Bajaj Dominar 250 BS6 First Ride Review

12 July 2020, 05:00 PM Vikrant Singh

Introduction

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

A lot has been tried with the Bajaj Dominar. First, it borrowed the engine from the KTM Duke 390. But it added two additional spark plugs to it, and changed the innards. The end result was an engine that was heavier and less powerful but also more usable than the 390. It was then strapped with basic mechanicals, and voila, you had a super affordable 400cc motorcycle that also ushered in a complete new genre called sports touring. That it resembled the Ducati Diavel, I am told, was totally coincidental.

But, not many bought it. 

So, the Dominar got itself nicer suspension, a more comfortable ride, and a new colour. It also got a bump up in power. To celebrate that we rode one to, and at, a race track near Chennai. And the bike impressed us both with its touring abilities, and its ability to go around corners. 

But still, not many bought it. 

So, now the Dominar is multiplying. Say hello to the new 250cc Dominar which will co-exist with the 400. The idea here is to go for upgraders. Essentially, motorcyclists who are done riding 125s and 150s, and are now looking to move to the big leagues. And while the 400 might have been intimidating for this bunch, the 250 with its more manageable power, implies Bajaj, will make them drool.

The Visuals

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

For starters, the 250’s styling will certainly draw a crowd. Much like the 400. But that was a given, after all the two are identical down to the head and tail lamps and every body panel. The telling difference is this red colour, which is exclusive to the 250. It was green in case of the 400. There’s also a D250 badging on the tail to differentiate the younger sibling. And, that’s it. 

Bajaj Dominar 250

Bajaj Dominar 250

  • Displacement248.8 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)26.6 bhp
  • Kerb Weight180 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,60,003

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

The D250 is also identical to the 400 in terms of dimensions; the length, width, height, wheelbase and even the ground clearance is exactly the same for the two bikes. But there are subtle differences in mechanicals. The 250 borrows its chassis from the 400, but it runs on slimmer tyres front and back. It also has thinner front forks. And the front disc is now of a lesser diameter as well.

The Package

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

The biggest difference, of course, is the engine. The 248.7cc, single cylinder, liquid cooled engine is borrowed from the KTM Duke 250. The outputs for the Dominar read a max power of almost 27bhp and a peak torque of 23Nm that arrives around the 6,500rpm mark. Both these figures are lower than the Duke. The engine meanwhile is mated to a six-speed gearbox, and the Dominar also gets a slipper clutch. 

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

The mechanicals as highlighted earlier include a perimeter frame for the chassis; 37mm upside down front forks and a preload adjustable rear monoshock for suspension. In addition, 100- and 130-section MRFs at the front and back respectively for tyres; and single rotors with dual channel ABS for brakes.  As for features, there’s a full LED lighting setup from the headlamp to the turn indicators to the tail lamp. There’s digital instrumentation with a speedo, a rev counter, a clock and two trips. There are also some telltale lights on the fuel tank. But, that’s it.  

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

Now we get the whole ‘competitive pricing’ pitch. But, in today’s day and age, when most bike makers are offering Bluetooth connectivity, turn by turn navigation, and a trip computer that throws up readouts like average fuel economy, speed and time taken, the Dominar 250’s instrumentation seems like it is stuck in the past. It doesn’t even get a gear indicator. 

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

And since we are on a faultfinding trip, we think the Dominar could do with a more effective visor upfront. The current setup can’t hold the wind at bay even at 100kmph, which for a bike meant for touring, just doesn’t cut it.

The Ride

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

Now, the Dominar might not look it, but it is surprisingly easy to ride. It has a super light clutch, the throttle is light, and it also has a comfy riding position. The handlebar is wide but easy to reach. The footpegs are only slightly rearset. And the 800mm rider seat height allows anyone over five feet eight inches to plant both feet firmly on the ground.  

The seat itself is large and cushy. And, the shape of the tank and the way the heel plates are designed, it makes it quite easy to hook onto the bike, especially when riding spiritedly.  On the very topic of spirited riding, for all the talk about the Dominar’s weight, it handles quite well. Okay, it still doesn’t change directions like the Gixxer 250 for instance, but it doesn’t feel lazy or laborious either. You steer, and it goes. There’s no real lag, no real wallowing, or the sort of vagueness one expects from a motorcycle that’s both heavy, and long. 

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

In the City though, it’s not one for quick direction changes and fast filtering. You need to plan your moves. And if you decide to do some spirited filtering work through traffic, it will leave you tired.  Brakes meanwhile are fine for the performance the 250 packs in. These work well at low speeds - with good bite and feel and progression. But at higher speeds, these seem to lack the power needed to haul the bike’s weight down. As a result one needs to squeeze them hard which can give you an aching right wrist.  

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

As for the ride quality, it’s one of the strong suits of the Dominar 250. It rode over almost everything the monsoon-affected Mumbai roads threw at it with calm and pliancy. It’s not harsh to leave you with jarring arms or a sore back. And it’s not exactly soft either to wallow over every undulation, bump or pothole it encounters. But yes, given the suspension’s limited travel and the motorcycle’s weight, it’s not a bike I would go jumping speed breakers on.  The engine meanwhile is smooth and torquey. There isn’t a lot of go under 5,000rpm. But, beyond that, the Dominar 250 turns into this eager, easy revving motorcycle that’s both happy and involving to ride. Plus that engine sounds so nice one doesn’t mind revving it. And the gearshifts – light and precise (well, for most part) – are agreeable too! And if you are worried about vibrations, well there aren’t many. There’s a hint of tingling at the bars that’s omnipresent, but nothing to put one off.

Our Take

Bajaj Dominar 250 Exterior

The Dominar 250 is a very likeable motorcycle. Yes, it needs modern instrumentation, and a better visor to deflect the wind. It could also be lighter, and the brakes could do with a little more power. 

But overall, as a bike to own and ride everyday - maybe even take it up a switchback over the weekend - the Dominar 250, fits the bill quite well. It’s comfortable, it’s easy to ride, it's smooth, and it handles decently well too. 

Plus, if you like to flaunt your wares... the Dominar is the perfect candidate

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

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