Maruti Suzuki Baleno- Special, Quick And Fun
Overdrive|November 2018

What do you do with 10 lakh, and the burning desire for something special, quick and fun?

Simran Rastogi

The rev needle is creeping ever close to the 6,000rpm redline, and the bug eyes in the Baleno RS’ rearview mirror refuse to grow smaller.

Clutch in, fourth gear, clutch out. Quick glance up to the mirror. Nope, still there. There’s an impossibly long and ever-so-gradual left-hander coming up. I think I can shake the black motorcycle off my tail.

Caress the brakes, shift the weight forward, turn in. Glance up.

I see the rider shift his own weight, stick a knee out, and lean into the corner. The Baleno leans the other way, I lean in the driver’s seat to counter it. The gap grows, as does the grin on my face. The mid-range on this thing is astounding! Much stronger than the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated on the regular car, it pulls hard from above 3,000 on the dials to a few hundred short of the redline. I don’t get to there this time though. There’s a speed breaker ahead. The grin disappears.

Hard on the brakes, thank my stars for four-wheel disc brakes, downshift once, twice, thrice.

The Baleno is light. 950kg light. But it’s still got six times the mass of the motorcycle. The motorcycle sheds speed more effectively and has race-bred Brembo M50 four-pot monoblocs on the front. He overtakes under braking!

Front wheels at the speed breaker, side by side now.

I can afford to carry a little more speed over the hump. I have suspension travel, taller tyres, and most importantly, ground clearance on my side. But I do have a whole car length to cross. The motorcycle just has two wheels and 1,395mm separating the two.

He gets on the throttle, and the smooth baritone turns into a deep howl that leaves the Baleno in its wake.

I can imagine there’s a stupid smile plastered across Rishabh’s face, inside his helmet. We’re on the busy road to Nashik, from Mumbai. But this early in the morning, there’s only the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS and Triumph Street Triple RS on it. Our destination isn’t a breakfast spot, or Nashik itself. Our destination is a section of twisties called the Kasara ghats, which has a separate uphill and downhill road. And so far, I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey getting there. Our side of the road is two-laned, with a divider separating the other side. I wouldn’t be able to comment on how picturesque it is, except everything was a blur of green.

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