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2017 Bajaj Dominar 400: First impression

Take a look at the different motorcycles available in India and it is an absolute no brainer that the scene is truly evolving. We have got cafe racers, sportsbikes, naked machines and cruisers followed by the commuters. We believe when the guys at Bajaj Auto set out to make a new motorcycle, they wanted to impress their super bosses by making something truly unconventional. Enter the 2017 all-new Bajaj Dominar 400 that is the first of its kind by an Indian bike maker and has no equal rivals in the country.

The Bajaj Dominar 400 will create a unique segment of motorcycles in India

It had already been quite some time, to be precise two Auto Expos wherein Bajaj got this unique looking concept. Back then it was known as the Pulsar CS400 where CS stood for cruiser sports. A crossover motorcycle between a cruiser and a sportsbike. Early 2017, Bajaj launched the Dominar 400 at an unbelievable starting price of Rs 1.36 lakh (non-ABS). At that price, it is perhaps the only machine that anyone and everyone looking for a 250cc+ option could buy. Could?…yes..but should they? Here are our first impressions of the 2017 Bajaj Dominar 400.

Bajaj Dominar 400 design and features

The first concept of the Bajaj Dominar 400 had already shown its Italian inspiration from the Ducati Diavel which itself looks offbeat. Interestingly, the design of the Dominar 400 never received any negative criticism for its Diavel inspiration which highlighted the fact that the audiences had accepted the design. While the images of the production ready Dominar 400 had been doing rounds on the internet, seeing it in flesh is a totally different experience.

Bajaj Dominar 400 shares minor cues from the V15. Smaller iterations of the Dominar to arrive soon

 

All-LED headlight cluster makes it even more premium

The Bajaj Dominar 400, presently, is the only premium Indian motorcycle to come with AHO (Automatic Headlamp On) feature. The all-LED cluster that was shown at the Auto Expo has made it to the final production variant also. The headlight is neatly engulfed by a fairing. The profile of which is reminiscent of the Bajaj V15. Bajaj has tried to retain some of its characteric design traits on the Dominar 400. The well sculpted fuel tank looks impressive and adding muscle to that are the tank extensions. The tank also gets a compact anti-scratch pad.

Bajaj has managed to get all the proportions of the Dominar 400 absolutely right

The contrasting theme of a stretched fuel tank with the performance bike type seats looks rather interesting. It gets a dual-shade finished strong section flowing till the tail section. It is only the rear which reduces the enthusiasm in the design. And that is because of the LED strips and the rear fender. Both of which look identical to that of the Pulsar range starting from the 135 to now the 400.

Arrangement for fitting a pannier on the Bajaj Dominar 400 would have increased its touring potential

While new-age Bajaj motorcycles have always looked snazzy, it is there built quality that has been questioned. The NS200 and the RS200 were much improved Pulsars compared to the first-gen but they did had minor niggles. Coming to the Bajaj Dominar 400, the built quality is evidently better than the before mentioned. However, one has to wait for a couple of months to see their final state.

First Bajaj motorcycle to come with a completely digital cluster

The feature list of the Bajaj Dominar 400 includes a all-digital instrument cluster. The Dominar 400’s reverse LCD split speedometer divides the display into primary and secondary consoles. Yes, the Diavel again. The USD front shocks on the concept have been replaced by a more realistic 43mm telescopic shock absorbers. And doing duty on the rear is a multi-step adjustable mono shock.

Soft spring mono shock on the rear for absorbing the undulations on the highway

Bajaj Dominar 400 engine and performance

The Bajaj Dominar 400 shares its engine with the KTM 390 Duke, except that the state of tune of different. The 373.3cc motor puts out 35PS at 8,000rpm and generates 35Nm at 6,500rpm. Notice the reduced power when compared to that of the KTM and that is because of the cruiser nature of the Dominar 400. In case of the 390 Duke, the higher power delivery makes it a more frantic machine. However, in the Dominar 400 the motor feels relaxed but not lazy.

The 373.3cc motor from the KTM Duke 390 does have its merits

The motor is sufficiently refined and has a more grunty exhaust note. At 182kg, the Bajaj Dominar 400 is indeed a heavy motorcycle but to me that is not a hindrance as such. While riding in the city, it doesn’t feel as cumbersome and the comfortable riding position makes it even more convenient. However, the real strength of the motor is felt on highways where the scope of the powerband increases. Push the throttle hard and the motor keeps revving enthusiastically. In fact, this trait too feels like that of the Ducati Diavel, more like the xDiavel now though.

The Bajaj Dominar 400 is well suited for a mix of highway and city travel

The suspensions are tuned for a softer setup with enough damping to absorb the undulations in the city. The differences caused by potholes and speed breakers is not felt at all. On highways, the Dominar 400 tends to feel a bit bouncy but then the ride is absolutely stable at higher speeds.  Doing the braking duties are the 320mm disc in the front and 230mm disc on the rear. The brakes offer enough bite and do bring the motorcycle to a standstill without any drama.

The top of the line Bajaj Dominar 400 comes with ABS

 

Dual channel ABS on the Dominar 400 is again a first for Bajaj

 

The Bajaj Dominar 400 gets a beam type perimeter frame which is essentially a pressed steel frame similar to that of the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS. Unlike, the naked offering, the Dominar 400 doesn’t offer much agile dynamics and that is because it is not supposed to. We will share a detailed ride experience once we get the Dominar 400 for a brief period.

Should you get the Bajaj Dominar 400?

For sure the Bajaj Dominar 400 is priced extremely aggressively against the other offerings. The non-ABS version is positioned even below the KTM Duke 200. While the more premium ABS Dominar 400 slots below the Royal Enfield Himalayan, Honda CBR250R, Mahindra Mojo and is close to Rs 50,000 cheaper than the KTM Duke 390. Coming to the quality, from the looks of it and our initial impression, the Bajaj Dominar 400 is a refined product. The long list of tech and features that it carries simply sweetens it further.

The Bajaj Dominar 400 gets a 13-litre fuel tank

And to think of it, presently, there is no justified competition to the Bajaj Dominar 400 except for the Mahindra Mojo that comes close in terms of the touring/sports segment that both the machines are placed in. Answering the question, the Bajaj Dominar 400 is a definite recommend from us, provided you are looking for a performance tourer to straddle more on highways than just commuting.

Bajaj Dominar 400 images

 

Yes, the headlight ON switch is missing as the Bajaj Dominar 400 comes with AHO (Automatic headlight on)

 

Onlookers will mistake the Bajaj Dominar 400 for any other Pulsar when seen from behind

 

A larger turning radius makes it a tad difficult to deal with for quick manoeuvres

 

 

A saree guard on the Bajaj Dominar 400? Yes, but can be removed easily

 

Check out the air-cooler and the air scoops on the engine cover to direct air flow to the 373cc motor

 

The stubby exhaust on the Bajaj Dominar 400 has been carried over from the Pulsar CS400 Concept

 

About Author
Arnab Chatterjee

Arnab Chatterjee

Arnab Chatterjee is the brand manager of Performance Factory. He is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the image of Performance Factory across all platforms. An avid motorcyclist himself, often loves to get his creativity flowing on the latest happenings in the world of automobiles from all over the world

Performance Factory represents the automotive enthusiast from all around the world. The universal platform offers information about cars and motorcycles. There are well laid feature stories, entertainment and motorsports coverage that will keep you glued.

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