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A bike with Charisma

Hero Honda has unleashed the Karizma, its most powerful bike till date in the Indian market. The new bike packs in a four-stroke, single cylinder, 223cc engine in a single downtube frame.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2003 13:35 IST

In the profession of writing on bikes, I often get to taste oven-fresh stuff not seen on the road and am often confronted with approving looks at traffic lights.

However, things went a bit further with the Karizma with people actually trying to chase me down to have a look at the bike. It is another matter that with the Karizma, their motives remained unfulfilled.

Always dismissed as a company for the economy conscious, Hero Honda has silenced many critics with Karizma and its performance punch. The new bike packs in a four-stroke, single cylinder, 223cc engine in a single downtube frame using the engine as a stressed member, much in the CBZ fashion.

Talking of the CBZ, one would notice a number of components, both internal and external being shared with the stablemate. From the footpegs to handlebar grips to tyres and even the chassis and engine bits all have the CBZ touch on them. The Karizma comes with standard black alloys, which add to the aesthetics of the bike.

The seating position is nearly the same and in true CBZ style, one ought to fold the footrest to kick-start the bike though the rider is saved the trouble thanks to the standard electric starter. The bike is striking though the frontal section comes across as a bit heavy.

And 223cc translates into 16.7bhp and while this figure may not look that awesome on paper, considering it’s only 1.7bhp more than the Pulsar 180, the Karizma’s ‘rideability’ is no doubt aided by the 18.5Nm of torque and it is heartening to see that both the power and torque are delivered at moderately low engine speeds. On the road that translates into a lot of punch and it is difficult to take on the Karizma in the low-end grunt department.

For that matter with a top-speed touching 130kph, only an aggressive Aquila rider can give the Karizma some competition. The chassis has been tweaked and aided by the competent rubber the handling is adequate for the power and add to the rider’s confidence is the biggest front-disc on any Indian production bike.

Now for the bad news. At Rs 79,000 ex-showroom in Delhi, the Karizma is slightly costly, even with the standard disc brakes, alloys and electric starter. But at the same time, it will give you unquestionable supremacy in the local bike club for some months to come. And that is the whole point behind the bike.

First Published: Jun 11, 2003 13:34 IST