Hero Honda Karizma ZMR – 28,500 KMs Ownership Review by Sachin

It’s been a long time since I bought ZMR and the love for this bike is just increasing everyday. Today after completing 28,500+ kms in about 18 months it’s time for me to pen down how my experience has been on riding my Karizma ZMR. After munching miles after miles on my ZMR I can proudly say that this bike has been an excellent companion for me where ever I travelled so far.

Be it riding in off roading high altitude conditions in Ladakh or be it riding in twisted single lane roads from Mumbai to Goa or butter smooth straight highways from Mumbai to Rajasthan, I have taken this bike through everything and it does not dissappoint.

It’s sheer presence, huge size, superb metallic paint job, FI engine, higher displacement were the key facotrs which made me pursue this ‘Grand tourer’ if I may call it. I had options like R15 & P220 but since I m 6 feet tall, I was uncomfortable riding R15 and felt it will become difficult for long distant travelling on R15 as I needed more relaxed position bike. P220 was also looking as a good option but not reliable enough in my eyes hence, I decided to go for ZMR.


With over 18 months of riding on this bike, with all the good things that comes in this bike there are a few issues which I have faced. After all you can’t expect any bike to run year after year without any issues Can you?

Battery Issue: This was more specific only to my bike as I could not start the bike without pushing it. It looked so odd and embarassing having to push your bike to make it start. Nevertheless, this temporary problem got resolved as HH provided me a new battery and starter issues were resolved.

Headlight Issue: For someone like me who does a lot of rides on bike I always felt the need of switching over to HID which will give me better vision at night. With the stock bulb your visibility in dark is very low.

Vibrations: There are a lot of vibrations that you can feel at lower revs while riding due to the bulky fairing attached to the bike. It is a big set back for many who would like to buy this bike as there are just too much vibrations coming from the bike. You can feel the vibrations in your feet, hands which will make you uncomfortable.

Even with these few hiccups I’m still enjoying this ride and this bike has never dissappointed me no matter what the circumstances were.


Mileage: At a cost of over 1 Lakh rupees, ZMR is slightly overpriced if you compare it with other bikes in this segment. However if you plan to use the bike for a long time then this price will be justified because of the wonderful mileage this bike returns. I have always managed to get an efficiency of 45+ at highway and 40+ in city which makes it the most fuel efficient premium Indian motorcycle mainly because of the PGM-FI set up.

It is definitely above all in terms of mileage and the RTMI [Real Time Mileage Indicator] another feature in the bike is very useful if you want to keep a check on how you are faring on the mileage at your current speed. Though this feature is more helpful if you are riding at a constant speed. Talking about features, one of features is the digital intrument cluster which has all the information you need starting with welcome message where you can add your name. Nice touch I would say.

Suspension: ZMR’s suspension is wonderful and this bike can be taken anywhere because of the telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers in front and GRS [Gas Reservior] at the rear which provides great comfort to rider and pillion.

Ergonomics: After years of riding on this machine, I can say that it is very easy and comfortable to ride this bike because of its seating arrangement. The up right position is a boon for riders who are into long distance touring. If you are planning to ride to Leh, the ZMR should be the best choice because of its comfortably reachable handlebars for an effortless and pleasurable ride.

Crash Experience: Many of us including me would always be wondering how would a full faired bike like ZMR manage if you were to have a fall. Well, I have had 1 fall from this bike which was my first in 8 years. I had a fall in Delhi after competing my Ladakh trip in the final few kms before reaching Delhi Railway Station.

After 21 hours of continuos riding from Nako, Himachal Pradesh to Delhi due to lack of sleep unfortunately I hit a big stone in middle of a four lane highway! What followed next was a series of events like both my rims got bend at speed of 100kmph and then with all my effort still trying to control the bike and avoiding the fall I still could not control and had a fall.

Alas, due to a full face helmet and riding gears I got saved and yes, ZMR to me and friends surprise only beared a few scratches without any damages to the fairing. Unfortunately due to the miserably bend rims the bike had to be towed. The big body cowl is good and because of the handlebars and sari guard the fairing manages to escape with less damage.

Someting Unique: Well, I’m not a big fan of customising bike as I love the ZMR the way it is. However I did few minor changes in the bike which I considered where required in the bike. As mentioned earlier, ZMR’s multireflector headlamps wasn’t adequate for me at least so I replaced those with Bi-Xenon H4 4300K HID.

Adding a better bright headlamps makes a world of a difference to your riding experience especially if you have ZMR. You feel more comfortable at higher speeds and confident while riding in dark. Another important change which I made to the bike is replacing the stock tyres.

Stock tyres are too thin for the complete look of the bike and HH could have given this huge bike at least a little wider tyre. Nevertheless, I used Michelin’s M45 tyres which provided excellent on road and off road grip. Currently I’m riding on Pirelli Sports Demon 110×90 18″ which offers the best grip and enhances the rear look of the bike. Other additions covers addition of Motographix tank pad, Red wheel rim tapes and LED pilot lamps.

Been there, Done that: There are many short and long rides which I done on my ZMR however a few memorable ones are listed below.

Ladakh & Lahaul Valley: There is a sense of proud feeling when I write these lines. ZMR being an FI bike, I consider the best bike to be taken to Leh-Ladakh as it is too good there. When other carb bikes feel power loss, start up problems & problems climbing high mountain passes, ZMR surpasses all these issues.

Ladakh has always been considered as biker’s pilgrimage and it was a great experience riding ZMR in almost as many as 10 high mountain passes. During this ride there were many challenges like riding in slush and mud in Rohtang pass, countless really difficult water crossings, starting the bike at almost -5 degree celsius, Riding in zero visibility in snow at Nakee La pass, riding with a pillion and successfully reaching Chang La pass (second highest pass in the world) & the feat of riding at the highest motorable road without any issues.

Mt.Abu, Rajasthan: Yet another memorable ride, even after ripping the bike continuously at over 120+ kmph for hours the bike never dissappoints. I along with 2 other riders managed to come back home (Mumbai) from Mt.Abu around 750 kms in 14 hours. That says a lot of about the bike which can take high speeds for a long time and does not complaint.

Goa Ride: New year and Goa are perfect combination and when this plan is combined with great friends and a grand tourer like ZMR you are in for some serious fun. I have never had so much fun on ZMR until I took it to Goa. In the return journey via NH17 which is a single lane road on beautiful hair pins ZMR twisted and turned without any issues.Cornering on this bike was not a problem though you might not have the precision as what R15 has at corners.

All in all this is a wonderful bike and hopefully HH now Hero Moto will bring in the higher capacity flagship Karizma with more power and better quality plastic to continue its legacy.

Hope you liked my review and especially my photos. Please leave your comments. Will be looking forward to it. 🙂

Read Sachin’s Comprehensive Review of his Ninja 650

Sachin Nair

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