Five Things You’ll Love About The Bajaj Dominar 400 And Three You Won’t - Overdrive
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Five things you'll love about the Bajaj Dominar 400 and three you won't

A quick recap of some of the good features and attributes of the latest Bajaj and a few things we wish were better

Overdrive
 / 
Principal correspondent

The good bits

It goes without saying that the Bajaj Dominar 400 has been one of the most eagerly awaited motorcycles in India for years. Well, we’ve finally ridden the motorcycle and you can read all about it here. This article is just a quick recap of some of the good features and attributes of the latest Bajaj and a few things we wish were better. Let’s start with the good stuff, aside from the incredible Rs 1.36 lakh ex-Delhi starting price, of course.

Looks

Dominar 400 (1)

The Dominar is a handsome machine and it does so without resorting to fussy details or unnecessary overstyling. The motorcycle cuts a smart silhouette but doesn’t look large or flabby in person. The new digital dial is smart and easy to read as well. The Dominar is one of the best-looking bikes Bajaj makes today, and it also has good street presence. We just wish there was a more exciting colour choice. All in good time, we suppose.

City friendliness

Bajaj Dominar 400 (action) (6)

A big priority for Bajaj with the Dominar was to ensure that it is easy to use in the real world. The bike is pleasantly nimble while filtering through traffic, and despite the power cruiser look, it’s not a handful in the city. Additionally, heat management is excellent and the bike doesn’t get uncomfortably hot, even in a traffic jam. Finally, there’s none of the characteristic low-speed lurching from the KTMs – the Dominar is smooth and tractable at crawling speeds.

Power delivery

Dominar 400 (12)

The Dominar engine is based on the KTM 390’s unit, and while there is a ‘400cc’ stamping on the engine case, the reality is that it displaces the same 373.2cc. The head, however, is a different Bajaj design with three spark plugs and a single overhead cam. On the road, the Dominar feels like a completely different motorcycle. The redline is low, just above 9,000rpm and there’s no point revving the engine so high. The sweet spot lies between 3,000rpm and 7,000rpm. Power delivery is smooth and friendly and will be widely appreciated by the target audience who were otherwise turned off by the KTM’s aggression.

Handling

Bajaj Dominar 400 (action) (2)

The Dominar handles with a confidence and eagerness that belies its power cruiser tag and heft kerb weight. The motorcycle is willing to change direction without having to fight the handlebars. Stability is good when leaned over even if the bike encounters some unexpected bumps. Bajaj also took a good decision of positioning the footpegs slightly rear-set instead of the traditional forward stance on a cruiser. This makes it easier to stand on the pegs on broken roads and also liberates a good amount of cornering clearance. The inclusion of a slipper clutch is a nice bonus that smooths out aggressive downshifts.

Headlamp

Bajaj Dominar 400 (action) (7)

Finally, you’re going to love that new full-LED headlamp. We had just a short experience in a tunnel, but this is easily the most powerful headlamp on any machine at this price point and better than a lot of big bikes as well. There is a fiddly four-step operation with two different switches that control the light, one on each side of the handlebar but there’s no discounting that this light is a tremendous feature.

And now we’ll discuss the things that could have been better

Vibration

Dominar 400 (2)

To be honest, the other two negatives here are fairly minor. When I was thinking of the points for this story, this was the one downside that immediately popped up. The Dominar engine develops a minor buzz in the handlebar at around 4,500rpm. This increases as the revs rise while the pegs and seat pan/fuel tank simultaneously begin to vibrate as well. These vibes are not bad enough to be a complete deal-breaker, but they prevent the Dominar from being the exceptional highway cruiser it deserves to be, as the engine can quite comfortably hold 110-120kmph.

Weight

Bajaj Dominar 400 (static) (1)

182kg is a lot of weight. That’s the same as a Royal Enfield Himalayan and only eight less than the Classic 500. For some perspective, the 390 Duke weighs 36kg less. Of course, Bajaj’s point is understandable – lighter materials that meet the strength requirements cost more money and the Dominar is all about amazing value. The good news is the weight is masked well, and you only really feel it while lifting the bike off the stand. Still, weight blunts performance and increases fuel consumption. We don’t like weight.

