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.

Flaws

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.

Features

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

Regards,
Sachin Nair

Read More User Reviews of Hero ZMR

Click To Expand

69 COMMENTS

  1. very good review. pics taken are very very impressive with breathtaking scenes of mountains snows and rivers.Its a dream riding such places.

  2. Excellent ownership report. Goes to show, even though the ZMR is not that popular, has kinda confused looks and not that much power, it still is one of the best tourers around.

  3. Hi Dude ;-), I really like the review.Its like DRIFT-Short and Powerful 😉
    Photos are COOL and happy to see ZMA-R gave u company along the ride.

    Best part of the review is the way you choose the bike among 3 models[ZMR,R15&P220]
    Because lots of mad people still struggling to select the bike for their taste & need.

    Surprise part : Mileage 40 in CITY???!!!!!!!!!!
    Even ZMA-R not giving that much in CITY ;-( MAX is 35KMPL ;-(

    I can suggest you & excepting you to right a TOURER GUIDE.

    Try to avoid a long hours drive and be happy 😉

    • Try to avoid a long hours drive and be happy 😉

      Thanks for your generous comments 🙂

      This bike can easily give 40kmpl in city. I just came from complete Ashtavinayak ride where I covered 850 kms in 2 full tanks and I still have half tank more remaining.

  4. dude am also a proud owner of karizma zmr
    me too face the same problem of head light
    when i told the showroom guys about the idea of hid light , they told of that it will dry up my battery and also it make of lose my guaranty
    give me a solution and also tell of whether that hid light is really helpful than the built lights

    • HID definitely is very helpful and get it installed if you are not finding yourself comfortable riding at night with stock bulb. I have been using HID from past 6 months and I have never faced battery issues. Just DO NOT continuosly honk horn when your HID is switched on. Also ensure you start you bike and then HID.
      As far as warranty, Hero Moto provides 3 years of Warranty which would become void if you install HID.

  5. Hi Sachin

    Nice review !!!. i would like to mention that i was also facing similar vibrations in my cbz extreme at 40 kms per hr . the vibrations were unbearable then i complained to the service center about the vibrations ( from the 1st free servicing itself ) and on the 3rd free service the service manager told me that all bikes have vibrations at that point of time i told him that the vibrations were abnormal then he took a test ride on my bike and his mouth was shut after he took a test ride of my bike. then also nothing happened then i met a good service manager at my 4th free servicing and i told him about the vibration problem and then he tightened my engine mouting bolts , then i did valve setting and now i am having normal vibrations in my bike.

    my advice to you is just check the engine mounting bolts if they are loose and get them tightened and also check valve setting of your bike. as it has helped me.

  6. hi brother,
    i realy enjoy ur review…..this ll explain ur luv on ur bike…… ur photos r really awsome… y u didnt say about that karishma-R guy and that r15 guy………
    have a safe ride…..

    • Well, bcos this was about the experience and ownership review of ZMR which is a subjective topic hence, found discussing about friends irrelevant.
      Now that you have asked, the guy who is riding Karizma R is my friend who accompanied me in Ladakh & R15 guy is one of my best buddies who came with me to Mt.Abu, Rajasthan. We are all friends who share a common passion. Biking!!!

    • I bought it for Rs.3800 however if you search you will find it for around Rs.3200 also. I dont know the latest pricing as I bought this 4-5 months back.

  7. Good review Sachin.. Unfortunately I sold my ZMR and booked a Honda CBR 250 which I did not like and take delivery.

    Will soon go back to my ZMR in 2012. Hopefully there will be some upgrades on the Tyres and incorporation of a crash guard in the front.

    Did any of you face water going into the Petrol tank because of a kinked drain tube. My bike stalled due to Rain water entry and had to drain the tank..:) That was my only bad experience in a span of one year!

    • Georgie, Hero Honda should have actually upgraded from Karizma to ZMR to something what a CBR is today. Unfortunately they have n’t 🙁
      Why are you unhappy with the CBR?

