History of the Dominar
So after a long wait since it was first seen 6 months back, Bajaj Auto Ltd has finally revealed the 2019 Dominar UG in all its glory in an ‘Auroral Green’ paint scheme, which is an upgrade and will replace the existing 2018 Dominar. The Dominar was launched back in Dec 2016, based on the CS400 concept Bajaj showcased in 2014 Auto Expo. The 2019 Dominar offers you a complete CS400 experience that it promised, replacing the half full, half empty Dominar.
The original 2016 Dominar itself was a VFM motorcycle when it was launched at a very affordable price tag, but the sales kept on suffering with marketing blunders like ‘Babies sleep at Night’ once, and then the ‘Hathi Matt Palo !’ campaigns after which they finally settled on the ‘Go Hyper Riding’ campaign. It will be interesting to see how Bajaj markets and positions the Dominar 2019 with prices scheduled to be released in 2 weeks time via a press release.
So, not further delaying things ahead, let’s talk about the motorcycle..
So what’s new?
Bajaj has developed a completely new Engine head to accommodate DOHC setup. This is a Dual Head Over Head Camshaft which eliminates vibrations completely, also makes the engine BSIV ready. There are no vibes felt even as high as 9,000rpm. The engine now comes with a 10k rpm cut off, and now produces 39.4Ps as compared to 35Ps of Power, but still produces the same 35Nm of Torque. This is done by raising the compression ratio from 11.3 to 12.1, which takes it very close to the Duke 390’s ratio. Transmission and Gear ratios remain same, but the performance is completely refreshing and butter smooth. The engine operation is similar and identical to that of a Duke390 now; with crisp and linear power delivery. The power to weight ratio has gone up from 192PS/Ton to 217PS/Ton and the motorcycle now gives you the vibe of riding a premium, finished motorcycle. During our test ride with the New Dominar, it delivered mileage figures of 24-25kmpl, while Bajaj claims it to be 27kmpl in city conditions. The bike can now do 0-60kmph in 2.7secs as compared to 3.11secs, and manages to cross the 0-100kmph mark in 7.1secs as compared to 8.23secs of the previous Dominar. The overall tuning is set to provide maximum power in low and mid rev band, to make the ride knocking-free and more exciting for the rider.
USD Forks & Radial Callipers – Bajaj has finally upgraded the Dominar with 43mm USD forks and Radial brake callipers, bringing it closer to the CS400 concept idea. It’s the same setup, a KTM Duke 390 uses up-front manufactured by Endurance. So, how does the bike get any better other than just looks? Well, the USD forks are arranged so that inner tubes lie down and hold the axle, thus the design itself has low unsprung mass, and improves wheel guidance in high speed with required stiffness, but that is something one can feel only on a race-track in my belief. To be honest, USD forks now relate to ‘Start of the Art’ Design and looks only, than any major operational benefit. Rather, USDs are heavier in weight, also can bring your ride to a permanent halt, if any one of the fork oil seals gets torn. The inclusion of radial brake callipers does make quite a difference though, high speed braking performance has improved a lot than the earlier model. For old Dominar customers, they can very well upgrade their bikes with the new setup, but it will be a costly affair. It will require changing both the Forks, T plate, Rim and the Disk brake caliper.
Double Barrel Exhaust – The Dominar UG has been upgraded with a Double barrel exhaust now. The bend pipe is a single barrel, with dual exhaust port to deliver a macho throaty exhaust note. Many old customers have been wondering if they can install this in their old Dominars. I am afraid that won’t be possible, since the Cylinder head itself has been changed, with new exhaust pipe routing.
Softer Rear Suspension – The rear suspension has been retuned by Bajaj, basis on feedback from old Dominar Customers. Bajaj had tuned it to the stiffer side, to provide better high speed control, but the stiff suspension tuning was not loved by many, and kept new buyers shying away. The new Dominar UG now comes with the same spec suspension, but with a softer spring load tension rating, to accommodate those nasty bumps and potholes, which actually delivers a plush and comfortable riding experience than ever before.
