Karizma ZMA Vs the Fastest Indian

The all new Hero Honda Karizma ZMR has already hit the Indian roads with some real goodies for the new sports tourer that will take “Touring Spirit” to a next level, that will leave all the other competitors behind when it comes to touring. But, because of this new baby added to the Hero Honda family will we forget the old trusted Karizma ZMA or the refreshed Karizma ZMA Sports that gave us what the big bike feel would be even before six years??

The answer would be absolutely no, neither Hero Honda nor it’s customers who are really passionate about the Karizma will never forget, as the bike is still under production for the people who are still passionate about it.

Passionate? About an old bike? Are u crazy? Is that the question that’s scrolling in your mind? The answer is a big Yes, who’s not passionate about the bike that has touched a million hearts?? Ever wondered why still a Yamaha RX-100, 135 and the most wanted RD-350 is still loved and being wanted so badly by so many bike enthusiasts even though the bikes and the spares are out of production decades ago? The answer lies in just a big smile that puts on everyone’s face whoever rides it, the bikes are so perfectly crafted that it’s still being loved by millions and will continue to be loved for the years to come and the Hero Honda karizma ZMA is one that kind of a bike that has touched over a million hearts. But, seeing all this there was a serious move that has turned Bajaj’s sales up and made the Hero Honda people to stand on their toes. Yes, the introduction of the “fastest Indian” the all new Bajaj Pulsar 220-DTS-I. To be frank Bajaj is the first of a kind two wheeler manufacturer that has turned the biking history upside down by putting more power into the new 220-DTS-I than their old trustworthy 220 DTS-FI.

Although this concept is totally confusing the clear water message is that it has to beat the Hero Honda Karizma as the new Pulsar 220-DTS-I is on the same price tag as of the ZMA.

Ok, will the introduction of the fastest Indian really take away the much loved Karizma? The answer is in the comparison that follows. Ok, let’s start by calling the karizma in:
The Hero Honda Karizma was launched in May 2003 and won millions of hearts by sheer looks and performance next to its smaller brother CBZ.

Engine: The mill of the karizma is a 223 cc four stroke single cylinder Over Head Cam air cooled engine that mills out 17 PS at 7000 rpm with a torque of 18.35Nm at 6000 rpm that makes this machine touring, commuting and even stunt friendly. The maximum speed that Hero Honda claims for Karizma is 125kmph with 0-60 kmph timings of 3.8 seconds which is pretty impressive. The engine is super refined and is always game as the television ad suggests and is real fun to ride. The engine retains its relaxed characteristics no matter what the abuse it takes in terms of speed and that is something to be noted. The fueling system is a constant vacuum carburetor that houses Carb Controlled Variable Ignition that sweeps the low end with a smile coupled with the bike’s strong engine. The bike also has self and kick start that comes in handy when the self start takes nap in unavoidable circumstances. The bike features a five speed constant mesh gear box that is one of the best till date with some butter smooth gear shifts, any day pride of the Honda’s.

Electricals: The bike has a DC lightning set-up yet another promising feature at that time for tourers and is still. The bike houses a 12V- 7Ah battery that powers the entire electrical system with 35W /35W halogen bulb with a multi-reflector DC type headlight system and the most stunning feature was the tail light that was powered by two 5 watt bulbs yet again with multi reflector which made heads turn around.

Chassis: The frame of the Karizma is a tubular single cradle, diamond type that houses the 223 cc mill and proves the best touring handler with 135mm telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers in the front and 5 step adjustable dual springs at the rear. Added to this comes the big 18 inch rims that is touring friendly which is made of die cast alloy wheels that eats potholes happily.

Brakes: Karizma has one of the best brakes ever with Nissin 276 mm disc set-up in the front and an internal expanding 130mm shoe type rear drum that not only sounds impressive on papers but in real life situations too. Added to all the above with a fuel tank capacity of 15Lts and a kerb weight of mere150 kgs the bike still stands as a rider’s pride under the flagship of Hero Honda. But, seriously apart from all the features can it hold on to its life with it’s rival, the Fastest Indian?

Let’s bring the “Fastest Indian” in:

The Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-I was launched lately replacing the much successful 220 DTS-FI that ruled the roads for quite some time giving a tough competition to all the bikes of the same segment. Although what Bajaj has done is quite unusual, but there has to be some breakthrough to carve Bajaj’s name in the pages of biking history and I think that’s what they have done giving a very tough competition again with a lower price tag and added features that keeps counting which when narrowed down the customer will vouch for the 220 DTS-I without even a slight hesitation. Ok, let’s plunge into the details of the bike:

Engine: The Rev friendly heart of the 220 DTS-I is a 220 cc four stroke air and oil cooled engine that pumps out 21.04Ps of raw power at 8500 rpm with a torque value of 19.12Nm at 7000 rpm which actually burns the papers with the values written on it. The engine holds a high torque curve and always likes to be revved, although the engine is not as refined as the old 220 DTS-FI or even it’s competitor the super refined karizma, but once past 5000 rpm, trust me it’s a pleasure to ride and with the addition of the largest venturi carburetor it can be serious fun on the highways with some strong four wheeled competitors.

Suspension: The bike features telescopic 130mm hydraulic forks in the front and dual Nitrox charged canister shocks at the rear that gives some serious comfort to the man eating pot holes.

Brakes: The bike features both front and rear disc brakes similar to its older brother the 220 DTS-FI, the KBX 260mm disc in the front with steel braided hoses and a KBX 230mm disc at the rear talks of some serious stopping power at high speeds.

Electrical: All the features in the bike are again derived from its older brother that has a full DC set-up with a 12V maintenance free sealed battery that powers a 55W projector headlamp for low beam and a 55W ellipsoidal lamp for the high beam which is in fact mind blowing in the dark and a boon for the tourers.

Wheels and Tires: The bike is equipped with 17″ alloy rims at both the front and rear with special MRF soft compound rubbers that gives a leech like grip on both wet and dry conditions later they have started giving out the proven IRC’s too.

To sum up the bike, with 15 liters of fuel tank capacity and with the same kerb weight of it’s strong competitor and with those plenty of features, the given “Fastest Indian” title is well justifying. Ok, as both the bikes are really good equivalently justifiable, there arises a big confusion of choosing one. A small comparo of both:

Karizma ZMA over Pulsar 220 DTS-I:

  • Reliable 223 cc butter smooth Honda engine,
  • Striking design,
  • 18″ wheels for touring comfort that can take all kinds of pot holes with ease,
  • Long wheelbase at 1355mm provides ample stability,
  • Closed chain cover for minimum maintenance interval,
  • Comfortable seating position and the last but not the least,
  • Proven tourer for six years with zero competition in its segment.

Pulsar 220 DTS-I over Karizma ZMA:

  • Proven, DTS-I engine technology and Exhaustec exclusively patented by Bajaj,
  • More HP and torque,
  • Oil cooler that keeps the engine at nominal temperature even after long drives,
  • Front and rear disc brakes,
  • Nitrogen charged rear canister shocks,
  • Tubeless MRF/ IRC soft compound rubbers,
  • Sporty Clip on handle bars and split-seats,
  • Auto choke and
  • Vertical stack twin 55W projector headlamp set-up that turns darkness to daylight.

As both the bikes stand equally when it comes to competition, the later one has more real value for money where as the first one has a proven reliability that comes in handy for long term users. So, it’s finally in the hands of the one who chooses what he really wants to go for “The fastest Indian” or the one which is “Always Game”.

– Ram