More Power and More Weight
All these new parts and features have made the weight of the 2019 Dominar go up by two kilograms. Thankfully, with the additional power, the power-to-weight ratio has improved to 217 PS/tonne compared to the earlier figure of 192 PS/tonne. So, in comparison to the older model, this one feels lighter on its feet. Though it misses out on ride-by-wire, the power delivery is predictable and linear. This gives it a friendly character and suits its highway cruiser brand image. To get all the 40 horses going, the engine has to be revved higher than before to 8,650 rpm. Red-line, too, has gone up from 9,800 rpm to a little above 10,000 rpm and so has the compression ratio — increased from 11.3:1 to 12.0:1. (Also read: Bajaj Dominar 400 First Look)
The good news is that with these changes, the engine character has come a few notches closer to its Austrian cousin now. But, as in the KTM, this would make the engine heat up a little more than earlier and, possibly, will have a negative impact on fuel economy as well. To a certain degree the vibes have been curbed, thanks to the improved balancer shaft, but being a large capacity single it’s not easy to wipe out the vibrations completely. Having a DOHC set-up and increased power do not only improve outright performance, but also make the bike feel more light-footed than before. The gearbox continues to dish out precise shifts and I went about flicking the six-shooter nonchalantly and it never got caught in a false neutral. The ratios are well spread and one can ride around town in third without it knocking for lack of torque and with enough juice to touch close to 90 km/h on the speedo. On the highway, fourth and fifth gears offer the drive while the sixth remains an overdrive.
Ride and Handling
The firmer USD fork improves the handling and makes this 184-kg motorcycle feel surprisingly nimble. It feels more confident around fast corners and more receptive to steering inputs. It’s still not as sharp as the KTMs, but the improvement in handling is pretty evident and with more power on the tap, the Dominar feels more playful now. The preload-adjustable monoshock at the rear has also been improved and has become more forgiving than the stiff set-up unit of the outgoing model. The comfortable seats and a more pliant rear suspension have made the updated Dominar a better companion as you munch mile after mile on the highway.
Launch and Price
The updated Bajaj Dominar 400 will be launched towards the end of March 2019. The updates on the new Dominar might seem small on paper but all of these minor changes work together to make it a far more attractive product than before. There’s still scope for improvement in matters such as overall weight, large turning radius, and, of course, the design of the exhaust outlet pipes. The new bits like DOHC engine set-up and USD fork have made it more about Rs 10,500 more expensive than before, taking the price up to Rs 1.73 lakh (ex-showroom). Yet it retains the “India’s most affordable 400-cc motorcycle” title and now has a lot more good to offer.