Few thoughts about the Bajaj Dominar 400 launch

By | December 15, 2016

I’ve just finished watching the Dominar 400 launch stream. It took a lot of effort to not kill myself.

Here are a few thoughts I had during the launch, about the bike, and the launch itself.

What the fuck is wrong with Bajaj’s marketing department?

While watching the launch feed, I really felt the need to actually watch what the Bajaj’s marketing team looked like, to see what kind of people would create this kind of campaign. A few searches on Google gave me this result, which explains a lot.

Yes, that’s an actual photo of the Bajaj’s marketing department for the Dominar 400, taken during a small team outing.

The fact that the Dominar launch campaign was designed by a bunch of BDSM loving Goth Vampires makes a lot of sense. How else can you explain the name of the bike, which brings the mental picture of an 18 inch vibrating dildo with metal spikes all over? What about the tagline “Dominate the night”? Or that weird Dracula music? Or that group of Dementors dressed appropriately for a Christian ritualistic orgy, which probably also doubled up as the after-launch party?

The most clear proof for this theory is the fact that the announcer at the event would’ve been totally at home doing a death metal gig, rather than the sorry, raspy, coughy excuse for a job that he ended up with. The weird guy with the white mask who was guarding the bike also helps my hypothesis.

If this theory is disproved, I have another one.

I firmly believe that Bajaj’s marketing and advertisement department is composed entirely of fat racist squirrels who suffer from extreme attention deficit disorder. Their campaigns at the launch of the RS200 can be used as evidence in this regard, and so can this one for the Dominar 400.

The fact that the most interesting part of the entire live feed was that point when the cameraman shouted at the photographers to sit down, and followed it up with “Bike ko ghar leke chale ja”, proves my point beyond all doubt.

What happened to Bajaj? These are the people who did Pulsarmania, and that “Definitely Male” advertisement series, both of which were iconic in their originality and execution, and still to this day remain one of the best motorcycle launch campaigns I have ever seen. How did it come to this point where every Bajaj launch is by default expected to be another exercise in epic stupidity?

And then there was Mr. Bajaj himself. If you didn’t know already, someone watching the live feed could’ve mistaken it for a university management lesson. Nobody gives a shit about your philosophy Mr. Bajaj, publish a blog post like a normal human being and launch the damn bike without boring us with your ideology. His speech has such a massive contrast to the way Steve Jobs launched something, he sounds like a headmaster, someone entirely removed from the reality of the situation.

This entire festival of idiocy stands out even more due to the comparison it draws against the way Mahindra Mojo was launched. Mojo was launched to the people first, and then a bit of time was wasted in presentations and shit. The fact that Bajaj totally disregarded that marketing model proves it even further that they are managed by a bunch of BDSM loving Goth Vampire racist squirrels who suffer from extreme attention deficit disorder.

The bike

Dominar 400 looks like an excellent bike, on paper.

34 bhp and 35 Nm of torque is nice, so is the 6 speed gearbox, and the pricing is insane. 1.36 lacs ex-showroom for the non-ABS model, and 14,000 bucks more for the ABS one is mental. It’s fuel injected, which is awesome, and has a slipper clutch, which as a selling point is nice, although it may not add much to the overall riding experience.

The 182 kgs of weight is not bad, if it’s wet. The 13 liter fuel tank is bad, especially considering the fact that it is supposed to be a cruiser. The 148 kmph top speed is hopefully not electronically limited, I’m sure the bike will cross 150 easily if given the chance, but it looks like it’ll have no problems cruising at 120 all day.

There are still a number of details that are missing, the tires is one, cooling system is another. Then you have the ground clearance and the seat height and the service interval.

The biggest factor to consider here is the fact that the Mojo is also a brilliant bike on paper, but in the real world it presents a number of issues which you can read about here. This could also be the case with the Dominar, which has a similar stance and a similar “let’s make everyone happy” ideology behind it.

Also, the Dominar looks like a bike that’s been developed from scratch, consequently there are going to be a large number of teething problems. Hence, the decision regarding how good the bike is can only be made 6 months after the deliveries begin.

Will Dominar kill the Mojo?

It is possible.

Based on the information we have at this moment, the Dominar trumps the Mojo in all departments. It costs less, makes more power, has ABS as an option, looks better, has a single exhaust setup, and inherits the advantage of Bajaj’s vast service network. I can’t think of any reason why someone will choose the Mojo over the Dominar, but then again the Mojo really irritates me on a personal level, which as an emotion may not be shared by everyone.

