Hero Motocorp’s Karizma has had a good run in the 200-250cc performance motorcycling segment for a long time since its launch in 2003. It had the looks, it was Hero Motocorp’s first motorcycle with displacement over 200cc and it soon became the hot favourite among Indian motorcyclists. Powered by a 223cc air cooled engine, it belted out 17.2PS and 18.35Nm of torque. Back in the 2000s, performance enthusiasts as well as those with touring aspirations lapped up the first generation Karizma.
Over the years however, the Karizma had to concede a large part of the segment it was dominating to the likes of the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTSi and then the Yamaha R15. More recently, the advent of the likes of KTM Duke 200, the Pulsar 200NS and the Honda CBR250 further eroded the ZMA’s fan base.
Hero Motocorp had introduced a few upgrades to the Karizma in the past, but these were more cosmetic than feature-packed or performance oriented. The face-lifted version of the new 2014 Karizma R and Karizma ZMR have both cosmetic changes as well as mechanical tweaks. We do a spec comparison to see how the new upgraded Karizma fares against the performance kings in this segment – the Pulsar 200NS and Duke 200.
Design and Features:
The new 2014 Karizma R has essentially the same design and features as the new 2014 Karizma ZMR, with just a smaller fairing. The major visual change over the earlier generation motorcycle is a bigger front featuring two projector headlamps stacked vertically, alongwith LED lights. The new bike now features clip-on handlebars, split seat, split grabrail, a new rear end with LED taillight, a new exhaust end can, reworked body panels and a slightly wider rear tyre.
The changes do make the bike look different, but still it gets a slightly “front heavy” look and it does resemble, to some extent, the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTSi’s front fairing. The instrumentation however, remains unchanged and carries the same three pod cluster with analogue speedo and tachometers. Compared to the new Karizmas, the Pulsar 200NS offers a muscular and aggressive naked street bike. It looks quite the street hooligan part too, with a stubby exhaust tucked below the engine, crouched stance, muscular tank and high tail light.
On the other hand, the Duke 200 looks unmistakably KTM, the design more or less inspired from its bigger brother – the KTM Super Duke. With a compact digital console, trellis frame, muscular tank and high rear end, the Duke 200 has completely changed the way motorcycles are looked at in India.
Engine, Suspension and Brakes:
Hero Motocorp has re-tuned the engine of the new 2014 Karizma R. Although the powerplant is the same as in older versions, the air cooled single cylinder motor now churns out 19.2PS of power and 19.3Nm of torque – an increase in 2PS and 1Nm of power and torque from the earlier version. The only difference between the Karizma R and the Karizma ZMR is that the ZMR is fuel injected and has marginally better power and torque figures – 20PS and 19.7Nm respectively.
What would probably irk Karizma fans is that the 2014 R version still doesn’t come equipped with a monoshock suspension and the rear brake is still a drum version. The ZMR does get a disk brake at the rear, but the suspension doesn’t get a monoshock upgrade.
The Duke 200 is powered by a 199.5cc, four-stroke, fuel injected engine with liquid cooling and it belts out 25PS of power and 19Nm of torque. The Pulsar 200NS engine is also based on the KTM Duke 200 platform. And though it is carburetted, the NS is the first liquid cooled Pulsar and the mill churns out a meaty 23.52PS and 18.3 Nm torque.
While the Pulsar gets regular telescopic front forks, the KTM Duke comes equipped with upside down telescopic front forks. Both bikes come with front and rear disc brakes as well as monoshocks at the rear.
The new 2014 Karizma R and Karizma ZMR both have lower power (PS), but similar torque figures with the Pulsar 200NS and Duke 200. The extra power of the 200NS and the Duke 200 will almost certainly be evident once we do a performance comparison. At the same time, gearing, low end and mid range grunt can only be ascertained with a head to head performance comparison. In terms of pure numbers, at least on paper, the 2014 Karizmas lose out to the Duke 200 and the Pulsar 200NS. In terms of handling too, both the 200NS and Duke 200 are well known for their manoeuvrability and corner carving abilities.
The new 2014 Karizma R will retail for Rs 93,693 and the 2014 Karizma ZMR has been priced at Rs 1,17,245 (both prices on-road Mumbai). These prices are comparatively lower than both the Pulsar 200NS and the Duke 200. The KTM is the most expensive, at an on-road price of Rs 1,40,632 in Mumbai. In comparison, the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS is priced very aggressively at Rs 98,063, (on-road Mumbai). Clearly, Hero Motocorp will have to face stiff competition, more from Bajaj in pure value terms than the more expensive KTM.
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