Not available everywhere just yet

This is an issue for a short while, but you can’t just walk into a Bajaj showroom and buy a Dominar. As of now, only 22 outlets retail the bike nationwide, but that number is said to grow soon. The reason is there’s a fresh service package required for this bike, and it will take time for that training and infrastructure to reach a large number of showrooms. For now, here’s a grainy picture from the media presentation of where you can buy the bike.

Dominar 400 (india map) (1)



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  • Sathish Narayan

    Watch the 2017 KTM Duke 390 n it’s not any 36kgs lighter as you mention..

    Even the 2016 Duke 390 was just 28kgs lighter with a fuel tank that was 2ltrs small.. That makes it a lesser 26kgs..

    • The Dukeist

      2017 Duke 390 weighs 149 kg (dry), wet makes it around 155-157 kg… So the difference is 25-27 kg…

      • Sathish Narayan

        Dry weight + fuel + engine oil + coolant + other fluids = kerb weight.. It’s not going to be 155-157kgs..

        13.5ltrs fuel itself makes it more than 10kgs!!

        • The Dukeist

          So that too should take it to 160 kg… Still 22 kg shy of Dominar that’s 14% lighter… 2017 Er-6n gets a whopping (auto-journalists’ word) 19 kilo reduction over 2016… So 22 kilo still is a considerable difference in weight

          • Sathish Narayan

            It wud be 20kgs max.. The difference..

            Dominar’s role, design n purpose are totally different from the Duke.. Ultimately both being from the same group, quiet obvious that they dont want to cannibalize each other for sales..

            As a cruiser, the Dominar wud like to have some weight.. While as a street bike the Duke wud love to reduce on weight..

          • The Dukeist

            Do you really think Bajaj would have thought on making it heavy because it’s a cruiser? They have straightaway used materials (mostly metal bits) that are cheaper than those used in Duke 390, and the result is infront of you

          • Sathish Narayan

            You think Bajaj is incapable of using costlier, lighter material to its bikes? It’s just the intent to not do it on purpose..

          • The Dukeist

            I said they want to make it cheaper than Duke 390 and also cheaper to manufacture than Duke 390

          • Sathish Narayan

            That’s the point really..

          • vikas

            What ever it is my dear friends… we don’t like weight even its 2-5 kgs. 25Kg is out of league…

  • Sathish Narayan

    Weight cud blunt performance and fuel efficiency but aids the all important highway stability which is the Royal Enfields are so famous..

  • The Dukeist

    The aforesaid vibrations are also felt on my Duke 200, exactly at the places you mentioned

  • R.K. Dhingra

    i dnt think pulsar 400 is wow as we expected….
    Although ninja 300 and pulsar 400 is different segments bikes but still if we compare the class of bikes ninja 300 is far better in looks and style ( if compare both bikes in sports looks)
    Somewhere I was expecting far better from bajaj…..!!!

    • Gaurav Jaiswal

      Itne paise me itna hi milega! So don’t even think of comparing a ninja with a bajaj.

      • R.K. Dhingra

        I do agree. There is lot of difference in price segment. …..

  • Rajaghuru KP

    The Dominar 400 is a brilliant VFM machine, from Bajaj for the discerning biker – either city slicker or highway rider. The points covered on the vibes for sedate mile-munching is valid & considering the fact that it will be used more often than not for touring, Bajaj will do all of its potential clientele a favor, by trying to address it.

  • Vimal Raju

    In my case, I might buy this motorcycle just for it’s weight…..I love riding heavy bikes….nothing can match comfort of a heavy machine…..

  • Gaurav Jaiswal

    Hey Rishaad.
    I own a 2015 rc 390 and a gixxer 155.
    Can you please clarify that how much the hurried nature of ktm has been transfered onto this bike?
    Plus does one feel the speeds like on a ktm where even 100 seems to be too involving or it is like the gixxer where the bike feels planted and smooth at say 90-95?
    And how much are the vibes compared to the aforementioned bikes?


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