Bajaj Dominar 250 Test Ride Review
We do a detailed road test review of the Bajaj Dominar 250.
Bike Tested: Bajaj Dominar 250; Road Test No. 1196; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,89,700/-
The Dominar 250 is the first quarter-litre motorcycle under the Bajaj tag
Over a span of 3 years, Bajaj has seen great potential in the Dominar brand. While the sales haven’t been as strong as the Pulsars, there is a small fanbase for the sport-touring based Bajaj motorcycle. Since the Pulsar line-up is expanding in the commuter segment, Bajaj has thought of stepping into a slightly accessible segment with the Dominar. With the launch of Dominar 250, this is the first time a proper quarter-litre motorcycle has come from the brand. We test it out to find what’s really interesting and new.
Motor Quest: Bajaj launched the first Dominar in the year 2016. It was followed with a minor cosmetic update in 2018 with new colour options. A major update occurred in 2019 where the Dominar 400 got an upgrade in the hardware department while the power increased too. In the initial months of 2020, Bajaj has introduced another model in the Dominar line-up and this time it was a 250.
Styling: If you like how the Bajaj Dominar 400 looks, you’re in for a treat as the Dominar 250 looks exactly like its elder sibling. The headlight assembly is taken straight off the Dominar 400 and gets the same full-LED setup. The bike looks muscular and beefy from the side, and the exhaust also looks exactly like the one on the 400. It is safe to say that you will find it extremely hard to differentiate between the Dominar 400 and the Dominar 250 in a single glance.
Even the dimensions of the Bajaj Dominar 250 are exactly the same as the Dominar 400
But some cues give it away. The obvious one is the new badging, which says D250. One other thing that will help you differentiate between the two, is that the Bajaj Dominar 250 gets standard alloys instead of the diamond cut alloys from the 400. The 250 also seems skinnier in the lower half, which is no surprise because of the smaller engine and the thinner tyre size. Other than this, it looks like Bajaj pressed ctrl+c on the 400s design and then pressed ctrl+v while designing the 250.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear: Like the physical appearance, the Bajaj Dominar 250’s instrument cluster also resembles the Dominar 400. There are some changes, though. While the new Dominar 400 gets information in both the dual pods, the 250 gets the old set from the older Dominar 400. The dual pods full of information, which we found very unique and useful, are missing on the Dominar 250. Instead, the 2nd pod just gets a Bajaj logo with a pair of tell-tale lights. We would have added the Bajaj-Bluetooth logo joke here but it’s just too old now.
The overall fit, finish and build quality isn’t the best but matches the Bajaj standards
The gear position and mileage indicators are also missing here. However, the instrument cluster is still neat as a complete digital unit and will keep up with the competition. We think alongside copy-pasting the looks, Bajaj should have copy-pasted the update dual pod instrument cluster from the latest 400 in the Dominar 250. It also gets the same set of switchgear which have a backlight and are finished in piano black.
Ergonomics: The Bajaj Dominar was always a comfortable motorcycle to be on. The Bajaj Dominar 250 stands up to this notion as well. It’s clear that Bajaj has left the rider’s triangle untouched, likely because people have really come to like it. The seat height is the same at 800 mm and this one gets the same straight handlebars as the Dominar 400 which means you sit upright and relaxed. The footpegs are centre-set while there is enough space to move around and lock your knees as well.
The bike gets a split seat design and both seats are comfortable and even with a pillion, you won’t feel any excessive weight on yourself. The 250 also gets lighter bar-end weights than the Dominar 400, which makes the motorcycle easier to manoeuvre. One thing we disliked is the mirrors. While the mirrors look good and have the impressive build quality, adjusting them on the go is a task. They are wide enough to display what’s behind but on our test bike one had to stop and get them right with both the hands.
Performance: The Bajaj Dominar 250 gets a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 248.8cc motor which produces 27 PS of power at 8500 RPM and 23.5 Nm of torque at 6500 RPM. Unlike the 3 sparkplugs in the elder Dominar, Pulsar NS and RS, the Dominar 250 gets a dual-spark head. On our test ride, the bike took around 11.35 seconds to reach the ton (VBOX tested) and we could achieve a top speed of 131.66 km/hr, making it a little slower than its competition. While the motor is very smooth in the low-end, it feels flat in the top-end. The midrange is strong though and makes the bike peppy enough to pop wheelies. The 6-speed gearbox feels slick and comes equipped with a slipper clutch as standard. The clutch is light but getting used to the half-clutch setting on the bike would take some time.
