The Bajaj Dominar now gets a sibling, the baby Dominar 250. It's more affordable, lighter than the Dominar 400, and gets a new colour option to differentiate it. It looks familiar, because the design, features and dimensions are more or less, exactly the same as its bigger and older sibling, the Dominar 400. Bajaj Auto says the Dominar 250 is a 'sport touring' motorcycle targeted at young adults, prospective buyers looking to upgrade from 125 cc motorcycles, and even first time buyers.
Also Read: Bajaj Dominar 250 Launched At ₹ 1.60 Lakh
The idea is to offer a do-it-all motorcycle, which can double up as a companion for the daily commute, and also offer a comfortable and composed performance out on the highway. While the Bajaj Dominar 400 has been a well-accepted product, and still accounts for sales of around 1,500 units a month, Bajaj says the 400 cc engine is a barrier for prospective customers, especially first time buyers. And that is where the Dominar 250 comes in, using the same basic platform, but with a smaller 250 cc engine. We spent some time showing the Dominar 250 some city traffic, as well as some highway duties thrown in, to get a sense of how it rides, what it feels like, and if it's worth the ₹ 1.60 lakh (Ex-showroom) price it commands.
What's new, what's not?
In terms of size, the Bajaj Domimar 250 has the exact same dimensions as its bigger sibling, the Dominar 400. So, length, width, height, ground clearance and wheelbase are exactly the same. That's not a bad thing, because the 250 has the presence, and from a distance only eagle-eyed observers will be able to spot the differences. What the 250 gets is an exclusive new colour, called Canyon Red, the same shade of our test bike, and no, the 400 isn't available in this colour. The Dominar 250 also gets slimmer tyres, the more apparent and identifiable being the 130-section rear tyre, which is considerably slimmer than the 400's 150-section tyre.
Also different is the swingarm, which is all-new, and the upside down front forks, which are of 37 mm diameter on the Dominar 250, compared to the 43 mm diameter forks on the Dominar 400. The most significant change, of course, is the liquid-cooled 249 cc, double overhead cam engine. In terms of figures, the single-cylinder engine puts out 26.6 bhp of maximum power at 8,500 rpm, and 23.5 Nm of peak torque at 6,500 rpm. The engine is based on the KTM 250 Duke's engine, but with a slightly different state of tune, offering a meatier low and mid-range, rather than outright performance.
How does it ride?
The 250 cc, liquid-cooled engine is quite smooth and refined. The gears are precise, slot into place without any misses or false neutrals, and acceleration is smooth and linear. The slipper clutch offers a light feel on the lever, and will be a boon while negotiating bumper to bumper traffic in the daily commute. The tyres offer enough and more grip over all kinds of surfaces, and even when leaned over around a corner. Road undulations and minor bumps are despatched without a whimper, or the bike losing its composure; all positive qualities certainly.
The performance and acceleration isn't overwhelming that it will scare new riders, even if the Dominar 250 is considered as a first bike. With my 75 kg body weight, I managed to see 135 kmph top speed on the speedometer, but given a longer stretch of road, it will possibly go higher, and with a lighter rider, it may even reach 137-138 kmph with ease. What is likeable is that the engine feels stress-free sitting at 110-120 kmph on the highway, and you can definitely cruise at those speeds, with some more go at hand, if needed.
The dual-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) works fine, but if they had slightly more bite, they could have been excellent. The long-ish wheelbase gives it a sense of stability and composure, along with the 180 kg kerb weight. However, it also makes the Dominar 250 not so frantic and eager in acceleration. So, if you're the type of rider who's looking to chase stop lights and take on sportier rivals in a street encounter, the Dominar 250 may leave you wanting for more. It's more the resilient and composed performer, and will offer a comfortable place to be in, if you intend to cover several hundred kilometres in a day.
Is it worth its price tag?
The Bajaj Dominar 250 is priced at ₹ 1.60 lakh (Ex-showroom), and that is almost ₹ 35,000 less than the Dominar 400 and ₹ 45,000 less than the KTM 250 Duke. In a segment that is increasingly gaining popularity, the Dominar 250 will have its task cut out, especially when it faces a few worthy rivals, like the Suzuki Gixxer 250 and the Yamaha FZ-25. Where the Dominar 250 will score is on individual choice, as well as riding style and purpose, if preferences involve a slightly heavier and longer bike, as well as more frequent highway use. Bajaj claims fuel consumption figures of 35 kmpl, as certified by the ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India), and although actual fuel consumption will depend on individual riding style, you can certainly expect around 33-34 kmpl with combined city and highway use.
The final word
In the end, what the Bajaj Dominar 250 offers is a versatile machine, which can effortlessly do the daily commute, and be equally at home handling the occasional highway run; all great qualities that make it a calm and composed 250 cc motorcycle. All good things, right? Not really. With its 180 kg kerb weight, the Dominar 250 makes its mass felt, especially if you go seeking some thrills. Its long wheelbase and slightly heavy weight may make it feel composed out on the highway, but it may still be a handful, especially if it's being considered as a first bike. And for riders with some experience under their belt, the Dominar 250 may not give you a heady adrenaline rush, if that's your scene, chasing triple digits from a standstill. But for everything else, it may be the near perfect, do-it-all motorcycle, as long as you're ready to accept what it's not, and appreciate it for what it is.
(Photography: Prashant Chaudhary)
|BAJAJ DOMINAR 250 SPECIFICATIONS|
|ENGINE TYPE||SINGLE-CYLINDER, 4-STROKE, DOHC, 4-VALVE, LIQUID COOLED|
|ENGINE DISPLACEMENT||248.77 cc|
|MAXIMUM POWER||26.63 bhp @ 8,500 rpm|
|PEAK TORQUE||23.5 Nm @ 6,500 rpm|
|CHASSIS||Beam Type Perimeter Frame|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||37 mm USD telescopic fork, 135 mm travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Multi-step adjustable monoshock, 110 mm wheel stroke|
|BRAKES (FRONT)||300 mm disc, ABS|
|BRAKES (REAR)||230 mm disc, ABS|
|TYRES (FRONT)||100/80-17 Tubeless|
|TYRES (REAR)||130/70-17 Tubeless|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||157 mm|
|KERB WEIGHT||180 kg|
|FUEL TANK CAPACITY||13 litres|
|PRICE (Ex-showroom, Delhi)||₹ 1.60 lakh|