Bajaj Dominar 250 | First ride review
2019 saw the arrival of Bajaj Dominar 400 UG where UG stood for upgrade and what an upgrade it was. The Dominar was closer to the KTM 390 Duke in terms of performance but without compromising on the practicality front and of course, it’s ability to go ‘hyper riding’. We also pitted it against the 390 Duke and BMW G 310 R last year. So good was the Dominar’s price to performance ratio that we chose it over the other two, hands down. Thankfully, Bajaj understood that it wasn’t really a rival to the likes of Royal Enfield but it it was already too late. Unlike the Pulsar brand, Dominar couldn’t really take off despite the consistent updates. But now, there’s a new Dominar that’s expected to bring in the numbers on the sales charts. The Dominar 250 is here and as the name suggests, it picks up parts from the KTM 250 Duke and rest of the Orange inventory. And of course, it’s lighter on your pocket by almost 40,000 rupees. But the question is, can you really go sports touring with a downsized motor and other compromises?
As aforementioned, the engine’s sourced from the 250 Duke but of course, its detuned like on the Dominar 400. The 248.8cc, liquid-cooled motor gets dual cams (thankfully) and churns out 27bhp @ 8500rpm and 23.5Nm @ 8500rpm which is 3bhp and 0.5Nm less than the 250 Duke. Other than the engine, Bajaj has also sourced the 300mm front disc from the 200 Duke’s bin. The USDs are slightly thinner and the cluster too has been redesigned. The secondary cluster mounted on the fuel tank only gets tell-tale lights and warning indicators. The primary cluster reads better but doesn’t have the gear position indicator. Other than that, the 250 gets thinner rubber at both ends; 100-section at the front and 130 at the rear. Bajaj has replaced the Revz radials with Nylogrip Zappers which are not ideal for ‘sporty’ riding. The kerb weight has gone down by 7kg when compared to the Dominar 400 at 180kg but the Dominar 250 is still the heaviest of the 250s.
Is the Bajaj Dominar 250 really a sports tourer?
Yes, it absolutely is. Especially considering the Indian road conditions. Straight off the bat, the 250 feels smoother and a lot more refined than the Dominar 400. No surprises here as the 250 Duke’s the smoothest operator of all the KTMs. It’s torquey and tractable without losing on the top-end. In fact, the 250 is quite comfortable doing 100kmph in the sixth cog at 6000rpm which is ideal. Overtaking on the highways is easy peasy and the engine never feels strained. Low-down torque is better than on the 250 Duke and it lugs around at low speeds in a higher gear or two even.
Gearbox wasn’t in the ideal state as I’d have liked but our example had come with barely 69km on the odo and I’d rather clock some kilometres before coming to the final verdict.
The thinner rubber at the front end makes is a lot more agile than the 400. The weight isn’t as pronounced as on the 400 which again makes it enjoyable round the twisties and in the urban jungle as well. The brilliant perimeter frame doesn’t compromise on stability but the tyres aren’t great. The feedback from those Zappers is minimum, especially after you try the Revz. And we rode both the 250 and 400 Dominars back to back.
Bajaj is suggesting that the Dominar 250 is your ticket to the world of touring and they’re not wrong this time, there’s no hyper/riding bullshit but direct messaging and that should work in the 250’s favour. With a price tag of Rs 1.6 lakh, it is the most affordable 250 on sale right now. Of course, Yamaha will bring the BS6 FZ25 sooner or later into the market, but then the FZ is more of a performance commuter. The Dominar 250 then brings in excellent value for your money, just like its elder sibling. It can finally do what the Pulsar did for Bajaj.