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IronH4WK 30th January 2017 09:49

Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
35 Attachment(s)
The Bajaj Dominar 400 has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 1.36 lakhs (non-ABS) & Rs. 1.50 lakhs (ABS).

Bajaj first unveiled the Pulsar CS400 at the 2014 Auto Expo. Fast forward to December 2016, Bajaj launches the CS400 as the Dominar 400, albeit with a few changes. The CS400 showcased USD (upside down) forks, a diecast swing-arm, speedometer on the tank and other goodies not seen on an Indian bike before. So, why don't we see these on the Dominar 400? The answer is simple - to bring the cost down. Which is also quite logical; a USD fork would cost about three times the price of the telescopic fork. Same is the case with the swing-arm - a diecast one would have cost more than the metal stamped swing-arm the Dominar has got now. This has been a crucial decision for Bajaj - to be able to make the Dominar 400 available at 'wow pricing' to customers.
Attachment 1598055

This does not mean Bajaj has compromised on the quality of the product. For example, take the paint - it is said that the paint quality is comparable to that of a BMW. When asked if Bajaj is planning to come up with variants of the Dominar 400, I was told that nothing is currently in the pipeline. Same is the case with accessories for the bike.

Bajaj is pitching the Dominar 400 with the tagline Dominate the night. No, they're not hinting toward Illegal Street Racing at night. What they're conveying is that, with the Dominar 400, they've made riding at night as comfortable as riding during daytime. How so? With the industry-first full LED headlamps (we'll talk about that in detail later on).

At a glance, you might mistake the Dominar 400 for a beefed up NS 200, but that is not the case:
Attachment 1596925

The stance is neither too aggressive nor too timid. The bike does make its presence felt:
Attachment 1596926

The Dominar measures 2156 mm in length, 813 mm in width and 1112 mm in height. With a long wheelbase of 1453 mm and a low ground clearance of 157 mm, the bike feels more planted on the road:
Attachment 1596927

One look at the bike and you would draw parallels to another Power Cruiser, a segment leader of sorts - the Ducati Diavel. The sub-console atop the fuel tank and the Infinity tail lights give the Dominar a baby Diavel look. For instance, click here to check out the Diavel's sub-console and here is the Dominar 400's:
Attachment 1596929

Diavel's tail lamps and the Dominar 400's:
Attachment 1596930

With its big and bright LED lights and beefier design, you could mistake it for a bike bigger in size. It's not just the looks, the beefier design gives you that 'big bike' feel. The exterior of the fuel tank is big, and this allows the rider to tuck his knee in and sit snug on the bike:
Attachment 1596931

Full LED headlamps in a mosaic frame:
Attachment 1596965

The Dominar logo is quite prominently embossed on the fuel tank in chrome:
Attachment 1596932

The rear cowl is in black for all the three colour options available. It gets this "D400" badging:
Attachment 1596933

Handlebar is wide and high enough to give the rider a comfortable riding position - not too forward, not too laid back. Switch assemblies on both sides were moving about a bit (~5 mm give or take). Press the starter switch hard enough and the switch assembly moves; this should not be the case:
Attachment 1596943

The instrument cluster aka console is clear and visible, even with the dark visor down and in strong sunlight. All lights and indicators on the instrument panel and that on the tank are clearly visible. The Dominar has a split console with an odometer, two trip meters, tachometer (displayed as bars), a clock, a fuel level indicator and the speedometer:
Attachment 1597041

Below the main console are (from L to R) the mode button, neutral indicator, oil check indicator, turn signal indicator, the gearshift indicator and the set button (you've to hold this for 5 seconds to reset the trip meters). The mode (M) and the set (S) buttons on the main console don't have a tactile feel. Even with the gloves on, they felt hard to press:
Attachment 1597042

The handlebar grips look good and also have a nice feel to them. At the ends are the vibration dampers, which almost do their job:
Attachment 1596948

Mirrors are adequate, but could have been a little taller & wider. While riding, due to my stance, almost half the mirror was covered!
Attachment 1597057

The turn indicators at the front and back are slim and inconspicuous, but visible at a distance when turned on:
Attachment 1597978

The wheels on the Dominar 400 are 17" diamond-cut alloys. These rims come mated with proprietary tubeless MRF Revz FC1 - 110/70 R17 at the front…
Attachment 1596963

...and 150/60 R17 at the rear. These tyres are of a softer compound and will last anywhere between 10,000 - 15,000 km. Of course, it would depend on how and where the bike is ridden:
Attachment 1596964

Seats are contoured and complement the bike's personality. The seats are made from German fabric and have a comfortable feel to them. Neither too soft nor too hard. The ride is comfortable for the pillion rider too. In the short ride I did as a pillion, I didn't feel uncomfortable at all. One thing to note is that, due to the fabric used to make the seat, one doesn't slip or move around on it. Also, you might notice that the rider's seat slightly extends to the fuel tank - this helps when the rider is sitting forward and hugging the tank:
Attachment 1596957

The seats are split, and the pillion seat is removable:
Attachment 1596958

There is a cable release system to remove the pillion seat, which can be engaged by using the ignition key. This is under the left-hand-side grab rail:
Attachment 1596959

Small spot under the pillion seat to keep the toolkit & documents:
Attachment 1596960

There's not much you can stuff in here. You might want to be careful since there are electrical wires & relays visible:
Attachment 1596961

You'll need a size 8 spanner to remove the rider's seat as it is bolted on. Here, you can also see the bike's chassis number stickered on:
Attachment 1596962

IronH4WK 30th January 2017 09:49

16 Attachment(s)
Safety Features

Disc brakes with dual-channel ABS: While braking hard, if the front wheel locks up, one loses the ability to manoeuvre the bike safely. Whereas if the rear wheel locks up, the stability of the bike is compromised. The Dominar has either situation covered. It is equipped with dual-channel ABS, which means both the front and rear brakes are monitored and controlled separately (instead of a single system). Both wheels have their own sensors and the system controls the braking on each wheel individually.

320 mm single disc at the front...
Attachment 1596970

... and a 230 mm disc at the rear:
Attachment 1596971

The brakes are by Bybre, which is essentially Brembo's range specifically for motorcycles below 600 cc (related thread):
Attachment 1596972

LED Headlamp: In a first on an Indian bike, Bajaj gives you a full LED headlamp in a mosaic frame. The headlamp is bright and illuminates pretty well when in complete darkness too. Bajaj claims that the headlamp meets European standards, which makes the bike visible from a distance of approximately 1.5 km! I can't disagree as I could see the headlight of another Dominar that was being tested more than a kilometre away.

The headlamp unit has a slightly smoked appearance:
Attachment 1596973

When you switch on the bike, the DRLs (Daytime Running Light) are basically the high beams & are switched on by default:
Attachment 1596974

Pressing the passlight switch makes the low beam come on, unlike the usual setup wherein the high beam is used as the passlight:
Attachment 1596975

Low beam on...
Attachment 1596976

... and here is the high beam:
Attachment 1596977

On the right-hand side switch assembly, there's the light switch with two positions. By default, it is on the right, which switches on the DRLs. The plastic used for the switchgear doesn't feel high quality. They could've used a better finish:
Attachment 1596979

To get the headlights working, you've to slide that switch to the left:
Attachment 1596984

A look at the left-hand side switchgear. The layout is pretty basic with the turn indicator at the bottom, and high + low beam switch at the top:
Attachment 1597921

The Dominar's LED lights are easily visible to others:
Attachment 1596985

The Dominar comes with Auto Headlamp On (AHO) functionality, which automatically turns on the headlights when the ambient light becomes less. The design of the headlight gives that distinct hammerhead pattern when the low beam is turned on. Check out this video of the light throw and the visibility of the headlamp under different conditions:

Side Stand Check: Many a times, we've seen people start their bikes and just push off. Some distance later, a bystander will wave to you that the side stand is still extended. With the Dominar, that is a thing of the past. As a safety measure, the Dominar will not allow you to start the engine if the bike is in gear with the side stand extended. You'll have to shift to Neutral if you want to start the bike whilst the side stand is out. The side stand also gets an engine kill switch. There is a delay of 2 seconds before the engine switches off when the side stand is extended while riding. A warning light on the sub-console reminds you that the side stand is extended:
Attachment 1596988

Crash Guards: The sides of the engine are fitted with these small, unobtrusive and visually appealing crash guards:
Attachment 1596989

Attachment 1596991

IronH4WK 30th January 2017 09:49

21 Attachment(s)
Engine and Performance

There has been talk about the Dominar 400 having the same engine as the Duke 390, albeit detuned. Not true. Other than the engine block, the Dominar's engine doesn't share any similarity to that of the Duke. The pistons, crank and other components have been designed specifically for the Dominar 400.
Attachment 1597013

The Dominar 400 comes with a 373.3 cc, SOHC Triple Spark 4-valve liquid cooled DTS-i engine, delivering 35 BHP @ 8000 rpm and 35 Nm of torque @ 6500 rpm. All of that sounds good, but what does it mean to you? From the 1st gear to the 6th, this is a rev happy engine. From riding sedately in traffic to tearing up the highways, the motor does it all. The exhaust note of the Dominar is something that many people were curious about, especially after the TVC which made the bike sound really good. Well, just to clear up the air, here is a video of the Dominar 400's exhaust note:

Coming to the 6-speed gearbox, the initial two gears are short, 3rd + 4th + 5th cover the power band, and sixth is taller for cruising. While climbing a hill and under sudden deceleration, I felt the engine stalling a bit and pushing me to downshift (e.g. while doing 30-35 km/h in 3rd gear). I felt the same in 4th doing around 40-45 km/h and had to keep shifting up and down to stay in the power band. Unless you're on the highway or a long stretch of empty road, don't even think of riding slowly in 6th. While riding in the city or congested areas, you'll need to tippy-toe on the shifter and keep the bike in the power band.

With the throttle wide open and executing an overtaking manoeuvre in 2nd gear, the engine screams and sounded/felt strained. The gearshift indicator lights up @ 8000 rpm on 2nd and 3rd, 8500 rpm on 4th and 8000 rpm on 5th. I couldn't get it to the limit in 6th as I didn't have enough ground, due to traffic and headwind. When you let go of the throttle completely while in 4th, 5th or 6th gear and then open the throttle wide, after a delay of a second or two, you get a buzzing sound and feel it at the back of your head. Holding a constant speed of 120 km/h, you get that constant buzz, which isn't subtle. This could be heard over and above the wind noise.

A point to note here is that unlike other bikes (for example, Duke 390 or CBR250R), 6th gear is not an overdrive ratio. While riding in 6th gear, you could wring the throttle and the bike will immediately respond & surge ahead. Another point to note is that, if you're on loose sand/gravel, it's best to use 2nd gear to get yourself out of there. 1st has too much torque and you might end up with wheel spin. When I was heading to the lake side location of the shoot, there was this small marshy area where I kept losing the rear and almost did a doughnut :D.

One of the important additions on the Dominar's feature list is the slipper clutch. A slipper clutch is a special kind of clutch with a freewheel mechanism which can reduce the effect of engine braking. It helps with quick shifting at any given revvs and safe downshifts, not allowing the rear wheel to lock up. To put it simply, imagine you're entering a corner and need to downshift. In a bike without a slipper clutch, sudden deceleration due to engine braking will make you lose the rear. On the other hand, with the slipper clutch installed, the clutch momentarily disengages, not allowing the engine rpm to climb drastically and transfer the sudden surge in revvs to the rear wheel, thereby allowing the rider to keep the bike in control.

