Since '02 xBhp is different things to different people. From a close knit national community of bikers to India's only motorcycling lifestyle magazine and a place to make like-minded biker friends. Join us

Castrol Power 1

Check the helmet from inside.

Our Partners

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

    Dominar. In all these years of motorcycling, never have I ridden a name. Though I've always ridden motorcycles which had names. What I mean to say is that a name never maketh a machine. Though it can easily be the other way round. The Bajaj Dominar 400 is an interesting name carried proudly by an equally interesting machine but since the proof of the pudding is in the eating, that's exactly what we did from Akurdi to Panchgani. We rode the Dominar 400 through a wide range of road and traffic conditions to find out what it would be like if you owned and rode one.









    Bajaj created a unique market segment in the Indian motorcycle milieu with the Pulsar. And it was a trendsetter too, raising the pulse of the youth and the veteran riders alike. A decade and some years hence, the machine has evolved into something so new, state of the art and functionally advanced that it yet again seeds a new indigenous product class which has the potential of turning the tables in times to come. So much so that it deserves an entirely new identity.





    The Dominar 400 is impressive - as much from far as from up close. It is like a large, ready-to-lunge brutish beast that would demand as much from its master as it can give in return. A solidly built bike what with those beefy fork tubes, the stout perimeter frame and that muscular swing arm. The robust theme in fact defines the whole bike and so inspires confidence. The long and low profile, said to have been inspired by the Gir lion, is not just good to look at but also affects the bike's geometry in just the right manner. Even though there's a certain edginess to the design, yet it flows into a shape that wraps the entire machine into one sleek and strong element. In a nutshell the Dominar 400 is impressive when introduced. Time to find out what it is like to shake hands with it and get acquainted.


    The 373cc single cylinder, SOHC 4 valve, triple spark plug DTS-i engine powering the Dominar 400 is the biggest and the most powerful engine ever built by Bajaj for any of its bikes. Liquid cooled and fuel injected, the engine produces 35 [email protected] 8000 rpm and an equally impressive 35Nm of torque @ 6500 rpm. Good healthy figures for an engine this size that also indicate a bias towards mid-range usability rather than outright peak performance. The Bajaj R&D people are not new to the triple spark plug head having first introduced it with the Pulsar 200 NS. But a higher power output also means more heat rejection from the engine. So it is vital that this heat rejection is contained within tolerable limits and managed well because the bikes will mostly be ridden in our country where temperatures at most places can go upto 45 degree Celsius in peak summer. A lot of work is said to have been done on the thermal management of the engine, with better flow of air through the engine, improved fuel burn and optimal utilisation of the cooling fluid that also cools the engine head. They've had the heat rejection issues with the KTM 390 engine as a reference point and did not want the Dominar user to face the same. Fuel injection makes the bike 'altitude independent', meaning that one can ride it right up to Khardungla Top in Ladakh and the engine will self adjust the air fuel ratio. The bike's engine will not miss a beat whatever the altitude above sea level.











    Swing a leg over the saddle and settle on to the bike. The low and long stance makes it feels good to sit on. The handlebars and the controls fall naturally underhand. Switch on the ignition and the LCD display goes through the usual full display check. The reverse backlit numerals and graphics are pretty visible even in bright sunlight. The bike starts with a short stab at the start button and idles in a very stable manner. Throttle response in neutral is enticing and clutch pull is light. Shift into gear with a muted thunk and you're ready to roll. The bike pulls cleanly off idle and the engine builds up RPMs nicely. The engine response is not sharp like with the KTM's but there's a steady flow of power and torque that satisfies the experienced rider and doesn't overwhelm the novice. In fact everything about the bike's performance has been rounded off, the sharp edginess removed in the interest of allowing the average rider to upgrade or adapt to it without any problems.