One major disadvantage that the Dominar would most likely have would stem from the lack of quality in Bajaj’s parts. This disadvantage is even more likely to be present given the ridiculous price it has been launched at. Mojo has done relatively good as far as refinement and quality of spares goes, although they certainly could’ve done much better. Having said that, this alone cannot be a reason good enough to choose the Mojo over the Dominar, especially considering the narrow Indian mindset that values money above all else.

Will Dominar kill Royal Enfield?

No.

Royal Enfields do not sell based on logic, in fact they, like religion, sell exclusively to the illogical. A man who buys a Bullet does not buy it for the bike, but for the emotions it is connected with, his childhood memories, the people he looks up to, and the whole cult that has spawned around Royal Enfield.

It is true that the Dominar could do everything that any Royal Enfield motorcycle can, and do it much better. It is true that as a motorcycle, the Dominar can safely be assumed to be a far better example of engineering when compared to any Royal Enfield. It is also true that the Dominar should be the logical choice over any Royal Enfield for any literate human being, but none of this matters.

As long as men are insecure about the size of their penis, as long as legions of humans don’t mind being brainwashed as long as they belong, as long as the value one attaches to himself remains dependent on external factors, Royal Enfields will sell like tissues at a Bukkake.

Will Dominar kill the Duke 200 and 390?

No.

The fact that the Dominar doesn’t really compete against the 390 is rather obvious. One is a cruiser that is supposedly easy to handle, the other is a streetbike that constantly wants to murder you. Duke 390 is for the people who enjoy the track, Dominar is for the people who want to take their wife to the beauty parlor.

The comparison of Dominar to the Duke 200 is a bit more complicated. Duke 200 remains the best beginner to mid-level rider bike in India in my opinion. It is far lighter than the Dominar, will be far more agile too, and already has a large base of after-market parts and accessories to make it useful for any type of riding. Youngsters would most likely still pick it over the Dominar, owing to the flashy orange and the general association with coolness.

It is true that someone with a budget around 1.5 lacs may get confused between the Dominar and the Duke 200, but I believe the choice will be rather easy to make. People looking for some excitement, especially beginners, will go with the Duke. Relatively experienced bikers looking for something easy to take them places should go with the Dominar.

You shouldn’t forget that Bajaj owns KTM, and the Dominar has been intelligently designed to be different from the Dukes by its very essence.

Will Dominar be a game changer?

Probably not.

As much as Mr. Bajaj might want to play up how “big” the bike is and how many gazillions they are going to sell, I don’t think the Dominar is going to be a success at the level of the Pulsar family. I also don’t think it will be able to grab much share from the Royal Enfields, neither do I believe it’ll shuffle the market in any big way.

The Mojo attempted to upset the superiority of RE in the cheap cruiser department, and it hasn’t exactly worked out well for them. I don’t think the Dominar story will be any different. Following Mojo’s example, I also don’t think a large number of Squids would end up buying this bike. Squids need agility, to be able to slalom the bike from left to right as a proof of the infection inside their brains. The Dominar feels like a mature bike, unwilling to participate in the fucktardery of pubescent vaginal cramps.

Tourers would be the ideal candidates to pick up this thing, and they most likely would, but their numbers against the entire market are negligible. As much as I like the concept of this bike. something with decent power, comfort, and ABS, I think I have grown out of the need for this bike, and would rather go for something bigger. In other words, even for tourers, the Dominar would end up being a transitional bike, something that helps them move onto 600cc bikes, or something that they fall back on when they have ridden everything.

It might look like I’m not really happy with the bike, but that would be wrong. As a motorcycle, the Dominar is a huge step for the Indian market. It has everything that a biker like me needs, at an astounding price. The reason why I’m not too positive about it all is because motorcycles are like wives, you never understand them well enough until you start living with them.

We haven’t even seen a proper ride review of this bike yet, except this one, hence we all must calm our tits down.

There of course would be people who would go ahead and buy one from the first lot, and I admire your balls. As far as I’m concerned, I would let time decide if the Dominar 400 is worth my time.

  • Agent K

    Grrrr.. Mojo dude here!!

    Good article. BTW… I think Bajaj does not own KTM. They just manufacture a few bikes for them.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Bajaj owns majority stake in KTM as far as I know 🙂 Who cares anyway!