Talking about engine heat, there is none. I mean, the engine does get hot, but it does not transfer to your legs. At the end of a long ride, your legs won't be grilled. I've ridden the bike on hills, highways and through stop and go traffic and my legs were just fine. The radiator and coolant reservoir can be seen behind the front suspension:
Attachment 1597014

The ends of the radiator grille have a brushed chrome garnish which gives it a classy look:
Attachment 1597047

On the right-hand side, behind the radiator grille, you can see the level indicator for the coolant reservoir. This is snug and well-placed; helps keep an eye on the coolant levels:
Attachment 1597017

The radiator has a plastic shield with wide fins:
Attachment 1597018

The radiator (top) and coolant reservoir (below) caps. DO NOT touch or open the radiator cap when hot:
Attachment 1597019

The engine spoiler houses Bajaj's ExhausTEC. TEC stands for Torque Expansion Chamber. In the lower rpm zones, ExhausTEC helps build a negative pressure i.e. vacuum at the exhaust valve, thereby sucking in more air-fuel mixture into the cylinder during the intake valve opening & aiding the ‘scavenging’ process. It also improves engine torque at low revvs without compromising anything at mid or high rpms (source):
Attachment 1597020

The Dominar has enough ground clearance (157 mm) to tackle most of what the roads (and some non-existent roads) will throw at you:
Attachment 1597021

While I was taking the bike through its paces, I traversed through places where there were no roads. Not once did I feel the bottom scrape:
Attachment 1597022

The reason the Dominar doesn't get a centre stand - catalytic converter box underneath:
Attachment 1597024

The exhaust has an upswept design, but does not come up that high as to hinder the pillion's foot placement. On the bike that I got, the pillion footpegs were not unfolding completely (90-degrees):
Attachment 1597025

The heat shield could have been wider to cover the exposed part of the exhaust, since some people have this habit of keeping their feet on the exhaust instead of the foot peg:
Attachment 1597026

The Lambda sensor aka oxygen sensor, measures the oxygen content in the exhaust gas and provides the ECU with real-time information for controlling the air-fuel ratio in the combustion chamber:
Attachment 1597027

Handling and Comfort

The Dominar 400 has a beam-type perimeter frame, which not only lends torsional rigidity and strength to the bike, but helps lower the centre of gravity. This translates to better control while taking those tight corners or riding up the twisties. This, coupled with the front telescopic suspension + dual-spring mono-shocks + Nitrox chamber (which we've seen in the Pulsar), gives great handling and confidence while riding. According to the technical specifications, the Dominar 400 has a kerb weight of 182 kg, which is close to what a Bullet weighs. However, I did not feel the bike to be heavy at all. I could easily move the bike around in the parking lot and also manoeuvre it comfortably while riding in the city.

Talking about aerodynamics, past the 100-120 km/h mark (depending on where you're riding), you'll start getting wind blast. This is when you have to lean in a bit to stay on the bike, especially if you have a strong headwind. If there is strong headwind or crosswinds, I wouldn't suggest taking this bike above 120 km/h as the rear might start sliding around. The recommended cruising speed is 100-120 km/h.

The riding position is very comfortable and you naturally assume that position when you sit on the bike. It is absolutely stress-free and one can ride for hours without any discomfort or fatigue. There is vibration in the rider footpegs and the handlebar while pushing the bike in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears.

The front 43mm telescopic suspension has a travel of ~120-130mm. Under hard braking conditions, I did not feel the front dive that much. It does, although not excessively:
Attachment 1597028

The rear dual-spring mono-shock suspension is 10-step adjustable. The stock setting on the bike is 4:
Attachment 1597029

I found this setting perfect for riding on bad roads and tackling those sections which didn't have any asphalt. For highway touring, one could set the suspension to a softer setting:
Attachment 1597030

Getting on and off the bike is a breeze. The saddle height is 800 mm and one can perch on the bike quite comfortably. At 5'9", I could plant both my feet on the ground with my knee slightly bent:
Attachment 1598079

Here's my riding position while sitting forward on the bike...
Attachment 1597034

...and sitting relaxed & pushed back:
Attachment 1597035

Even with my SIDIs on, I did not face any issues while upshifting or downshifting:
Attachment 1598106

While cruising, I keep the ball of my feet on the foot peg:
Attachment 1597038

IronH4WK 30th January 2017 09:49

12 Attachment(s)
Other Points

• For now, the Dominar comes in three colours - Moon White, Twilight Plum and Midnight Blue.

