review Motoring

Bajaj Dominar 250: an effortless commuter

Listen, learn, improve — this seems to be the mantra that Bajaj swears by and the results are there to show. Take the new Dominar 400, for instance. Anyone who has ridden it will vouch for the fact that it is a vastly superior motorcycle and after working on feedback, Bajaj has used the same platform to spawn a 250cc version. Has the drop in cubic capacity diluted the Bajaj Dominar experience?

Design

The Dominar 400 bears one of the most unique designs in the Indian market: a fine balance between form and function. The Dominar 250 continues in the same vein. It shares the brilliant LED headlamp, 13-litre fuel tank, double-barrel exhaust, seats, and body panels with its sibling. But when the attention shifts towards the relatively skinny 130-section rear tyre, the sense of proportion is lost, giving the bike a slightly under-tyred appearance. While Bajaj could’ve simply used the D400’s fatter, 150-section rear tyre, it would have had a bearing on fuel efficiency and performance. This visual niggle aside, the Dominar 250 looks every bit a handsome machine.

Bajaj Dominar 250 specifications
  • Engine 248.77cc, single cylinder, fuel-injected
  • Power 27hp at 8500rpm
  • Torque 23.5Nm at 6500rpm
  • Gearbox 6-speed
  • Weight (kg) 180kg
  • Wheel base (mm) 1453mm
  • Ground Clearance (mm) 157mm
  • Fuel Tank capacity (lts) 13 litres
  • Front Brake 300mm Disc
  • Rear Brake 230mm Disc
  • Front Suspension USD fork
  • Rear Suspension Monoshock

Fit and finish are on par with the bigger Dominar with beautifully crafted mirrors that add to the sense of premiumness. One area where Bajaj saved on some cost was by using the original Dominar’s split digital instrument console. It is a bit of a downer as the D250’s cluster lacks basic information such as gear position indicator let alone bits like average fuel consumption, average speed and distance-to-empty readouts, which would have been useful on a motorcycle projected as one to go touring on.

Performance

The Dominar 250’s engine is based on the KTM 250 Duke’s motor, but the head, with its dual-spark plugs, is Bajaj’s very own design. Since the engine has a lower compression ratio — 11:9 versus the KTM’s 12:5 — it produces slightly less power and torque than the Austrian motor. But the D250 is no slouch, and is a surprisingly good performer despite its 180kg kerb weight.

Off the line, the shorter first and second gears aid acceleration and the D250 is quick to cross 60kph in 3.82sec, making it adept at gunning past city traffic. What contributes to the D250 being a good city motorcycle is an incredibly light clutch and the tractable nature of its engine. But the real essence of a Dominar is its mile-munching abilities and the D250 is up to the task. The engine has sufficient power across the range and the taller fifth and sixth gears allow you to cruise comfortably at 100-120kph between 6,000-7,000rpm. The only negative is that you will have to downshift to fifth to execute rapid overtakes. Good thing then that the twin-barrel exhaust sounds throaty and loud under hard acceleration.

Bajaj Dominar 250: an effortless commuter

Ride and handling

This is another area where Bajaj has hit the nail right on its head. Though the D250 has a narrower, 37mm front fork, the softer spring rates and the gas-charged monoshock offer a plush ride over bad roads; the D250 simply glides over potholes.

What also impresses is the balance that has been achieved between ride and handling. Despite the soft setup, the D250 is not affected by mid-corner bumps and stays true to an intended line. In fact, the D250’s new swingarm, though thinner than the D400’s, offers good feel about what the rear tyre is up to. In addition, the long wheelbase (identical to the D400) translates to a planted feel at high speeds or even mid-corner. As far as braking is concerned, the 300mm disc and Bybre calipers offer sufficient performance to haul the motorcycle to a stop quite well, but the feel is wooden. You will need to give the lever a hard pull for maximum braking.

Verdict

The Bajaj Dominar 250 delivers on what it promises, and it does so without feeling like a compromise. Not only is it an effortless commuter but also a quick touring machine, and at ₹1.60 lakh (ex-showroom) it undercuts every rival in the 250cc segment, except for the FZ25. This makes it a good value proposition, which is the Dominar’s biggest trump card.


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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 10:31:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/bajaj-dominar-250-an-effortless-commuter/article32163576.ece

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