BAJAJ’S DOMINAR DESTINATION
The lockdowns during the ongoing pandemic brought travel to a halt for most of us; for enthusiasts like me, the last long ride I went on was to Pokhara in January 2020. So when I got an invitation from HH-Bajaj to participate in its eighth ride of Dominar Destination campaign to Pokhara, it was an immediate yes. Not was it just an opportunity to hit the roads, but also to test the new Dominar 250 everyone was talking about.
Riders had to reach Golchha Organisation in Naxal at 6:30am; the earliest I had woken up in more than a year. Amidst the early morning mayhem of beautiful Basantapur where I live, I reached the gathering point on time, excited to meet fellow riders and start the journey. We were briefed about the ride by the HH-Bajaj management team and Nikhil Thakuri, the Marshall of the ride.
Most riders were in it to test the performance of the much touted Dominar 250. In the underground parking of Golchha Organisation were ten lined up Dominar 250s. At first glance, bike looked completely identical to its big brother – Dominar 400, and it would be tricky to differentiate between the two bikes if it weren’t for the 250 or 400 badge on the tail. The bike has the exact same LED headlamp, a sleek tail lamp, a fully digital instrumental panel, a secondary panel on the tank, and seat height of 800mm making it an ideal bike for riders below 5.5 feet as well. Besides the tail badge the main noticeable differences are thinner back and front tyres, smaller front disc brake, smaller upside-down forks, the box section type swing-arm, and obviously the engine.
Up on the bike and after few photographs, the ride started at 8:30am.
Since it was early rush hour in the city, I got the chance to test the bike for city ride as well. Despite the bike weighing 180kg, Dominar 250 offered complete comfort in the short city ride and manoeuvring the bike in the traffic was easy due to the short seat height, well-raised and wide handlebars, and well placed foot pegs and rear brake pedal.
Although Dominar 250 shares the same engine as KTM Duke 250, Bajaj intended Dominar 250 for long-distance touring and engineered the engine to make more torque available to riders at lower rpm like Dominar 400. After crossing Nagdhunga, it was time to test if the power cruiser actually impresses or not on the highway.
Through the sharp twists and turns from Nagdhunga to Naubise, the bike ran smoothly, the engine felt super fine, and manoeuvring on corners was undemanding. The gearshifts and braking were also smooth.
Dharke was our first stop for quick refreshment and riders were having conversations about Dominar 250. Rosan Shrestha who owns a 2017 Duke 250 said that the first thing that caught his eyes was the size of the bike along with its weight. “Compared to my bike, it’s on a heavier side and the gear shifters were stiffer but the overall use was easier in terms of a long ride. The bike feels premium, ergonomics is spot on and the headlight is the most eye-catching,” highlighted Shrestha who had also participated on the first Dominar Destination ride to Sukute.
Along the ride, I gazed back from the mirror and the sight of all Dominars and riders riding in sync was an amazing sight I find hard to put into words.
Straight ahead to Pokhara with a good stretch of road ahead and not many steep corners, it was time to rev up the bike and test it for what it was actually made for. Yes, the bike did deliver more torque at lower rpm like it’s built for and only past 8,000rpm vibrations was felt. But the bike wanted me to keep turning the throttle.
The power, performance and braking of the bike was like butter and I didn’t feel any discomfort in any part of the body during the whole ride due to cruising design of the bike and its sturdy USD telescopic front and monoshock rear suspensions.
Though Dominar 250 has thinner tyres, it was more than enough to do even steep cornering in turns. It was that smooth! Plus, the twin barrel exhaust note of the bike while revving up the throttle was grunty, but while leaving the throttle, the bike produced this sweet whistling sound.
At around 4pm we reached our destination, having stopped at multiple places along the way for lunch and refreshments. The riders were buzzing and talking about their experience and exchanging notes.
After checking into our rooms, we had a fun session that served as a great ice-breaker for all of to be properly introduced. Dinner followed amidst food, drinks, conversation, music and dancing.
Next day, after breakfast we checked out and went on a short ride around the Fewa lake to Pame, then to Begnas lake and ultimately back to Kathmandu.
Now familiar with the bike, the ride was that much more enjoyable. For me, Dominar Destination sealed the fact that Bajaj Dominar 250 is the most comfortable and friendly quarter-litre bike currently available in the country and priced suitably at Rs. 499,900.