Bajaj Dominar Review
Bajaj Dominar 400 – Click above for high resolution image gallery

Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

Bike Tested: Bajaj Dominar 400; Road Test No. 776

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,49,850/- (Standard), Rs. 1,70,170/- (ABS)

The Dominar 400 offers the most performance & features for its price

The era of performance motorcycling from Bajaj started in 2001 with the set of four-stroke bikes and the brand Pulsar. The Bajaj Pulsar range of motorcycles have ruled their segment in performance and affordability. 14 years down the line in 2014, Bajaj showcased the Pulsar CS 400 Concept at the Auto Expo, saying this isn’t a concept, this is going to be reality and it has finally happened! End of the year 2016 or rather the year 2017 has the birth of a new brand from the Bajaj stable, called the Dominar. A special ride event all the way from Pune to Panchagni was organised and we here have the test ride review of the dominating machine, the Bajaj Dominar 400.

Motor Quest: The Bajaj Dominar 400 made its debut as the Bajaj Pulsar CS 400 at the 2014 Auto Expo. It looked more of a concept but Bajaj officials said it would become reality and launched the Dominar 400 in the end of 2016 without much changes as of the concept model. The Bajaj Dominar 400 is the new flagship bike for Bajaj.

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The Dominar 400 draws a lot of influence from the Ducati Diavel

Styling – Complete glance and the Bajaj Dominar 400 looks more like Ducati’s power cruiser, the Diavel. With the body trying to fit between the tyres, the LED headlamp and the beefy tank with the low lying seat, everything sums up pretty well and also reminds us about the Italian power cruiser. The LED infinity tail-lamps are the best we have seen from Bajaj and this power cruiser is certainly a good looker.

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The Dominar 400 has all the right proportions

The rear design is very much Pulsar but still reminds one of the Ducati Diavel

The technical design is however based on the architecture of the LEO, the king of the forest, the Lion. Heavy front, arched body and a rather thinner tail. The alloy wheels on the Dominar 400 are diamond cut ones which look outstanding. The headlamp is a 10 LED unit which works in 4 modes. 1 two dim LEDs for pilot lamp. Second, the 6 focused LEDs on both the sides work for AHO, 4 centre LEDs work for the dipper headlamp and for the high beam, all the 10 LEDs are on.

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There are two displays in the instrument cluster

Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The Bajaj Dominar 400 gets a dual instrument cluster set-up. The one on the handlebar is the main console which displays the speedometer and tachometer which are easy to read. Also it shows a clock, twin trip meters and a small shift light lies below it. The second console contains only the tell-tale lights like side stand indicator, ABS light and the Bajaj logo. The way the Bajaj logo is illuminated can be mistaken for a Bluetooth logo.

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The seat is comfortable for both rider and pillion

Ergonomics – At 800 mm, the seat height of the Dominar 400 is pretty good while the centre-set footpegs and the beefy yet sculpted tank provides enough room for the rider. The seat seems to be slightly hard but the level of comfort with thigh support is decent. Even for the pillion, there is good amount of room but the pillion would also complain at times, because of the hard seat. The overall ergonomics with an upright riding posture and comfortable seating do sum up for a power cruiser feel.

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The Dominar 400’s engine has no heating issue and is refined

Performance – Though the numbers from the Dominar’s mill match the KTMs, there is a slight difference in the engine architecture. As the Dominar 400 works on a SOHC layout and has triple-spark plugs, it also runs on a completely smoother state of tune. The horsepower and torque figures are matched at 35 HP and 35 Nm respectively. But the low-end grunt of 28 Nm starting from early 3000 RPM makes it much easier to ride in the city and even on the highway, as cruising in top gear gives a wide power band.

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The engine has nice grunt and can do high speeds without a fuss

The 400cc single-cylinder motor revs quick but hits the limiter even quicker

The comfortable riding speed seems to be between 100–110 km/hr, but even at these speeds, there’s good amount of grunt present on the throttle and one can roll onto higher speeds easily. The rev range starting from 7000 RPM makes the bike really vocal and gives out a really bassy note from the protruding exhaust. The limiter hits at 9500 RPM even though the tachometer is marked till 13,000 RPM, while the 6-speed gearbox works well with the slipper clutch.