    Fueling in general is clean and the throttle progressive. There's this slight tendency to surge or hesitate when one tries to hold throttle at low rpm and in low gear. Try riding at a steady crawl in second gear and the slight engine instability becomes apparent. Nothing as troublesome as in the KTM 390, at least it's initial lots. That the bike we rode was spanking new having done time only on the dyno probably also contributed to this. Things should improve as they do when the engine has run through a couple of thousand kilometres. NVH is also pretty well contained, the slight bit of vibration we felt when accelerating through the RPM range was not intrusive but will be good if it sorts itself out as the bike gathers miles on the road. The claimed mileage is in the 30 to 35 kmpl bracket, giving the 13 litre tank adequate but not exceptional range. Remember Bajaj only spoiled us with the 18 litre tanks in the early Pulsars! Of course the throttle hand usually decides the actual mileage and range more than anything else.








    The Dominar 400 is a 70 to 100 kmph bike. My saying that doesn't mean it cannot go faster than a hundred or that there's some problem at higher speeds. It just that the engine and the bike feels that happiest cruising at those speeds. And on the fringe of triple digit speeds, you have the option of dropping down a gear or even two for that burst of acceleration. Through the gears acceleration is good and without drama. The bike should be able to attain its claimed top indicated speed of 148 kph with an average weight rider in the saddle. The gearbox and the clutch are impeccable. Bajaj is finally there with the clutch with the best in the trade. The 6 speed gearbox and the slipper clutch make for the perfect transmission setup. And yes the slipper clutch works. We deliberately downshifted without any attempt at rev-matching to see that it does do its job. Glad to see such goodies that not just improve performance but also add to safety percolating down the model range in our country now.








    The suspension on the Dominar 400 is quite sorted. Compliant enough to make it comfortable and yet stiff enough to make the bike handle well. The robust perimeter frame, principally the same as that on the NS except for strength imparting reinforcements and both the steering head and swingarm ends, in tandem with the pressed steel swingarm gives the bike great torsional rigidity contributing largely to its composed and predictable handling. The wide 150 section rear and the 110 section front radial tyres compliment the bike's good road manners. As do the solid 43mm Dia front forks and the 77mm Dia dual spring mono shock with its Nitrox damper. The front fork ideally should have been a tad stiffer though for better braking and handling road imperfections when cranked over in a turn. Braking is good though the front with its massive 320mm disc could have been sharper in response. Bajaj has intentionally softened the front brake response to make it less intimidating and more user friendly for those upgrading from lower capacity bikes.The twin channel ABS both up front and at the rear doors it's job well adding decisively to the safety equation on the Dominar.





    The full LED lights on the Dominar 400 are as much a novelty as they are functional. Brightness and focus are both good, the inherently low power demands of the LED's add further to the advantages. Built to 'dominate the night' as is depicted in the Dominar tvc, it is not just the lights but the entire bike as a package that allows the rider that vital extra bit of security and performance for peace of mind even while riding after dark. The horn sadly is puny and almost apologises for the bike's presence! We wish Bajaj brings back the standard dual horns from the Pulsars. Switchgear is what is now standard backlit Bajaj stuff and does it's job well. The split LCD display with kick-stand and hi-beam indicator and the Bajaj logo in blue on the fuel tank. Touch of the Diavel? Maybe, but Bajaj says not really.








    The seat is well upholstered and well contoured allowing almost every rider with a range of body height to find a comfortable stance. The foam felt a little soft when considered in context with long 8 to 10 hour days on the saddle. The pillion perch is also nice, though no motorcycle seat anywhere is really comfortable for everyone. Even Goldwing owners go about customising their seats for comfort on long days.


    We finally have an alternative to the Enfield in the 350cc plus category. Targeted as a Power Cruiser, the Dominar 400 is pretty capable for the role it has been built to perform. This is a truly utilitarian bike that will be as much at home being ridden to the market for one's daily shopping chores or doing 400 kilometre days out on the open road. Wherever be that road. If there was one word to describe the bike it would be that it is a very sensible bike. Yes, exciting and sensible.



































