Sreeram has submitted this review in our Ownership Review Contest No 13, ensuring himself an assured prize. The contest also offers a chance to win Riding Jacket, Helmet and more.. You can submit your review to us as well. Here are all the details.
10-03-2008, the day it came in unexpectedly. Never thought that it would change my life so much. It’s not just about the bike and its review, its beyond. I have mentioned my experiences with it. It is not a technical review though. It all started like this….
I’m Sreeram from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Right from my childhood I was very reserved and most incompatible with others. I was so dumb that if anyone shouts or talk aggressively with me I used to run away from there. Was afraid of the slightest risk and avoided doing such things. Though I liked watching races I never thought of owning a bike bigger than splendor. Of course it was my obvious choice then as was the case of an average orthodox person. Tried to learn driving on a splendor. Failed many times. Was even unable to move it a couple of yards. Friends concluded that it takes at least an year for me to learn. Eventually I gave up that too.
JET SET GO…
09-03-2008.My friend told me that he was leaving to Mumbai as he got a job there. He wanted to sell his Karizma and was looking for one within the friends circle. It was considered as the best bike among all my friends. “I’m not getting it” told myself. But then by that evening he asked me to arrange money against the bike. I tried and with my uncle’s help I arranged him the money. He brought the bike the next day and parked it in our house. Every day I used to check the bike and soon got attracted to it. Self-start was not working then. So tried to kick start it after watching it for about a week.
I know I can’t but went on for a few weeks like that without success. After a month or so I was able to start once in a couple of attempts. So started taking the bike in and out of my house of course without starting it. In that summer I determined to drive the bike all on my own. And early morning was my choice to avoid humiliation. Took no one’s assistance. Finally I made it. Started and the bike went on and I was nervous, confused with the gears somehow managed to drive for about one km. Then it stopped. I couldn’t start and had to walk with it all the way back.
In a month I started driving in the traffic. Fell many times while taking turns. People used to ask me if I really need to drive that big bike. They felt so because I was a bit short at 5’6” and was very lean. In about three months I managed to drive with confidence and never looked back. Eventually bought the bike.
ABOUT THE BIKE…
Well it’s a looker of a bike by the standards then. It’s not a stock 225cc Karizma. It’s a pearl blue 2004 model Hero Honda Karizma. The following changes were made by him to the stock model. Changed the color to yellow. Stickered it to look like a Karizma R. It has an engine crowl(fairing),K&N air filter installed,HID lights along with stock light,5 pipe horn along with stock horn,Anti-theft alarm kit, strodium spark plug, broader MRF tires. Especially with the fairing it almost looked like a ZMR from front. Most common people even used to consider it as some sports bike.
My first long ride was to Araku Valley situated about 130Km from my place Visakhapatnam. It is a narrow ghat road, passes through hills with many dangerous ” hair pin“ bends, virtually touching the highest altitudes in the south. The ride brought the biker in me. After that I went a lot of times to many places nearby whenever I felt like driving, within 100km.Soon started touring on by bike and the farthest being 900km in about 20hours.It is the sheer enthusiasm towards riding made that possible for me. Odo was clocked 42850 when I got the bike and have made it to 91120 at the end.
One of my memorable and the best being the one to Araku Valley on August 7, 2010. We, six friends started at around 7pm in the evening. Bikes were a Pulsar 220, Pulsar 200 and my Karizma. It was raining. We had to pass through a ghat road of about 65km. It was such a place where it is cool and fogs all-round the year. We were told not to go as the hills slided at many places blocking the road. And the temperature there the before day was 2 degrees. It’s dangerous as you can’t find any hint of civilization in the next 100km and even if the bike stops no one comes for your rescue nor can you get help as you can’t even get the signal in the middle. We still went on with our saying “Born for risk”.
Very soon we started feeling the heat. The road was damn dark and foggy. Nothing beyond 10 feet is visible. The slightest mistake may end up falling in the valley, killing ourselves. The ghat road has no proper fence at many places. No clue about the ends of the road. There were hill slides blocking the road at the corners making it more risky. Most of all, the piercing cool climate made us sick and exhausted and our hands and legs were barely active.
