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New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

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  • New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

    When we first got to ride the Bajaj Dominar after its launch in December 2016, we came out impressed. We were convinced that with this ‘Power Cruiser’ Bajaj has a winner on their hands despite a few niggles. So it is not hard to imagine our surprise when the Dominar did not perform as expected in the market. But Bajaj still has faith in their Dominar and they are still fighting for it. As a result of that we have the 2019 Bajaj Dominar on our hands and this is not just a ‘cosmetic update’ either. The latest iteration has been given quite a few substantial updates. So when we flew down to Pune for the first ride, we felt that it is going to be something good, made better. But is it?

    Text: Karan Singh Bansatta

    Photos: Sunil Kumar Gupta



















    Looks

    First glance at the Dominar makes one feel like it is pretty much the same as before which is true too, despite a few changes. A few substantial changes. The elephant in the room, 43mm upside down forks with a machined finish which look beefy and enhance the overall look of the motorcycle. Next thing, a new green color which is being referred to as ‘Auroral Green’ for the lack of a better name. We were a bit skeptical about the color but Bajaj has done a wonderful job and the Green and Black color looks pretty cool. The new twin barrel exhaust has been designed to amplify the power cruiser look and feel of the new Bajaj Dominar and it succeeds in doing so.

    Other notable additions are the new tank pad decal, hot stamping of the ‘D’ logo in the pillion seat and slight changes in the headlight and the taillight making the units look more modern than before. The new Bajaj Dominar also gets a new mirror design with cast aluminum stalks which we feel look really good. The side stand is now forged steel i.e. better visuals and more sturdiness. Last but not the least, the new Bajaj Dominar has 4 nylon straps under the seats which can be pulled out for attaching tail bags and stuff so tourers, rejoice. Overall, the new Bajaj Dominar is not a departure from its basic design theme but an improvement over the previous version.



















    Switch the motorcycle on and you are treated with the familiar Dominar all-digital display albeit with a few functional changes like the addition of average fuel consumption for both Trip A and B, dynamic and average fuel economy and distance to service. Additionally, there is a secondary display as well which has the gear position indicator, clock etc. The illuminated switchgear is always appreciated has also been retained.













    Performance

    Thumb the starter and the new Bajaj Dominar’s engine comes to life with a throaty rumble as it idles. Slot into the first gear from neutral and it does that with a purposeful clank. Disengage the clutch and you’ll be on your way to a fun ride no matter where you are going. The reworked engine is one of the ‘substantial upgrades’ that we mentioned before. It is now a DOHC (Double Overhead Camshaft) as compared to SOHC (Single Overhead Camshaft) on the previous one. Along with this, the new exhaust, new mapping etc., the new Dominar now makes 40 Ps of power at 8650 rpm as compared to the 35 Ps at 8000 rpm of the previous one. The torque produced though is the same 35 Nm but the peak now arrives at 7000 rpm as compared to the 6500 rpm on the previous one.

    The bump in the power does not make itself apparent as soon as you are off. But it sure does when the revs start to build-up and ‘nutty rider’ comes out of the ‘sane shell’. The new Bajaj Dominar feels quicker, accelerates harder and the power now does not fade off till the very end of the rev range where the shift light subtly reminds one to take it easy. The gearbox also gives a good feeling as you fly through the gears with positive shifts and a light clutch action. One can pull from high 40s in the 5th gear and high 60s in the 6th gear with a twist of the throttle without tangible lugging so +1 for tractability. That said, the hesitation in the lower range has been improved when compared to the previous version, but we’d say that the On/Off throttle transition could have been a tad bit better.











    The new engine also feels more refined as compared to the old one but this is one department where we would have loved to have bit more. The handlebars and footpegs are slightly buzzy from the midrange and the vibes are there to stay till the end of the rev range. Not enough to discourage a buying decision since the engine was new and we believe it will settle down a bit more after the odo sees another few hundred kms .

    Handling and Ergonomics

    The new Bajaj Dominar continues to be built upon the Perimeter Frame and the dimensions are all the same except the width which goes up from 813mm to 836mm. Also, the bike has gained 2 Kgs with this new iteration, probably because of the USDs but Bajaj has done some weight-saving as well in order to keep the weight gain in check. The increase in power has made the power to weight ratio go up from 192.3 to 217.4 PS/ton so the adverse effects of the weight again are more than taken care of. The geometry, ergonomics and such are also the same as the previous iteration which we feel were pretty good to start with. The most notable change comes in the handling department courtesy the USDs at the front.