Comparing it with the older Dominars, the new suspension tuning makes it very comfortable to ride on broken roads, which are found in abundance in India.
Smart Instrument Console – Since the Dominar was launched, many of us from the fraternity and customers too had complained of missing rider aiding info. Taking the feedback into consideration, Bajaj Auto has upgraded both the Display units on the Dominar now.
The primary display console now houses a dot matrix console window, which provides additional information of average fuel consumption for Trip A and Trip B, Instantaneous Fuel economy, distance to service reminders along with a fuel meter and the digital Rpm and speedometer.
The secondary console now is a digital display unit, which displays the Gear Position, Time, Odometer and 2 trip meters. The gear indicator positioning is a bit tricky, and one needs to look away from the road, down on the tank to take a gauge of current gear position. I believe Bajaj have not put in enough efforts here, they could have easily packed it in the primary display console, which would have actually proved somewhat useful to the rider, and less risky too.
Design & Exterior changes
The overall designing of the motorcycle somewhat remains the same, with same body panels with a new refreshing colour, the ‘Auroral Green’ now being introduced. When asked about other available colour options, Bajaj officials confirmed of a new shade of black, also maybe the moon-white shade might make a comeback.
‘D’ Stamped Pillion Seat – The pillion seat now comes with ‘D’ logo hot stamped.
New Stylish Mirrors – The mirrors are now redesigned to compliment the sharp techno appeal of the front, which come with cast aluminium stalks to provide better visibility. New Tank Pad Design – The Tank Pad was another matter of complaint on the older Dominars, which has now been updated with a premium new designed tank pad.
Lighting changes – The tail lamp looks similar to that of the previous Dominars, but it gets new lamp internals with light guides to give it a new feel, but keeping the identity same. The headlamp is visually made smaller, with a coloured focal point on the Outer glass, to make it look more like a sci-fi robot.
New Handlebar and Handlebar weight – The handle bar mounting and the handle bar weights have been updated with newly designed ones on the Dominar UG. The handle bar height is considerably set higher, making the rider triangle more comfortable, demanding less commitment, taking off pressure from shoulders of shorter riders, making it more easy to control and manoeuvre
New Leg guard design – The leg guard design has been updated now, to take more abuse in times of a fall. The new design also amalgamates in the overall body now, rather than the older ones, which looked like wings sticking out.
Forged Steel Side stand – Dominar since birth has missed on a main stand. The side stand provided with the bike was not strong enough to take on additional weight which the rider might put on while touring was a general feedback from the customers too. To solve this issue, Bajaj has updated the side stand with a forged steel one with support section, making it stronger than ever.
Bungee straps – Bajaj has also tried to make the bike more tourer friendly with addition of these so called Bungee straps under the rear seat.
Other than the above mentioned changes, the Dominar runs on the same chassis, rims, tyres, brakes and all other mechanical features as before.
Accessories – Bajaj Auto has tied up with Pune based Autologue Designs to develop and sell accessories like tall wind shield, Bash plate, saddle stays etc. for the Dominar. Autologue will sell these accessories via Bajaj official dealerships, which will reach dealerships in a few months.
The Dominar was a VFM product since its birth, but the vibes, missing rider aid and changing marketing campaigns did not allow it to reach its potential, while the new Upgraded Dominar now makes a better than before preposition on the spec sheet as well as in real life. The Dominar now comes with a 5 year or 75,000kms warranty on engine, which no other competitor provides.
Bajaj will announce the pricing in a couple of weeks from now, but we expect it to sit below 1.85 lakhs ex-factory. Bajaj has delivered a master stroke with the New Dominar, checking all the right boxes that customers demanded from the older version.
Now what’s left for us is to wait and watch how well they advertise and market it this time over.
Review – Suraj Sawant
Photography – Smruti Gaimukhe