying the ZMR was to commute to office and now, it’d remain idle at home for most of the week! That was not to be the case however!

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Old 5th February 2013, 23:54   #3
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FALLING IN LOVE

A couple of weeks after I bought the ZMR, one fine Sunday, I happened to ride with fellow Team BHPians to Nandi Hills. There were almost 50 of us, armed with 20 odd bikes ranging from a humble FZ16 to a Ducati Monster with a Harley Davidson Iron 883, a bunch of CBRs and Ninjas thrown in between. The rest came in their tuned OHCs, Magnums, Balenos and the lot. I met many interesting people (our very own moderator n_aditya, JVH, rk_sans and many others) on that ride. They told me that they’d ride every weekend to a known or unknown destination just for the sake of riding and invited me to join them! I was excited! I’ve been a motorcycle enthusiast from as long as I can remember and riding with these people would definitely improve my riding skills and will give the time and space to appreciate my ZMR more on the open road. And it did! It was a different bike altogether on the open road. It felt nimble, comfortable and could maintain 110-110 kmph all day long! I was completely surprised. Here was a bike which literally would try to kill me every time i took it to office and then on the open highway would transform into something which understood you and obeyed all of your commands! The bike was run in till 2000kms wherein the normal 'run in' procedures of keeping the revs below 4000rpm, minimal braking and acceleration and the usual services recommended by the manufacturer. It felt a lot better when I completed 5000 kms.

In life, there are moments which make or break your relationship with the people you know.

There was one such moment with my bike which changed my perception about the ZMR and is worth mentioning. This was sometime when my bike had completed 8000kms. I was returning to Bangalore from an overnight ride to Chikmagalur with the group. I was still unsure about the bike. Did I make a wrong choice? Maybe I should have waited for the CBR. I should’ve gone for the R15. I was riding on the Hassan-Bangalore stretch and was doing a comfortable 105 kays on the speedo. For those who know, road widening was going on, on that stretch and the traffic was restricted to one side of the highway. It was a bright sunny day, the road was straight and I could clearly see the oncoming traffic. I noticed a truck coming towards me at a distance. I reduced my speed assuming that he might take a turn somewhere (since the road works were going on). But he continued to drive straight and assuming that he will pass me, I got back on the throttle. The very next moment the driver decides to take a turn right in front of me! He was at quite some speed and I was doing about 100. The shiver that ran through my spine at that moment cannot be expressed. All I could do was slam the brakes as hard as I could and hope that I don’t skid off the road or come under the speeding truck. While I expected the worst, nothing of that sort happened. The bike came to sudden halt. No losses of traction, no skidding off the road, no drama, nothing. The bike stayed true on its course and not once did i feel that it’s gonna give up on me. I pulled up onto the side of the road. I could not yell at the driver as I was in a state of shock. I took a moment and then it all became clear.

The bike was perfect in every sense. It did what it was meant to do. The problem was with me. I bought her without a test ride and had a bundle of expectations from her. I expected a superbike experience but didn’t get one. Why would i? She was after all a 223cc, softly tuned, 17PS commuter bike with awesome touring capabilities and not a 100-200PS fire breathing monster.

It was like an arranged marriage. I had seen her only in the pictures, but never really got a chance to know her. Without realizing the consequences, i took the plunge with her anyway! The initial couple of months were hard. I didn’t like her. In fact, I hated her. Time passed by and I slowly started to live with her. Started liking her. After 7 months and 8000kms later, I finally fell in love with her.

As of today, I’ve completed 15000kms and I can say that it was money well spent. Yes, in today’s times she can’t hold a candle against the Dukes, the NSs and the CBRs. She is neither as fast nor is she technologically advanced. You can even call her dated. The spares are expensive and the service cost is marginally more than what you can expect from a Bajaj or a Honda. But you can be rest assured that the ZMR is one of the best touring bikes available in the country and I can vouch for that as I’ve been doing a lot of outstation trips ever since I bought it. I will eventually move onto a bigger, faster bike in the future. But i’ll always remember my love story with the Karizma!

Thank you for reading. I'll end my post with some pictures.

Keep revving!
AD
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Old 6th February 2013, 11:51   #4
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Default re: The story of my Karizma ZMR

Straight from the heart Every bit of your thoughts and emotions are clear in this thread.

The ZMR is an excellent mile muncher and very comfortable on those long rides. We've had a ZMR for company when we rode to Wayanad and back and while we were a bit tired due to hard suspension and slightly aggressive riding posture, the ZMR rider was as fresh as a daisy.

Ride on bro and wishing you many years of happy and safe rides.
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Old 6th February 2013, 15:17   #5
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Default Re: The story of my Karizma ZMR

Quote:
Originally Posted by n_aditya View Post
Straight from the heart Every bit of your thoughts and emotions are clear in this thread.

The ZMR is an excellent mile muncher and very comfortable on those long rides. We've had a ZMR for company when we rode to Wayanad and back and while we were a bit tired due to hard suspension and slightly aggressive riding posture, the ZMR rider was as fresh as a daisy.