  • Rupam Das

    Could you give me list of some long distance trips with the distance mentioned, that would be great, btw great article, thanks. Minimum distance >= 1750kms

  • Kiran MVV

    xD

    I think the beginnings of the Duke 390 vs “Dominar” 400 are made here… And though I’ve “almost” made up my mind, I think I’ll decide best once I’ve test ridden this one as well…

    But, as always, a THOROUGHLY exciting read Akhil xD you out do yourself with every “masterpiece” that comes out!

    “Royal Enfields do not sell based on logic, in fact they, like religion, sell exclusively to the illogical.” and the sentences that follow…. xD

    BWAHA HAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAA!!!
    BWAHA HAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAA!!!
    BWAHA HAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAA!!!
    BWAHA HAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAA!!!

    • Akhil Kalsh

      🙂

      • Kiran MVV

        But there’s no denying that the Bike looks and performs quite good… quite a number of rider reviews are available already and I must say the bike seems to have not only created quite the buzz but also seems to be sort of living upto it’s mark…

        Can’t wait for the test ride… BTW, where in UK are you at right now? And how’s the cold?

        • Akhil Kalsh

          Yep. Cold as balls.

          • Kiran MVV

            xD

  • Rahul Sen

    Why are there no decent bikes with ABS in the affordable range… Except the 180 ABS … And the imaginary 200 v4 ABS … ?

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Manufacturer’s stupidity, fueled by an even bigger customer stupidity that values money over life.

      • Rahul Sen

        Yeah…
        Idiots do it once without protection… It feels good…
        They do it again and again and again…

        But if they slip… Even once…
        Yeah… Good luck…

        If they are lucky… They’ll be able to do it again , without protection , you know , because they are idiots.

        If they are not …

        They’ll be part of a statistical analysis.

    • Vishnu Kumar

      Imaginary 200 4V with ABS will become a reality in December.. 2017.. almost 2 years after it’s launch! Why promise when you can’t execute?! Waited 7 months for it, finally bought a different non ABS bike.
      Only by 2018 will we have good choices of many ABS equipped bikes, not because the manufacturer thinks it’s safe, but because of the government’s new rule.. great!

      • Rahul Sen

        Yeah… Right… The government and her rules…

        You know… It’s like a bit of sadomasochism … Unless it is enforced by brutality , it’s not fun…

  • Maheshwaran AJ

    Remember powerdrift’s ducati diavel review. It was also based on a Gothic team. But there is huge difference in the execution.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      The important difference is that Powerdrift was making a review, for which such a theme could be useful. Bajaj was launching a bike, for which that entire goth shitshow was unnecessary. This is similar to the way Honda launched the 650F, absolutely pointless bells and whistles, no stress on the bike at all.

  • N Sharma

    I guess this bike will get much more share of market than mojo (it never got sold anyway) just due to bajaj’s vast dealership network and for the reasons you mentioned. It might even take some pie away from Dukes due to lesser price and it carrying ‘bajaj’ tag esp. in not so aware tier 2-3 cities.

    No comparo with RE as RE is not for those looking for speed etc.. people buying RE won’t even go to any other showrooms..
    btw the other punch words “it’s a boy”, “mojo”, “dominor” are also magic masculine words for people insecure with their size of pe*is 😉

    Dominor may not be a run away hit but it will suit those looking for all-in-one bike (long distance/performance/routine commute) with latest features, a very good option at this price point.

    cheers.!

    • Akhil Kalsh

      It certainly is quite brilliant, although the full judgement can only be made after a test ride.

  • Harsh Negandhi

    nice post .

    i like touring and certainly need ABS, big bike feel , nice pillion seat for my girl, upright seating position and decent power. my budget is more or less around 4-5 lakhs.

    Considering above aspects and ABS as must…this bike fills up a huge vaccuum between cbr 250 and Versys650.

    cbr250 is good, but its dated. versys 650 is excelllent and hits alll the buttons but way above my budget.

    i think dominar fills above gap beautifully untill kawasaki comes with ninja650 next year.

    i am anxiously waiting for on road ride test.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      That is true.

    • N Sharma

      2017 N650 will also be way more than 5L. Is versys 300 an option you are considering? but then V will only be great for long distance mostly, Dominor seems to be that all-in-1 affordable bike..