Countersteering confusion : (

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by IrishJohn, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. IrishJohn

    IrishJohn Adventurer

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    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
    #1
  2. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    :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
    #2
  3. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

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    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...
    #3
  4. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

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

    PeterW Long timer

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    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.

    Pete
    #5
  6. Aces & Eights

    Aces & Eights GearHead

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    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.
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  7. ParaMud

    ParaMud Been here awhile

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

    shaddix Banned

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    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.
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  9. GeckoRider

    GeckoRider Been here awhile

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    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.
    #9
  10. shaddix

    shaddix Banned

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

    Moronic Long timer

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    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:
    #11
  12. gsd4me

    gsd4me 90% bluff

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    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.
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  13. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    ^^ 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
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  14. shaddix

    shaddix Banned

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    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.
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  15. Al Goodwin

    Al Goodwin Long timer

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    Go ride a bike with very heavy steering...one 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 crap....it must continue throughout the corner.

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

    farmerstu Been here awhile

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    o.k. again with a counter steering thread. I'll play. when i teach new riders(after they have taken the msf course,which i highly recommend for learning THE BASICS) i take them out to a deserted hiway and practice weaving the white lines, I start out by sitting behind them and with there hands on the grips, I steer the bike with their elbows, it demonstrates very effectively how steering works. i also cover their hands with mine and do near threshold braking. works great.
    DISCLAIMER.I'm 6' 7 and my arms are longer than average and my hands are also a bit bigger. this technique may not work if you can't comfortably operate the bike from the pillion.
    now the answer. first you have to learn to it deliberately and consciously, keep doing it and it will become automatic and muscle memory.
    #16
  17. #46

    #46 Been here awhile

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    I'll have to remember that method the next time a rider asks me to explain CS.
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  18. BanjoBoy

    BanjoBoy Been here awhile

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    With a 250 or bicycle yer counter steering, but it's so light you don't even know it. When ya ride an FJR, you definitely know yer counter steering. :deal
    /thread
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  19. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    That's actually a great question. I used to tell my students that you can get through the vast majority of your motorcycling life by doing exactly what you describe. You sorta look where you want to go, you sorta lean over, and you complete a lazy arcing turn that generally gets you where you want to go. You may never need to do anything else. Unfortunately that technnique doesn't work when you need to turn the notorcycle RIGHT NOW. If you're never actively thought about countersteering you will not be able to suddenly invent that skill. That's why you should actively think about how you turn the motorcycle. I ask myself three questions. Where am I looking? What am I doing with the handlebars? What am I doing with the throttle?
    #19
  20. jamesau

    jamesau Adventurer

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    Motorcycle steering has an ‘inverse-response’ dynamic characteristic that requires countersteering to stabilize the bike. Another well-studied ‘system’ with this characteristic is the ‘inverted pendulum’; I mention it because an important analogy can be demonstrated.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    To help make sense of countersteering while off the bike, try to balance an upright broomstick on your upturned palm. Once comfortable with balancing it, take five steps to your right. The fastest, smoothest, and surest way to do this from a standstill is to:
    1) move your hand to the left (causes the broomstick to lean to the right)
    2) take 5 steps to your right
    3) accelerate your hand to the right (causes the broomstick to straighten and allows you to stop smoothly)

    After you’re done with the broomstick game, try moving your upright extension ladder around the outside of the house with the fly extended. After a while, you should be able to move around deliberately without stomping on the flower beds and having the ladder crash down on your neighbor’s car.

    It’s important to become comfortable with the reality of the physics so you can be as smooth, deliberate, and precise as possible in guiding your bike down the road on your chosen lines. Now put down the broomstick and try it on the bike.<o:p></o:p>
    #20