      If you are looking out for better improved Karizma in the near future it might take time, Karizma was launched in 2003, Karizma R in 2007 & ZMR in 2009.
      8 years and still the same output 17 bhp.

      My bike has never faced issue with water entering in the petrol tank. I think it was subjective to your bike only.

  8. Awesome review (well, the tech aspects were missing, but we can always get it else where)… 😉
    And the pics are too good..!
    I feel jealous after reading this wonderful review..!!
    TC 🙂

    • As you rightfully said, tech aspects of the bike is something everyone here is aware of hence, I only touched pointed only few of those important aspects which I liked in the bike and were helpful for me 🙂

  9. Hi Sachin,

    Omi here. I got ma pearl white ZMR on Feb 2011, covered 9000kms so far. Avg is around 38-42 in city.
    I too had d same battery problm and got replacd from HH. I want to upgrade ma headlamps and d rear tyre. Giv sum suggestions that which 1 will be better and, how much it will cost?
    mail me on omkar.murkute.1988@gmail.com

    Thanks and enjoy ur ride……………..!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Omi, Go for Pirelli Sports Demon Rear (110×90 18″) This tyre will cost you around 3.2K to 3.5K

      Headlamps go for HID – Ask for Bi Xenon H4 HID 4300K this should cost you around 2.5K but worth every penny.

  10. Very nice review. It was a pleasure reading it. I was the owner of a ZMR about 2 years ago. Rode it for 6 months and sold it as my bike was a sheer dissapointment. The bike refused to go above 115 kmph despite all attempts. The rear shock absorbers were utterly clumsy with a pillion on board, bottomed out on every other bad patch of road/pothole despite being adjusted to its highest stiffness. My ZMR was bought in 2009 Feb, guess HH must have taken care of the issues in the later models. Keep Riding. Ride Safe. Cheers.

    • Yes, may be you bought the bike from the first lot which might have had quality issues. It is advisable to always not buy the bike from the first lot as there might be rendering issues like in your case 🙁

  11. Hi! Nice review, just wanted to know if u took the bike from here to Leh Ladakh by road? and if yes how much days did it took you to get there? Did you join any club as there is a RE Bullet club which keep on touring. – Kaushal

    • I m from Mumbai and we had limited holidays so we tranported the bike in train from Mumbai to Delhi. We started our journey from Delhi.
      Delhi – Amritsar – Patnitop – Drass – Leh – Khardung La – Pangong Tso – Keylong – Manali – Via jalori pass into Lahaul Valley of H.P and then return back to Delhi.
      So went via Srinagar route and came back via Manali route.

  12. Actually I also want to go for a new bike and I had short listed this & R15 but I somehow never liked the New R15 V2 bike with a split seat. So should I go for this bike in your opinion? Pl reply – Kaushal

    • Both bikes are good. It depends what your needs are and which bike is best suited for you?
      If you ask me, R15 V 2.0 is currently the best 150cc bike we have in the Indian market. ZMR on the other hand serves a completely different set of people. It good for touring, pillion comfort.

      If you dont like R15 and assuming you like more upright seatign position and comfort for long rides then ZMR or CBR should be something you should test ride.

    • one of my friends who is 5′ 5″ did not face any issues on ZMR. This is because Hero Moto have reduced the seat height in ZMR when you compare it with Karzima R.
      You might wanna sit on the bike first and check out before making any decision.

    • Anubhav, Company claims top speed of 127 km/h however I have managed to attain a speed of 133 km/h while riding down the slope on a national highway.

  13. Hi Sachin,
    I must say, that if anyone has been able to convince me about any bike, you have , even though I have had my eye on this bike since its launch. Am 60 yrs old but still feel 20 where bikes are concerned and I am a long distance rider rather than a speedster.
    Good review and thanks
    Ronald

  14. Hi sachin,I like sports-cruiser bikes.Don’t u face any mileage issues with fatter rear tire.Rs.3800 for 1 rear tyre. It’s too much@3 times.what’s the price of MRF Zapper 120/80*18.can i fit i my stock rear alloy?