    Bajaj Dominar 400 Review Comparison

    Comparison Data provided by Bajaj
    I don't let my motorcycles interfere with my motorcycling...

    Join xBhp On


  • #2
    Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

    Had a query - How did the MRF tyres perform? Interested to know so that it can be kept in mind as a possible (cheaper option) for the Duke 390

    Also need to check out in person if the rearview mirrors are a direct fit on the Duke / provide better coverage.

    Regards
    Ronald
    Automobiles saga till date......
    KTM Duke 390 - current bike
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Dtsi V1 (Red)
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Classic (Red)
    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

      Really liked the review!! Amazing photography!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

        Awesome review Old Fox sir!
        Chetak 1996 | Splendor 2000 | RTR160 2007 | R15 2010 | GT650n 2012 | KaTooM 390 2013
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        NEVER argue with a woman holding a torque wrench.
        Gray-haired riders dont get that way from pure luck.
        If you cant get it going with bungee cords and electricians tape, its serious.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

          Very good and concise review sir. Thank you for reviewing one of the most awaited bikes by an Indian manufacturer.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

            Spot on review added with stunning pictures.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

              Thanks for the most awaited thread sir

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

                You have a way with words Sir.
                Brilliance of a review [MENTION=10597]Old Fox[/MENTION]
                It's a lot like nuts and bolts - if the rider's nuts, the ride - bolts!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

                  Superb..Well written detailed review with gorgeous photography! I'm in the market for a daily comfortable commuter to work and weekend tourer and this fits the bill perfectly! I'm just waiting for many other initial perspectives, hopefully will buy one in Feb-March 2017.

                  So far many of the impressions and reviews are positive. I also loved the two short test-rides I took here in Chennai. I think Bajaj is going to set a new benchmark like the Pulsar, in the below 2 lac segment.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

                    Wow. One of the best reviews I have seen so far. Also as everyone else said Amazing Photos. Thanks guys.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

                      Amazing review sir, as always photos are impeccable. Stunning...is the word i want to use here. Thank you !!
                      R15S - Current
                      Honda Dio - Current
                      TNT 600i - Sold
                      Classic 500 - Sold
                      Pulsar 220 dtsi - Sold
                      Yamaha YBX125 - Sold

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

                        Precise and to the point! Honestly done and no gimmicks.
                        A very well written review Sir, backed by beautiful photography!
                        Nothing is comparable to the simple pleasures of a bike ride.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

                          I just loved the review and the pics. They are just stunning. But there is still somethings that was not covered in entirely - built quality, how do you thing the bike will age as most of the Bajaj bikes tend to age faster. How is the cornering grips? Do you think this can be a replacement for the CBR 250 ?

                          Bajaj always made good bikes, but its the quality of service which breaks the deal. They need to get this sorted asap for the bike to flourish. Would have loved to see the illumination of the LED lights on the road during the night time.

                          Another concern that I have is the cost of the headlight. Since the headlight is one of the first to break in any untoward event and the headlight being LED, I would like to know the cost.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

                            Originally posted by scarecrow View Post
                            Had a query - How did the MRF tyres perform? Interested to know so that it can be kept in mind as a possible (cheaper option) for the Duke 390 Also need to check out in person if the rearview mirrors are a direct fit on the Duke / provide better coverage.RegardsRonald
                            The MRF's felt planted through whatever we could throw at the bike. Of course we did not ride in 'all possible' conditions - we were on public roads, good tarmac and a bright sunny day. So wet grip is not something I can comment on yet. But the tyres seemed good enough within the 'normal' usage range. I think these can be a suitable 'less expensive ' option for the 390. Provided you don't freak out with your right hand especially when exiting low speed turns. Remember there's only ABS there - not traction control.
                            Originally posted by kc_1602 View Post
                            Really liked the review!! Amazing photography!
                            Thanks
                            Originally posted by roy_arnab22 View Post
                            Awesome review Old Fox sir!
                            Thank you
                            Originally posted by lathiwala_99 View Post
                            Very good and concise review sir. Thank you for reviewing one of the most awaited bikes by an Indian manufacturer.
                            It sure was the most awaited bike in the country. Glad you liked the review.
                            Originally posted by vdarshan View Post
                            Spot on review added with stunning pictures.
                            Thank you too
                            Originally posted by Neerajvayu View Post
                            Thanks for the most awaited thread sir
                            I will be very happy to say you're welcome to more if more brands come out with bikes in this category.
                            Originally posted by Sal View Post
                            You have a way with words Sir.Brilliance of a review @Old Fox
                            Thank you for the appreciation!
                            Originally posted by jazzysaravana View Post
                            Superb..Well written detailed review with gorgeous photography! I'm in the market for a daily comfortable commuter to work and weekend tourer and this fits the bill perfectly! I'm just waiting for many other initial perspectives, hopefully will buy one in Feb-March 2017. So far many of the impressions and reviews are positive. I also loved the two short test-rides I took here in Chennai. I think Bajaj is going to set a new benchmark like the Pulsar, in the below 2 lac segment.
                            I am sure it'll be a good buy. I don't mind repeating myself when I say it IS a very sensible bike.
                            Originally posted by Dovahkiin View Post
                            Wow. One of the best reviews I have seen so far. Also as everyone else said Amazing Photos. Thanks guys.
                            Thanks. And most of the appreciation for the stunning photos should go to @sunilg
                            Originally posted by TheArcher84 View Post
                            Amazing review sir, as always photos are impeccable. Stunning...is the word i want to use here. Thank you !!
                            Thank you from my end too!
                            Originally posted by vishalmusle View Post
                            Precise and to the point! Honestly done and no gimmicks.A very well written review Sir, backed by beautiful photography!
                            Glad you liked it. It is a good product.
                            Originally posted by kailashnj View Post
                            I just loved the review and the pics. They are just stunning. But there is still somethings that was not covered in entirely - built quality, how do you thing the bike will age as most of the Bajaj bikes tend to age faster. How is the cornering grips? Do you think this can be a replacement for the CBR 250 ?Bajaj always made good bikes, but its the quality of service which breaks the deal. They need to get this sorted asap for the bike to flourish. Would have loved to see the illumination of the LED lights on the road during the night time. Another concern that I have is the cost of the headlight. Since the headlight is one of the first to break in any untoward event and the headlight being LED, I would like to know the cost.
                            Build quality seems up to the mark. A pretty solidly built bike that almost makes it to the benchmark set by the Suzuki Inazuma. I believe Bajaj has taken this particular bike very seriously going by the in-depth development, the long gestation period, the inclusive up-to-date technology and the killer pricing. Of course we can just hope they also get the post-sale customer interface in shape. This area of customer relations is actually an endemic problem in our country. The LED's are good with a nice beam spread and uniform diffusion pattern that avoids casting sharp shadows. Sharp shadows make all road imperfections appear worse than they really are.

                            The only area of concern with this almost white light would be its relative inability to penetrate fog. The conventional yellow tungsten/halogen lamps win in such conditions. The cost of the light will eventually be available. In any case premium products are the sum total of premium components. So it would be best to go in for zero-dep insurance when buying the bike.

                            Note - Been traveling incessantly over the past few days and so this rather delayed response to all your posts. My regrets.
                            Last edited by Old Fox; 01-13-2017, 05:59 PM.
                            I don't let my motorcycles interfere with my motorcycling...

                            Join xBhp On

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Bajaj Dominar 400 Review

                              Thanks Old Fox, as usual an in-depth review and the fabulous pics are the icing on the cake. As you rightly said, Bajaj has a lot riding on this one and so far have made all the right moves. Hoping the after sales and servicing aspects also get a leg-up.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X