Bajaj Dominar 400 – First Ride Review


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In the year 2014, Bajaj had shown its concept motorcycle, the CS 400 at the Auto Expo. Well, from that concept, the company has produced the new Dominar 400 (D400). So, finally the much awaited motorcycle is production ready and it seems like it wasn’t a long journey for the company to bring in a concept to reality, which can be owned and ridden. Dominar is the new premium brand name of the Bajaj which debuts over the Pulsar brand name. With this new power cruiser machine, the company looks forward to dominate the 300cc plus segment which as of now is being ruled by the Royal Enfield. Bajaj has been dominating the Indian Sports motorcycle market for last 15 years, but will the company do well with their new flagship model? Let’s find out below!

Price of Bajaj Dominar 400 – Rs. 1.36 Lakhs (non-ABS variant, Ex-Showroom, Delhi) & Rs. 1.50 Lakhs (ABS variant, Ex-Showroom, Delhi)

Its Styling: The Bajaj Dominar 400 is a power cruiser and gets a completely unique and new design which no other Bajaj bike has. For me, it seems to have got its design inspiration from an Italian beauty, the Ducati Diavel. The Dominar 400 gets a complete LED headlight unit with AHO (Auto Headlamp On) technology as the bike is engineered to dominate the night. The 13-liter fuel tank gets a sleek and long design and flows nicely to the rider’s seat. Like the Ducati Diavel, the Dominar 400 also gets two split instrument cluster meters. One lays on the handlebar and the other on the fuel tank. The taillights are again Ducati Diavel inspired dual LED strips. The exhaust is short and sleek and looks good. The dual seats are comfortable and you don’t have to climb and jump to get seated on the rear seat. The totally new design of the Dominar 400 is complimented by those front and rear machined alloy wheels. They look fabulous and add up to the premium taste of the motorcycle with raised decals (Dominar on the tank and D400 on the rear seat panel), footrests and handlebar mount. The rear seat panel is in black and has been kept common for all three paint schemes of the bike. The Dominar 400 with its low stance, muscular looks and premium bits like the fully LED headlamp and alloy wheels, is a complete head-turner.

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Its Switchgear and Instrument Cluster: As said before, the Dominar 400 gets two split instrument clusters, the one which is on the handlebar is an all-digital and shows rev counter, speedometer, time, fuel gauge and two trip meters. And the other one, which is on the fuel tank displays all warning lights like ABS, side-stand down, battery and other few. The main instrument cluster gets dark base shade with white readout display.

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The switchgear is backligt. All the necessary switches are present and have good plastic quality. But here, I would like to talk more about the headlight switch as this bike features an AHO technology. There are two separate switches which offer four levels of adjustability. The one on the right, being in the parking light mode, offers an always-on headlight in the high beam and with it, the high beam light sign in the instrument cluster always remain on. It’s to make the bike more visible during the daytime. When you will turn that switch to left it will switch the headlight from high beam to low beam. That’s the night mode. Now, on the left switchgear, is the other switch. It is the regular low and high beam switch that lights up the other LED cluster present in the headlamp. But they function only when the right side switch is in the night mode. But I think only one regular switch would have done the work.

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Its Engine and Riding Dynamics: The engine on the Dominar 400 is the single-cylinder, 373.3cc, liquid cooled and fuel injected DTS-I engine. It produces 35 PS of power at 8000 rpm and max. torque of 35 Nm at 6500 rpm.  The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox with slipper clutch assist. The engine is actually taken from the KTM 390 siblings (Duke 390 & RC390). But here, the engine is finely tuned and has a very different behavior as it uses triple spark plug and DTS-I technology. The exhaust note is not very attractive and its thump slightly reminds you of the KTM’s exhaust note.

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Once you astride the D400 and press the engine start button, the bike will welcome you with its smooth exhaust note but at the same time it will also remind you about its weight which is 182kgs. So at 182kgs kerb, it is not a light-weight motorcycle at all. As you will move off the line, the weight will disappear. The rider sits slightly ahead of the rear wheel. The ergonomics will also again remind you of the mighty Ducati Diavel. The sitting posture is upright but the rider has to lean a bit to reach the wide and flat handlebar making it more of a sporty position. The seats are comfortable and have good amount of cushioning. Its more of a relaxed cruiser. It is made on the beam type perimeter frame, made from steel spars and there is a steel swingarm.  In traffic, with your throttle inputs, it will keep moving forward without making you feel that it’s bulky. The slipper clutch performs seamlessly during upshifts or hard downshifts. The slipper clutch does maximum engine braking and makes no drama at the same time. 0-100 km/h comes up in 8.23 seconds and the claimed top speed by the company is of 148 km/h. Our test ride bike was equipped with dual-channel ABS. The ABS seemed to do its job very well and provided enough stopping power. The suspensions on the front are 43mm telescopic forks which are conventionally installed and not upside down like the KTMs, as the forks are again carried from the KTMs. The rear suspension is Bajaj’s trademark adjustable Nitrox Monoshock. Both the front and rear suspensions keep the bike planted and balanced especially at higher speeds. The bike really handles well and the MRFs provide enough stability during high speed corners.

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Its Verdict/Conclusion: The Bajaj Dominar 400 has been priced at very attractive prices of Rs. 1.36 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the non-ABS variant and Rs. 1.50 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the dual-channel ABS variant. It’s a great value-for-money motorcycle and really a great package overall. Its not fast or powerful as compared to the KTMs as it is more of a cruiser oriented motorcycle. It is a perfect motorcycle for your weekend getaways and also a great option to ride daily to your destination. It is a comfortable motorcycle and a great handler. Bajaj has a perfect all-rounder and what else would you want in a bike for 1.5 lakhs which already has a 373.3cc engine, full LED headlights and ofcourse the ABS.

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 Bajaj Dominar 400 Technical Data:
* Engine: 373.3cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, FI, DTS-i
* Power: 35 PS @ 8000 RPM
* Torque: 35 Nm @ 6500 RPM
* Transmission: 6-Speed
* 0-100 km/h: 8.23 seconds
* Top Speed: 148 km/h ( claimed by company)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: 43mm Telescopic Forks (Front), Adjustable Nitrox Monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/70-17 (Front), 150/60-17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 320mm Hydraulic Dual Disc Brake, ABS (Front), 230mm Single Hydraulic Disc Brake, ABS (Rear)

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Bajaj Dominar 400 Dimensions:
* Length: 2156mm
* Width: 813mm
* Height: 1112mm
* Wheelbase: 1453mm
* Ground Clearance: 157mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 13 liters
* Kerb weight: 182kgs

Rider – Tejas Soma

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