    • The mileage has dropped by 3-4 kmpl but a better tire gives better ride so why not?
      What I paid for the tire was on the expensive side but I guess the same tire is available for around 3.2K
      You can fit the 120 profile tire in the rear provided you either cut your chain cover or remove it completely.

  15. Sachin Hi, first of all, let me tell you that your review about the ZMR made me choose and buy this bike. I was moving between a ZMR and Apache 220, but your review finally made me go ahead and book a ZMR. I am getting the delivery this weekend :-))) so excited..

    I wanted to have your valuable advice about the front and rear tyres.. It seems that you have changed both for better grip and control. I shall be riding this bike for about 15-20 kms every day and not more, but I too feel that the tyres look much thinner than the robust size of the bike.. could you please advice, should I only change the rear one with M45 and keep the front, or do you advice to change both.. Also, would it be ok to chnage the tyres after maybe riding about 500-1000 kms initially or change them as soon as I get the bike ? Thank you in advance..

    • For Tyres – you can choose Michelin M45 for rear and front also, if it is available.
      Or you can also check out Michelin Sport Demon for rear. You can change the tire immediately, if required.

  16. Suresh,
    trust me after reading your review about our same bike ZMR.
    feeling proud that we have bought the same machine….
    next time tag me along…. Cheers….

    keep it up….

    regards
    Gaurav

  17. Hi, I have karizma zmr.I completed 9000 km.I want to ask tht can I change my bike oil to castrol active 4t. Currently I m using hero honda active 4t oil in my bike.or suggest me for some good engine oil for my bike. Pls reply me as soon as u can

    • Apologies for the delay in response, Since you have already have completed 9000 kms you can switch to Full Synthetic oil which is better than mineral oil once your bike completes Run in.

      You can choose any one of the following Bike oils which is recommended for ZMR:
      Mobil1 FS Engine Oil 10W40
      Motul 7100 FS Engine Oil 10W40
      Shell Advance FS Engine Oil 10W40

  18. @Sachin

    I have a couple of questions on the headlamps. Please correct me on that!
    What is H4 4.3K?
    What is HID projectors & why do we need to install HID’s with projector set up?
    what is the use of angel eyes, will it provide clear view apart from looks?
    Is that 5K or 6K agreeable according to Indian laws?

  19. hello sachin really loved your review…its really good to know that there are people like me who love challenging rides…..i used to thease type of rides on my bajaj ct 100 but now
    i bought a black zmr four days fefore the bike is awsome……i feel it very smooth….and sporty….but i have some prob in my bike
    1-The gear shifter pendal is very tight as compared to pulsar…….i can’t ride without my shoes…..its painfull
    2- After every 30-40 km my bike heats up i can feel the heat coming out of the fearing and the engine sound increase with the temp….
    i want to know is that just because my bike is new or its a problem or it is common in all zmr,s
    i am waiting for ur reply….please..

    • hi,..you don’t worried about that…itz quite natural in zmr. Me too faced this same 2 issues some months ago in my zmr. The gear shifting problem will be automatically solved after 3rd or 4th service. My gear is now smooth.
      And considering the heating issue i recommend you to immediately take your bike to your hh service center. They can surely solve the heat problem. I don’t know how to explain that heat problem. Still i have no such issue. Really awesome bike.

  20. Really like your posts,even i am also crazy for bike rides over long distances but i hv never done it yet so plz contact me i want 2 talk to u once 8294995047 this is my no. Plz plz plz plz plz contact me!!!!!!

  21. I am having Karizma ZMR april 2012 model , I completed just 2000 KM on it but in drive its engine heats up . Is that due to engine oil grade (10w30) ? Many of my friends advised me to used 20w50 grade oil in it . will it be safe for bike engine ? which engine oil is more suitable for ZMR as i am staying in very humid and hot place ?

