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Old 7th September 2023, 11:29   #1
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Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review


Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Pros



• Massive brand recall as it was the first successful "sports bike" in India
• Fantastic styling coupled with acceptable build quality
• Value for money! We find the Karizma well-priced for what it offers
• Powerful 210cc engine mated to smooth 6-speed gearbox with slip & assist clutch
• Comfortable seating for both rider and pillion
• Hero MotoCorp's widespread sales and service network
• Features such as adjustable visor, automatic headlamps, slip & assist clutch, dual-channel ABS, turn-by-turn navigation, USB Charger etc.

Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Cons



• Not as ground-breaking as the original Karizma. Might not live up to its legendary status
• Market is dominated by competition. Hero needs to aggressively market this bike if they intend to get a breakthrough
• Fairly neutral to ride. Not as exciting as some rivals
• Small 11-litre fuel tank will limit touring range
• Missing features such as riding modes, upside-down fork, traction control etc.
• Available in a single variant only and just 3 colours
• 6,000 km service interval is on the shorter side

Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_opening_02.jpg

Introduction



It's difficult to believe that almost two decades have passed since the first Karizma rolled out on our roads. It was a premium motorcycle and Hero Honda, as the company was known back then, went out of its way to promote it. One of the most impressive programmes was the track run of 2,500+ km in 24 hours of non-stop riding. This programme saw 12 national records being shattered and established the Karizma as an extremely reliable long-distance tourer (source). I also remember following up on the story of the incredible Bharadwaj Dayala who did a world tour on his Karizma.

The beautiful yellow bike was well known for its comfortable and relaxed touring ability. But with the passage of time and the end of the Hero-Honda partnership, the bike slowly lost its position. A couple of half-hearted attempts to revive its sales did not work and it was pulled out of the showrooms around 2019.

Hero MotoCorp sells 3,00,000 Splendors every month (source). This gives the company market reach that is mind-blowing. They are truly the ultimate "hero" of the mass market. But every hero needs Karizma (pun intended) and it was only a matter of time before the flagship bike was brought back into the market.

In 2003, I was fresh out of college and landed a job in Hyderabad. So I sold off my Splendor and came to this beautiful city. Within a few days, the itch for a motorcycle became unbearable. The Hero Honda Karizma was launched. This bike was right on top of my wish list but my dad made it clear that if I was going to buy a bike, it had to be a Royal Enfield. I ended up buying a Thunderbird and it became an integral part of my life. But it was a choice that could have gone easily in favour of the yellow beauty. These were the thoughts running through my mind as I watched the launch of the all-new Karizma XMR.

Since then, a lot has changed in the motorcycling world. Some of the old players have been forgotten, while some like Yezdi, are back with some beautiful bikes. Bajaj is making bikes for Triumph and even Hero just helped launch a brand new Harley-Davidson. In this medley of choices, where exactly does this new bike stand?

The people who either bought or wanted to buy the Karizma then, are now 40-year-olds like me. The boys who were fascinated by its looks as they saw their older siblings or college seniors show it off, are now in their 30s. The people for whom this segment exists are in their 20s. Will the hype of "the legend" matter to them?

Hero MotoCorp clearly knows that just relying on the legendary status of this bike will not help in making it a success. Therefore, it has also brought in a lot of new technological improvements to attract the much better-informed buyers of 2023. While the more obvious additions are the tubeless tires and digital console, I feel that the real improvements are the dual-channel ABS, all-steel trellis frame and even the very interesting battery placement - on the top of the petrol tank.

But what about the 210cc engine? When the old Karizma was launched in 2003, it was one of the fastest bikes on the road. The new Karizma, however, is not going to be anywhere close to taking that spot. Yes, it is among the most powerful bikes in its segment, but in 2003, there was no segment above the one in which the Karizma ruled. Today, this segment is, frankly, just about the entry-level for premium bikes. In my personal opinion to live up to its legendary status, this bike should have come in with a much more powerful engine.

Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Price & Brochure


The bike has been launched in a single variant with three colours - Matte Phantom Black, Turbo Red and Iconic Yellow, at an introductory price of Rs. 1,72,900 (ex-showroom) which we feel is fair for what it offers.

The official brochure of the Karizma XMR can be downloaded here: Hero Karizma XMR Brochure.pdf

Last edited by Aditya : 14th September 2023 at 06:45.
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Old 7th September 2023, 11:29   #2
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Design, Styling and Features


Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_exterior_01.jpg

The new Karizma is without a doubt the best-looking Karizma ever made. It can easily win a beauty contest in the ~200cc segment. In black, it is very understated but in yellow or red, it really grabs your attention. It looks like something my 20-year-old nephew would like to ride to college. To their credit, the designers at Hero have given us a very aesthetically balanced and beautiful bike. They get full marks for managing the looks department.

Some of the features include a steel trellis frame, full fairing, split seat, adjustable visor, clip-on handlebars, LED projector headlamps, H-shaped LED DRL, H-shaped LED tail-lamp, LED turn-indicators and black alloy wheels. What we don't get to see is an upside-down suspension (USD) fork at the front. Not only would an upside-down fork improve the look of the bike, but we feel this flagship model should have gotten one considering the recently launched Extreme 160R comes with one.

Build Quality, Fit & Finish



The overall build quality of the new Karizma is good. The metal parts are very solid and feel reassuring. The plastics are acceptable for the segment and one won't find a reason to complain. Everything is put together in a fairly robust manner. The paint quality is quite nice too and I especially loved the red colour.

Features and Instrumentation



The bike comes equipped with an LCD fully digital instrument cluster that shows fuel & temperature gauges, odometer, 2 trip meters, side stand indicator, gear indicator, turn-by-turn navigation and smartphone connectivity. The bike also gets a USB smartphone charging port, wet-type slip and assist clutch, 2-channel ABS, hazard light switch and automatic headlamps. It does not come with riding modes or traction control.

LCD instrument cluster has ~35 features. It even shows the voltage of the battery:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_exterior_02.jpg

Wheels & Tyres



The Karizma comes with 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 100/80 and 140/70 section tubeless tyres at the front and rear respectively. Our test bike was shod with MRF Nylogrip Zapper 5 tyres which provided more than enough grip and traction.

Ergonomics and Comfort



I am 45 years old. My height is average and I wear size 34 jeans. My current bike is a Royal Enfield Himalayan. Riding fulfils my life but at my age, either a bike is comfortable or I am in pain. There are no two ways about it. The Karizma XMR is firmly in the comfortable category.

The handlebars were placed in such a manner that they did not put much strain on my wrists. I was not stuck in some awkward plank position that the very aggressive Yamaha R15 created for me. There is a little bit of forward lean that is needed but the height difference between the two seats allowed my rear to be supported in a very comfortable manner. My knees could easily hug the fairing and this gives a lot of reassurance on sweeping curves.

The seat height is rated at 810 mm and that should suit anyone over 5'6" in height. The rear view mirrors are usable. A part of my elbow did block my view but it is not a deal-breaker.

Fuel Tank Capacity & Range



The fuel tank can hold 11 litres of petrol, which is among the smallest in its segment. On our test ride, the instrument cluster kept showing 25 km/l. This would be because the bike was ridden in stop & go traffic as well as aggressively with some short bursts of speed. If we assume that under normal conditions the bike returns about 30 km/l, it will need a fuel stop every 200 -230 km, which is too less for a touring bike.

Maintenance



The Karizma's first service visit is at 750 km with subsequent services after every 6,000 km / 1 year.

Standard & Extended Warranty



The bike comes with a standard warranty of 5 years / 70,000 km. At the time of writing, we do not have definitive details of the extended warranty.

