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Old 4th January 2015, 09:08   #1
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Default Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Is there a true replacement for the old Karizma?

I am currently living in the US, I have been following the developments on the motorcycle scene in India for a few weeks now. Looks like I had been very out of date - Dukes launched in India, a few RE models, new Unicorn, Hero vs Honda, Pulsar 200 gets Duke-ish, P220-without-fairing variant is gone...

Anyway. The point of this post is... there used to be a beautiful machine called the Karizma. Looks like Hero went and ruined it. Let me explain what I mean by that:

To me, the Karizma (the old, yellow ones - before ZMR) was "the perfect bike". Because it had a comfortable seat, comfortable pillion, had a "big bike" feeling (at least compared to the 100cc and 150cc bikes), had a Honda engine, a stylish mini-fairing that wasn't over-done, a clean design, a long-stroke engine thats perfect for cruising, Hero Honda reliability, alloy wheels, electronics that worked without fuss... to me it was just perfect, and it was on my to-do to buy this bike before I left for US.

Now I say they've ruined it is, mainly because they made the pillion seat "sporty" (just like other bikes) and the design "funky". I mean, I can't imagine asking anyone (especially ladies) to sit on this pillion seat unless they are super-lean:

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But this was just perfect:
Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-herokarizmaavailablecolorsspotlightwhite.jpg

So in my mind the old Karizma, to sum it up, was this: "A fast bike with a powerful engine, non-funky design, Japanese reliability, good resale value, comfortable rider and pillion seats, that you can buy without thinking twice."

I am sad to see the old Karizma no longer exists. My idea of "ideal bike" no longer exists in India :(. Actually it does, but it is too expensive to be practical (Triumph Bonneville).

Its even more sad because these fast bikes with comfy seats (non-sporty, single long seats) used to exist in the past, but they all no longer exist (think RX100, RD350, Yezdi...).

Looks like the Bullets are the only ones close to fulfilling this need. I say "close to" because I know (from owning one) that Bullets don't have the reliability of Japanese bikes, they need some attention now and then for the small niggles. And rust. It would be great to have this need fulfilled by Honda or Yamaha. Or even "Hero" (with a Honda engine) or Bajaj (with a Kawasaki engine).

The second closest is the 150cc bikes, if a power compromise is ok. I think the new Unicorn 160 comes closest. I do hope Honda launches a 200 or 250cc version of Unicorn (and make a slightly bigger bike), that would fill the "Karizma gap".

Am I missing something? Looks like I will have to get a Bullet 500 if/when I return to India. I hope Enfield keeps the single, long seat on the standard Bullet till then, and doesn't replace it with a pillion seat that looks like this:

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EDIT: Looks like there has been a bike that filled this need, the Inazuma. But sadly looks like it has been discontinued.

Am I in the minority, looking for good looks + comfy 2 seats + fast engine + Japanese reliability in one package?

Last edited by rajushank84 : 4th January 2015 at 09:14.
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Old 4th January 2015, 10:02   #2
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

My 2004 Karizma still does duty perfectly. Though I prefer my Harley for the lond rides, the Karizma is a great workhorse for city runarounds. And half the time my son has his hands on it now, lolz.

Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-karizma-2004-25032014_1.jpg

Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-karizma-2004-25032014_2.jpg

Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-karizma-2004-25032014_3.jpg

Cheers...
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Old 4th January 2015, 13:08   #3
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkaile View Post
My 2004 Karizma still does duty perfectly. Though I prefer my Harley for the lond rides, the Karizma is a great workhorse for city runarounds. And half the time my son has his hands on it now, lolz.
Nice! Looks like you are keeping the Karizma clean and in good condition.

Man I will miss this bike, after Yezdi and RD.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the sharp handling in the new sporty/streetfighter type bikes and used to ride an FZ16 too. But.. looks like ALL the bikes are going in that direction, which is sad.

Wish Honda would introduce a 200-250cc version of this in India. Would be PERFECT. (not at 3 lakhs or 5 lakhs though.. would be perfect under 2 lakhs)

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Old 4th January 2015, 13:13   #4
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Raju,

What is your opinion about the CBR-250R? I have used the Karizma and have been riding the 250R and the good virtues of the Karizma are almost aped & sometimes bettered.
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Old 4th January 2015, 13:22   #5
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Raju,

What is your opinion about the CBR-250R? I have used the Karizma and have been riding the 250R and the good virtues of the Karizma are almost aped & sometimes bettered.
(I haven't ridden the CBR but saying this from pics):

The CBR looks good for the rider, but this ruins it for me:
Name:  Screen Shot 20150103 at 11.47.38 PM.png
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I would neither ask the ladies in my family to sit on that for more than say 5 minutes, nor would I agree to ride shotgun on that!

