It might have taken a long time, but then, the segment of naked sports tourers has finally begun to burgeon in India. It all started way back in 2012, when Mahindra previewed the Mojo concept for the first time in a raw form, something which still needed a finalised finishing to be launched in a full-fledged manner. Until this year, it was only Royal Enfield which had the presence in the entry level middleweight segment with its range of 350cc cruisers and roadsters.
In 2015, Mahindra finally introduced the Mojo as the only naked sports tourer which had the potential of rivalling the Royal Enfield offerings, with its distinctive styling, excellent engine and top notch hardware. Being the flagship product from Mahindra, the Mojo had to succeed in each and every aspect, owing to the fact that it took a long period of three years in the name of research, development and testing. And then, the end product turned out to be something which was beyond the expectations of enthusiasts, who had little hopes from Mahindra in the premium motorcycle category.
Now that the trumpet was blown by the Mahindra Mojo, how could the competition remain behind? Speaking of the premium sportbike makers, India’s most serious player in this particular segment, Bajaj Auto, had something cooking in its R&D centre. A preview of this process was shown at the Auto Expo 2014 when Bajaj showcased the Pulsar CS400 concept, which was aimed at naked sport tourer lovers. With its premium and unique design elements and the KTM connection in its mechanicals, the Pulsar CS400 generated huge hype around it, with the enthusiasts eagerly waiting it to be unleashed on the market.
And finally, towards the end of the year 2016, Bajaj surprised us with the all new Dominar 400, a product completely based on the Pulsar CS 400 concept. What was more astonishing is the fact that the motorcycle, more or less, is exactly the same machine as the Pulsar CS 400, barring a couple of changes. With a positively shocking starting price, the Dominar is all set to join the Mojo to expand the naked sports tourer segment. However, given the spirit of competition, we need to find out which one of the two emerges out to be the better machine, keeping all the aspects in mind.
In this feature story, we are going to compare two motorcycles in an all new segment of naked sports tourers – both coming from home-grown manufacturers, but do possess a lot of internationalism in their design and engineering. Here’s our comprehensive comparison between the all new Bajaj Dominar 400 and the Mahindra Mojo:-
As we have already mentioned, both these motorcycles, the Dominar 400 and the Mojo, do form a new segment of naked sports tourers, which is much popular in Europe but have found a new interest in the Indian market. Both these motorcycles offer the mixed ergonomics of a naked roadster and a cruiser, which make it slightly more comfortable but equally imposing as a regular naked roadster.
Starting off with the older of the two, Mahindra shocked everyone when it previewed the Mojo for the very first time during the Auto Expo 2012. The concept bike, which was a mixed bag of design cues, looked like a blend of so many confused ideas. Thankfully, Mahindra refined the design of the motorcycle for the production model, which though still remains a bit quirky when compared to the competition. Though for its size and price point, the Mahindra Mojo looks quite suitable and fits the bill of a large sports tourer. The design bits, such as dual round headlamps, large 21-litre fuel tank and dual golden ribs below the fuel tank surely manage to give the Mojo a unique identity. The Mojo was the first bike in this class to feature daytime LED lamps, backlit switchgear and twin exhausts, which further raise its uniqueness. The fuss-free design of the rear section of the bike though looks a bit pale and Mahindra could have made it a bit more aggressive. Nevertheless, with a promising big bike feel and top-notch build quality, the Mojo is a huge leap going by the standards and mettle of Mahindra as a new manufacturer which restricted itself till date an entry level bike maker.
The Bajaj Dominar definitely has the edge of being a newcomer, which features a slightly bolder and more proportionate design over the Mojo. It completely retains the basic original design of the Pulsar CS 400 with most of its features, and that means, we do are getting some first-in-class feature in the motorcycle, such as full LED headlamp setup with auto headlamp on feature and split instrument console design with one on the headlamp and the other part of the fuel tank. The muscular fuel tank and side body panels have quite busy designs which look very European and muscular. The motorcycle does come with better styled glossy finished alloy wheels and split seats, which further raises its modern-ness and overall premium appeal over the Mojo. Even the fully digital instrument console of the Dominar 400 looks more comprehensive and stylish over the slightly dated looking part digital meters of the Mojo.
