First impression: Upcoming Modenas Dominar 400 w/ Video!

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Watch our first impression video on the soon to be launched Modenas Dominar 400!

This is the Bajaj Dominar 400 – a single cylinder 373cc motorcycle hailed by Bajaj as a sports touring bike. It may look all nice and docile, and that is because it really is a friendly bike to ride.

In a recent visit to the Bajaj factory in Pune, India, we were given the opportunity to ride the bike around the company’s test track – a 2.9 kilometre track with a one km long straight, banking, sharp and flowing corners, basically everything that will test the capability of any motorcycle.

The Dominar was wonderful on track, predictable and accurate. The standard tyres it came with however were not quite up to mark, but the tyres will be replaced with Metzeler tyres when this bike arrives in Malaysia, so that’s not a problem then. It is a wonder why Bajaj would call the Dominar a tourer, because it really could be a middle-weight naked sports bike. But then again, this is also a bike that seems to be quite happy to do it all.

So why were we riding this bike and why are we telling you about it?

Lets go back to the month of May this year when Modenas launched three new models, and announced its collaboration with the world’s third biggest motorcycle maker – Bajaj.

Back then Modenas introduced the Pulsar RS200 sports bike, its naked variant the Pulsar N200, as well as the V15, a cafe racer like motorcycle designed for everyday use and impressive fuel economy. These were all Bajaj bikes sold in Malaysia under the Modenas brand.

Many were quick to criticise Modenas for rebadging Indian motorcycles instead of building their own. People usually are quick to have an opinion before actually understanding the topic in hand.

Rebadging makes perfect sense these days and many car and bike manufacturers do it. Why take on the huge capital and time investment when others have already done it? Bajaj had the perfect bikes for the Malaysian market, and Modenas had the image as well as the after sales capability to support the bikes in Malaysia. It was a match made in heaven, and Modenas has since sold about 2,000 bikes in just four months. This Modenas-Bajaj collaboration is a success, but in the words of hipsters today – haters gonna hate anyway!

The Bajaj Dominar 400 is going to be introduced to Malaysia around the first quarter of 2018. It is the bike that will take Modenas upmarket past their usual models, and it will be the first big bike introduced since the Jaguh of the 90s.

The 373cc, triple spark plug, single-cylinder engine means that the Dominar 400 will square off against the likes of the KTM 390 Duke and the BMW G310R. But with a price tag that is expected to be well below RM25,000, the Dominar 400 is the motorcycle that both KTM and BMW should pay attention to next year.

In fact, it is interesting to note that the engines for both the Dominar and the KTM 390 Duke are built side-by-side at the Bajaj plant in Pune. The Dominar 400 offers 32hp and 35Nm of torque, while the gearbox is a six-speed unit coupled to a Slipper clutch ensuring the rear wheel never locks up. On the topic of safety, Dominar 400 also offers twin channel ABS – meaning both the front and rear wheel comes with ABS brakes.

First impressions of the bike are good, though the kerb weight stands at a hefty 182kg’s, the bike is happy to be flicked around corners. The suspension too is decent with telescopic forks up front with 43mm of travel, and an adjustable mono shock at the rear, giving you a decent amount of suspension customisation to suit your riding style.

The seat is on the plush side and will take care of your bottom on long rides, and the 13-litre tank should give you a range of about 300 kilometres before needing a refuel.

The Bajaj Dominar 400 is a very talented motorcycle and promises to be a good companion for those looking for a weekday workhorse and weekend warrior. Slap on a windshield and some Givi bags and it will also go the distance with you. Now all that stands in the way of this bike and huge success in Malaysia is the price tag, but with the team at Modenas determined to make this another success story – you can expect a very competitive price tag as well. Watch this space!

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Co-founder of Bikes Republic and a motoring journalist by night. He is a self described enthusiasts with a passion for speed but instead rides a Harley and a Vespa. A man of contradictions, he is just as passionate about time off in the quiets as he is about trail braking into turn one at Sepang Circuit on two or four wheels. You can follow his work here and in Motor Trader magazine and motortrader.com.my.