Last edited by Aditya : 14th September 2023 at 06:50.
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Old 7th September 2023, 11:29   #3
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Riding the Karizma XMR


210cc single cylinder engine puts out 25.2 BHP & 20.4 Nm:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_29.jpg

Dual overhead cams help in getting a little more power out of this unit:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_30.jpg

The Karizma XMR is powered by a 210cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 4-valve, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC engine that puts out a healthy 25.2 BHP @ 9,250 rpm and 20.4 Nm @ 7,250 rpm. The bike weighs 163.5 kg, which gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 154 BHP / ton and torque to weight ratio of 125 Nm / ton. The engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission with a wet-type slip & assist clutch.

The clutch is light and the engine is tractable. Release the clutch and the bike will move off from a standstill without a problem. The engine is very tractable and has a decent pulling ability from low speeds in all gears. Power delivery is very linear and there are no jerks felt while accelerating. These properties, along with the not-so-aggressive riding position make the Karizma XMR very easy to ride in city traffic.

On the open road, there is enough power available to see you leave most other bikes in the segment behind. You won't need to change the gears often too. In 6th gear, it is able to pull even at 40 km/h without lugging. This helps a lot in providing a relaxed ride on the highways. However, if you want to quickly accelerate, slipping down into a lower gear is very important. That said, when it comes to outright performance, the XMR does not feel as urgent or exciting as, say, the Yamaha R15. In terms of cruisability, it will happily sit at 80-90 km/h all day long.

The 6-speed transmission, which is a first for a Hero-branded motorcycle, is smooth to operate. The slip & assist clutch helps matters. This kind of clutch helps prevent wheel lock-up if the gears are being downshifted when the speed is high. The SAC written on the fairing stands for Slip Assist Clutch.

Refinement & NVH



There were some vibrations felt in the foot pegs and hand grips after crossing 5,000 rpm, but they were not very bad. It is expected behaviour for bikes in this segment. However, I am not very sure about the plastic overdose on the bike. With time, I feel some of these parts could get loose and start rattling. The adjustable visor is something that I would be most worried about.

Suspension and Handling



Regular telescopic fork suspension at the front. We would have liked to see an upside-down fork on this "premium" offering:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_31.jpg

6-step pre-load adjustable gas charged monoshock at the rear:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_32.jpg

The Karizma XMR comes with a 37 mm, telescopic fork suspension at the front and a 6-step pre-load adjustable gas charged monoshock at the rear. This combo is adequate for tackling most bumps and speed breakers. The ride is neither too hard nor too soft. However, this is not a bike that I would recommend taking on a broken road with deep craters. With a ground clearance of 160 mm, the plastic part of the fairing will make the first contact with the ground and I don't think it will survive repeated abuse. At highway speeds, the ride is controlled.

High speed stability is satisfactory with no hint of nervousness. When it comes to curves and corners, the bike will handle them effortlessly.

Braking



The Karizma XMR gets a 300 mm petal disc at the front and a 230 mm petal disc at the rear. These brakes provide good bite. Dual-channel ABS has been provided which prevents any sort of wheel lock-up on hard braking.

Last edited by Aditya : 14th September 2023 at 06:57.
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Old 7th September 2023, 11:29   #4
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Hero Karizma XMR Images


The front look of the bike is quite balanced except for the large rear view mirrors:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_01.jpg

Proportionate rear end with an LED tail-lamp and LED turn-indicators:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_02.jpg

Looks smashing in the Iconic Yellow shade:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_03.jpg

Adjustable visor and LED projector headlamps along with an H-shaped LED DRL are prominent features:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_04.jpg

Rear view mirrors are mounted on the fairing:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_05.jpg

Company logo is embossed in multiple places. The key, front of the bike, rear of the bike and even the seat has it:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_06.jpg

Buttons to toggle between the menu options of the instrument cluster are placed on the left-hand side...
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_07.jpg

...the engine and hazard light switches are located on the right-hand side:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_08.jpg

USB charging port is located right next to the key slot - handy when touring long distances to charge your phone on the go:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_09.jpg

The fuel tank has a steep angle. I can assure you that you can brake as hard as you want without fear of anything delicate getting squished:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_10.jpg

White tank in front of the fuel tank is for the oil-cooled part of this DOHC engine:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_11.jpg

