As we have already done the first ride review of the bike on same day it has been launched in Pan India. Now it’s time to know about the bike thoroughly which Bajaj has given the tag “Dominate the Night”. Let us dive, Dominar 400 has been tagged by the term “Dominate the Night”, because of its powerful 373 CC engine. In today’s era of powerful motoring, most of the bikers seek for power as well as torque. Some of them are too obstinate for speeding and are definitely not satisfied with the mediocre engines. Dominar 400 absolutely enumerates in powerful premium motorcycles.
Today the time has changed, people are becoming more aware towards motoring, and more motorcycle enthusiasts are aggravating. Technology has increased its level and so do people. Bajaj has been serving to its customers since last many decades, too taken this more seriously and thus the result is in front of us in the form of Dominar 400. Styling:
Bajaj hasn’t offered its customer, just a powerful motorcycle but also has provided the feel of a sport bike, or a premium motorcycle. The Dominar is a one beautiful and beefy motorcycle. From top to bottom and from front to rear it has got attractive as well impressive looks. Throw your leg over the bike and you would feel like sitting over the horse. The immense fuel tank literally gives the feel that it’s not a regular motorbike.
Having experience of Triumph’s Speed Triple personally, the Dominar made me think of comparing it with the other International brands of motorcycles and seriously it didn’t disappoint me at all. Bajaj has not only in India but also in other countries like Malaysia and Indonesia has been providing its products since many decades. Keeping its global customers also into the mind it has designed the Dominar. No matter which country you belong to, this motorcycle’s first glace will definitely make you eager to ride it. The wide handlebar gives the perfect sitting posture for comfortable ride. The muscular fuel tank of 13 liter of capacity is big enough for fairly long rides. And it also reminds me riding the Triumph Speed Triple. Instrument Cluster & Switchgear:
The bike is equipped with two instrument clusters which too has separated it from regular motorcycles, One, that is as usual, in the middle of handlebar which houses a Tacho-meter, Speedometer, Fuel gauge, Side indicators, Clock used by the LED Digital console. The digital meter console displays white backlit which is bright enough to go through while riding in a sunny day. The speedometer urges the rpm meter in an absolutely impressive way as you throttle it up, not like simple analogue speedometer. Also the digits while speeding are big and bold enough to read in any atmospheric conditions. The instrument console has got two buttons and they are to reset the trip. The second instrument cluster is on the fuel tank, which is really an attractive idea. Previously it has been seen on Ducati’s Diavel model, and it hoses low battery indicator, check engine, coolant warning light, ABS and side stand indicators along with Bajaj’s logo. The Handlebar has got an Engine kill switch, self start switch and a switch for the headlamp. Though it is BS IV based model, but Bajaj has given an option to switch on the headlamp so it says that there are basically 3 lamps in the headlight, One that gets switched on as soon as you get the ignition ON, Second, as soon you start the motorcycle the AHO (Automatic Headlight On) starts working and last but not the least, if the rider needs more light, he can switch on the main headlamp. As far as the headlight is concerned, it defines the front view of the motorcycle, so Bajaj has really done a good job to impress us especially from the front. On the upper side of the headlight there is a small visor to deflect the wind and to make the bike aerodynamically worth. If we talk about its aerodynamic design which basically decides the balance of the vehicle, the ride was absolutely mesmerizing due to its world class balance over the short, long and deep turns. It is because of the two panels/air scoops you see that is on the front side of the fuel tank, so if you just have a look at the motorcycle from front as well as from rear it is completely aerodynamic, its short and sharp tail helps the wind to pass through easily. Now moving forward to the tail light, it somehow looks like Bajaj NS 200 to me. It looks quite similar to it; just below the back seat it really looks so cool and attractive, as it is equipped with LED lights. If we talk about the indicators they are extremely beautiful, front as well as rear both are too sharp and thin seem like a ferocious beast is starring at us.
Front indicators are above the headlights and rear ones are at mudguard below the tail light. As the bike is completely different from other roadster, it has got beautiful white headlamp that is something really different as well as there is a tiny LED light above the rear Registration number plate which also glows white, so the numbers can easily be read. Beside the leg guards there is a tiny tank (on the right) that shows that the bike hasn’t gone too aggressive, the coolant level I am talking about. The tiny tank shows the level of the coolant. In the middle and beside the coolant tank there is a big radiator placed which too showcases that a big engine needs more heat reduction tools. Ergonomics:
Well, if we talk about motorcycle’s ergonomics, particularly sitting posture, I would say that, it is absolutely comfortable. The wide seat really eases the stress of the rider due to its soft yet firm foam.
The front footpegs are set just perfectly for daily commute; they are rightly placed behind the engine which helped my legs to bend as per the need. If they were some more inches far from the engine, they could raise the chances of discomfort because the rider has to bow a little more and that could lead to the knee pain.
