BAJAJ DOMINAR 400
The engine isn’t all new and we’ve seen that frame before. But in the Dominar 400, every aspect has been worked on to create that specific character
The biggest Bajaj ever!
HAMMERING OUT A RIDE story at over 20,000ft, locked in an aluminium tube is usually not the easiest thing to do. Yet, I have no difficulty recalling what it felt like on the turns, on the highway and over the good roads and the bad. No, there is no doubt that the new Bajaj Dominar 400 does indeed dominate the senses. So, in that sense, Bajaj Auto has already hit bullseye.
Even before I laid eyes on the actual product, I was excited about riding the motorcycle. This was the bike that our sister publication Fast Bikes India had exclusively previewed the month before, where bossman Adil had waxed eloquent about it. It had all the trappings of a great bike – a liquid-cooled 400cc heart and a perimeter frame for a skeleton. And then Bajaj went and blew our minds with a killer price tag of `1.36 lakh for a non-ABS version, and `1.50 lakh for a bike with ABS (both prices exshowroom in Delhi). Hell, at that price Bajaj
had me sold on the Dominar even before I saw the bike! So yes, I could barely contain my excitement.
Very uncharacteristically of Bajaj, there was a small presentation on the product (usually Bajaj lets the product do all the talking). The idea was to introduce us to what the Dominar was meant to do rather than what it was. A quarter of an hour later we came out much wiser as we headed to the bike that we now knew was a power cruiser. Not unlike the Ducati Diavel, they said, albeit one that would be available to and affordable for a much wider diaspora.
One look at the bike and the reference to the Italian devil was suddenly as clear as crystal for there is only one other bike that sports that split instrumentation and that meaty looking tail piece and lamp. Or the scooped out seat that ensures you sit in the bike rather than on it. The rest of the bike though is pure Bajaj and the deference to the older Pulsar lineage is apparent. After all, at the start this was indeed meant to be the largest of the Pulsars. The overall effect though is of a meaty and muscular machine whose presence is dominating but not intimidating.
Negotiating through nine o’clock traffic near Akurdi is always a chore best not taken on. With countless offices and factories dotting this industrial/commercial zone on the outskirts of Pune, things take on the aura of an urban combat zone where every vehicle (big or small) wants to kill you and get ahead. I had my apprehensions about riding a big and heavy motorcycle through this madness for we had been told that the Dominar 400 tipped the scales at 182kg! Now, I’m not exactly sure how Bajaj’s Joseph and his R&D team have done it, but for a bike that weighs as much as the venerable Bullet (and we all know what that one feels like) the Dominar feels light on her feet as she dances her way through the traffic. The first of two surprises to come!
Although easily done, traffic is still just that, traffic, and we’d had enough of it. So we cut across the city and headed for the highway to
THE DOMINAR FEELS LIGHT ON HER FEET AS SHE DANCES HER WAY THROUGH THE TRAFFIC