# Countersteering confusion : (

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

1. ### RuckstaSS Blowhard

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This is probably the first time you been wrong in over 18,000 posts.
Almost as good as Supershaft.
Pretty good average.
Well done.
2. ### Dirty in allAdrenaline Junkie

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I think he is speaking from the view of countering the center of gravity which you are always doing regardless of speed in order to balance. If you don't steer to counteract gravity, you will fall.
On the other hand if you look at it from the steering point of view. At one point your were steering in the direction you want to go and at a certain speed you begin to counter-steer in relation to direction.

Might have to give him his gold star back.
3. ### farmerstuBeen here awhile

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perhaps an inmate would care to try this experiment i just thought up and report back.
rig a steering stop so the bars will not turn past dead straight in one direction. lets say can turn left only.
next put an electronic protractor on the bike to determine true vertical
have a helper hold the bike true vertical while the rider gets moving.
rider attempts left turn
report back with results
4. ### RuckstaSS Blowhard

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There are ways other than / in addition to handlebar input to balance gravity including but not limited body positioning, throttle opening and arc of turn.

Stand beside your bike, left hand on the left grip, right hand on the grab rail and move the bike forward while maintaining full left lock.

I'm not a big fan of Tony Foale's explainations.
Link is to the a diagram only just in case you've never seen the experiment.

http://www.tonyfoale.com/Articles/Balance/Img00003.gif

Many staunch countersteering sceptics who have held the wheel have an epiphany.
Sometimes you can actually see the penny dropping by the expression on their faces.
Thing is if you spin the wheel really slowly the forces just are not present.

And so the argument goes round and round - just like the bicycle wheel. The faster you spin it the stronger it gets.
To me those who insist countersteering is the only way to turn a motorcyle are missing out on as much as those who instist countersteering is a myth.

Maybe my question belongs in a different thread away from the zealots and sceptics.
5. ### PT RiderBeen here awhile

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Way, WAY overthinking this.

Countersteering does not make the bike turn. It handles the centrifugal force so you can stay on the bike while it turns. A couple of postings above also make this point. The bike wants to go straight (due to the trail built into the front). If we lean the bike the front end falls into the turn, plus with the bike leaned over we can stay on the seat. If we turn the bike without leaning it, if the centrifugal force is sufficient (product of velocity and radius), we get thrown off the seat and into the weeds. If the centrifugal force is very minor at slow speed we can counteract the centrifugal force with body weight shifts.

As noted above, don't think it. Feel it. Do it. Thinking is slow and tiring. Do it enough hundreds of times that new neural connections are formed in your brain and the movement becomes automatic.
6. ### Dirty in allAdrenaline Junkie

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I actually have no questions on the subject. I've been on a motorcycle since I was 3 and I'm now 43. You only said exactly what I said but in a long drawn out explanation. Now you want to throw in the rest of it. I'm talking about STEERING, thought I read that somewhere in the thread title.

7. ### Dolly SodI want to do right, but not right now

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Here's the problem I have with saying gyroscopic procession is what leans a bike.

To start: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. (we all know newton's third law)

So you spin the front wheel up and it balances itself in a strait line (as shown by gyroscopes spinning while only one side is supported)

You do the tire "trick" in the link you provided, spinning wheel, you turn it left it wants to lean right. Your theory, and one that I've read before on this site, is that the tendency of the spinning wheel lean right when twisted left is actually what is making the bike lean. (In fact some have said that at highway speeds the gyroscopic effect is the main force that leans the bike) So this theory works like this. You turn the bars left, the gyroscopic effect leans it right. You want to stand the bike up, from a lean right, you turn the bars right the gyroscopic effect leans it left. (am I on point?)

My problem with this is newton's third law. I read it to mean this. Back to the spinning wheel held in your hand example. You turn the spinning wheel to the left, the gyroscopic effect cause the wheel to tilt right with an equal amount of force that you applied by twisting.

If that is the case, and I'm not sure it is which is why I'm posting this. If when you turn the wheel to the right, it exerts an equal amount of force to lean, then the same thing is happening to the front wheel on your motorcycle.

