As we’ve reported earlier (click here for the article), hot on the heels of the runaway success of the Pulsar RS200 and Pulsar NS200, Modenas felt that it was the right time to bring the Dominar D400 to our shores.
To recap, first and foremost, the bikes are built by the Indian giant, Bajaj Auto, and rebadged as Modenas. It isn’t such a bad thing, really, since Bajaj also builds the smaller KTM 200/250/390 Duke/RC range that has also taken the Malaysia and the world markets by storm. We’ve also ridden the Modenas Dominar D400 during our visit to the Bajaj Auto factory (click here for the article).
The Modenas Dominar D400 is a step up to the bigger capacity market. The electronically fuel injected, 4-valve, liquid-cooled, 373cc, single-cylinder engine has some shared architecture with the KTM 390 Duke but with a few differences such as the Digital Triple Spark (DTS-i) configuration to promote more complete combustion throughout the rev range.
As far as styling goes, it has that big headlamp, fat fuel tank look of Indian-built bikes. The seats are thick and wide, fitting for what Modenas/Bajaj calls a sport-tourer. Build quality is, well, let’s just say you can’t expect the quality of a much more expensive motorcycle at this price.
However, the headlamp is fully-LED which includes Daytime Running Light. There’s a comprehensive LCD instrument cluster, while the fuel tank has a smaller LCD screen placed into it. The main LCD was clear even in direct sunlight. The graph tachometer and speedometer were easy to fathom at a quick glance. Additionally, the switchgear symbols on both sides of the handlebar are backlit for ease of night operation.
The seat height is at the correct height for most riders; I was able to place both feel on the ground comfortably at my 167cm height. The handlebar is placed high up and comes back to meet the rider for an upright seating position. As for the footpegs, they were set further toward the front and lower for comfort.
The Dominar D400 started up quickly at the tap of the button, everytime, to that familiar clatter of a single-cylinder engine. Clutch lever pull was light. A few blips of the throttle saw the revs built up smoothly but a little slower – heavier flywheel, perhaps?
Out on the road, the bike got going easily and speed increased progressively. It slowed down smoothly when you went of the throttle too. Besides that, engine vibration was acceptable for a single-cylinder. So, it seemed to confirm our conjecture of a heavier flywheel in the engine. Anyway, the bike could hold a cruising speed from 110 to 130 km/h comfortable; it’s the rider who has to hold on above that speed due to lack of wind protection.
As for the suspension, front and rear ends were supple up to when the bike hit a large bump or deep pothole. The initial stroke was soft then hard further into the stroke.
However, the Dominar D400 handled pretty well, despite the softer suspension and feedback-less MRF tyres. The wide handlebar plus the bike’s light weight allowed us to steer the bike quickly and swerve around traffic. The ByBre front brake was grabby when riding at slow speeds but somehow needed a heavier pull when things got going.
As for electronics, ABS is standard for both ends although there is no rider mode and traction control.
All in all, the Modenas Dominar D400 is a commendable motorcycle and offers a good alternative to motorcyclists who want to move up the capacity scale without having to spend tons of money on one. If we had to choose a phrase to describe it, we would say, “Very good value for your money.”
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 4 valves, single-cylinder|
|Bore X Stroke||N/A|
|Fuel system||Electronic fuel injection with Digital Triple Spark ignition (DTS-i)|
|Maximum power||34.5 bhp (35 PS) @ 8000 RPM|
|Maximum torque||35 Nm @ 6500 RPM|
|Clutch||Wet, multi-plate, slipper type|
|Front suspension||43mm telescopic forks|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock with piggyback reservoir, ramp-type preload adjustment|
|Front brakes||Single 320 mm disc, single ByBre two-piston sliding calipers|
|Rear brake||Single 230 mm disc, single-piston ByBre sliding caliper|
|FRAME & DIMENSIONS|
|Frame||Beam type perimeter|
|Kerb weight||182 kg|
|Fuel capacity||13 litres|
Story and photos by Wahid Ooi, Features Editor of Bikesrepublic.com