Ride on bro and wishing you many years of happy and safe rides.
Thanks Adi!
Your Ninja thread was one of the many threads that inspired me to pen this one down! Thanks again for the encouragement and we should do a ride some time soon!
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Old 6th February 2013, 22:08   #6
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Default Re: The story of my Karizma ZMR

Wow! A nice, refreshing thread after long. Enjoyed reading it. I myself have spent more than 2 years respectively on P-180 V1 & Karizma-R, so know what you are hinting at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Porschefire View Post
On the ZMR though, my legs were getting roasted!!! The bike used to heat up a lot while in bumper to bumper traffic and it was unbearable in the Bangalore heat.
I personally would get rid of the lower part of the fairing to get rid of this problem. Its an air cooled bike & full faired. Doesn't really gel together.
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Old 6th February 2013, 23:14   #7
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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
I personally would get rid of the lower part of the fairing to get rid of this problem. Its an air cooled bike & full faired. Doesn't really gel together.
Do you mean, cut off the lower part of the fairing?

It actually makes sense to do that, since that will allow more air in. Dunno how it will look with half-fairing.

Interesting...

Prajwal
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Old 6th February 2013, 23:50   #8
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Wow! A nice, refreshing thread after long. Enjoyed reading it. I myself have spent more than 2 years respectively on P-180 V1 & Karizma-R, so know what you are hinting at.
Thanks a lot Sheel!

Quote:
I personally would get rid of the lower part of the fairing to get rid of this problem. Its an air cooled bike & full faired. Doesn't really gel together.
Quote:
Originally Posted by prajwalkashyap View Post
Do you mean, cut off the lower part of the fairing?

It actually makes sense to do that, since that will allow more air in. Dunno how it will look with half-fairing.
I did think of getting rid of the lower part of the fairing initially.I've been cursing HH for not providing liquid cooling and a 6th gear for the price it commands.If you notice,the lower 1/4th of the fairing is held onto the rest of the fairing using 3 screws on each side. It'd have solved the heating problem to an extent but would've made the bike look weird with 3/4th of the fairing hanging away IMO!
Fortunately,i do not do much city riding nowadays and if i do,i ensure that i don't get stuck in a traffic jam!
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Old 7th February 2013, 12:49   #9
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Default Re: The story of my Karizma ZMR

Quote:
Originally Posted by prajwalkashyap View Post
Do you mean, cut off the lower part of the fairing?

It actually makes sense to do that, since that will allow more air in. Dunno how it will look with half-fairing.

Interesting...

Prajwal
Not cut it off. But to do something about it aesthetically. The pic which I am posting isn't much pleasing aesthetically, but does the job.

The story of my Karizma ZMR-577648_10150876973457596_980994348_n.jpg

I would give it a good shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Porschefire View Post
I did think of getting rid of the lower part of the fairing initially.I've been cursing HH for not providing liquid cooling and a 6th gear for the price it commands.If you notice,the lower 1/4th of the fairing is held onto the rest of the fairing using 3 screws on each side. It'd have solved the heating problem to an extent but would've made the bike look weird with 3/4th of the fairing hanging away IMO!
Quote:
Fortunately,i do not do much city riding nowadays and if i do,i ensure that i don't get stuck in a traffic jam!
On highways as well, your bike will breathe freer resulting in improved performance everywhere.
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Old 7th February 2013, 20:20   #10
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Default Re: The story of my Karizma ZMR

Hi AD. It felt nice to read your thread. A biker can understand another biker's feelings. I share a similar love-hate relationship with my better half, a '12 P180. I have taken her on quite a few long ride and I return home happy.

Wishing you many more happy miles on it. Ride safe.


PS: I am based in Bangalore and like going on long rides(rode to Goa and back with a couple of friends). Could you tag me along the next time the T-Bhp group rides out?
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Old 8th February 2013, 10:11   #11
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Hi AD. It felt nice to read your thread. A biker can understand another biker's feelings. I share a similar love-hate relationship with my better half, a '12 P180. I have taken her on quite a few long ride and I return home happy.
Wishing you many more happy miles on it. Ride safe.
Thanks mate! The man-bike relationship sure is a tough one and as long as you care for your bike, she'll take care of you.

Quote:
PS: I am based in Bangalore and like going on long rides(rode to Goa and back with a couple of friends). Could you tag me along the next time the T-Bhp group rides out?
Sure. I'll PM you the next time when we ride!
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Old 8th February 2013, 11:48   #12
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Default Re: The story of my Karizma ZMR

Well written Mate !! Brings back memories of the first time I bought an old beaten up bullet !! Was in love even with it even before I bought it, and right on the next day rode it to Mumbai from Pune during Rains !!
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Old 8th February 2013, 12:42   #13
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Default Re: The story of my Karizma ZMR

Loved the log brother. I'm a ZMR owner myself and hence I could feel exactly what you felt.

Are you free on weekends? We may join in for a small breakfast ride at least.
BTW, here's my log - My ZMR log
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Old 8th February 2013, 13:32   #14
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Loved the log brother. I'm a ZMR owner myself and hence I could feel exactly what you felt.

Are you free on weekends? We may join in for a small breakfast ride at least.
BTW, here's my log - My ZMR log
Thanks bro!
Your log was equally interesting and informative! You know,i've been contemplating on writing a review of my bike for so long but couldn't becuase i was just too lazy for it! Then came your review which made me realise that the ZMR deserved a thread of its own (there were no ZMR threads and now there are 2 of them!!!)and urged me to pen this one down!

I'm up for a ride anytime mate. Unfortunately,as of now,i'm out of the country and will be returning in March.We can ride then.What say!?

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Old 8th February 2013, 14:52   #15
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I'm up for a ride anytime mate. Unfortunately,as of now,i'm out of the country and will be returning in March.We can ride then.What say!?
Sure. Let roll in March.

BTW, you mentioned you did a few tours on the bike, right? How do you find the stock tires?
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