Both these motorcycles come with split pillion grab rails, backlit switchgear and disc brakes at both the ends. To conclude in this aspect, the Mojo does score a few marks for its distinctive features such as golden ribs running below the fuel tank, dual headlamp setup and dual exhausts, which somewhat give it a big bike appeal, but then the overall design of this flagship Mahindra is a bit quirky. On the other hand, the Dominar 400 looks more properly finished and designed over the Mojo, with some very premium design elements up its sleeve, making it a better and more modern looking product out of the two.
|Model||Mahindra Mojo||Bajaj Dominar 400|
Both these motorcycles are more or less equally well-matched when it comes to equipment, with the Dominar 400 having an edge over the Mojo in terms of overall appeal. However, when it comes to performance, the differentiating gap between both these motorcycles is quite widened even more. Both these motorcycles come with liquid cooled, single cylinder mills, with the Dominar 400 having an edge over the Mojo due to having a bigger heart.
Mahindra has worked hard to make its first shot in making a big bike engine successful, which to a large extent, has managed to make a positive impact. The Mojo comes with a four stroke, single cylinder, liquid cooled, fuel injected, 295cc engine, which puts up 28 bhp of maximum power and 30 Nm of maximum torque. Mahindra has built this engine from the scratch, which means that everyone had high hopes from this powertrain. However, Mahindra succeeded on the expectations and cleared the ambiguity surrounding the development and prowess of this engine, as the powertrain has got a solid punch and built-to-last feel. Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, the engine has an abundance of torque in the lower as well as middle rev range, which makes it a very lively motorcycle to ride on all kinds of roads. The refinement levels too are quite commendable.
Having more or less the same character in its engine as the Mojo, the Bajaj Dominar comes fitted with a four-stroke, single cylinder, triple spark, liquid cooled, fuel injected, 373.3cc engine, which we have already seen on bikes such as Duke 390 and RC 390. However, unlike the frantic nature of this very engine on the KTM’s offerings, this engine on the Dominar 400 has been retuned heavily, which imparts an altogether different character. On the Dominar 400, this engine pumps out 35 bhp of maximum power and 35 Nm of maximum torque. These figures do make it more powerful than the Mojo, which is quite evident due to the fact that the engine on the Dominar 400 displaces more than that of the Mojo. This translates into faster acceleration and top speed figures on the Dominar 400, while at the same time, there is not much to differentiate between the engines on both these motorcycles in terms of refinement. The engine of the Dominar 400 too comes paired to a 6-speed gearbox, which too has got tall ratios like the Mojo.
The bigger engine with more power and torque outputs clearly makes the Dominar 400 more powerful, torquey and faster than the Mojo, making it a better performer among the two.
|Model||Mahindra Mojo||Bajaj Dominar 400|
|Bore/ Stroke mm||76/65||n/a|
|Type||Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC||Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC|
|Valves per cylinder||4||4|
|Clutch type||Wet- Multiplate||Wet- Multiplate|
RIDE AND HANDLING
Till now, we have seen the Dominar 400 dominating over the Mojo in the aspects of design and performance, but when it comes to mechanicals under the skin, the story becomes a bit more complicated.
When it comes to the touring friendly set of ergonomics and chassis, nothing can beat the Mahindra Mojo. Speaking of the suspension setup, the Mojo comes fitted with upside-down telescopic hydraulic forks at the front and a high pressure gas charged mono shock at the rear, which makes it the first motorcycle in its class to sport such a combination, second only to the Duke 390 which falls more or less in this price range.
The motorcycle runs on 110/70 ZR17 front tyre and 150/60 ZR17 rear tyre which are Pirelli Diablo Rosso II units, something which is no short of best in this business and gives the Mojo excellent traction on varying tarmacs. And when it comes to brakes, the Mojo has been blessed with 320mm petal disc at the front and a single 240mm disc at the rear, which has excellent feedback levels on the application. The only grouse and missing element in this fantastic suspension setup are the absence of ABS, somewhat which could have made this package the one to go for blind-folded.