Battery is placed on top of the fuel tank. This is allegedly done to improve the weight distribution of the bike. It's a very clever idea and I like it. This allows easy access to the battery without the kind of insane brain surgery kind of experience that some bikes like my Himalayan require:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_12.jpg

Button for adjusting the visor height is placed next to the fuel tank:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_13.jpg

The horn is adequate for most situations, but it is completely hidden under the fairing and this tends to muffle it a little:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_14.jpg

Pillion seat is a couple of inches above the rider's seat:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_15.jpg

Grab rails are well-designed. Due to the difference in the heights of the front and pillion seats, these grab handles will be useful for the pillion to hold:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_16.jpg

The pillion seat can be removed by using the lock between the rider and pillion seats. There is space here for the toolkit. To remove the rider's seat, you need to use the tools. The fuse box is under the rider's seat. The OBD port is however accessible behind the side panel on the right-hand side of the bike. It does not need any tools to reach it. The easy access to remove the pillion seat will be highly appreciated by tourers who use tail bags:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_17.jpg

Rectangular reflector is placed just above the number plate:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_18.jpg

I loved the attention to detail on this bike. The seat, the cover for the disc brake sump...
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_21.jpg

...the side panels...
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_19.jpg

...and also the top part of the front fairing, all have the same dotted detailing:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_20.jpg

17-inch black alloy wheel with 100/80 section tubeless tyre at the front. Bybre 300 mm petal disc brake with ABS:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_22.jpg

Rear wheel is also a 17-inch unit and gets a 140/70 section tyre:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_23.jpg

230 mm, petal disc brake at the rear. ABS has been provided at the rear too:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_24.jpg

Stocky and short exhaust is finished in black. It comes with a silver heat shield:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_25.jpg

There is no main stand. The side stand has a nice angle with a good amount of lean. This makes it a lot easier to park on flat roads without fear of the bike tipping over:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_26.jpg

The beauty spot. Love it:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_27.jpg

Bright red oil overflow collector. The engineering team has really paid attention to aesthetics:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_28.jpg

Here is the Karizma XMR in Turbo Red...
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_33.jpg

...and Matte Phantom Black:
Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review-2023_hero_karizma_xmr_other_34.jpg

Disclaimer: Hero MotoCorp invited Team-BHP for the Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR test-ride. They covered all the travel expenses for this riding event.

Last edited by Aditya : 14th September 2023 at 07:03.
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Old 7th September 2023, 11:29   #5
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by Omkar : 7th September 2023 at 11:32.
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Old 7th September 2023, 13:52   #6
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Overall, the motorcycle looks ok but there is nothing groundbreaking about its looks, features or powertrain. Interested to see how this would do in the market.


Btw, is it just me or the headlights from front on resemble to 954 Fireblade?
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Old 7th September 2023, 14:42   #7
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Nice, detailed review. The bike is really a head turner. One query, how much time it takes to automatically switch on the headlights? As if we are doing 50-60 and enters a tunnel, we may be blind for few seconds?
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Old 7th September 2023, 15:21   #8
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by RMN View Post
Overall, the motorcycle looks ok but there is nothing groundbreaking about its looks, features or powertrain. Interested to see how this would do in the market.
I think we all have to wait for a few weeks to answer this.

Quote:

Btw, is it just me or the headlights from front on resemble to 954 Fireblade?
Its mostly the angle of the Visor. Rest of it not so much (IMHO).

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamer View Post
Nice, detailed review. The bike is really a head turner. One query, how much time it takes to automatically switch on the headlights? As if we are doing 50-60 and enters a tunnel, we may be blind for few seconds?
The light comes on pretty fast.
It will help the riders to be aware of this very good point you have brought up.
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Old 7th September 2023, 15:28   #9
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Thanks for the wonderful review bblost.

The Karizma brand brings back dollops of nostalgia which can pull people to the showroom. And that's where the good news ends. Its just a new kid on the bloc with nothing ground breaking this time in the segment in which it operates.

