February sales figures suggest a prominent shift in consumer interest as more and more of Royal Enfield aficionados are opting to bring home a Bajaj Dominar 400 instead. The brand's latest offering has taken over 20% of Royal Enfield's market share, according to a report in The Hindu Business Line. Around 80% of the Dominar buyers have shifted from Yamaha, Honda or Pulsar motorcycles, according to Eric Vas, President (Motorcycle Business), Bajaj Auto. But two of every 10 buyers of the Dominar 400 used to own a Royal Enfield. This is quite a case of proving one's words right as during the launch of Bajaj Dominar 400, Rajeev Bajaj had said that people, who want to buy a Royal Enfield and feel the need to go faster, should buy a Dominar 400.
What's working for the Dominar 400?
So, why the shift? Royal Enfield fans have been loyal followers of the brand since long and has been more of a cult following. One of the key things RE owners take pride in is the engine displacement as it's considered to be a big motorcycle in India but comes at a relatively small price-tag. However, the KTM Duke 390 has been around in the market long before Bajaj's 400cc motorcycle was introduced. However, the Duke 390 is eager on speed and isn't all that comfortable on longer rides and hence doesn't appeal to a typical Royal Enfield rider. This is where Bajaj played the cards right while developing the Dominar 400.
The Dominar comes with a 373.3cc engine, which is based on KTM's 373 cc motor but is tuned differently and has different mechanicals and electricals too. However, the engine is more powerful than that of a Bullet 350, without compromising on touring requirements such as low-end torque and linear power delivery. The 34 hp is spread across the rev range for a comfortable ride. In addition, the Dominar 400 has a relaxed seating position viz-a-viz the KTM Duke, thereby making it suitable for long-distance riding. These qualities for long have been Royal Enfield's key offerings and Bajaj has now managed to compete on the same turf.
Then there are other features aboard the Dominar 400 that render it a light saber amidst conventional swords. For safety, the Dominar 400 comes with a twin-channel ABS and a slipper clutch. It has daytime running headlamp and the instrument cluster is digital.
That said, Royal Enfield for long has been the market leader in its segment and there are many reasons for the same. While Dominar 400 is making a stamping impression, displacing Royal Enfield in the segment will demand a lot in all aspects. It'll be interesting to see how things turn out to be once the initial euphoria around the Dominar 400 subsides. However, the newest kid on the block has definitely made a grand entry.