The Bajaj Dominar 250 gets the same exhaust as the Dominar 400 which sounds good and has a mix rumble here as well
While the throttle response is slightly delayed, it makes the motorcycle city friendly as the low-end is not jerky. Whereas some vibrations are present and creep in via the handlebars and the pegs, they don’t feel annoying until you push the bike to its redline which is at 10,500 RPM. Coming to fuel efficiency, the Bajaj Dominar 250 returns 29 km/l under spirited riding conditions while it will manage about 32 km/l on highway stints. The tank size remains the same as the Dominar 400 at 13-litres, which seems sufficient. The motor gets liquid-cooling but there were very few instances when we heard the fan turn on to cool the engine. Heat dissipation is pretty good too.
Riding Dynamics: The Bajaj Dominar 250 shares its ergonomics with the Dominar 400, which corresponds to similar riding dynamics. The biggest standout point between the two, other than the new engine, is the new front suspension of the 250. While the rear suspension is straight off the Dominar 400, the front suspension is a set of 37 mm USD forks. The new front suspension is softly sprung and glides over bumps nicely. Also, a normal box-section swingarm replaces the previous aluminium swingarm. Although the overall setup was softly sprung, we witnessed that there was a thud every time the bike went over a big pothole. At 180 kgs, the Dominar 250 is now 7 kgs lighter than its 400cc counterpart, which means it is more agile than the Dominar 400 while changing directions.
The Dominar 250 is the heaviest 250cc naked motorcycle in India
Coming to other aspects, the braking performance is good enough with a decent bite but not too sharp, and the brakes have gradual feedback. The disc size is similar to the Pulsar 200s which is a letdown even though it gets dual-channel ABS. While the Dominar 250 is not meant for cornering, it still felt planted and tipped into corners without hesitation, but the turning radius is still too much for our narrow Indian roads. The centre of gravity is close to the footpegs and the weight feels well-distributed. The tyres are quite thin for the segment while they are coming directly from the Pulsar RS 200. We feel the thinner tyre size limits the potential of the bike but does aid-in for better economy and swift performance.
Verdict: The Dominar 250 gets a majority of its components from the successful Dominar 400. This makes the Dominar 250 a versatile do-it-all motorcycle. It might not be the fastest or the most radical-looking in its segment, but it’s definitely close to being a complete package. Perhaps this is a city-based 250 ready for occasional touring, same as the Dominar 400. At Rs. 1.89 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai), it is priced less than the KTM and Husqvarna 250cc offerings which cross the Rs. 2 lakh mark. There are some shortcomings too like the brakes, tyres and the cluster could have been better. So should you buy the Bajaj Dominar 250? Only if you’re looking for a 250cc motorcycle to upgrade to with a VFM factor.
* The cheapest 250cc naked bike offering in the market currently
* Road presence of a 400 from the 250, has that big bike feel
* Comfortable riding dynamics with softly sprung suspension setup
* The new engine has enough punch in the mid-range while being calm in low-end
What’s Not So Cool
* Could have been lighter
* Only available in 2 colour options, red and black
* Tyres are thinner as compared to other 250cc bikes
* Cluster misses out on a gear position indicator and mileage indicator
* Engine: 248.8cc, Liquid-Cooled, Single-Cylinder, FI
* Power: 27 PS @ 8500 RPM
* Torque: 23.5 Nm @ 6500 RPM
* 0-100 km/hr: 11.35 Seconds (VBOX Tested)
* Top Speed: 131 km/hr (VBOX Tested)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Fuel Consumption: 28-32 km/l
* Frame: Beam-Type Perimeter Frame
* Gearbox: 6-Speed
* Tyres: 100/80/17 (Front), 130/70/17 (Rear); MRF
* Suspension: 37 mm USD Forks (Front), Monoshock (Rear)
* Brakes: 300 mm Disc (Front), 230 mm Disc (Rear)
* Length x Width x Height: 2156 mm x 836 mm x 1112 mm
* Wheelbase: 1453 mm
* Seat Height: 800 mm
* Ground Clearance: 157 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 13-litres
* Kerb weight: 180 kgs