    The feeling from the front end has improved a lot and that’s saying something because the previous iteration was also not bad in this department. Where the long-ish wheelbase provides it the stability needed in a straight line at higher speeds, the USDs when added to this robust frame make for a very good handler in the corners too. The weight (added) of the bike is only apparent at low-speed manoeuvring but as soon as one gains speed, the bike deals with corners almost effortlessly considering it is a power cruiser. The tyres also help the matters by proving enough grip in the dry conditions but we did not get to check the performance in wet conditions. The 320mm front and 230mm disc brakes at the rear do their job well to provide the stopping power needed. A good feeling at the lever and progressive braking provides one with the confidence to play around a bit but we would have liked a tad bit more initial bite, just a tiny bit.















    Little things

    Coming to the relatively smaller things, mileage is not something that we can comment upon without spending more time and kms with the new Bajaj Dominar, but an ever so slight decrease might be there because of the increase in power when compared to the previous iteration. The rear-view mirrors not only look good but are functionally sound too. They giving the rider a clear view of what’s going on behind and they are almost buzz-free too. The headlight of the Dominar was always deserving of all the praises hurled at it. Since there aren’t a lot of changes, we expect the new one to excel in that department too. The build quality too is solid except one or two uneven panel gaps here and there, nothing serious though, it’s just OCD. And the exhaust note, it deserves a special mention because the new Bajaj Dominar sounds like a million bucks for a single-cylinder. Deeper, throatier and more suited the power cruiser image of the motorcycle. Try not to read the previous line too fast!











    Verdict

    For the verdict, we’d like to go back to what we said in the start, something good made better. Is it? Yes and for more than one reason as we have stated above. The ergonomics are good, the geometry is good, the handling is good, the engine is good and all that with some niggles here and there which are pretty easy to ignore once you let yourself be engrossed by the riding experience that the new Bajaj Dominar offers. One thing that might miff a few is that it is now available in only two colors, the green in the pictures and a black-grey one that we didn’t see.

    So, is the new Bajaj Dominar a good bike? More than that if you can deal with the inherent windblast with an aftermarket windshield. Is it a value-for-money prospect like the old one? We would only be able to comment on that once the bike is officially launched and the price is unveiled. All in all, the previous iteration left us impressed and this one continues to do that with emotions, a little more intense than before.




    Last edited by xBhp; 03-07-2019, 02:10 PM.

  • #2
    Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

    This color variant looks amazing <3

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

      The bike just got better but I'm glad that they got rid of the gold alloys , the black alloys with steel accents was a signature look which they never should have left.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

        Great review guys! As usual, I might add

        I am rooting for the Dominar to succeed. I hoped for big things with the first version but alas the market didn't warm up to it . Kudos on Bajaj for keeping on backing what is arguably one of the best products on the Indian 2 wheeler market. Bajaj shows that it respects the Indian motorcyclist enough to make a serious effort with its offerings. Excelsior Bajaj!

        A minor rant:
        See folks this is whats wrong with us! We will keep buying RE classic 350 clunkers in record numbers but a solid bikes like this (or the RR310, or the Inazuma etc) get little love from the masses. How does this reflect on the state of the market? If these fail to see numbers, what incentive do manufactures have to keep bringing us modern, powerful, VFM machines? If they consider this country a market of poseurs and herd mentality then that will be a label well merited. Drowning in a sea of Activas, REs and Splendors would be a fate well deserved!

        I don't have the budget for another bike, but i'd buy the green dominar in a hearbeat if possible. If for nothing else then to encourage such offerings from all manufacturers.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

          Bhai ek purana sawaal...

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          Ride from Cuttack to Manipal University , MahendraGiri- Odisha ,
          Dream > Explore > Discover =Zanskar & Ladakh Bike Ride,
          Deomali -highest peak of Odisha & Duduma Waterfalls
          S3=Sikkim, Sandakphu & Sohra , Ride to NEHAsthan , RIDE TO KISS

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

            The color looks so vibrant when it would be available in the Bajaj showroom. What is the expected price range and what kind of engine oil is prefered for this Beast??Brands like Motul, Castrol, Shell, Divyol, Veedol are this good choice engine oil for this bike?? Do suggest on this?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

              Fantastic review and photography as always. Seems like they've ironed out all the minor niggles and vibe issues and have made a no nonsense machine finally. Love the mirrors and Kawasaki green!

              Just like how Interceptor 650 is THE motorcycle to buy in the below ₹3lakh segment, this one seems to be the best in the below ₹2lakh segment!

              Only if certain Bajaj showroom and service centres improve customer support significantly, this will fly off the shelves nicely!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

                Originally posted by sajalsheth View Post
                Bhai ek purana sawaal...