• The running-in period is 2000 km. Limit the revvs initially. In the first 1000 km, you should not exceed 73 km/h. In the second half, you should not exceed 85 km/h.

• Service intervals:
  • 1st Service: 500-750 km
  • 2nd Service: 4500 - 5000 km
  • 3rd Service: 9500 - 10000 km
• Oil change is to be done during the 1st and 3rd services, while you only require a top-up in the 2nd service.

• All switches in the Dominar are backlit (except for the Mode and Set switches below the instrument cluster). The backlight is blue in colour and has good visibility during daytime as well.

• Bajaj claims to have tested the Dominar from sea-level to 18,380 feet.

• Claimed 0-100 km/h time is 8.23 seconds, while the 100-0 km/h stopping distance is 46.19 meters.

• The Dominar has a fuel tank capacity of 13 litres (usable). This would give you a tank range of around 400+ km on the highway and about 350 km in city riding conditions. This calculation is based on FE of 27 km/l in the city and 33 km/l on the highway. This would again depend on your style of riding (throttle wide open or Buddha riding :)):
Attachment 1597048

The fuel lid doesn't come off completely:
Attachment 1597049

The grab rail is the right size - neither too short nor too long. It will suffice for the pillion rider to hold on to:
Attachment 1597050

ABS sensor cable is exposed a bit more than it should be and needs to be tucked in properly:
Attachment 1597052

The brake pedal, although functionally is 10/10, aesthetically is only a 5/10:
Attachment 1597053

The reservoir for the rear brake is exposed and can be potentially knocked down by a careless pillion:
Attachment 1597054

Tank pad looks cheap. Bajaj could have put a better quality tank pad to complement the looks of the bike. This seriously needs to go:
Attachment 1597055

Something without which a bike can't be sold in India. The saree guard is not too large and sits snugly on the left hand side:
Attachment 1597051

I'd like to thank Omkar and GTO for their help in compiling this review. And a big thank you to GTO for giving me the opportunity to do this.

Disclaimer : Bajaj invited Team-BHP for the Dominar 400 test-ride. They covered all the travel expenses for this riding event.

GTO 30th January 2017 10:04

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Motorcycle Section.

Thanks for sharing, IronH4WK! Much appreciate your taking out the time for this brilliant review. Rating a full 5 stars.

Teesh@BHP 30th January 2017 10:43

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400

Originally Posted by IronH4WK (Post 4136234)
Disclaimer : Bajaj invited Team-BHP for the Dominar 400 test-ride. They covered all the travel expenses for this riding event.

If I am not wrong, this is the first official team-BHP bike review no? :)

The review is fantastically composed covering every minute details! Thank you IronH4WK.

Bajaj have come a long way since the launch of their first-gen pulsar bikes. Just hoping Dominar will capture the right amount of market share of affordable tourers that it deserves.

KMT 30th January 2017 11:06

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
A really well written review with useful photographs and observations.

It's good to see an Indian manufacturer coming out with a 'meatier' offering. I am sure Bajaj has a star on its hands.

Snehal Sekhar 30th January 2017 11:31

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
A very good review there, IronH4WK! The Dominor certainly looks well made and with these specifications and price, will surely be a 'hit' in our market. In fact, custom touring accessories for the Dominar are already out in the market (not from Bajaj though).

Torino 30th January 2017 11:37

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
WOW! This is the most detailed motorcycle review I have seen and the excellent pictures speak themselves! Hope this paves way for more TeamBhp official motorcycle reviews in the future. The Dominar has already got everyone's attention and it could very well create new brand for Bajaj like the Pulsar. Bajaj should come up with more colors and affordable optional accessories to support its touring capabilities. The exhaust note sounds like the Pulsar 200ns with higher bass and it sounds really nice. Rated the thread the deserved 5 stars!


