• Backlit switchgear seems dated 
now and feels average.
    Backlit switchgear seems dated now and feels average.
  • New average fuel consumption feature proves to be very ac...
    New average fuel consumption feature proves to be very accurate.
  • Smaller screen is more informative but is completely out ...
    Smaller screen is more informative but is completely out of field of view.
1 / 0
Rating 8 8

2019 Bajaj Dominar 400 review, road test

6th May 2019 6:00 am

Bajaj gives the Dominar 400 a substantial update. We test its competency.

  • Make : Bajaj
  • Model : Dominar
We Like
Big jump in power
Significantly improved suspension
Great value
We Don't Like
Still a heavy machine
Could do with a larger fuel tank
Lower display out of line of sight

The Bajaj Dominar 400 had massive potential but it never quite sold the numbers it should have. Bajaj then gave the bike an update to fix its issues, and as our first ride review revealed, this was done to a large extent. However, a first ride review can only tell so much, which is why we decided to put the Dominar through a comprehensive road test.

Show the 2019 Dominar 400 to anyone and they’ll probably tell you that it’s a custom-painted 2018 model. It’s quite apparent that updating the styling wasn’t Bajaj’s priority. The Auroral Green paint – the most significant visual tweak – looks spectacular, but if the colour is a bit too wannabe Kawasaki for you, the only alternative is a satin black scheme; the bright red and blue options have been done away with. The gold-coloured wheels from the previous-gen model have also been done away with, and Bajaj has gone back to black with polished outer edges.

LED headlight looks great and remains powerful as ever.

The keen-eyed ones among you will also notice the slightly different layout of the blacked-out bits on the tank, belly pan and front mudguard. Of course, there are other visual distinctions, like the fat USD fork and twin-exit muffler, but they are byproducts of mechanical changes. Another minor, but significant, change is the addition of high-quality, cast aluminium mirrors.

Power is up and that’s never a bad thing. The 373.3cc unit now makes around 5hp more, at 39.9hp. Peak torque, on the other hand, is still at 35Nm. However, both figures come in at higher rpms. And like in the KTM it is borrowed from, the motor uses a DOHC setup. Additionally, the compression ratio has increased from 11.3:1 to 12:1, thanks to which the redline has also gone up by around 200rpm. At city speeds, the Dominar has a little more get up and go but it doesn’t feel all that different. This is also when you begin to notice some heat and vibrations from the engine. But wait, everyone, including us, has said that the new Dominar is smoother! Well, that isn’t wrong, but spending time with the Dominar in traffic revealed that there’s a zone between 3,000-4,000rpm where the vibrations can be felt at the handlebars and pegs, but things smoothen out above this. Most importantly, the bike now feels calm and reasonably smooth cruising between 100 and 125kph, which is where the previous model faltered. As for the heat, it’s a lot less intense than a 390 Duke, but there is a constant waft of warm air at low speeds in traffic.

6-speed gearbox and slipper clutch continue to deliver smooth shifts.

The new motor also results in a more energetic surge in acceleration, which, combined with a bassier note from the revised exhaust, gives the Dominar some character that was missing earlier. It builds speed harder but isn’t alarmingly quick like the 390 Duke. So, in that sense, it feels more like a powerful train than a speedy plane; its 0-100kph time of 6.75sec is impressive and 150kph arrives without too much struggle.

MRF Revz radial tyres manage the extra 5hp well.

 

One of the biggest drawbacks of the older Dominar was its uncomfortable ride quality, but Bajaj, for the most part, has fixed that. The conventional fork has been replaced by an Endurance USD unit that looks identical to the one on the 390 but has been heavily retuned here. The front feels quite plush and handles pothole-ridden tarmac a lot better by soaking up most of the undulations. The rear, meanwhile, still has a sense of firmness, but no longer punishingly so.

A softer ride often means a loss in corner-carving capabilities, and the Dominar is no exception to this. While it doesn’t feel as dynamic as the older bike in corners, it can still carry high speeds while leaned over, and this works because the Dominar was never about going around corners fast. However, there’s no shaking the feeling that this is still a heavy motorcycle, especially within city limits, and its 184kg kerb weight is still one of the few gripes we have. Yes, it is not to the point where the bike feels cumbersome but we do wish it was a bit lighter.

The brakes are low on bite, but with the proper pull, it did manage to bring the bike from 60kph to a standstill in just 16.52m.

Nothing has changed here. The Dominar has the same, well-positioned, wide handlebar that gives the rider an upright riding stance. The pegs are still slightly rear-set but don’t get uncomfortable even over long distances. The seat also remains comfortable and reasonably roomy. On the whole, the riding triangle accommodates most riders, regardless of height and bulk.

Plastic fuel tank won’t help when you have a magnetic tank bag.

 

Bajaj has really outdone itself with the pricing of the Dominar, with all of the new updates coming in at a hike of just Rs 11,000. The motorcycle costs Rs 1.74 lakh now, and this is where things get interesting. At this price, it undercuts similarly powered rivals and specced motorcycles by a huge margin. The closest model to it is the lower-powered KTM 250 Duke (Rs 1.93 lakh), followed by the TVS Apache RR 310 (Rs 2.23 lakh), Honda CB300R (Rs 2.41 lakh), KTM 390 Duke (Rs 2.44 lakh), Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 (Rs 2.50 lakh onwards) and the BMW G 310 R (Rs 2.99 lakh) (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). But it’s not just the price. Thanks to the updated motor and suspension, the Dominar is now a more competent motorcycle, so much so that we would say it’s the best highway machine under Rs 2 lakh.

PRICE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Ex-showroom - Delhi Rs 1.74 lakh
ENGINE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
No of Cylinders 1
Cubic Capacity (cc) 373.3cc
Ignition System Electric
Cooling System Liquid-cooled
Fuel Delivery System Fuel-injected
Bore/Stroke (mm) 89mm x 60mm
Valves per cylinder 4
Max Power (hp @ rpm) 39.9hp at 8,650rpm
Max Torque (nm @ rpm) 35Nm at 7,000rpm
Power to Weight Ratio (hp/tonne) 216.8hp/tonne
TRANSMISSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
No of Gears 6
Clutch Type Slip and assist
Dimensions & Chassis Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Weight (kg) 184kg
Length (mm) 2156mm
Width (mm) 836mm
Height (mm) 1112mm
Wheel base (mm) 1453mm
Ground Clearance (mm) 157mm
Fuel Tank capacity (lts) 13 litres
BRAKES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Front Brake Type Disc
Front Brake Size (mm) 320mm
Rear Brake Type Disc
Rear Brake Size (mm) 230mm
SUSPENSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Front Suspension 43mm USD fork
Rear Suspension Monoshock
WHEELS AND TYRES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Front wheel (inch) 17
Front Tyre 110/70
Rear wheel (inch) 17
Rear Tyre 150/60
ACCELERATION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
0 - 10 kph (sec) 0.43s
0 - 20 kph (sec) 0.84s
0 - 30 kph (sec) 1.17s
0 - 40 kph (sec) 1.70s
0 - 50 kph (sec) 2.24s
0 - 60 kph (sec) 2.87s
0 - 70 kph (sec) 3.61s
0 - 80 kph (sec) 4.48s
0 - 90 kph (sec) 5.48s
0 - 100 kph (sec) 6.75s
EFFICIENCY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
City (kpl) 23.6kpl
Highway (kpl) 33.0kpl
Overall (kpl) 28.3kpl
Overall Range (kms) 367.9km
2019 Bajaj Dominar 400 review, road test
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