Honestly, I think our country's needs for 2-up riding are unique. Even the Continental GT's 2-seat option looks more practical IMHO.
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Old 4th January 2015, 14:01   #6
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

The same exact thoughts crossed my mind when I cam back from US in August 2013. Had a 2005 Karizma (the one you like) when I was in India and I just loved that bike. Comfortable, reliable and a pleasure to ride, the 223cc engine was a charm for short speed bursts and hit three figures easily but I had to sell it when I went to US in April 2011 as my dad didn't want to ride it while I was away.

Back to India and after going through all the options and test drives the only bike close the Karizma was the Duke 200. The riding posture and speed bursts are nearly same as that of the Karizma, the speed bursts are more thrilling though. Me being 5'6 I don't feel the difference in sitting posture.

The rear seat on the D200 is not as comfortable as the Karizma but I ride single so who cares
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Old 4th January 2015, 14:36   #7
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by munchy_cool View Post
The same exact thoughts crossed my mind when I cam back from US in August 2013. Had a 2005 Karizma (the one you like) when I was in India and I just loved that bike. Comfortable, reliable and a pleasure to ride, the 223cc engine was a charm for short speed bursts and hit three figures easily but I had to sell it when I went to US in April 2011 as my dad didn't want to ride it while I was away.

Back to India and after going through all the options and test drives the only bike close the Karizma was the Duke 200. The riding posture and speed bursts are nearly same as that of the Karizma, the speed bursts are more thrilling though. Me being 5'6 I don't feel the difference in sitting posture.

The rear seat on the D200 is not as comfortable as the Karizma but I ride single so who cares
Yeah it looks like a lot of options for the single rider, the Indian market seems to be getting more and more geared towards the single rider in the high end. The rest of us will be stuck with 100cc and 150cc bikes (barring Enfields) for now, looks like .

RIP Karizma.
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Old 4th January 2015, 15:46   #8
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Here's my Karizma R (2009 model)

Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-dsc01467.jpg


Michelin Sirac Street - Front:
Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-new-front.jpg

Michelin Sirac Street - Rear:
Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-new-rear.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 5th January 2015 at 14:58. Reason: Quoted post deleted
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Old 4th January 2015, 17:57   #9
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Thanks for bringing this void of bikes (below 1L, Japanese engine but not a 150, and comfy for both rider & pillion) into the limelight.I'm stuck with my half a decade old 125cc from TVS, unable to chose because of this void.
If you give up...
  • 1L budget, then the next best is CBR 250R
  • Japanese engine, then the Pulsar 220F (or even the 200NS)
  • Comfort, then the New Karizma
Atleast according to me, Pulsars are more reliable than RE's. 200NS would have been a sleeper hit if not for the saddle height and ugly rear. Rear doesn't even hold a candle to the briliantly done front end.
Hero played spoil sport with the Karizma every way possible. Not only the styling but also the engine. Engine feels buzzy in all the rpm bands and accelerating surge is gone, there isn't even linear acceleration, all you feel is vibrations, vibrations and more vibrations post 3500 rpm. I took 3 TD's and every time what i felt was 'it is worse than the last time'. Legend is dead!
220F would come close to your requirements. Engine feels more refined now, i guess post 2012 220's have incredible refinement compared to 220Fi days.

Last edited by RYP : 4th January 2015 at 17:59.
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Old 5th January 2015, 08:37   #10
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
The CBR looks good for the rider, but this ruins it for me:
The pillion seat is comfy, let me assure you this. Depends on the one who is riding with you. A couple of my friends have toured with their wife/GF on the CBR-250R and it is a from both ends.

Just because, the seats are split, it does not mean, the seat/posture will not be comfortable. Elderly (male/female) might find difficult to climb over, that is one negative aspect.
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Old 5th January 2015, 09:21   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
The pillion seat is comfy, let me assure you this. Depends on the one who is riding with you. A couple of my friends have toured with their wife/GF on the CBR-250R and it is a from both ends.

Just because, the seats are split, it does not mean, the seat/posture will not be comfortable. Elderly (male/female) might find difficult to climb over, that is one negative aspect.
Agree, I went to a Honda showroom today just to check out the CBR250R out of curiosity.

The problem is not the fact that its split seats. The problem is that its so high, many people will find it difficult to get on. Pretty much rules out anyone who isn't young (< 40) from getting on it. I can't use it, say, to drop my uncle at the bus stop. Practical uses like that. The thing is, in India (unlike the US) a motorcycle isn't just a sport that a few wild, young people indulge in over summer weekends. It is a daily means of transportation that needs to satisfy a range of practical needs.

Side note: While I was at the Honda dealership, I noticed several previous-generation Ninjas and Suzukis, that have the seat I'm describing (old Karizma-Style) as ideal. Looks like they have all gone to a more sporty style. A 2007 Ninja would be ideal .



Quote:
Originally Posted by RYP View Post
Thanks for bringing this void of bikes (below 1L, Japanese engine but not a 150, and comfy for both rider & pillion) into the limelight.I'm stuck with my half a decade old 125cc from TVS, unable to chose because of this void.
If you give up...
  • 1L budget, then the next best is CBR 250R
  • Japanese engine, then the Pulsar 220F (or even the 200NS)
  • Comfort, then the New Karizma
Atleast according to me, Pulsars are more reliable than RE's. 200NS would have been a sleeper hit if not for the saddle height and ugly rear. Rear doesn't even hold a candle to the briliantly done front end.
Hero played spoil sport with the Karizma every way possible. Not only the styling but also the engine. Engine feels buzzy in all the rpm bands and accelerating surge is gone, there isn't even linear acceleration, all you feel is vibrations, vibrations and more vibrations post 3500 rpm. I took 3 TD's and every time what i felt was 'it is worse than the last time'. Legend is dead!
220F would come close to your requirements. Engine feels more refined now, i guess post 2012 220's have incredible refinement compared to 220Fi days.
Totally agree!

How is the Pulsar engine these days? Way back (2006-2007) I remember the Pulsar engines would stay smooth only for around 2-3 years and would develop a roughness/harsh tone after that. Happened with my own bike too, and I was able to verify that this is NOT a myth and happens regardless of how many times you change engine oil. In fact, the same is true with TVS engines too, as I can tell from my brother in law's Apache.

Are the Bajaj and TVS engines better now, with FI and all? There are also a lot of concerns about engine longevity when it comes to TVS and Bajaj, aren't there?

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Old 5th January 2015, 12:13   #12
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Are the Bajaj and TVS engines better now, with FI and all? There are also a lot of concerns about engine longevity when it comes to TVS and Bajaj, aren't there?
To make the picture clear, none of the Bajaj and TVS bikes come with FI. It was in 2008-2009 that every manufacturer went crazy with FI and the result was low quality, extremely unreliable fuel injectors fitted onto bikes. 220FI, Apache RTR160 FI were offsprings of this FI bubble. Soon these were shelved and manufacturers were back to carbs, now with bigger venturi's. ZMR and R15 were the ones survived with FI, obviously due to good R&D by Honda and Yamaha.

But still the refinement of current crop of Pulsars are a notch below the Jap's but they are way more refined than Pulsars of the last decade. If you are still skeptical about the engine, slash out the 220 and take a serious look at 200NS. It is a 80% duke and hence engine concerns are almost negligible. If you love faired bikes and FI, i suggest you to wait for a month as the 200SS launch is just around the corner. Price est. is around 1.2L-1.35L mark, right in the ball park of R15 and CBR150R.

Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-1.jpg

Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?-2.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 5th January 2015 at 15:00. Reason: Re-uploading pictures as attachments
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Old 5th January 2015, 12:30   #13
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RYP View Post
To make the picture clear, none of the Bajaj and TVS bikes come with FI. It was in 2008-2009 that every manufacturer went crazy with FI and the result was low quality, extremely unreliable fuel injectors fitted onto bikes. 220FI, Apache RTR160 FI were offsprings of this FI bubble. Soon these were shelved and manufacturers were back to carbs, now with bigger venturi's. ZMR and R15 were the ones survived with FI, obviously due to good R&D by Honda and Yamaha.

But still the refinement of current crop of Pulsars are a notch below the Jap's but they are way more refined than Pulsars of the last decade. If you are still skeptical about the engine, slash out the 220 and take a serious look at 200NS. It is a 80% duke and hence engine concerns are almost negligible. If you love faired bikes and FI, i suggest you to wait for a month as the 200SS launch is just around the corner. Price est. is around 1.2L-1.35L mark, right in the ball park of R15 and CBR150R.
Oh my god, that bike looks good! Thanks!

However, in the context of this discussion the 200NS is out because of the concern with pillion seat height. My question about the Pulsar engines was in response to the P220 suggestion (which - going from pics - seems to have a slightly more "sane" pillion seat, correct me if I am wrong).
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Old 5th January 2015, 12:43   #14
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Default re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RYP View Post
But still the refinement of current crop of Pulsars are a notch below the Jap's but they are way more refined than Pulsars of the last decade. If you are still skeptical about the engine, slash out the 220 and take a serious look at 200NS. It is a 80% duke and hence engine concerns are almost negligible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Oh my god, that bike looks good! Thanks!

However, in the context of this discussion the 200NS is out because of the concern with pillion seat height. My question about the Pulsar engines was in response to the P220 suggestion (which - going from pics - seems to have a slightly more "sane" pillion seat, correct me if I am wrong).
I was indeed referring to the 220 there. Yes 200NS' pillion is a notch higher than 220's but its no way non-manageable. Here is the review/comparo for the 2014 made 220. Hope it helps.
http://www.motorbeam.com/2014/10/bik...-180-shootout/
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Old 5th January 2015, 20:10   #15
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Default Re: Japanese Tourer with comfy pillion seat: No replacement for the Karizma?

I went from ZMA to D390 and in short order back to the ZMA. The D390 lasted all of 4 months. In hindsight I should have bought the CBR250R. I second Sheel's sane advice.
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