Hero Honda Karizma ZMR – A 7 day, 1800 KM Ownership Report by Ananth

I have covered about 1820 kilometers since I bought the bike, in which, about less than 120 kms in-city and 1700 kilometers on the Highway. No issues what so ever till now. Did a 5 hour – 350 kilometer continuous ride (Bangalore – Chennai), no heating issues at all! That’s mighty impressive for a tourer like me! Covered almost all terrains in my last trip: National Highways, State Highways, country Roads, off-roading, gravel, no roads, just stones – you name it – the bike proved it worth. Also, I did not face any ground clearance issues.

Performance: Handling is top notch and was eating the corners easily even at higher speeds (80-120 kmph) And most importantly braking is purely awesome. Front and Rear discs do their job marvelously well. The disc brakes saved a couple of lives on the highway too. The bike feels a tad heavy at times, and a slight wobbling on heavy cross winds, more with a saddlebag.

The lighting is the only factor I consider as below par, it could have been better. 35W isn’t enough; it may be ok in the city, but it’s a definite no – no on the highway. Gear shift, as always on a new Karizma, is a bit hard, difficult to get the bike into neutral. Engine is so refined, butter smooth on the run – you will fall in love with it the moment you turn on the engine. The exhaust note is also pretty cool. Pick up is excellent, The bike has enough torque to pull up from as low as 30 kmph in 5th gear to 122 kmph and above in the same 5th Gear! Absolutely no vibrations till 7000 RPM. Engine is butter smooth, heavenly refined and a pleasure to ride. I hit a top speed of 122 on the odo at around 8000 rpm, in 5th gear. The bike starts to vibrate past 7k rpm / 110 on the odo and at top speeds it feels a bit uncomfortable – though we can get used to vibrations at such speeds.

Servicing: Did my first service at 490 kms in Bangalore. Changed the Engine Oil – Hero Honda – 10W30 SVJ – Rs.210. Checked the filters, adjusted the disc brakes, tightened the chain, lubed it and the servicing is done! Was charged Rs.210 for it. Rode another 1300 Kilometers after that service – as said no issues till now.

RTMI: The most funny part in the whole thing in the bike is the RTMI (The Real Time Mileage Indicator). It gives a value based on the last 10 seconds riding pattern. At time it shows 13 kmpl and at times 196 kmpl. When you open the throttle, the value decreases and when you close it, the value increases. As per the manual – it will show any value between: 0.00 kmpl to 199.99 kmpl.

Pros: The main positives about the bike:

  • Handling / Braking – Clip-ons with front and rear disc brakes
  • RVMs – Rear view mirrors that really show what is behind you – not like other fairing mounted RVM
  • Console – Crisp, beautiful display with clear values. Digital tacho is a welcome move but I would have still preferred an analog one revving till 10,000 rpm. Plus a neat editable welcome message, fuel indicator, trip & odo meter.
  • Power Delivery / Engine refinement – The bike feels stable even at high speeds, yet refined – no vibrations, no engine noise – no over-heating and stays as it is for a long time. Exhaust note is also good, which I personally like it more than the ZMA.
  • Full Fairing – People think it is a Dhoom Bike. Some ask why it is heavily modified. Few like it – few don’t! But it is definitely a better looking in the flesh than in pictures.

Cons: And for the things that could be improved:

  • Headlights – 35W suffices for the city, not for night riding on the highway.
  • Tyres – The stock tyres do their job well – no doubt, but not extremely well. I would stick to the stock ones for the first 10,000 kilometers, since most of my touring would be on a Golden Quadrilateral / highways and not much of off-roading. For other touring purpose I will recommend that you go for a better set of tyres, as it will provide more grip, comfort and a better looking rear.
  • Service – Though HH showrooms show more care towards ZMR owners, it tends to degrade in time and the quality of service will be a question mark, mainly with a FI bike. After the first service, my rear disc’s braking wasn’t good enough as they supposedly had tightened the brakes!

On the road: After all this, I did a quick 150 kilometer ride today – just to test how the bike behaves in the rains, on a wet surface. It started drizzling, here in Chennai early this morning, with showers spread across the towns. So I packed rain gear and hit the country side for a change. Covered 150 kilometers in rain, slush, country roads with skidding surfaces, and some off roading.

Findings: Handling is too good even on a wet, skidding surface! The stock tyres behave poorly in slushy conditions. Though the rear disc is not as effective when it rains, the front disc does its job wonderfully well, be it rain, slush or normal weather. Braking is good enough; stops without a fuss till 60 kmph. More of front disc needs to be used for more effective braking till 75 kmph. Above 75 kmph, it was risky and the bike won’t come to an immediate halt, but skids and stops after some distance. I would advice not to belt more that 80 kmph on the highway if it’s raining! Didn’t take my cam since it was raining and so just a pic of the, as usual, boring Golden Quadrilateral taken from my mobile:

Thanks for reading!