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IrishJohn 12-30-2012 10:23 PM

Countersteering confusion : (
OK - this might be a really stupid thread/questions to ask. I learned to ride a bycycle at age 8 or so and never had problems swerving or anything. I got a step through Honda 50 at 17 and never had a problem going around bends or swerving etc. I got a Kymco People 50 five years ago and never had a problem etc. Then I went on the 'Riders Edge' course for new motorcyclists a couple of months ago and have been confused as all heck since about Countersteering. I currently have (and the reason for going on the course) a Suzuki TU250 and have had no problems going around corners/bends etc - but I keep seeing posts and threads and things that say things like 'If you don't UNDERSTAND countersteering you will never really be able to swerve in an emergency' and things like that.
I DO understand that you do not 'steer' the bike and that the 'leaning' is not really 'steering' it either - but what confuses the hell out of me is this :
Should I be able to make a CONCIOUS move of the handlebars to the opposite way I want to go or should I just continue as I am - having no problems in the turns etc without fully 'understanding' how I get around them????

Thank you in advance for any answers you may give:hmmmmm

DAKEZ 12-30-2012 10:27 PM

:clap This is not to be until Tuesday.

You are already countersteering if you are turning a bike or motorcycle. (they do not turn otherwise)

It is nice to know the mechanics of it however... And to practice those mechanics.

Look Left Push left Go Left
Look Right Push Right Go Right
Look through the turn. Look through the turn. LOOK THROUGH THE TURN.

The end. :1drink

Boon Booni 12-30-2012 10:28 PM

Most of the time I am unconsciously countersteering, but there are definitely times, such as railing down a really windy road, that I'm very aware of my countersteering. Mainly when I'm flicking the bike from one side to the other, but also when coming to a stop and I want to put a specific foot down. Left foot, turn right...

Boon Booni 12-30-2012 10:29 PM


Originally Posted by DAKEZ (Post 20361867)

He didn't mention anything about the gyroscopes. :evil

PeterW 12-30-2012 10:50 PM

Concious really only helps when you realize you are going perhaps a tad too fast into the next corner. Then KNOWING that countersteering will lean the bike and turn it a bit quicker can be a life saver.

Otherwise - instinctive.


Aces & Eights 12-30-2012 10:52 PM

Ride ride ride ride some more
Simple until a car turns left infront of you leaving you 0.3 seconds to do anything.:eek1

#1 rule of riding: look where you want to go not where you don't want to go.

To initiate Push forward on the handle bar on the side you want to lean.
Lowering the inside elbow/shoulder slightly helps the bike carve the corner.
Slight forward pressure through the corner on the inside handlebar.
Look through the corner.
Turn in slightly with opposite force to stand it up.

The bikes geometry will tend to self center and steer the bike straight.
Braking hard also wants to stand the bike up making it difficult to bake and turn at the same time.

When countersteering You are forcing the handle bars opposite the direction of the turn making the bike fall into the corner.
The faster you go the the more inertia you build up and the harder it is to turn in and change your current vector.
If you don't turn or stop you will continue on your current vector Like Joey Dunlop vs the tree.

Basically you don't have time to think about whats happening as it happens and it all comes down to muscle memory developed through years of riding as many varied disciplines asmuch as you can.

ParaMud 12-30-2012 11:10 PM

Go on the freeway and turn the handlebars to the left and see what happens.

shaddix 12-30-2012 11:16 PM

I agree it would be prudent to understand it better. Why don't you pick up a copy of proficient motorcycling. It has a good explanation.

GeckoRider 12-31-2012 12:38 AM

If/when you are at slow speeds this all goes out the window. Don't try to think too much unless it amuses you to sort it out. So many crash videos you will see on YT are from target fixation, where the fear takes over and looking at the thing you don't want to hit causes you to hit it anyway (bus, big rig). Practice in a parking lot or where ever you can. The reflex needs to be to look away from the thing and to where you want to go, or you are going to hit it for sure.

What your body has learned already is enough just go with it and reinforce the look to go. Good Luck, it is harder than it sounds.

shaddix 12-31-2012 12:48 AM

Even at 2mph, if I turn the bars to the left the bike leans to the right

Moronic 12-31-2012 02:07 AM

Ever tried driving a car in reverse, with a trailer attached? To make the trailer go right, you steer left. Then, after the trailer is turning, you steer right, to maintain the turn. When you want to end the right turn, you steer right a lot. That makes the trailer steer left, and so it straightens up. You then steer left to preserve the straightness.

Works much better when you just do it and don't think about it, in my experience.

I understand the mechanics of it. Has that helped me? Only in so far as it makes sense of the cock-eyed experience for me. Knowing that the experience makes sense mechanically, probably makes it easier for me to relax and just do it.

But it doesn't help me to do it, when I am doing it. :wink:

gsd4me 12-31-2012 02:21 AM


Originally Posted by IrishJohn (Post 20361861)
Should I be able to make a CONCIOUS move of the handlebars to the opposite way I want to go or should I just continue as I am - having no problems in the turns etc without fully 'understanding' how I get around them????

You should conciously use counter steering in practice, then you will know what it can do and how it can save you in an emergency.

A few months ago I had a front tire suddenly go flat on my bike at 100Kph, spearing me across to the wrongs side of the road into the path of a B double that was closing on me, also at 100Kph.

It was my knowledge of how counter steering works and the fighting of target fixation that allowed me to move back onto the correct side of the road where I could "safely" fall off.

Moronic 12-31-2012 03:22 AM


Originally Posted by gsd4me (Post 20362298)
You should conciously use counter steering in practice ... It was my knowledge of how counter steering works and the fighting of target fixation that allowed me to move back onto the correct side of the road where I could "safely" fall off.

^^ Yeah this too, probably.

My analogy above may have missed the point.

I suspect that a lot of the emphasis placed on countersteering is more accurately emphasis placed on steering, by turning the handlebar.

If you want to talk about steering a bike with the handlebar, you need to talk about countersteering, to avoid confusing beginners. But the more relevant point probably is that hauling hard on the 'bars helps an awful lot when you need to turn the bike quickly. It just so happens that you need to haul on the counterintuitive (to four-wheeler steerers) side. :D

shaddix 12-31-2012 04:01 AM

I found that thinking about how it works while I'm doing it really solidifies in my mind what I'm doing. When you turn the bars you are moving the front tire out from under mass of the bike, causing it to lean in the other direction, now you have gravity available to counteract the inertia you need to overcome when the front tire pushes the front end in the direction you want to go. Once you have finished the turn you move the front contact patch back underneath the mass of the bike.

Al Goodwin 12-31-2012 06:52 AM

Go ride a bike with very heavy you've got to hold down into a corner.

If you've ridden a bike like this, Harley XR1200 being the worst one I've ever ridden, then you'll realize that pressure is kept on the right bar to conrinue to turn right,,,therefore, countersteering not only initiates a turn, but if the bike handles like must continue throughout the corner.

Best way to understand it is PRACTICE.....:freaky

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