Bikes We're Thankful Were Discontinued: Hero Karizma ZMR, Yamaha Fazer 125, Bajaj V15, Hero Splendor Pro Classic, Suzuki Intruder

  • Apr 16, 2023
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A few came before their time, but were all doomed from the start

Motorcycles are something we (rightly) love to bits, though the combination of factors that make an ideal motorcycle still elude us. As a result, there are a multitude of examples which didn’t pass muster, and fell to the wayside. So in this first part of our new series, we give you the lowdown on bikes we still remember, but we wish we could forget!

Karizma ZMR

Remember Hrithik Roshan’s needless muscular posturing while he told us to “Jet Set, Go”? Well, that was 2003, when the Honda CRF230L sold overseas became the Hero Honda Karizma, and a million sport bike dreams were launched. 

A decade later, though, post the dalliance with EBR (Eric Buell Racing), the ‘Hero’ (the bike, not Hrithik) was now a bloated husk, having gained fuel injection but just 1.5PS. Besides, it was buckling under the pressure chiefly created by the Bajaj Pulsar 220F. And finally, a certain 200cc KTM’s entrance, followed soon by its Pulsar cousin, meant the ‘zma was toast.

Yamaha Fazer 125

Yamaha’s attempts at making mini versions of their big bikes usually pays off (like the R15 series). But this was the rare case when that didn’t happen. Right from its 2003 launch, the public’s reaction to the Fazer was notably dull. The reasons were myriad, not least the combination of the dragonfly-like headlight, bulky body panels, but staid tail. 

Besides, despite naming it after a 600cc sports tourer (which shared its powertrain with the R6, no less) Yamaha gave it a teeny tiny 124cc engine from the YBX commuter. And so with neither looks nor performance, it wasn’t a wonder that Yamaha took it off the shelves within three years

Bajaj V15

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The Pulsar 150’s engine in a distinctive roadster body – with an optional rear seat cowl – and its fuel tank made from the molten remains of the INS Vikrant, India’s first aircraft carrier. And all this at a price tag comparable with the 125cc bikes of the time, made the V15 a perfect combo of desirability and patriotism when it was launched in 2016. 

However, quality issues and the lacklustre pillion seat meant its sales faltered within a year. Things deteriorated further when Bajaj launched the 125cc engined V12, as that meant a price bump to the V15, overtaking the Pulsar 150. As a result, sales virtually flatlined, and Bajaj discontinued the V15 in 2019.

Hero Splendor Pro Classic

Everybody loves cafe racers, something that Hero knew. But they took a backwards approach to it with the Splendor Pro Classic. Granted, the lowered handlebar, twin-pod cluster and single seat with no pillion footpegs spoke volumes of its cafe racer intentions. In some sense, it was the truest cafe racer ever sold in India – basically a stripped down road bike, given a hunkered-down stance.

The issue, however, was that underneath all this was a bone-stock Splendor. And while the Pro Classic did remind us just how excellent a base platform the Splendor was, it had neither enough punch to woo the enthusiasts, nor enough practicality for commuters, all of which put an unceremonious end to the Splendor Pro Classic’s career.

Suzuki Intruder

“If Yamaha can make pint-sized versions of its big bikes, why can’t we?” Suzuki must have thought. Or we imagine they must have, before launching the Intruder in 2017. Now, its namesake sold overseas was an 1800cc v-twin cruiser. This, though, was a faux cruiser with the Gixxer / Gixxer SF's 155cc engine, without so much as a retune. 

Now credit where it’s due, the Intruder was a capable handler. But being 8kg heavier than the Gixxer robbed it a bit in terms of performance. Its performance delivery, too, was far from that of a relaxed cruiser, and its jumbled visuals were an 'acquired taste' to say the least. Moreover, a price tag closer to the Avenger 220 Cruise than the Avenger 160 Street (its only direct rival) made it even more unpopular. So finally, after months of single-digit sales, Suzuki snuffed out the Intruder at the start of 2023.

Bajaj Pulsar 150 Video Review

Bajaj Pulsar 150
Bajaj Pulsar 150
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