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Yamaha R15 V4 vs Hero Karizma XMR: Which Sport bike To Bike?
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Yamaha R15 V4 vs Hero Karizma XMR: Which Sport bike To Bike?

Reviews by Team Drivio | 24th Nov 23

The Karizma XMR is the quicker bike of the two

  • Hero has priced the Karizma XMR at a very competitive Rs 1.73 lakh
  • Its 210cc liquid-cooled engine is tuned to make 25.5PS and 20.4Nm
  • The R15 V4, meanwhile makes 18.4PS and 14.2Nm, figures that are good for an entry-level 150cc supersport

Back in the day, the Karizma was known to be a very practical yet fun little sport bike. But now in its updated form, the Karizma XMR 210 has gotten modern in almost every way. So has that taken away from that very versatility or can it still hold its own in this segment, especially one that has the venerable Yamaha R15 V4 in it? Let’s find that out:

Hero Karizma XMR 210 vs Yamaha R15 V4: Design

Both the Yamaha R15 V4 and the Hero KarizmaXMR 210 sport a striking appearance with full fairings and a sporty demeanor. While the Karizma appears slightly larger, the Yamaha stands out with its special design, particularly in the Metallic Grey scheme on the M model.

Yamaha adopts a modern, sporty, and distinctly Japanese design by incorporating the headlight within its air intake, mirroring the style of Yamaha's larger R series sports bikes. The layered side fairing and cut-outs in the tail section enhance the premium feel, with quality levels typical of Yamaha's excellence. In contrast, the Karizma, though handsome, lacks the aggressive look of the Yamaha, with less expansive side fairings and a less sleek tail section.

In terms of features, the Yamaha takes the lead with traction control and a smooth quick shifter, albeit functioning only on upshifts. The R15 M boasts a color TFT dash with Bluetooth connectivity, while the Karizma offers Bluetooth connectivity with an informative LCD unit. However, the Karizma's quality, though improved for Hero, does not match the premium feel of the Yamaha.

Its LCD instrument console comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and turn-by-turn navigation, providing riders with modern connectivity options. The switchgear, with its premium appearance and illuminated design, adds to the bike's overall sophistication.

In terms of illumination, the Karizma sports a headlight setup comprising dual LED projector headlights encircled by H-shaped LED DRLs, enhancing both visibility and aesthetics. Notably, the inclusion of dual-channel ABS marks a significant milestone, being the first in a production Hero bike. Adding to its innovative features, the Karizma introduces an adjustable windshield, a pioneering feature in its segment. The raised clip-on handlebars contribute to a comfortable touring experience, emphasizing the bike's versatility.

In terms of road presence, the Karizma XMR has a balanced size, not too big or too small. Its well-designed fairing panels, eye-catching tail, and vibrant yellow colour make it stand out. Hero found a sweet spot in creating a sporty and aggressive appearance without the bike feeling that way when you ride it.

Hero Karizma XMR 210 vs Yamaha R15 V4: Engines

SpecificationsHero Karizma XMR 210Yamaha R15 V4
Engine210cc liquid-cooled engine155cc liquid-cooled engine
Maximum power25.5PS18.4PS
Maximum torque20.4Nm14.2Nm
Transmission6-speed6-speed

Performance becomes a pivotal factor in sports bikes, where the Karizma gains a significant advantage. With a 55cc advantage, it produces almost 7hp more than the R15, showcasing superior roll-on acceleration and outperforming it by over 2 seconds in the 0-100kph run. Despite the shorter gears, the R15 achieves a slightly higher top speed. And that is mainly down to its VVA as well, which stands for Variable Valve Actuation. 

What VVA essentially does is give the R15 V4 a pretty decent bottom end while ensuring that the top-end pull isn’t compromised. The bike pulls hard the moment you cross 7,000rpm and pulls all the way to its redline. And the engine sound accompanied by the pulling is magical to the ears. While the Karizma itself is a loud bike, the R15 sounds properly angry, and that makes it thoroughly engaging to ride. 

