The day finally came when Bajaj launched their most powerful bike ever, Dominar in our market. The bike raised eyebrows of people when it was first shown as a concept around four years ago and it literally shocked the whole two wheelers industry with its pricing when it is launched. The bike starts from INR 1.36 lakhs for the non ABS variant while the ABS variant is priced at INR 1.50 lakhs (All prices, ex-showroom, Delhi) making it the most affordable ABS equipped 400cc bike in India. The new flagship model of Bajaj seems their most promising product ever; what this bike has to offer? Let us find out in detail as we give you the first look review of Bajaj Dominar 400.
Style and Dimensions
Bajaj has done a great work in order to keep the production version almost similar to the concept version of this bike which was first shown at Auto Expo 2012. The bike back then proved to be a great crowd puller and that probably would have been the reason why Bajaj wanted to the production bike to look similar. The Dominar 400 has been tastefully designed with usage of full LED headlamp cluster at front with LED side turn indicators, black colored alloy wheels with flowing design short front fender and skinny cowl with a short and tinted visor on the top of its headlamp.
The butch look of this bike gives it a very aggressive road presence especially when seen from the front. Move the side and the naked look comes out even better with its stubby silencer and macho fuel tank with extended tank shrouds. The production version gets split seats instead of one piece seat shown at Auto Expo with split grab rails, LED tail light, fatty rear tyre and extended rear fender. The bike stands at 2156mm in length, 813mm in width and 1112mm in height giving it the much needed compact yet macho appearance. This is undoubtedly one of the best designed bikes ever from Bajaj.
The Dominar400 is powered by the same single cylinder, fuel injected, 373cc, DOHC engine as used in the KTM Duke 390. This liquid-cooled engine has been specially tuned by Bajaj to meet the proposed cruising abilities of this bike with incorporation of Triple spark technology. The bike produces a peak power and torque output of around 35bhp@8000 and 35Nm@6500rpm respectively. This results in a very strong low and mid range and that is probably what Bajaj wanted to achieve as their positioning of this bike demands it to be a relaxed cruiser than a performance bike. However despite the relaxed nature of Dominar, it has a claimed top speed of 148km/hr also making it the fastest Bajaj bike. The engine is offered with a six-speed manual gearbox to maximize the power of this engine. This set-up becomes even more interesting with the usage of slipper clutch. The refinement levels are at par with the competition and the free flowing torque in mid range is certainly the best thing to enjoy about this bike.
As far as features are concerned Bajaj has made sure you get more value for your money than you expected. This is the most advanced Bajaj bike in India in terms of features as you get a complete digital instrument panel which also looks very practical, functional and premium with a small part of its placed on the fuel tank same as seen in bikes such as Ducati Diavel. The main display has digital speedometer, odometer, trip meter, time and tachometer while the tank display is for the tell tale lights. This whole set-up of instrument display is very appealing and premium. Also the bike gets blue colored backlit switches on the handlebar, tank pad as a standard fitment, matte finished body parts, stylish alloy wheels, split seat, grab rail, LED tail lamp etc.
Ride and Handling -Suspension and Brakes
The Dominar rides on 17-inch wheels with radial tyres equipped at both ends. The rear 150 section tyre is wide enough to provide you enough grip on this bike around corners and while going at fast speed. The long wheelbase of 1453mm makes sure you get great high speed stability which gets even better with its 43mm telescopic forks at front with a dual spring mono-shock at the back. The bike though has a low ground clearance of 157mm which may get affected by high speed breakers and big potholes on our Indian roads. The bike is certainly not light as it weighs around 182kg and that is why the bike has been equipped with disc brakes at both ends. It gets a big 320mm disc brake at front while the rear gets a 230mm disc brake; both of which work with an ABS unit to control the bike. The bike does not have ABS as standard and is only available as an option to widen the reach of this bike.
The bike surely looks very competent thanks to its modern styling elements, powerful engine and unique positioning in our market. There is no as such direct competitor of this bike available in our market making it a very good option for those who wish to choose something which is easy to ride bike at an affordable price without compromising on looks, power and features. And the pricing of this bike is enough for anyone to be attracted towards it as this becomes the most affordable bike in the segment of entry level performance bikes in India. Undoubtedly, this is a very smart move made by Bajaj which shall pay off in form of unmatchable sales figures. If this bike succeeds which is very much expected then this could be just the starting for Bajaj which later may bring more affordable performance bikes which will be especially crafted for Indians as their other bikes.
Words- Sunil Kumar