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Vibrations can be annoying at higher RPMs, there is a slight buzz

On meter the Bajaj Dominar 400 hits a top speed of 160 km/hr and above but the VBOX tested top speed is limited to 149 km/hr. The NVH levels are pretty good low down but as you start revving the engine, there’s a good amount of buzz from the handlebar, tank and pegs. The vibrations go on increasing pretty much towards the top-end, but the urge to push the bike to its limit is more fun. Also the liquid-cooling works really well and the engine doesn’t heat up that much, even in stop-go traffic.

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Bajaj has got the dynamics of this motorcycle spot on

Riding Dynamics – The Dominar 400 is a gem on the straights while the agility from the perimeter frame is really good and the motorcycle holds the line really well around the corners too. Even with all the weight, the bike literally pivots on its tyres and it’s easy to manoeuvre while riding. In traffic riding the weight can be felt due the beefy nature of the bike and the longer wheelbase make it difficult. This however, proves very helpful while highway cruising. The Dominar is a power cruiser and comparatively the ride is on the stiffer side than normal cruisers. Though the suspension is softer than the KTMs.

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While the brakes are good, the tyres could have been better

ABS and slipper clutch work really well and the tyres offer good grip too

Brakes are bang on and the 320 mm front disc does an amazing job in stopping the motorcycle. Under hard braking, we have to completely rely on the front brakes as the rear brakes just flicker with the ABS all along. Under normal riding conditions, the dual-channel ABS proves out to be very responsive and the feedback from the brakes is just about adequate. The tyres from MRF do their job well but do not make the rider confident enough to push the bike.

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The Dominar 400 makes a strong case for itself in this segment

Verdict – The Dominar 400 is a complete package, has the comfort of a cruiser while the power of the sporty engine. The abilities to take on cruising and having some fun at the same time while also being priced very aggressively, makes is a lot appealing. The handling is surefooted, it gets amazing set of hardware and the design is such that you won’t be able to get your eyes off it. The flagship Bajaj motorcycle is certainly up and ready to blow the market and as it from the makers of the Pulsar, the Dominar 400 is right on time and ready for the masses.

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The Dominar 400 competes with a lot of bikes in the segment

What’s Cool

* Amazing hardware on offer with a killer price tag
* Engine feels very responsive and has good grunt
* The exhaust note is loud and gets intriguing post 7000 RPM
* 10 LED headlamp unit is unique and the best in class

What’s Not So Cool

* Tyres and feedback from brakes could have been better
* Doesn’t have a big bike feel, feels very nimble for the numbers it has
* Rev limit kicks in very quickly, you find the urge and the Dominar has already hit redline

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The bike has received a lot of interest right from 2014

Bajaj Dominar 400 Specifications

* Engine: 373.2cc, 4-valve, Triple-Spark, Liquid-Cooled
* Power: 35 BHP @ 8000 RPM
* Torque: 35 Nm @ 6500 RPM (28 Nm @ 3000 RPM)
* Transmission: 6-speed Constant Mesh with Slipper Clutch
* 0-100 km/hr: 8.33 seconds
* Top Speed: 149 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 26-32 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Steel Perimeter Frame
* Suspension: 43 mm hydraulic front forks (Front), 77 mm dual-spring mono-shock (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/70/17 (Front), 150/60/17 (Rear); MRF Zapper C1
* Brakes: 320 mm disc (Front), 230 mm disc (Rear), ByBre calipers with Bosch ABS

Bajaj Dominar 400 Dimensions

* Length x Width x Height: 2156 mm x 813 mm x 1260 mm
* Wheelbase: 1453 mm
* Ground Clearance: 157 mm
* Seat Height: 800 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 13-litres
* Kerb weight: 182 kgs

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Bajaj has hit the bull’s eye with the pricing

Testers’ Note:

“Bajaj has positioned the Dominar 400 in such a way that it will attract a lot of buyers from other brands. The bike is an all-rounder, offering the best of both worlds. For someone looking for performance without compromising on city usability, handling without ignoring comfort and features without breaking the bank, there is nothing better than the Dominar 400 in the market now. The value for money quotient is just surreal on the latest flagship Bajaj motorcycle.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“For the price, the Bajaj Dominar 400 is here to kill the market. Though it’s directly targeted at the Royal Enfields, the Dominar is sure to gain some attention. Probably it’s time for people to grow out of the RE mentality and enjoy some raw power and have a taste of adrenaline rush which the Dominar 400 is quite good at. As a complete package, the Dominar is a superb piece of engineering though there are bits which still could be made even more appealing.” – Dhanil Vira, Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Further Reading

Bajaj Dominar 400 Video Review