The Karizma's engine, reminiscent of the KTM, is faster-revving and produces a distinctive sound. Surprisingly, its larger capacity results in a peaky, exciting surge of acceleration in the mid-range. In contrast, the R15, utilizing variable valve timing, delivers a more linear powerband. Both engines are smooth but get slightly buzzy at higher RPMs. However, the Karizma sacrifices fuel efficiency for power, offering lower figures than the efficient Yamaha.

Hero Karizma XMR 210 vs Yamaha R15 V4: Suspension, Tyres & Brakes

SpecificationsHero Karizma XMR 210Yamaha R15 V4
Front suspensionTelescopic ForkUSD Fork
Rear suspensionMonoshockMonoshock
Front tyre100/80-17100/80-17
Rear tyre140/70-17140/70-R17
Front brakeDisc BrakeDisc Brake
Rear brakeDisc BrakeDisc Brake
ABSDual-channelDual-channel

Sport bikes often compromise comfort for performance, with the R15 showcasing a more committed stance over the years. While the aggressive riding position appeals to its young customer base, it can be impractical and uncomfortable, especially on rough roads.

The Karizma, on the other hand, provides a sporty yet less committed riding position, reducing strain on wrists and back. Despite being capable in corners, it lacks the connected feel of the R15 and may lose composure over larger undulations.

The Karizma handles rough and bumpy roads surprisingly well. The comfortable riding position helps prevent strain on your wrists, shoulders, and back. The suspension isn't overly soft but maintains a sense of plushness in most situations. However, hitting a severe pothole can make the front fork bottom out, even at moderate speeds. In terms of handling, it's more aligned with bikes like the Pulsar RS200 and Gixxer SF 250 than the more focused R15 or RC. When pushing the bike hard on winding roads, the rear shock feels a bit too soft.

Hero Karizma XMR 210 vs Yamaha R15 V4: Dimensions

The R15 stands out in handling dynamics, thanks in part to its 21kg lighter weight at 141kg. With superior cornering clearance, the R15 offers a higher level of feel and feedback, potentially allowing it to lap a race track quicker than the Karizma. Both bikes come equipped with MRF tires, but the R15 features a radial rear.

While both bikes have good grip levels and similar brake setups with dual-channel ABS, the Karizma focuses on a more forgiving and absorptive ride quality. The R15's well-judged suspension handles smaller bumps efficiently, but its riding position may amplify the effect of rough roads. In contrast, the Karizma provides a more compliant ride, transferring less of a poor road's impact to the rider.

Hero Karizma XMR 210 vs Yamaha R15 V4: Price

Ex-showroom DelhiHero Karizma XMRYamaha R15 V4
PriceRs 1,72,900Rs 1,81,700 onwards

Hero has priced the Karizma XMR 210 at a rather mouth-watering Rs 1.73 lakh, ex-showroom. The R15 V4, on the other hand, has become a very expensive bike over the years and now at Rs 1.82 lakh, ex-showroom, it’s definitely quite expensive, especially for what is, at the end of the day, a 150cc bike. 

Verdict 

After spending time with both bikes, the Karizma emerged as our preferred choice for most riding situations, especially on smooth and winding roads. It not only exhibits greater speed but also provides a significantly more comfortable riding experience, making it the superior option for daily road life.

However, the decision isn't straightforward. The R15 has evolved into a cult icon in India, boasting a desirability that goes beyond its specific skill set. Whether it's the impeccably designed aesthetics or the prestigious lineage of the Yamaha brand and the R family of sport bikes, the R15 exudes a desirability that the XMR cannot quite match, despite Hero reviving an iconic name. If your dream ride includes the R15 for these reasons, then it is undoubtedly the right bike for you.

Yet, in almost every other aspect, the Karizma stands out as the superior everyday sport bike and the overall better package. It delivers higher speed, a more comfortable seating position, a forgiving ride, an extensive features list, and manages to be more budget-friendly compared to the Yamaha. This positions Karizma as the definitive winner in this comparison.

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