I was just 6 months into ownership of my LML Adreno FX when Karizma was launched in 2003 during my school days and man it was a heartburn moment. It was still costlier than Pulsar 180 by a fair margin in 2009 which made me look other way and get a Pulsar.

I always liked the faired bikes(reason to go for Adreno) and this was the first proper semi faired bike launch from a mainstream 2 wheeler manufacturer which became successful as well.

There is a Karizma R in my society in a neglected state, might be from the final lot before that EBR inspired thing came. Damn, it still looks beautiful.

Here's wising the best to Hero and hoping that this iteration becomes a legend of its own since this is a grounds up different product!

Last edited by abhi_tjet : 7th September 2023 at 15:31.
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Old 7th September 2023, 23:56   #10
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Karizma is a looker in the new Avatar as well - liked it's unique styling and will surely hit straight to the Pulsar's ground for sure. Bajaj has fallen dull already with the Pulsars. Nothing exciting. So the XMR will pick up very well where it left off.

First thing that comes to my mind when i think about original ZMA is that sweet sounding K&N note when installed! It sounded so unique back then during my school and college days - I'm surprised why no one spoke about it

No other bikes sounded that sweet with a K&N air filter. I did try a filter with my 220 FI but it sounded meh! Good old times.
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Old 8th September 2023, 12:29   #11
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Looks modern and sharp just the way it should be. It is backed by healthy power/ torque figures too. However, that cheesy 'ride the legend' welcome note at the start up is an eyesore IMO.
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Old 8th September 2023, 15:13   #12
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Its a looker !! Well proportioned and looks neat from all angles. Now who would have thought Hero can design something like this after all the ZMR abominations? The original Karizma/R was a lovely bike (iffy plastic quality notwithstanding) - I had the R version in black and have some great memories. All they had to do back then was give it an updated 250cc mill and they were set. I guess their divorce with Honda ruined all the momentum and then they flirted with some bad company (Buell).

Anyways, they atleast seem to have got their design sense back. They clearly seem to be targeting the 10k units/month Yamaha R15 with this. What a great time if you are biker in India. All the best to Hero. Now get that 400cc Xpulse soon !!
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Old 8th September 2023, 17:04   #13
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Quite disappointed to be honest. It looks like they used the decade old CBR250R as Benchmark here and I was expecting the bike to be a step above the CBR atleast in terms of engine capacity and power by now considering the original ZMR was pitted against the Honda back then and fell woefully short in terms of technology. If they had to stick to a single cylinder they should have benchmarked any of the 300+cc single cylinder bikes like the Duke/Rc 390s, G/ RTR 310s, Triumphs 400 etc.
ZMA or ZMR was a flagship brand for Hero and they wasted it on a 200cc bike that doesn't stand out from the rest. Hope there's a bigger ZMR in the works.

From the photos here the paint on the frame especially at the joints looks poorly finished, the plastic shroud displaying DOHC sticker looks a bit tacky and is going to be hidden by rider's leg anyway.

I've been trying to replace my now rarely used CBR250R Abs with something from the 300 to 400 stable so I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer now.

Last edited by Nithesh_M : 8th September 2023 at 17:05.
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Old 8th September 2023, 17:41   #14
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

What engine does it have? Is it a Honda unit or something else? It looks stunning in yellow, but full fairing bikes are not my cup of tea.

What bothers me in the current crop of bikes is that elevated pillion seat. When I visited my son recently at Hyderabad and rode pillion on his brand new Apache RTR 200, I was scared! I felt he was on the ground floor and I was on the first floor! I am heavier than him, and I was worried the CG was going to be affected badly. After about five hundred meters I told him to stop and go to the pillion seat, and I will ride. He said "dad, do you think you can manage?" and I said "sit and hold my beer!". The first couple of KM were odd but then I adapted quickly.

Give me a bike with a single long seat any day.
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Old 12th September 2023, 12:42   #15
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Re: Hero MotoCorp Karizma XMR Review

Wish they got a 150 rear section tyres instead of 140. Quite difficult to find 140/70 tyres nowadays. I struggled when I had to update my CBR250R tyres and ultimately had to go with 150.
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