Photography: Pawan Dagia
When Bajaj Auto introduced the Dominar in December last year, the common notion was that the company made the ultimate motorcycle for its price. It has the looks, the goods and a highly affordable price tag. The first impressions were of a game changer. The Dominar then, definitely looks like a highly desirable power cruiser. However, that’s just one end of the story. The Mahindra Mojo has been around for a year and a half now and has developed a niche for itself in recent times. You either love it or you hate, but ignoring is out of the question. Also when you compare it to the Dominar, you will see several striking similarities. Both bikes are truly Indian, are flagship offerings for their respective manufacturers and are to be ridden for longer rides. So, which one does the job better? We took our single-cylinder contenders out for a ride to find out.
Our contenders are as different as chalk and cheese in the looks department. Both the Bajaj Dominar and Mahindra Mojo are naked motorcycles, but with completely different design elements. I really like how Bajaj has designed the Dominar. It is well proportioned, has the right lines and definitely looks more modern of the two. The fact that there are influences of a certain Italian power cruiser also helps matters further and the Dominar truly dominates in terms of design. The styling is on point and the all-LED headlamp play a significant role in ensuring you are the subject of display. The fuel tank is bulbous and includes several elements, but does not look overdone. The Dominar marks a great sense of maturity in design for the bike maker and is certain to have a larger liking in comparison to that of the Mojo. We’ve said it before and we say it again; the Dominar is the best-looking Bajaj yet and definitely grabs the right kind of attention.
Speaking of fit and finish, both Bajaj and Mahindra offer impeccable quality levels of the bike. The Mojo has been around for a while now and despite the age, the bike feels well put together and sturdy. You don’t find any parts rattling or falling off even after having ridden the motorcycle through some deploring roads. Yes, there are certain components that could see improvement, but on the whole, the Mojo feels built to last. On the Dominar, the clean finish is only added by the impressive fitting of parts. Mind you, there are more panels on the Bajaj bike, but all have been placed together with much appreciation. No panel gaps or rattling plastic here too and the bike feels every bit premium as you would expect.
The Bajaj Dominar features a dual instrument cluster with a digital screen and an auxiliary indicator on the fuel tank. In comparison, the Mahindra Mojo gets a single analog-digital unit. The latter's is the more feature rich unit between the two motorcycles. The Mojo’s console may not be the best looking one here but packs in more information including a top speed recorder, lap timer amidst the usual twin trip meters and odometer and speedometer.
We would have liked more information from the Dominar and the current one just seems underwhelming. Either bike do not get a gear indicator, which is missed as well. Switchgear quality on both motorcycles is up to the mark and comes with backlighting.
On the Bajaj Dominar too, the seat cushioning isn’t the best, but the seat is a lot wider for both the rider and pillion. You have ample room to make adjustments and the neatly contoured seats provide thigh support as well. That said, if you aren’t vertically gifted, the Dominar with its 800 mm seat height makes for a more appealing proposition as compared to the Mojo’s 814 mm seat height.
|Dimensions||Bajaj Dominar 400||Mahindra Mojo|
|Length||2156 mm||2100 mm|
|Width||813 mm||800 mm|
|Height||1112 mm||1165 mm|
|Wheelbase||1453 mm||1465 mm|
|Ground Clearance||157 mm||174 mm|
Engine and Performance
On paper, the Bajaj Dominar feels like the outright winner. It has the bigger engine, more power and better performance figures to boast off when pitted against the Mahindra Mojo. However, ride both bikes back to back and there is a sizeable difference. The Dominar shares its engine with the KTM 390 Duke, but has been tuned for different kind of performance. It has also been watered down, if you can call it that, to be easier to live with on a day-to-day basis. So you get the same 373 cc single-cylinder engine that now gets a single overhead camshaft with four valves and Bajaj Auto’s triple-spark technology. The motor makes fairly less power than the KTMs churning out 34.5 bhp at 8000 rpm and 35 Nm of torque at 6500 rpm. But that’s a whole lot more power than the Mojo’s 295 cc single-cylinder engine makes, belting out 26.5 bhp at 8000 rpm and 30 Nm at 5500 rpm.
|Specifications||Bajaj Dominar 400||Mahindra Mojo|
|Engine||373 cc DTS-i||295 cc|
|Power||34.5 bhp @ 8000rpm||27 bhp @ 8000rpm|
|Torque||35 Nm @ 8500rpm||30 Nm @ 5500rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed with Slipper Clutch||6-speed|
|Kerb Weight||182 kg||182 kg|
Between the two nakeds, the Mojo is also the better sounding of the two and that’s a benefit from the extra silencer. Both heavy weights will cruise well on straight roads and stand firm on tarmac, which most tourers will appreciate. Wind blast deflection isn't the best on either models, and you will need a larger visor to combat the same.
The Mahindra Mojo benefits from a whopping 21-litre fuel tank that allows for a range of around 400 km in a single fill. That certainly adds to the Mojo’s credentials and also the fact that healthy riding will get you around 30-35 kmpl. On the other hand, the Bajaj Dominar not only gets a bigger engine, and is also the more enthusiastic of the two. However, given the power cruiser status, the 13.5-litre fuel tank size feels underwhelming. It will also make for more frequent fuel stops with a range of around 250 km, while the overall efficiency you can expect is around 25-30 kmpl.
Handling and Braking
The Bajaj Dominar benefits from the perimeter frame shared with the Pulsar RS and NS 200. Now, it may not be as sophisticated as the Trellis unit on the KTMs, but the perimeter frame does a good job in handling the bigger engine and additional power. Despite weighing the same as the Mojo at 182 kg, the Dominar feels lighter and is also friendlier around corners. The balanced chassis knows a thing or two on how to deal with sweeping turns and impresses with its dynamics. The Mojo uses a double-cradle frame and that shows its age once you plan to dive into a corner. As stable the Mojo is on open highways, give it a winding road and it’s immediately out of its comfort zone. In city limits too, the Mahindra Mojo feels harder to maneuver compared to the Bajaj Dominar, and the former’s weight really makes itself apparent here. The Dominar feels built for the city and highways and that makes it the easier bike to live with.
As much as we thought the Bajaj Dominar would be hard to compete with, this comparison has turned out to be a revelation. The Mahindra Mojo comes capably close to the Dominar and is even better than the former in several ways. It only goes on to show that Mahindra definitely knows a thing or two about building bikes and that five year hardwork did pay off well, with a few niggles of course. However, when you consider the complete package, the Dominar is definitely hard to beat. Sure, it may not be as supple to ride as the Mojo, but the extensive feature list is hard to ignore. Then, there is the biggest factor differentiating both and that is pricing. The ABS equipped Dominar is attainable at ₹ 1.50 lakh, which makes it a good ₹ 19,000 cheaper than the Mojo. And difference only increases, if you factor in the non-ABS variant that is priced at ₹ 1.36 lakh (all-prices, ex-showroom Delhi). While both bikes have their respective shortfalls, the Dominar manages to take a stronger stand and a more value for money offering. Then, there is Bajaj Auto's far better sales and service network compared to that of Mahindra 2Wheelers, and that will certainly get more takers for the Dominar. However, if you are looking at a sturdy and very focused touring machine, the Mojo still makes a compelling case, even if not worth the extra money.
|Price (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)||Bajaj Dominar 400||Mahindra Mojo|
|Non-ABS||₹ 1,36,000||₹ 1,69,871|