The Dominar 400 marks a big step up for Bajaj in many ways. It’s up on features, up on power and up on chassis technology. All this, plus it's taken a bold leap of faith away from the Pulsar name to debut the premium new Dominar brand.
There’s plenty of info already out on the Dominar 400, which leaves only this detailed ride report from behind its handlebars.
Looking at recent Bajaj bikes, mainly the Pulsar RS 200, you could wonder whether the company is trying too hard, but one look at the Dominar 400 confirms it isn’t cast in the same mould. Modern and packing a mean stare, the Dominar 400 shows off sleek styling and powerful proportions. Its piercing white beam headlight is LED powered, with Auto Headlamp On (AHO) technology, as has everything brightly illuminated for you when riding into inky darkness.
There’s a premium feel to the new power cruiser, with elegant raised decals and plenty of smartly machined alloys bits, including the handlebar mount, footrests and its mounts.
The Dominar 400's fuel tank allows excellent thigh grip, thanks to perfectly sculpted knee recesses. The fuel tank takes in 13 litres, sweeping smoothly into the passenger saddle, a lightly stepped and adequately padded unit. The motorcycle's steel perimeter frame spars sit exposed akin to a pair of arms embracing the motorcycle, while there are several nifty little highlights, a belly pan, tank extensions and radiator shroud, to name a few.
The Dominar 400 deploys a digital instrument cluster, with cascading bars reading out the engine speed and fuel level. Some added information like the side stand warning icon are tank mounted, and the crisp functioning, illuminated switchgear, really comfy palm grips, Bajaj-typical control levers as well as a set of KTM Duke-inspired mirrors, all function well. LED strips lend flair to the Dominar 400 tail.
The new Bajaj rides on trendy alloy rims. Overall quality is good, as are fit-finish and attention to detail.
The Dominar 400 powerplant has oversquare bore dimensions, and is a single camshaft Bajaj derivative of the KTM 390 Duke and RC base engine platforms. The Dominar comes with triple spark-plug tech, its four-valves nesting inside a compact single-cylinder head. The liquid-cooled engine fits into the frame supported by elastomeric damping, and the engine heat never bothered us during our long test ride, despite putting the bike through sustained low-speed riding in crowded conditions.
The Dominar 400 gets a lightened, forged crankshaft that is balancer backed. We did feel some light buzz when riding hard pushing the bike to high engine speeds, but nothing overly intrusive. And besides this, riders are effectively isolated from engine vibrations.
As much as 28Nm of a total of 35Nm peak torque is available low in the powerband at 3,000rpm, making the Dominar 400 an effortless machine to ride in crowded traffic. Every twist of the throttle rewards the rider with heady acceleration, and an ability to stretch away from surrounding traffic.
The Dominar has a six-speed transmission, this shifted in the one-down and all-up pattern. Gearshifts up and down the 'box feed in with a precise, light feel, and a slipper clutch steps in when pushing the bike, to allow hard downshifting from high speed, offering maximum engine braking with minimum drama. The gear ratios feel just right and perfectly matched to the engine’s long legs, allowing the bike to rev briskly enough through each ratio into its engine limiter, as chops power at close to 10,000rpm.
Price Range (in lakhs)*
Chassis & Body
Rishad Cooper is the two-wheeler editor of Autocar India.
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Issue: 209 | Autocar India: January 2017
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