But “above all” it was my bike’s HID light that lit the road without which the ride would have been a disaster. Even with all this, we could just see the radium painting in the center of the road for about 10feet. With just seeing that, we went on. I was at the back and the other two rode in the front in the light of my bike. We thought if I was at the front I may miss them. After reaching about 70km we were in such a bad state we had to stop for some time. Our blood pressure levels came down. Body temperatures came down. We can neither go back nor continue. We had to do air skipping and jogging for five minutes to increase our body temperature. Luckily four of us were sportsmen, me a soldier by heart.
Finally we reached the destination after about 7 hours .Yes seven hours for 130km.It was the riskiest ride ever. We all feared death. Even one started crying in the middle. But the rest were determined to complete. I even remember shouting “Do or die” loudly on the top of a hill. It took about a week for us to recover completely. Then we realized and decided not do anything like that again. It takes a whole lot of space to describe that ride so limiting it to this.
I particularly mentioned this ride because there many youngsters out there, who in the name of adventure doing “wild” things like this. I suggest them not to do anything which is fatal. You are more important to your family than the ride to you. The basic criteria for a ride is to reach the destination safely and after that it should be enjoyable.
Since it came with all the premium stuff, I limited it to the regular servicing and never changed much in the bike. Changed oil in time and before going to long ride say above 500km.During this span I changed few things. The major being the air filter, tires once, battery twice and many other minor components. It’s easy on maintenance if taken care properly. I constantly used to get a mileage of around 40km in city and about 45km on the highways.
Limiting this to only my opinion as its specs are popular throughout..
Well I have driven almost all bikes up to 250cc and the RE’s and can reckon that it’s an all-rounder. Its response is uniform throughout its rev range though some urgency is felt when the bike crosses 70km. It’s one of the best when coming to touring. It’s a good highway cruiser and a balanced city commuter. You can drive it like a regular commuter or can all the way run with adrenaline rush.
Most people don’t agree with the “commuter thing”. Well you have to drive it for some time, get used to it, to bring it out. It never turns you down. Even after riding it for more than 90000km it still runs well though not on par with the new ones. There are bikes which are better in performance than this but not reliable than this at least not after riding 90000km and after 8years. It was a quality bike. Though it falls short with others in terms of performance it has its own positives.
HOW THE BIKE CHANGED MY LIFE…
As mentioned before I was very “reserved” . After getting this bike I changed my attire and eventually myself( without knowing that) to suit the bike. In the process my confidence levels raised, started talking loud in public, the bike made me famous in the neighborhood and everyone started recognizing me as a totally different person. It was like “tables turned”. I was referred as the “Karizma” boy. I transformed myself into a totally different person. Started earning for my studies and stood on my own. A small ride on that used to “rejenuvate” me no matter what the situation is.
I never thought of my career seriously. Was just thought of doing graduation and an orthodox job. But the aggression and attitude that it pumped into me made me go for a challenging professional course. Yes I know it’s not totally responsible for that but I personally believe that it made me confident to take challenges and take decisions aggressively. Particularly considering that it’s not financially feasible for me. And now I’m on the vest of completing my course and hoping to start my own office soon. It literally made stand out in the crowd.
ME AND MY BABY FIREBLADE…
Yes I named it as a baby fire blade. No specific reasons though. I always preferred riding alone along the coast side. As I mentioned I used to go for a ride whenever I’m upset. It was my best companion and my best positive energy source. I liked spending time checking and cleaning it. Friends used to say that I couldn’t find a girl as I totally spend my earnings on my bike and have nothing for the girl. Hmmm.. that’s true.
You may be thinking that I belong to a rich family. But not. I belong to a lower middle class family where owning a bike itself is a distant dream. Bought this bike with local finance with the help of a friend and cleared the balance payment to my bike friend. It almost took two years to clear that. And I did that with my own earnings form tuitions and other part time earnings. I was a part time teacher too.
There were many instances initially where I had to sell the bike. I was forced from all sides. But I didn’t give up. From nowhere I started earning money. It’s all my passion towards it. And all this made the bike even more special.
It happened in the first week of September,2013. It was the case of emergency and I needed immediate funds in a week. Tried all options and finally ended up with the selling of my Fire blade. The “emergency” which I prefer not describing here, was so intense that it made me do so. I’m a single parent child and have literally no one except my mom. Had no financial aids or so. And it was an obvious choice for me then.
Though a hard decision to take, I gave away my Fire blade on 15-09-2013.Weeks passed. Came out of the “emergency” and I started feeling the absence of my Fire blade. I would describe it as dark patch. Later in October first week I managed to buy a Boxer 2000 model in below average condition for Rs.3000 for daily commuting. And this was my friend’s grandfather’s bike. Need to wait what this has to offer. I should mention that I never tried a smaller bike before during that 5 years and felt down to earth when driving that initially. Everybody started asking me about the “Fire blade”. But soon I started enjoying my rides on boxer though the absence of fire blade is always felt.
I always used to say this to my friends who felt bad for not owning a big bike. True biking is not about adrenaline rush nor achieving top speeds nor covering long distances. it’s all about “relishing the ride” no matter what you ride. A biker is one who enjoys driving all sorts of bikes. We all keep on arguing about the best bikes, power, torque, top speed, acceleration and many more specs. If you don’t relish the ride they are of no use and if you do “those” doesn’t matter at all.
Just because you own the latest bike you can’t become a biker just like you can’t call yourself a writer just because you own a costly pen. Once you understand this the real biker comes out.And you will understand why most of the aged persons are reluctant to sell their chetaks ,Rajdoots and bullets.
I named my boxer a “Baby Ninja” after all it came from the very stable of Ninja. People used to come out with enthusiasm to check my baby ninja when I tell them that I bought a “Ninja”. Now everything changed. I still feel the memories of my “Fire blade” every now and then. But it’s over and I know I should come over it. And it has taught me a lesson that the journey has to go on no matter what happens…
We all “fight” a lot to shortlist a bike to buy. We usually take suggestions from many. We should. But do your own research and buy the one that you think you really want and not just because others think that it’s correct for you. Do what your conscience says. Because “liking” is personal thing and it’s you who has to feel it while driving.
And for those who do frequent tours, it’s always suggested to go for a higher capacity bikes rather than performance oriented. Because they are relaxed and relatively reliable for long drives. Any bike if taken proper care never lets you down. Don’t ever push your bike beyond its limit. Its fatal for the bike. Can drive faster but not recklessly. Lastly no matter what you ride it is always suggested to wear the safety gear.
You would have wandered why I haven’t posted many pictures. Though I have travelled a lot I never took photos of the same and now I’m repenting. I suggest you to take as many pictures as you can whenever you go out for long drives. They really make you feel young in the future when you see them some time later. Please note that all the pictures added here were for personal memories taken a few years ago and were specifically not taken to be listed here so they never had safety gear though I always used a helmet.
Every bike is great in its own way. I respect every bike out there. But like these more than others and has nothing offence for the other bikes.
- I’m a very fond of TVS XL/Heavy duty for its great agility. Every south Indian knows what it’s capable of.
- Royal Enfield Classic 350/500 for the upright posture makes you feel like king of the road. It’s relaxed and has retro classic looks.
- Hyosung GT250R.It looks and feels like a big sports bike though it’s just a 250cc bike. Have seen it many times and became a fan of it. Though it falls short in other aspects with its competitors I even dreamed of owning it.
I always liked the relaxed higher capacity bikes. I don’t see the possibility of owning a bike in the next one year or even more. Though, as the case of any biker, for now I’m thinking of buying a Royal Enfield Classic 500 or a similar machine which the future offers.
I have evaded many things in the review just to bring out and inculcate the passion of riding and bikers. And whatever I have mentioned here is my pure personal opinion and in case if it is offensive to anyone it is not intentional.
I thank my “friend” for giving the bike. He insisted me not to mention his name here.
I thank BikeAdvice for providing a platform to express all this and they have been doing great by bringing all the bikers under one roof. Keep going.
Lastly I thank all the readers who have read this and have come all the way down to this conclusion bearing with my long “review”….!
With best Regards