The running-in period is 2000 km. Limit the revvs initially. In the first 1000 km, you should not exceed 73 km/h. In the second half, you should not exceed 85 km/h.
The 2000kms running-in period sounds too long for a modern engine. Owners will have a hard time for the first 2000kms but the 73 and 85km/h limit does help a bit though.

CrAzY dRiVeR 30th January 2017 11:55

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400

Originally Posted by Teesh@BHP (Post 4136272)
If I am not wrong, this is the first official team-BHP bike review no? :)

It's the third one if I remember it right, first being the Ninja 650 review and the second one being the Harley Davidson Street 750 review.

Motard_Blr 30th January 2017 11:57

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
Excellent review! I had a very short test ride and came away with impressed with the Dominar.

I know Bajaj isn't selling this as a city commuter bike but 2 things about it are limiting its all-roundness: the very big turning circle and the high gearing. Both make riding in the city a less than optimum experience. Let's face it: most people buying the Dominar will use it mainly for riding in congested cities rather than on the highway.

ArunRS2305 30th January 2017 11:59

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
Very well composed review. It covers all the points that a potential buyer would be looking at. Well done sir. I started my biking life on the first pulsar model to be launched in india. The pulsar 150 non dtsi model. It belongs to my dad. It has been mostly a fuzz free ownership. Its a 2001 model, one of the first lot of bikes to hit Tvm. So its been with us for almost 16 years now. I honestly don't think bajaj lacks quality and it all depends on how one takes care of his bike.

Fast-forward to 2016 and i was contemplating on buying a new bike. When the CS400 concept was showcased on 2014 i was drooling over it and wanted it badly. And then i saw the spy images and was hooked onto the thread dedicated to it. I wanted to be one of the first to buy the bike and thus called the showroom people every now and then to know about the launch. They told me that it will be launched in November and that i could make a ₹500 booking at that time. I was in no rush as my trusty old pulsar was still going strongly. One day when me and my dad was going for a short ride, the bike suddenly stopped in the middle of the road. It wouldn't start no matter what we did. So we decided to send the bike to the mechanic and do a complete restoration. It was always in the back of our minds and this incident gave the final push. So we had no bike to putter around and taking the car was also a task. Thus we decided to buy a new bike immediately.

Dominar was the first consideration, we called them a couple of times and they repeated the same thing. It will launch in November. Then i saw a post on Team-bhp that said that the launch was postponed as bajaj was concentrating on the bread and butter models during the festive season. So we decided not to wait anymore and buy a Duke 390. I got my bike a week after the booking. But i still waited for the launch of the pulsar 400. They then went on to change the name and then changed it again to dominar. It looks good though, and my dad now wants to buy one for himself as he finds the duke to be really agressive. We did a test ride and it really feels like a premium motorcycle. Good job bajaj on the pricing too. Will be getting the bike in a couple of months. And for those who are wondering, no we won't be replacing the old 150, he will be retained.

man_of_steel 30th January 2017 12:01

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
Well written review with detailed pics H4WK ji! Team-BHP should definitely have an official comprehensive motorcycle review section like this!

Keep up the good work.

theexperthand 30th January 2017 12:32

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400
The eyes of H4WK never fails to spot the minutest details. A very well written in depth review.

Hope we get to see more official motorcycle reviews in Team BHP. Rating a well deserved 5 stars.


Vik0728 30th January 2017 12:40

Re: Ridden: Bajaj Dominar 400

Originally Posted by IronH4WK (Post 4136231)

The Bajaj Dominar 400 has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 1.36 lakhs (non-ABS) & Rs. 1.50 lakhs (ABS).

Ah ha, so this was THE SECRET you inadvertently spilt during the Kamat meet Anil??

Well, with this kind of in-depth analysis, it was good that I did not probe you deeper clap:

I have been contemplating between the RC 390 and Dominor 400 for sometime now, though there designs/purposes are completely different. The ONLY reason I may end up with the D400 is for the pillion comfort, else the RC 390 has got me drooling for a long time now.

Thank you once again for the report bro and it really helps. :thumbs up

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