                [ATTACH]248097[/ATTACH]
                ek purana jawab, the old one gives 24 to 28kpl in city and 30 to 37kpl on highway depending upon how u ride it. my personal best on highway was 37.36kpl riding at 85 to 100kmph.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

                  Originally posted by abhijit jadhav View Post
                  the color looks so vibrant When it would be available in the bajaj showroom. What is the expected price range and what kind of engine oil is prefered for this beast??brands like motul, castrol, shell, divyol, veedol are this good choice engine oil for this bike?? Do suggest on this?
                  motul 300v
                  Peace

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

                    A poor man's duke masquerading as a ninja.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

                      Originally posted by Abhijit Jadhav View Post
                      What is the expected price range and what kind of engine oil is prefered for this Beast??Brands like Motul, Castrol, Shell, Divyol, Veedol are this good choice engine oil for this bike?? Do suggest on this?
                      1.75L-ish ex-showroom. Use the Bajaj oil till the warranty gets over (or to remain in the warranty period). Then you can go for others such as Motul 7100, Maxima, Addinol, Release on, Castrol (depending on whether you get them in your city).
                      Wind in my hair.... and I'm semi bald...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

                        Originally posted by aamaadmi View Post
                        Great review guys! As usual, I might add

                        I am rooting for the Dominar to succeed. I hoped for big things with the first version but alas the market didn't warm up to it . Kudos on Bajaj for keeping on backing what is arguably one of the best products on the Indian 2 wheeler market. Bajaj shows that it respects the Indian motorcyclist enough to make a serious effort with its offerings. Excelsior Bajaj!

                        A minor rant:
                        See folks this is whats wrong with us! We will keep buying RE classic 350 clunkers in record numbers but a solid bikes like this (or the RR310, or the Inazuma etc) get little love from the masses. How does this reflect on the state of the market? If these fail to see numbers, what incentive do manufactures have to keep bringing us modern, powerful, VFM machines? If they consider this country a market of poseurs and herd mentality then that will be a label well merited. Drowning in a sea of Activas, REs and Splendors would be a fate well deserved!

                        I don't have the budget for another bike, but i'd buy the green dominar in a hearbeat if possible. If for nothing else then to encourage such offerings from all manufacturers.
                        Wholeheartedly agree! Dominar is in far better league than anything from RE upto 500 cc! RE single cylinder bikes really suck - though their new Interceptor etc 650 cc range is a great leap from that brand and those bikes are indeed quite good.
                        I too am rooting for Dominar and Bajaj in general - as Bajaj is the manufacturer that has brought performance bikes to the masses! Without original Pulsar series, there would be no plethora of options as we see today. My Pulsar 180 DTSi 2004 model is still running alright and is still affordable to maintain!! Can't forget that even as I enjoy now Triumph Street Triple.

                        ----consecutive posts auto-merged-----

                        Originally posted by sanjeet286 View Post
                        1.75L-ish ex-showroom. Use the Bajaj oil till the warranty gets over (or to remain in the warranty period). Then you can go for others such as Motul 7100, Maxima, Addinol, Release on, Castrol (depending on whether you get them in your city).
                        One small suggestion - actually engine oil is not so much about the brand at all. Read the specification from manufacturer carefully and use that specification oil from any reputed brand. (E.g. 10W40, 10W50 etc some grade would be mentioned - you can buy any engine oil like Motul 7100 of that particular grade as per manual - that doesn't void warranty at all. IF you use wrong grade and something happens to the engine, surely warranty would be void. Showroom guys will naturally push for their tied-up brand as they earn significantly in each oil change - but they can't entirely force it on you and can't threaten about warranty).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

                          Checked out the 2019 Dominar today and received a quote too.

                          Would mostly be exchanging my 2016 Honda Activa 125 (11,000 kms run) for it. Hope to get a good rate for it.Click image for larger version

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                          Power is Nothing without Control

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

                            Originally posted by anuraagshenoy View Post
                            Checked out the 2019 Dominar today and received a quote too.

                            Would mostly be exchanging my 2016 Honda Activa 125 (11,000 kms run) for it. Hope to get a good rate for it.[ATTACH]249232[/ATTACH][ATTACH]249234[/ATTACH][ATTACH]249235[/ATTACH]
                            Get the insurance done from outside, you will save some money. And get the nill dep. for 5 years it won't cost that much extra
                            Peace

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: New Bajaj Dominar Review: First (hyper)Ride of 2019

                              Bajaj has left no stone unturned it seems. Recently visited a bajaj showroom for test ride, but they had only 1 display bike. No test rides available. But was allowed to experience the exhaust note. Trust me, it is the best stock exhaust on any bike under 2 lakhs. The reason for low sales of dominar is the way it looks. It's big but not attractive. Bajaj should have worked at least on the headlight design. Looks apart, it's the best bike under 2 lakhs.

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