The Dominar 400 too is equipped with the best level of hardware which Bajaj has designed in its entire history till date. The motorcycle comes equipped with 43mm conventional hydraulic telescopic forks at the front and a multi-step adjustable mono-shock at the rear, thus missing out on the inverted forks as on the Mojo.
Running on the same 110/70-17 front tyre and the 150/60-17 rear tyre as on the Duke 200, these rubbers from MRF are great in terms of feedback, however, they do lag slightly behind the feel of the set of Pirelli rubbers which the Mojo has been blessed with. And when it comes to brakes, the Dominar too gets a 320mm disc brake at the front and a 230mm disc brake at the rear, the front brake is not a petal unit as that on the Mojo. However, the Dominar 400 tries to compensate the laggings in these departments by offering a dual channel ABS as an optional equipment, which gives it stupendous braking feel over the Dominar 400.
Both the motorcycles more or less almost weigh the same, however, with a larger fuel tank having a tank capacity of almost 8 litres more over the Dominar 400, the Mojo imparts a better range, which is a boon when you are travelling for longer distances. This makes the Mojo a better tourer out of the two, as it comes with a better set of chassis components and larger tank range, though the optional ABS on the Dominar 400 is hard to ignore.
|Model||Mahindra Mojo||Bajaj Dominar 400|
|Suspension / Front||USD telescopic fork||43 mm Telescopic Forks|
|Suspension / Rear||Gas-charged with internal floating piston||Adjustable Monoshock|
|Brakes / Front||Single 320 mm disc. Calliper: radial||Single 320 mm|
|Brakes / Rear||Single 240 mm disc. Calliper: floating||Single 240 mm|
|Tyres / Front||110/70-ZR17||110/70 R17|
|Tyres / Rear||150/60-ZR17||150/60 R17|
As we have seen in the paragraphs above, both these motorcycles are well built and have top notch mechanicals to boast of. However, there has to one winner out of the two, and we do have which has got an edge substantial enough to make it a clear winner.
The second spot here has been clinched by the Mahindra Mojo. The motorcycle does have its fair share of shortcomings – the overall styling is not too eye-capturing like the rest of the bikes mentioned above, and Mahindra doesn’t have a sorted experience in making entry-level sportbikes like Bajaj has. But then, it is the sincerity of Mahindra towards developing the Mojo that has paid them rewards. The Mojo, despite being the first ever big bike from Mahindra, has shocked everyone with its premium fit and finish, refined and powerful engine and premium suspension, brakes and tyres, which has made the motorcycle very much desirable. Not only this, with comfortable ride quality and sorted suspension, it successfully ticks all the boxes when it comes to the sole purpose it has been designed for – touring. But then, at this price point, subjective styling is hard to ignore, something which the Mojo sadly has got. And then, it does feel a bit less powerful than the Dominar owing to a smaller engine.
This brings us to the Dominar 400. Bajaj might have taken almost three years to bring this bike on the block, but we do need to praise them for opening up an all new chapter rather than relying on the Pulsar nameplate. The bike looks bulky, muscular, proportionate and premium with some standout features sourced from much bigger bikes, making it every bit a more desirable bike than the Mojo. Having a bigger engine than the Mojo, the Dominar 400 does has an advantage over the Mojo in terms of overall performance, making it a punchier motorcycle to ride, especially on longer distances. And while it hasn’t got that premium top-class names in its suspension, brakes and tyres which the Mojo has got, the overall riding experience is almost the same, which only gets amplified with the option of ABS. And then, the final dart happens to be the price – at ? 1.36 lakh for non-ABS and Rs. 1.50 lakh for the ABS version, the Dominar 400 is much more affordable over the Mojo, which is priced at ? 1.85 lakh, that also for the non-ABS model. All these factors do make the Bajaj Dominar 400 a better value for money proposition and a clear winner out of the two.