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


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