Dominar400 vs CBR250R have similar roles to offer, one is a acclaimed sports tourer, while the other is a power cruiser
Let’s not forget somethings that we have already been provided with. When the Indian enthusiast wanted something rock solid reliable with enough pep for touring its country’s farthest corner without any trouble, the CBR 250R came and took the market by storm. Initially it did well despite the slightly heavy price tag it came along. Honda gave it back then everything it could. A technology laden engine which never promises to let you down, offer enough pep for our roads and the net of safety. Bajaj soon launched the KTM twins one after the other, which were Duke 200 and 390.
Both weren’t exactly comfortable touring machines but offered insane value for money and it became affordable. Despite the core role of street-fighter, we saw 390 reach new new places in pictures on the internet as it went touring. This gave possibly gave Bajaj the idea to spawn something like the Dominar 400, or lets just say to give the 2014 concept a go. Dominar 400 is here and it is insanely promising. However, can it take down the original sports touring machine that we have. We ride it back to back to tell you what it is like and who wins the trophy in a match between Dominar400 vs CBR250R.
The CBR250R seems to be ageing well. Honda has been offering quite a lot of paint schemes since the time of the launch and in 2016, there were substantial cosmetic changes which includes new decals on the motorcycle to liven things up. Here we had the bike with all black scheme which includes the alloy wheels painted black as well. The front headlight is VFR and compact. The fairing panels are sharp and well done. The tail-piece is minimalist and the rear tail-lamp continues to be bare basic in every aspect.
Dominar 400 on the other hand is all muscle, chunky head-lamp, chiseled fuel tank and the overall stance is very substantial and long, giving it an imposing look. The LED lamps at the rear aren’t particularly handsome on the Dominar 400 also just like the CBR 250R, which doesn’t look great either. Overall, the CBR250R may look like a timeless machine, but it is clearly overshadowed with the Dominar’s new design which has a lot of elements that woo riders immediately.
Speedo and Switches
CBR clock offers all the tell-tale lights which the Dominar 400 also offers. However, the dual clocks on the Dominar 400 are far more superior aesthetically and offer digital speedo and analogue meter. CBR250R showcases temperature warning bar in old fashion while the Dominar 400 misses on that. Switches on both motorcycles are good. Only Honda to have an engine kill switch. Meanwhile, there is an AHO on the Dominar, the 6 year old motorcycle doesn’t have the same.
CBR250R offers a neutral riding position like the Dominar 400. With low seat height and handlebar is a slight reach ahead, it makes for a good sporty position. Dominar 400 offers a much more comfortable riding position with raised handlebar and seat height being lower, making it more comfortable. Overall, not a big difference in comfort or approach as both bikes offer rear set footpegs. Both bikes have mirrors which provide good vision of what is behind. Seats on both bikes are firm, while the CBR 250R seat is on the sportier side and isn’t accommodating, the Dominar seat is large and extremely supportive.
Engine and Gearbox
Performance wise, there is almost chalk and cheese alike difference on paper. CBR250R is liquid cooled, 4-valve DOHC engine making 26.15 BHP of power and 22.9 Nm of torque from the 249cc engine. The Dominar 373cc engine is also liquid-cooled 4-valve, but it has triple spark and is an SOHC unit. The engine makes 35 PS and 35 Nm of torque from its motor at similar RPM as the CBR 250R. Both motorcycles offer smooth engines and have power throughout the rev-band. Subtle amount of low-end, a punchy mid range and decent top-end is what both offer. Both machines are yet again criticized to be on the heavier side.
This time, Dominar 400 is 20 kgs heavier than the CBR250R. However, it does have more power and torque from its engine, which helps it record better acceleration timing and top-speed that is on offer. 15 km/hr more top-speed than the CBR250R is on offer. However, almost similar acceleration off the line makes it quite an interesting case. Post mid range, the Dominar just pulls forward takes the CBR250R down for the race to the end. Dominar 400 does that while sound throaty and sporty while the CBR250R soundtrack is throaty but it isn’t intimidating as its peer.
Both can return around 30 km/l on the highway. Both bikes have 13 litre fuel tank and have similar range of 300-350 km from each tank. CBR250R offers a vibe free engine, while the Dominar 400 engine can get a bit buzzy at redline and if ridden hard in gear. Dominar’s vibrations are not a deal breaker as it should get better over the time as we have seen with the bike which it takes the engine from by a subtle margin.
Both these bikes have no heating issues in traffic either. Both bikes have 6-speed smooth shifting gearbox and light clutches. The clutch system on the Dominar 400 has an assist slipper clutch function, which makes down-shifting hard, not an issue and distributes torque to the wheel perfectly.
CBR250R continues to offer the tubular frame, telescopic front forks and monoshock at the rear. 2015 saw CBR250R getting sticker MRF tyres over the previous highly criticized Continental tyres. The CBR250R is softly sprung by a big margin, the bike does get spongy in the corners when you ride it hard and fast. The turn-in is quick enough but the motorcycle chassis isn’t taut in the corners nor stable mid corner to make things sportier. It ends up providing very good ride quality and excellent highway stability. Something that the Dominar 400 also does very well too.
Dominar offers agility in the corners thanks to stiffer suspension. The turn-in is quite quick for the wheelbase which is far more longer than the CBR250R. The Dominar 400 is quite a hoot to ride as the chassis inspires a lot of confidence. Both have superior tyres now, but the FC1 and C1 tyres on the Dominar 400 have a slight edge over the MRF tyres on the CBR250R. The brakes are really good and backed by ABS just like the CBR250R which also offers very good brakes. Overall, the Dominar 400 aces this test as it has a far superior package on paper and does a great job on the road as well.
Dominar 400 vs CBR250R – Comparison, Verdict
CBR250R is clearly a product that aged quite well if one has to be honest. The legendary Honda traits can be seen with the motorcycle. The motorcycle still does it job quite well but it isn’t out-and-out a sporty tourer anymore. There are other motorcycles in the market which do the job really well. More obvious is the case when it fails to impress riders dynamically and it isn’t a value for money option anymore. The Dominar 400 offers so much more with prices being so low and is dynamically superior too.
Dominar 400 looks modern and fresh and provides essentials, features and safety which is clearly class leading. Cruiser in every form are taking down the touring machines of the past, be it in smaller segment or premium. Dominar 400 is a prime example of the same in the middle weight segment and hence it wins the test.
Dominar 400 (Non-ABS) Rs. 1,36,000 Lakhs
Dominar 400 (ABS) Rs. 1,57,000 Lakhs
CBR250R (Non-ABS) Rs. 1,54,042 Lakhs
CBR250R (ABS) Rs. 2,04,345 Lakhs
Ex-showroom Delhi prices
Read this too: FULL COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE DOMINAR 400 HERE
Read this too: Specification, pricing and all other numbers are HERE!
Read this too: DOMINAR 400 COMPARED WITH ITS CLOSEST RIVAL, MAHINDRA MOJO!!
Read this too: DOMINAR 400 MODIFIED INTO A COMPLETE TOURER