You twist the bars to the left, that force is redirected by the wheel to a lean right.
If that leaning force is equal to the twisting force you applied, then an analog would be simply to pick the bike up by the bars while sitting still. With that in mind, the force I have to apply to the bars to pick the bike up from a 30 degree lean while sitting still in my garage is vastly greater than the force I need to pick the bike up from the same degree of lean while rolling down the road.

So my point is, maybe the gyroscopic effect provides some torque to the lean angle of the bike, equal to the force that I applied to the handlebars. But since the force I applied to the bars is no where near sufficient to lift the bike from it's 30 degree lean, I have to surmise that the majority of the torque is provided by the outsteering of the front wheel caused by countersteering.

My other reasoning is that turning the bars causes a moment gyroscopic torque, but that moment ends once I stop turning the bars. But my change in lean angle doesn't stop until I straiten the bars. I turn the bars a split second to the left, but hold that turn for 1/2 a second while the bike transitions from left lean to right lean. What's causing the bike to lean for the majority of that 1/2 second when I'm not actively turning the bars? IMHO it's the ousteering of the wheel, not the gyroscopic effect.

This is how I think about it anyhow, and I may be wrong..
8. ### Jim MooreThe Real Deal

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It turns left because it's no longer a two-wheeled inline vehicle. You've created a tripod, so it's no longer germane to the countersteering discussion.

Sorry, no. It's the only way.
9. ### windmillLong timer

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If I'm on a 2 wheeler and push on the right grip, I go right

If I'm on a 3 wheeler and push on the right grip, I go left.

Whats the question?
10. ### joexrBanned

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This is the best and most comprehensive post of the entire thread.
11. ### vortexauOutside the Pod-bay

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Something quite similar-

No B.S. Machine

12. ### Goran69MNE

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+1..that would be it.....nothing more
13. ### KX50002NooB, my ass

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For those who think you can steer by leaning without countersteering... Try riding a bike with locked up steering head bearings, my son recently bought a 1986 Yamaha FZ6 the steering head was almost completely locked in the center position. I took it down the sreet in front of my house and almost had ta lay er down! I think it's so subtle sometimes you don't even realize you're doing it.
14. ### PFFOGRichard Alps-aholic

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+2

Look where you WANT to go!!

I was at an off road down hill bicycle race last weekend, basically a motocross using gravity as the engine, these guys navigate deep ruts , loose rocks, roots off camber slopes, tight turns and jumps at speeds of 45 mph.

When they get kicked off line by any of the above, how do they know how and what kind of input to put into the bars?? They are looking where they want to GO, and practice, practice, practice fined tuned their REACTION (note I didn't say cognitive actions).

YES if you turn a single track vehicle you counter steer, but at some point you then turn into the turn, it magically happens, without thought and explanation and has been done for a little over a century and a half.

Enough talk, go ride and become an expert at counter steering.
15. ### Jim MooreThe Real Deal

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Yes, because adults and ten year olds learn in exactly the same manner. Or some of them do, anyway.
16. ### lnewqbanNinjetter

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You are a practical rider, just try it.

That is something that anyone can find experimentally:

1) From total stop, balance the bike vertically, put both feet up on the pegs.
From that position, if you don't turn the handlebar, the bike will fall to either side.
Repeat and verify: the bike has no preferred side to fall onto.

2) From total stop, balance the bike vertically, put both feet up on the pegs.
From that position, turn handlebar all the way to the left (full lock), the bike will consistently fall to the left side.
Why?: You have moved the CG of the bike left and is now off the line that joins the contact patches of the front and rear tires.
That is steering for you, and will work for standing still and for low speeds.

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17. ### joexrBanned

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Your #2 is backwards. I think you're forgetting what the rake and trail are doing.
18. ### DAKEZLong timer

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19. ### rbrsddn3banger

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This thread keeps delivering on a daily basis!
20. ### the PheasantBeen here awhile

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Yup, the thread that keeps on giving.

Seems to me there are a few people missing its point. Which is not to convince unbelievers that countersteering is fact, but to point out that learning to countersteer actively ie. to use what might seem like excessive countersteering to accentuate steering response is a useful thing to do. It gives the rider greater control, especially at higher speeds and when wanting to make rapid directional changes. True for me.

Don't believe in countersteering? Try the technique. You'll like what it does even if you don't accept the reasoning behind it.