  22. good review and your photos and its locations were very beautiful. and i am also reporting the same rear tyre problem………. if HERO moto will release ZMR v2.0 with avoiding that issues, that will be ABOVE ALL………………

  23. Hi Sachin i”m from mumbai, i read review of ur ZMR experience, i’m planning to buy new bike but there is confusion to buy between Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 & Karizma ZMR, so kindly give ur suggetions

    • Hello Sachin
      Gone thru ur review on K-ZMR {i have also gone thru Ronald G Rowe K-ZMR review}from ur ownership experience i want to ask whether this bike can be used for daily commuting besides touring secondly What’s the life of K-ZMR & the future of K-ZMR knowing that Honda have parted their ways from Hero. Will it affect those who own K-ZMR, i have seen thru net Hero-EBR bike being tested whether it’s the same engine i don’t know. An internet friend of mine advised 2 go 4 Honda CBR 250 or wait 4 Hero-EBR bike since i am not speed-master neither interested in dragging bike thru street, neither i liked the rear end of future Hero-EBR ,my main concern all the years have been my used back and in future also want a bike which gives minimum backache or none at all . I have been riding bike for almost 20 years now { Kawasaki Bajaj, TVS Suzuki, Yamaha, LML now Hero Honda}I trust Honda engines as i am having HH Passion for 7 years now and till date never required to open up the engine, i have used this 100cc 2 travel {340 kms Shajapur-Bhopal & back 420 kms Bhopal -Indore & back } but now want 2 ascend to higher version, whatz ur advice should i wait 4 Hero-EBR or go ahead with K-ZMR{ moreover Honda CBR is beyond my financial reach either 150 or 250, it also looks small compared to K-ZMR}, my height is 5.11. The cons K-ZMR i suppose is the expensive spare parts but knowing about the reliable Honda engine it may be worth having the same. Is K-ZMR fruitful in long run. ur valuable suggestion awaited.

      Do we have any other alternative ?

      Shaji C
      Bhopal

  24. Hi, I myself bought a Karizma ZMR on August 30th, 2013. One other bike that was on my mind was the Duke 200. But, after sitting on the bike in the showroom, I instantly khew that the Duke was not for me. It is a vry vry puny machine with awkward, sharp stance.(The foot peg is set so high). I want my bike to be comfortable & airy. If ur 5.11 and don’t want any backaches, u can definitely go for Karizma ZMR.
    One thing I can tell from my experience is that this is a bloody good machine. The acceleration is mind-blowing. 5 gears are covered in the initial 45km/h!!!!! That’s why a 6th gear is badly needed for relaxed highway cruising. But, the problem is not that. The biggest problem are the thin tyres. Because of them you’ll not have the confidence to go beyond 90-95km/h. Hero shud’ve given the tyres of the CBR/Duke, then it’d have been an excellent machine. Other than the tyres, this is an EXCELLENT(I’d say close to the best) bike. Trust me. U’ll not regret ever buying this bike.
    P.S.: For commuting, this bike is awesome. Due to the high torque, it zooms past traffic & also, due to the sharp handling its absolute fun to drive in traffic. Although, I’m only 5’5, I feel no problem while handling the bike & normally stay ahead of all in traffic. But, I agree it has a lot to do with one’s individual riding technique 😉

  25. This is a very bad and woerd funny looking bike! It doesnt contain any power or speed! Bajaj discover is better tahn this bike! It switches off its own if we turn in a perticular angle! Its a scrap

  26. Hi Sachin,

    I was going through your post, I am planning to visit the same area in the month of June this year. I have a Karizma R, I saw your fellow biker on a Karizma R, did it face any problem of tuning ???? At khardung la, was there any Engine problem or loss of power observed ??

    Thanks

    Jeet

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here