Bajaj Dominar vs Royal Enfield: The breakdown

Bajaj launched its flagship bike Dominar 400 towards the end of last year. As soon as the 400 cc monster was launched motorcycle enthusiasts couldn’t wait to get their hands on it. But the buzz surrounding the Dominar went into a slump soon after the ad released by Bajaj making fun of RE took a curveball. Bajaj Auto has been very clear from the start that, Dominar 400, is primarily here to take on Royal Enfield. In fact, Rajiv Bajaj has gone on record to say that one could ride a Bullet, but if one wants to go faster, they should get a Dominar. When you are not a fan of either Bajaj or RE and you compare the raw specs along with the latest technologies availed in both, one cannot help wonder if preferring RE over Dominar is more of an emotional decision.

Bajaj has loaded Dominar with the latest features. The bike’s the first one to offer a full LED headlamp in the affordable segments. It also comes with full-digital instrument console and a futuristic warning lamp array on the tank. Dominar is also equipped with a full authority twin channel ABS which can tame any terrain. You can’t expect any safety systems like ABS in RE anytime soon since RE is only inching forward to become modern yet. After all, when it comes down, safety is not something that can be looked past, right? And all this for an unbelievable price range which starts from Rs. 1.36 lakhs.  For this much money, you also get better brakes, a more powerful engine and a lot of other extras that almost none of the Royal Enfields offer, even at much higher prices. The cheapest Royal Enfield is the outdated Bullet 350, and it is priced at Rs. 1.2 lakhs, ex-showroom. In other words, the Dominar is killing it by being pure value-for- money.

Also the liquid cooling of Dominar wins as compared to the air cooled one of RE. In addition RE is known to have a heavy clutch and vibrations at higher speeds. All the Royal Enfield motorcycles still use pushrod type engine that causes jittery vibrations throughout the rev range of the engine. Contrasting this with the composed ride, much lesser vibrations, a good engine response, very accurate braking and slipper clutch of this beast called Dominar, the advantages are pretty hard to ignore. The slipper clutch has an added bonus that makes the clutch a lot lighter and leaves no pain on hands after having to half clutch your way through a bumper to bumper traffic.

Both these bikes have some pretty impressive figures of torque to boast about as well. In fact RE more so than Dominar. But when it comes to munching a few miles as well, the proper balance of torque and power that Dominar provides undoubtedly has a higher hand. Because lets face it, cruising around the road may not be the everyday ideal scenario for any user, no matter how many biker trips you might go in a year.

Another striking aspect is the styling of Dominar. It is quite diverse as compared to all the previous motorcycles of Bajaj. Massive presence enhancing looks, LED headlamps, large contoured tank and formidable rear infinity lights will leave quite an impression on any bike enthusiast. It is presented with a rigid twin spar perimeter frame which is bound to make it swift around the sharpest bends. Dominar easily blends size with agility in its design. It is also equipped with a full mosaic shaped LED headlamp and reverse LCD split speedometer. Wide and low profile radial tires give it a distinctive sporty look.RE on the other hand, gives a completely contrary nostalgic old look. It kind of takes you back to the 1980s where round headlights and dashes were norm. It also does give a muscular feel to the bike which sometimes can even border as bulky looking.

Coming to accessibility and availability of equipments and spares, the better reach of Bajaj service centers in the country makes it easier to replace or service a Dominar even when you are on a long road trip across the country. However, RE dealerships are still in limited numbers across the country. This is in fact a confidence booster for many to opt for Dominar. Parts availability has never been an issue with the Bajaj service centers and they will always have ample stocks of spares available. When you purchase the Enfield the dealers often tell you to change the fuel gauge and the exhaust pipe right away. Some Enfields have been known to rust within 3 months of purchase. Dominar on the other hand is perfect as it is.

In the battle of Dominar vs RE, RE definitely has got the upper hand for the sheer reason that it has been around for so long. But is it enough to sustain the advantage? Once you weigh the pros and cons, a major chunk of potential RE customers will definitely switch over to Dominar in a short time. The time taken by the Dominar to take traction in the domestic market is expected as the company is new to this segment. It will only be a matter of time before Dominar noticeably takes the lead with better performance and tones of features at an affordable price. In short RE has stuck to the one thing that has sold its bikes for so long, the retro looks. Royal Enfield is a success motorcycle, so most people have a clear understanding as well as a familiarity with the bike that has been around for so long. But after most of the streets is occupied by Dominar riders combined with better understanding of the bike and positive reviews by new owners flooding in, the Bajaj Dominar 400 is indeed going to be a new benchmark.


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