Bajaj’s so called ‘power cruiser’, the Dominar 400, finally made a touchdown on the Indian soil, almost three years after making a debut in the concept form at the 2014 Auto Expo. This is by far the biggest displacement motorcycle introduced by Bajaj and it has kept us on the edge of our seats since 2014. The Dominar gets a toned down version of the KTM 390 Duke’s engine with a warm and friendly character. The motorcycle is pitched as a power cruiser and thus is designed for long highway hauls. Bajaj plans to put it against the Royal Enfield clan. While we are yet to ride the motorcycle, here is our take on the design of the new Bajaj Dominar 400.
Before we talk about the motorcycle, let’s talk about that tagline. You see, Bajaj has had some uncanny and mildly controversial tag lines for its products in the recent past. The tag line for the RS200, for example, said Leave Track Racing to Amateurs. The Dominar 400, on the other hand, comes with a tag Only Babies Sleep at Night. We wonder who’d be buying the motorcycle then. Well, we aren’t here to judge anything so let’s get back to the task at hand.
Bajaj Dominar 400, which started its journey as the CS400 Concept at the 2016 Auto Expo in Delhi, hasn’t really changed much in its production phase. The motorcycle retains its aggressive styling and most of the features from the concept. Well, you don’t get that upside down fork upfront, the Metzelers have been replaced by MRFs and the Pulsar CS400 tag has been replaced by Dominar but those are the only things that have gone out of the window. The new power cruiser continues to don most of the hardware from the concept including the futuristic full LED mosaic head lamps with balanced white light and vertical Auto Headlight ON function and the two-piece, full digital instrument cluster that we saw at the 2014 Auto Expo. Even the diamond cut wheels have been retained. Also, while the front forks may not be the advanced upside down units like the KTM but at 43mm, they’re still quite meaty.
The Dominar 400’s aggressive styling is termed as Alpha Male Design and is inspired by a “Muscular Lion Back”. The chiseled fuel tank with shrouds looks pretty neat too and the character lines neatly merge into the perimeter frame. The fuel tank also holds one half of the instrument cluster which displays Check Engine Light, Coolant Warning Light, Low Battery Indicator, Side-Stand Indicator and ABS Indicator. A blue Bajaj emblem sits right in the middle of the panel. The other half of the instrument cluster, or the primary console, displays Odometer, two Trip Meters, Tachometer, Speedometer, Fuel Indicator, Clock and other tell-tale indicators, including the Oil warning light. The split display is aimed to reduced clutter in the cockpit and we think it does a pretty good job.
The exhaust canister deserves a special mention here. The compact exhaust canister is aimed to enhance centralisation of mass which will further aid the handling department. The design looks pretty neat too.
The chiseled fuel tank is followed by the saddle which, surprisingly, is split seat setup instead of the single piece unit showcased on the concept. Then there is that meaty rear panel which isn’t something that I’d fancy but it would come real handy when you load up the saddlebags, something that has been a bit of problem on my KTM 200 Duke. The twin LED tail lights, just like the split cockpit, may remind you of a particular power cruiser and you aren’t wrong. Duc… Cough.. ati. Excuse me. Lastly, the numberplate and rear blinkers sit far away on the tail which looks quite similar to the current KTM 200/390 Duke motorcycles.
The design is pretty solid and if we look over a couple of things like the fat rear panel, the angular tail and probably that switchgear from the Pulsars, there isn’t anything that we’d want to change on the motorcycle. The motorcycle looks pretty well built and neatly designed and is indeed a steal at that highly competitive price tag. Minor details such as the dual tone front fender and black highlights on the fuel tank around the fuel filler cap are pretty neat.
We wouldn’t get into the specifics of the engine, braking and the ergonomics until we get the Dominar 400 for a ride. But let’s get the technical specifications out of the way. The new Dominar 400 draws 35 PS of power at 8000 rpm and 35 Nm of torque at 6500 rpm from its 373.2cc triple spark DTS-i, liquid cooled, fuel injected, single cylinder engine. The engine even gets a slipper clutch which will come handy while aggressive downshifts. The engine is tuned to deliver low and mid-range torque and Bajaj claims that about 28 Nm of torque comes in at 3000 rpm, and builds upto 35 Nm at 6500 rpm. Bajaj also claims that the motorcycle can accelerate from 0-100 kph in 8.23 seconds and can clock a top speed of 148 kph which, they say, comes up in mere 20 seconds.
Anchoring duties are performed by Bybre sourced 320 mm disc upfront and 230 mm disc at the rear. The motorcycle also gets an optional twin channel ABS. The ABS equipped model is claimed to bring the motorcycle to a halt from 100 kph in about 9 seconds and within 46.19 meters.
The Dominar 400 will primarily lock horns with the Royal Enfield clan. Keeping that in mind, Bajaj has designed the motorcycle to operate at high altitude. The operating altitude is rated at 0-18,380 feet above sea level so you’d probably see quiet a few Dominar 400s doing Ladakh next year.
As aforementioned, we are yet to swing a leg over this motorcycle but we are quite impressed with the spec sheet and feature list. But the best part is the price. The standard variant of the Dominar 400 costs INR 1.36 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) which is lower than the KTM 200 Duke. The ABS equipped version, on the other hand, is priced at INR 1.5 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) which is lower than most of its competitors. The new Dominar will give it’s rivals, the Royal Enfield clan and the Mahindra Mojo, a tough time in the times to come. It’s already available for bookings and you can reserve one for INR 9,000. Deliveries are expected to begin in January 2017.
|Type||Triple Spark, 4-Valve, DTS-I, Liquid Cooled Engine with Closed Fuel Injection|
|Max Power (PS @ rpm)||35 @ 8000|
|Max Torque (Nm @ rpm)||35 @ 6500|
|Chassis and Suspension|
|Frame||Beam Type Perimeter Frame|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic 43mm Forks|
|Rear Suspension||Multi Step Adjustable Mono Shock|
|Brakes and Tyres|
|Brakes Front (mm)||Twin-Channel ABS, 320 Dia Disc|
|Brakes Rear (mm)||Twin-Channel ABS, 230 Dia Disc|
|Front Tyre||110/70-17 Radial|
|Rear Tyre||150/60-17 Radial|
|L x W x H (mm)||2156 x 813 x 1112|
|Ground Clearance (mm)||157|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||182|
|Fuel Capacity (litre)||13|
|Battery||12V, 8 AH VRLA|
|Headlamp||Full LED with Auto Headlamp ON|
|Price (Ex-showroom Delhi)|
|Standard||INR 1.36 lakh|
|ABS||INR 1.50 lakh|