Bikes

2021 Bajaj Dominar 400 review, first ride


Bajaj’s touring focused bike gets some useful upgrades.

The Bajaj Dominar 400 is quite the example of ‘getting better with age’. A motorcycle that began life in 2016 as a promising highway tourer had a few rough edges that needed attention. After working on feedback, Bajaj launched the 2019 version that brought a series of updates to round off those edges. Cut to 2021, and Bajaj has launched an updated Dominar 400, after listening to… err… more feedback! So, what’s new?

Bajaj Dominar 400: what’s new

The 2021 Dominar 400 gets a number of additions that Bajaj calls ‘factory-fitted touring accessories.’ The list is comprehensive and includes a tall windscreen, knuckle guards, crash protection for the radiator, engine sump guard and an aluminium top box rack.

In addition, an aluminium mobile phone mount stay has been cleverly integrated around the main LCD display. A nifty USB charger is placed right next to the handlebar.

All these items are standard fit, and the only ‘accessory’ – so to speak – is the plastic saddle stay that costs Rs 650 and is designed to keep your saddle bags from coming in contact with the tyres. Barring these updates, there are no mechanical changes to Dominar 400.

That said, all of these additions together have bumped up the price by Rs 5,000 and the kerb weight by 6kg.

Bajaj Dominar 400: inspired by

These updates to the Dominar 400 were made as per feedback from riders who have ventured on an Odyssey with their previous generation Dominar 400s. We were joined by Avinash PS, who was part of the Bajaj Dominar Polar Odyssey. He completed a gruelling trip from the Arctic to Argentina, covering 51,000km over five months.

Bajaj Dominar 400: new benefits

The biggest advantage of these factory-fitted touring kits is that they’ve been tested and validated by the company. This saves the owner the rigmarole of sourcing and installing decent aftermarket solutions.

The tall windscreen, to begin with, is set at the right height to deflect wind from the chest. The knuckle guards may seem like an overkill on a street bike, but they will shield your hand against the cold wind in the winter. While we didn’t get a chance to test the top box rack, a 7kg load rating might sound low, but it’s similar to what you’ll find on many other motorcycles.

As for the increase in weight because of the touring kits, there isn’t any noticeable dent in performance. The 40hp engine still feels as punchy as ever, albeit with a few vibrations in the midrange. However, at early triple-digit highway speeds the engine is smooth and unstressed. This, along with the comfortable ergonomics and absorbent suspension, makes the Dominar 400 a good highway machine.

Bajaj Dominar 400: Should you buy one?

At Rs 2.16 lakh, the Dominar 400 remains a proper value for money motorcycle, even more so with these new additions that have made it more touring ready than ever. What is strange, however, is that you can’t buy a Dominar 400 without these touring kits. Nevertheless, they do look purposeful and do the job. The good news is that they can be retrofitted on previous generation Dominars, except the USB port, because that will require the new wiring harness. In all, the Dominar takes a step closer to the touring image that Bajaj has been steadily trying to build.




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