From the day I heard of the new Karizma's imminent launch, I was barely able to conceal my eagerness to ride it. And since I heard of it only day before the launch, I didn't have to wait for long. You see, waiting only serves to build up expectations that are entirely the outcome of cubicle speculation, something that happens all too much in the office since we're busy looking for things to discuss in order to procrastinate our work. And it's become something of a habit, since I seem to be doing it here too! Alright, without any further delay, let's get on with the Karizma ZMR. Yup, that's what the new 'Zma is called. And it doesn't look anything like the older one. The most obvious addition is the full fairing. Physically, the ZMR looks like a full-size motorcycle and loads of presence, especially in the red and white colour options. The big restyled headlamp helps the bike look big too, while the tail lamp is now an LED unit and it sits in a rear section that looks similar to the CBZ Extreme's. The all-new digital instrument cluster looks super cool and the read-out even issues a greeting (which I cannot recollect now) every time you switch on the bike. It also indicates real-time fuel consumption in addition to the speedometer, trip meter, fuel indicator, clock and rev counter. The handlebars are now tall clip-ons, though the switches remain the same. The front tyre is now a 90/100 MRF Zapper Y, while the rear remains a 100/90 unit, both tyres being of the tubeless variety. However, the ZMR sees the introduction of a 240 mm rear disc, something that seems to be becoming a norm for performance bikes, while the front brake is the same 276 mm Nissin. Also, the rear now gets gas-charged GRS shocks, with springs so red they would do Ferraris proud. And of course, the most significant changes on the engine front are the PGM-FI and the oil-cooler. Sorry, no increase in displacement.
On the terrible roads that we rode on, the ZMR's ride quality was noticeable better than the older 'Zma, due to the GRS shocks, no doubt. And even though I was standing on the pegs and keeping it straight through the craters without bothering to choose a smoother line, it didn't faze the ZMR at all; the front shocks didn't bottom out, neither did the rear hop around all over the place. The comfortable riding position and the excellent ride quality deserve a long-distance ride to be given a good workout. Road holding seems to be a notch above the older 'Zma, though I would like to ride the ZMR on faster roads to get an accurate idea of the handling bit.
The motor is the same 223cc mill producing 17.6 bhp@ 7000 rpm and 1.87 kgm@ 6000 rpm, about 0.9 bhp more and the same torque as before. Fuel injection means that throttle response is vastly improved too and once I gave it the stick, the ZMR showed 115 kph on the speedo pretty quickly, with much more to come. Though we are still to test it, the ZMR feels slightly quicker than before, perhaps because of the improved throttle response. Pricing details have yet to be announced, but we expect the additions like PGM-FI, oil cooler, rear disc and so on to take the price closer to the R15. For a motorcycle that essentially feels the same, it might be a bit too much, I think. Looks like we have no option but to wait for this one.