Bajaj Dominar was pretty much a breakthrough for the brand when it was first launched in 2017. And why wouldn’t it be – the Dominar 400 was the largest displacement motorcycle yet from Bajaj Auto along with offering more comfort and had a slightly laid back throttle response compared to its KTM cousin, which was somehow welcomed by many. But even so, some found it a handful and while the Dominar did get itself a fan following, sales never really picked up as exponentially as expected. So Bajaj Auto rolled out a fix in March this year, the smaller 2020 Bajaj Dominar 250. Looks just as big as the 400, but has very accessible power figures even for first-time buyers and is priced much lower as well.
There’s no doubt the Dominar 250 is a strong-looking quarter-litre motorcycle. Especially since it’s been established that the Dominar 400 is a good looker and the two are rather identical. The 250 also gets a bright LED headlamp, a fully digital instrument cluster, a secondary screen on the tank, and a sleek tail lamp. If one were not to know the exact differences between the two motorcycles, it would be tricky to tell them apart without reading the badge on the tail.
So, what are these differences? One, the swingarm on the Bajaj Dominar 250 is a box section type, USD forks are smaller than the 400, tyres are MRF Zappers with a thinner 130 section at the rear, the front disc is smaller, and most of all – the engine.
As the story goes for the Dominar 400’s engine, the Dominar 250 shares its engine with the KTM 250 Duke but only the lower end with the crank and the gearbox remain the same. Bajaj Auto have designed the head with the intention to make more torque available at lower rpm.
The tweaks made to the engine do reflect a better low and mid-range torque band letting the Dominar 250 remain composed at speeds as low as 40 km/h even in higher gears. The compression ratio has been reduced which means the engine undergoes lesser stress at higher rpm which has led to the motorcycle being able to sit at speeds of 80-100 km/h with the engine feeling stress-free. And that is a great quality for a machine that is intended for long-distance touring.
The little Dominar will do speeds in excess of 140 km/h with ease but definitely takes longer to do so compared to something like a 250 Duke or Suzuki Gixxer 250. But the engine is super refined. It’s only past 8,000 rpm when vibrations make their presence felt but they’re not just not worth complaining.
Gearshifts are mostly smooth and quick much like a KTM, however, not so much if you’re going to be enthusiastic about the ride when it feels a tad clunky. A claimed fuel efficiency figure of about 30-35 kpl is not the segment-best but it’s not something to fret about either.
The dimensions of the Dominar 250 remain similar to the larger 400 with a seat height of 800 mm and will also be easy for riders below 5.5 feet. The handlebar is well raised and quite wide, the footpegs are not as rear set as they are on KTMs, delivering improved comfort.
In fact, this could be the most comfortable quarter-litre motorcycle in India currently but that does depend upon a rider’s dimensions as well. While it has comparatively slimmer 37mm forks, they are upside down and the monoshock is softer as well. Now, on to braking. The front disc is smaller by 20 mm and does leave you wanting a teensy bit more bite.
|Engine||248.8cc liquid-cooled 4V DOHC single-cylinder|
|Power||26.6 hp at 8500 rpm|
|Torque||23.5 Nm at 6500 rpm|
|Ground clearance||157 mm|
|Seat height||180 mm|
|Suspension||37 mm USD (front)|
|Brakes||300 mm (front)|
|220 mm (rear)|
|Fuel tank capacity||13 litres|
|Price||Rs 1.6 lakh (ex-showroom)|
The differences between the Dominar 250 and Dominar 400 have led to a weight change of some seven kg, but even so, the 250 weighs in at 180 kg which is quite a large number for this segment. For a quick comparison, the Suzuki Gixxer 250 weighs about 24 kg less than it. Some might say that this will help the Dominar stay better planted at higher speeds on highways and it might, but lesser weight directly translates to an improvement in performance and fuel efficiency.
The weight can be felt in very slow-moving traffic or while pulling in and out of the parking or how long it takes to accelerate to higher speeds. However, once you pick up the pace, it begins to feel light on the handlebar but certainly does not encourage corner carving.
In conclusion, we’re acknowledging that the Bajaj Dominar 250 is not the quickest or the fastest or the most agile or the most fuel-efficient in its segment. However, a price tag of Rs 1.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) is a very good number for what all you get for your money. It considerably more affordable than the 250 Duke and only a tad more expensive than the Yamaha FZ25 but is also more powerful than it.
The Dominar 250 design is tried and tested, it makes a good exhaust note, is super comfortable, and has a more accessible powerband. These are aspects that will suit a first-time buyer or those wanting to take it easy and not indulge in KTM-like throttle response. The fact that the engine sits happily at speeds of about 80-100 km/h for long durations, the Dominar 250 will make a comfy tourer.
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