Rajesh Alva decodes which bike fits you better.
To begin with, Bajaj offers LED headlight with DRL (daytime running lamp) -- the best in the segment -- for the Dominar.
It features easy to read all-digital instrument cluster but gives a miss to gear position indicator and temperature gauge.
The Battery, ABS (anti-lock braking system) and side stand indicator are mounted on the fuel tank, which is muscular with 13-litre capacity -- a bit inadequate for a bike in this segment.
The Dominar's engine is borrowed from KTM 390, but it's tuned to get more mileage. The liquid cooled single cylinder engine produces 35PS@8,000 rpm and 35Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm. The motor is excellent at mid range and the bike can achieve top speed of 148km/h.
NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) levels are much better than its Pulsar range. But it could have been better. Slight vibrations are felt on foot pegs and fuel tank around 4,000 rpm.
Bajaj has offered a slipper clutch for Dominar and it work wonders.
Bajaj also offers MRF tyres with 320 mm disc brake in the front and 230 mm in the rear. Dominar is also available with dual channel ABS.
At the front, it has fat 43 mm telescopic forks, and at the rear it has adjustable monoshocks.
The suspensions, though, are tuned on the stiffer side. At low speeds, the ride is pliant and absorbs most of the bumps.
Despite having a long wheelbase and 182 kg of weight, the bike attacks the corner very well.
Even though Bajaj has priced the Dominar very aggressively, it remains an affordable performance bike for the masses.
Photograph: Courtesy Bajaj Auto Limited
KTM 390 Duke
KTM has a huge fan base in India. But except for some fancy sticker and orange-coloured alloys, the previous KTM 390 looked similar to KTM 200.
The latest KTM 390, though, looks absolutely gorgeous and is inspired from the KTM flagship motorcycle 1290 SUPER DUKE R.
The new KTM 390 gets a major upgrade in style and features.
It features an LED headlamp and day-time running headlamp. There is an aluminum column running down the centre of the LED headlight that works as a heat sink for the headlight unit.
KTM offers a large, all-colored TFT instrument panel that is mostly seen on large capacity expensive bikes. It can connect to your phone and controls calls and audio.
The KTM 390 is powered by same performance-oriented 373cc liquid cooled, single cylinder unit as its predecessor. The power remains unchanged at 43.5 ps@9,000 rpm and peak torque notches 37N m@7,000 rpm.
The 390's engine gets a few tweaks to meet Euro-IV emission norms.
Riding in city traffic is demanding as the engine acts a bit lazy under 2500 rpm; throttle past it and all hell will break loose.
KTM 390 Duke is a performance-oriented bike and loves being pushed to the red line. Its engine meat lies between 4,500 rpm to 9,000 rpm and can achieve maximum speed of 165km/h.
The 390 Duke also offers ride-by-wire technology, which gives a good, crisp throttle response. In fact, the company has provided taller gears for better mileage and effortless triple-digit cruising on highway.
While the fuel tank is all new, it is inclined vertically to increase its capacity to 13.5 litres.
It gets 43 mm upside-down forks at front and monoshock at rear.
The seats are more comfortable compared to the older version. The seat height is settled at 830 mm and foot pegs are pushed a bit backwards and ground clearance has been increased from 170 mm to185 mm.
The all new 320 mm disc brakes at front and 230 mm at the rear offer impressive braking power. It gets the new and upgraded Bosch sourced dual-channel ABS system.
The new KTM 390 is around ₹20,000 more expensive than its older version. Nevertheless, it carries forward the legacy of its predecessor with elan.
The KTM 390 is fun to ride with its feather light weight and razor-sharp handling.
Photograph: Courtesy KTM India
Both bikes share the same engine, yet they are far apart from each other.
The ergonomics and ride quality of the Dominar is better than Duke's. It is more comfortable.
It has an upright riding position, centre foot peg and larger and more comfortable seats.
Even if the suspension is on a stiffer side, it tackles Indian roads better than the KTM 390 Duke.
Also, the Dominar has better low-end response than the Duke 390, and the engine doesn't heat up in traffic.
Dominar also offers better fuel efficiency due to triple spark and lower compression ratio. It will be cheaper to maintain than the KTM 390.
The highlight of the Dominar is its headlight and exhaust note. In fact, it has the best headlights among Indian motorcycles. Its exhaust note has bass and the bike is quite loud, of course, in a good way.
The 390 Duke is a bike for enthusiasts: A total thrilling riding pleasure.
The bike offers more performance, more power and its more aggressive around the corner. The LED TFT instrument panel on the KTM 390 is any day better than the Dominar's.
It's an incredible machine and offers more features than the Dominar.
However, the KTM 390 is no longer value for money. The Dominar is around ₹75,000 cheaper and offers better headlights, comfort and the same engine tuned for lesser performance.
So, if you want aggressive riding with a blast of power then go for KTM 390 Duke, and if you want a commuting bike for a relaxed, comfortable and powerful ride then the Dominar is for you.
Which one will you buy? Take the poll below.