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