As far as the pillion is concerned he might feel some stress because the back seat seems a little short and thin (because of its aerodynamic design). I rode the bike and couldn’t get the chance to be a pillion so just by seeing I felt that, everyone might not feel the same but as a little heavier and standing tall at 5 ft. 10 inches made me feel so. If we talk about the rider’s height, the bike is completely manageable for low heighted people also because of its 1112 mm height. Though the height can be adjusted by adjusting the mono shock, nevertheless, riding the Dominar 400 won’t be a trouble for average height people. The seat was so cozy and built with finest and non slippery material and been divided into two parts, for the rider and for the pillion. The pillion’s footpegs are just above the exhaust (right side) and parallel at other side. The footpegs were coated with a semi soft rubber and so does the gear liver for that vibration free ride and better grip. It has got a long single piece handlebar for perfect ergonomics. It is wide enough which doesn’t really give the feel of a sportbike (ergonomically) but increased the level of comfort and the rider won’t feel the trouble of backache in city rides as well as on long rides because he has to sit comparatively upright. Engine and Performance:
Discussing about the engine one can be little technical but in easy language we can define it. The bike is equipped with 373 CC single cylinder engine having 4 valves in it, the engine is capable to churn out torque delivery of 35 Nm at 6500 rpm and the power of 35 Bhp at 8000 rpm. By its sound it might not attract many as it sounds similar to RS 200. But personally I loved the exhaust note of the Dominar, especially the turbine like hustling sound coming from the engine and the bassy note from the exhaust.
On the name of exhaust can it has got a short beefy silencer (on the right) which looks little decent but the bike is not meant to be decent so Bajaj could have worked a little more to make the exhaust more attractive and aggressive just like the whole motorcycle. To test a powerful motorcycle to its core in city traffic is quite difficult so we took the bike on the outer areas which actually let us know the real potential of it. As we are talking about its potentials, then we must include Bajaj’s indigenously designed dtsi engine but the icing on the cake is a new technology introduced by Bajaj only in Dominar till the date and that is Slipper Clutch. Yes, Slipper Clutch is basically a technology used by the international brands for their premium motorcycles, and since Dominar is Bajaj’s most premium motorcycle so they introduced this technology in it and created a benchmark for other brands in India.
Riding a motorcycle in high gear and on more than the average speed, if the rider has to switch the gear to control the speed and downshift the gear, rider won’t face the trouble of wheel lock, and this is what the Slipper Clutch technology is. Also we can say that Bajaj has sorted out the trouble of Throttle Blipping while riding, by introducing the slipper clutch technology. Though, I still felt the gears little notchy, thought it may be because the motorcycle was new, but shifting gears is not, seriously not a trouble anymore while having the slipper clutch technology on board.
The biggest glitch in every motorcycle is the vibration, which I personally felt Nil. The Engine was extremely smooth which enhanced the feel of riding a powerful motorcycle. As the company claims the power which can let the bike 0-100 km\h in just 9 seconds, it is definitely true as experienced personally. Braking and Suspension:
Brakes, which are the most essential part of any vehicle and every automobile manufacturer focuses more on this particular aspect and so does Bajaj did that. As Dominar 400 is really a powerful motorcycle and it is seriously not a toy for child play, the Disc brakes have become mandatory. Apart from bigger ‘Bybre’ disc brakes at both the ends for better braking Bajaj has also featured ABS (Anti Lock Braking System) on Dominar 400 as option. The ABS is a technology that is being used on every powerful premium motorcycle for effective and safe braking. The Dominar has got 320 mm front disc and 230 mm rear disc brake and gave the option of ABS and thus it has made the price difference. ABS equipped Dominar comes INR 15000 costlier than a non ABS equipped Dominar. Bajaj is offering dual channel ABS on Dominar 400, it is the technology that has reduced the risk of accidents while braking in emergency, basically a computer chip is mounted in the motorcycle that calculates the speed and make disc brakes work accordingly without getting the wheels locked. This has reduced the chances of accidents during emergency braking. So if you are not a stunt rider, this technology is absolutely made for you and for your safety. I personally suggest the riders to go with the ABS variant as it is much safer and a whole new experience of motoring.
The Dominar has got 43 mm telescopic fork in the front and for the rear it has got dual spring mono shock system, also the mono shock can be adjusted according to the need of the rider, till certain level it can be raised which collectively increases the height of the motorcycle as well. Though I felt the rear as well as front suspensions a little stiff on the road but overall the stiffer suspension aids to better handling of the bike especially on hairpins.
Verdict: The very long awaited motorcycle which, in the beginning, was about to be named as CS 400, later on it has been changed to VS 400 and finally it has got the tag “DOMINATE THE NIGHT” and named Dominar 400. The bike is seriously competing with Mahindra Mojo, KTM Duke 390 and so on in the same segment. It is a pure street fighter with a beautiful aggressive built.
Ergonomically the motorcycle is comfortable for city as well as for long rides. The dual channel ABS has enhanced the safety measures (on ABS variant). Technology like Slipper Clutch could have increased the essence of riding but the gears felt little notchy, a brand new motorcycle might be the reason but if it was due to the slipper clutch then Bajaj must work upon the same technology to make it more effective and worthy. Due to this a very good and efficient initiative has been noticed under the heading of cons instead of the pros.
Exhaust could have been made more bulky and attractive because the whole motorcycle from front to rear steals the attention of everyone; it is the side profile which comes out as sore to the eye. Apart from these, the motorcycle is not at all lagging behind in the segment; in fact it is going to rule the 400cc motorcycles segment in India.
Review By: Haroon Mohd. Khan
Ride Courtesy: Sanghi Bajaj, Bhopal.