We’re riding the all-new Bajaj Dominar 400 today, and here are our first impressions of the power cruiser.
But first, a quick recap of the Dominar 400 is in order. Previewed by the Pulsar CS400 Concept at the 2014 Auto Expo, the Dominar 400 was launched in December last year with prices starting from INR INR 136,000 (ex-showroom New Delhi).
With 35 PS of power and 35 Nm of torque from its 373cc, triple spark, fuel injected and liquid cooled DTS-i engine, the Bajaj Dominar 400 is the biggest and most powerful Bajaj motorcycle till date. The engine is strapped to a six-speed transmission.
Other salient features of the Dominar 400 include a full-LED headlamp with balanced white light and vertical AHO (Automatic Headlights On), a fully digital instrument console, a slipper clutch, dual channel ABS for the 320mm front and 230mm brake discs , along with 43mm telescopic front forks.
Without further ado, here are the first riding impressions:
- The whole motorcycle feels exceptionally taut and well put together for a Bajaj.
- The engine has a gruff note with some vibes kicking in after 6000 revs around the seat area.
- Absolute low end power delivery is not as great as expected with some knocking to be experienced in the higher gears at low speeds.
- Mid-range performance is meaty and the revs climb all the way up to 9500 rpm before the limiter cuts in.
- Power kicks in properly after 5000 rpm, and the throttle response is crisp.
- The knock free, meaty zones in the power band are – 6th gear; 3500 revs; 60 kmph+, 5th gear; 3500 revs; 50 kph+, 4th gear; 2750 revs; 35 kph+
- Bajaj insists that the engineers have worked to give the Dominar a sound note which mildly mimics an inline-4’s exhaust note – we disagree.
- Overall refinement levels are a bit of a letdown, as the engine is not the most refined we have seen. But it doesn’t particularly mind being revved despite its gruff, very Bajaj-specific exhaust note.
- Gearshifts are light and precise with a satisfying ‘clicking’ feedback – no complaints thus far.
- Braking has ample bite, though the front lever turns jittery at times.
- Stability and handling is commendable and confidence inspiring. It’s easy to lean into corners with the Dominar despite its relatively upright stance.
- The default suspension setting at 4 (the rear mono-shock is 10 way adjustable) is relatively stiff. The setup, along with the 43 mm telescopic front forks, feels fabulous around bends but hard and bouncy at slow speeds. Though we still have to change the settings and see how much difference it makes.
- The Dominar 400 is an able handler with plenty of grip from those MRF tyres in dry conditions.
- The Dominar 400 can go off road to a fair extent, and is manageable even with its 180+ kg weight off the tar.
- The under cowl is a bit of a deterrent for clearance, especially over mounds, but the tires are not at all off-road friendly.
- Switchgear is well built by Bajaj standards.
- Paint and plastic quality is solid, but remains to be seem if they’ll hold the test of time.
- The digital instrument console looks good and is pretty legible even in bright sunlight, but misses out on a gear indicator and a trip computer.
Overall, the new Bajaj Dominar 400 comes across as a very versatile motorcycle with an easy stance and comfortable ergonomics. It is loads of fun to ride, with ample power on tap after 4000 rpm in any gear. Suspension at default setting could have been softer for everyday use though. As far as first impressions go, the Bajaj Dominar 400 is a great offering for the price.
The Dominar 400 is available in Midnight Blue, Twilight Plum and Moon White colors and is priced at INR 150,000 for ABS and INR 136,000 for Disc brake version (Ex-showroom-Delhi).
Stay tuned for a detailed, full road test review soon! Until then, here’s a detailed image gallery of the new Bajaj Dominar 400: