Royal Enfield Himalayan and Bajaj Dominar 400 had been a topic of discussion amongst many bike lovers in India since 2017. The reason, as we all know was nothing but Dominar’s very popular advertisement Haathi Math Paalo that went viral all over the social media. Motorcycle fanatics obviously got curious to know what is it that Dominar has to openly challenge the leading cruiser manufacturers.
Our New Generation is at heights of addiction. When I say addiction, don’t get me wrong there. I meant addiction towards motorcycles and speed, in general towards everything related to vehicles. The number of vehicles being launched every year in the country explains it.
Kerala has turned out to be one of the potential automobile markets too in last few years. Each bike, be it on road or off road ones, launched in India has many buyers from this state. Malayalee’s liking for Royal Enfield motorcycles is well known. Bajaj too managed to gain a place in their hearts with the Pulsar range. With the launch of Dominar 400 in 2016, it was evident that Bajaj had chosen to begin the battle with RE for the first time.
Dominar 400 profile:
This motorcycle was earlier planned to be named as Kratos, the greek god who was considered as the divine epitome of strength in ancient mythology. Bajaj however ended up fixing the name Dominar for the motorcycle. Many names including Hyper tourer and Sports tourer were used to describe Dominar 400 as it entered the automobile market.
Bajaj received tremendous applause upon launch of this beast, for its spectacular design philosophy and engineering dynamics. Dominar 400 appeared to be rich in features that included LED headlamps, beefy fuel tank, an all-digital instrument console, LED tail lamp, stylish alloy wheels, rigid steel swingarm, wide seats and an aggressive seating position, long handle bars, sporty silencer and many more. 43mm telescopic forks at the front and multi-step adjustable monoshock at the rear handle smooth suspension duties enough to conquer any terrain with ease in maneuverability.
Even though Dominar 400 was designed with a low seat height to favour the short riders, the wider seats seem to have taken away the advantage of this particular feature. This hyper tourer however carries that killer looks in design that most bike lovers admire.
Royal Enfield Himalayan profile:
Well, well, well! I don’t think there are actually enough words in my vocabulary to write about Royal Enfield Himalayan. Precisely in the year 2016, Himalayan was launched introducing a new segment- Entry level cruiser in the RE lineup. But what should have actually turned out to be a block buster ended up being a disappointment in spite of having a lot many features to entice the bike enthusiasts and the Enfield lovers.
It took a while for the company to identify the shortcomings and re-launch this motorcycle. But as it returned, Royal Enfield ensured that they left no stone unturned in the Himalayan saga to achieve success this time. And so did the new era begin with RE cheerleaders silently but powerfully rechallenge Dominar 400 and all those who mocked at the initial failure of this young adventure tourer.
All New Himalayan was launched once again in the automobile arena, this time powered by a BS-IV engine with fuel injection technology. This bike was given the most glorious finish in the entire Royal Enfield line-up of motorcycles. It was designed in a way that whichever terrain it had to encounter, be it through woods, rocks, meadows or cemented path, Himalayan traveled with agility and swiftness like that of a cheetah. This bike also received Dual channel ABS that works on both front and rear wheel, reducing the brake pressure on the rear wheel in emergency braking situations where the rear wheel could actually go into lock up.
Until recently, motorcycles that displayed features of both adventure tourers and dual sport vehicles were unfamiliar to us in India. But now, situations have changed. New models are being launched with integrated features from various segments of motorcycles. Indian Automobile Industry is witnessing a rapid revolution unlike past times.
Royal Enfield Himalayan isn’t designed with a contemporary look like the new age motorcycles. Instead, it carries a bare boned design with edges chiseled to perfection. Large windshield, circular headlamp and the rear view mirrors upfront calls out the word Retro. On the sides, the sculpted fuel tank and the Royal Enfield name plate is sure to catch attention of the onlookers.
What is even more appealing is its knee recess that ensures comfortable riding support especially when the rider opts to step up on the foot pegs to ride in standing position during mountain rides. Tail lamp resembles the one seen on Royal Enfield Thunderbird. Rear fender and raised exhaust pipes reveal the power of an adventure tourer. Himalayan is enriched with equipments including Speedometer, Tachometer, Digital Compass, Fuel gauge indicator, Digital gear and all that comes handy on an adventure tour.
Dominar 400 Engine and Performance:
Dominar 400’s 373.3cc single cylinder has been fine tuned to produce 34bhp worth of power and 35Nm of peak torque. The power that is delivered by the liquid cooled engine can be felt through every nerve while riding this motorcycle. The engine is mated to a six speed gearbox on the Dominar 400 which also features slipper clutch, yet another important element.
Dominar 400 carries an engine model similar to the one seen on KTM Duke 390 and RC 390. It features remarkable low end torque and high end power to combine the efficiency of a commuter and a tourer at the same time. The ground clearance of 157mm is not that impressive as compared to other bikes from the same segment. Infact, amongst the premium motorcycles with displacement above 350cc, Dominar 400 is said to top the charts now. Perhaps this is the reason why Bajaj chose to increase its prices by almost Rs.7000 in last one year.
Himalayan Engine and Performance:
Himalayan is equipped with a 410cc air cooled single cylinder engine that makes 24.5bhp worth power and 32Nm worth torque. This BS-IV engine comes mated to a five speed gearbox. Even though the engine is the same from the last generation, the ride quality seems to have drastically improved. Thanks to the fuel injection technology introduced on the engine.
At a ground clearance of 220mm, Himalayan zips past any terrain with the ease of a proper adventure tourer. The throttle response delivered by this royal prince can be particularly felt while riding off road, thanks to the fuel injection technology introduced on this new version. The fuel efficiency too has considerably improved as a result.
41mm telescopic front forks and monoshock suspension at the rear ensures smoother suspension, while the 21 inch front wheel and 18 inch rear wheel denotes the adventure character of Himalayan. Bybre brakes are provided for braking power.
As the battle between the two motorcycles continued, sales volume of Dominar 400 suddenly went downhill in September this year. The sales figures dropped to an extent where it even fell under Himalayan on the bar graph. As we all know, Royal Enfield since its launch had not even once reported impressive sales figures as its counterpart or even its siblings in the arena.
In September 2018, as per the records of SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), Himalayan sold 1140 units as against 1095 units of Dominar 400. Even though both these motorcycles target different groups of customers, the battle that an advertisement instigated, still continues.
Dominar 400 is being retailed at a price of Rs.1,59,000 while Himalayan is sold at Rs.160,800.
Himalayan is that motorcycle that suits the adventure nature seen amongst RE lovers across the globe. On the other end, Dominar 400 attracts customers with its plethora of specs and features unlike any other motorcycle. It is clearly evident that both bikes are focused on two entirely different groups of customers. Hence, it isn’t easy to identify which is better among the two. I would suggest the customers choosing based on their requirement would be an easier task.