# Countersteer or Die!

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by wadenelson, May 17, 2018.

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

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And yet, when the front wheel goes to the left and the combined bike/rider COG leans to the right, you fall over because you are direct steering into a turn.

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If you are looking at those diagrams and can't see the flaw in your thinking, it's hopeless. The diagrams are portraying the wheels of a motorcycle that is actually skidding.

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Another glaring flaw in the article is a failure to take into account varying degrees of camber thrust due to varying tire shapes. Some tires are going to generate a lot of camber thrust and others relatively little. The author seems to be assuming that camber thrust will always generate the correct steering moment for all turns...this just isn't true. Bikes with more narrow tire profiles will have the steering head steered into the turn during the turn.
4. ### Dolly SodI want to do right, but not right now

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The article also says that the tires of vertically balanced motorcycle have no camber thrust. It makes no mention of how one initially leans the bike for a turn.
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5. ### lucky13gsalost

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Here's an easily found and succinct definition: In vehicle dynamics, slip angle or sideslip angle is the angle between a rolling wheel's actual direction of travel and the direction towards which it is pointing (i.e., the angle of the vector sum of wheel forward velocity and lateral velocity ).

Your own statement supports this, but it appears we comprehend this information differently.

6. ### BetterLateThanNeverNice, until you're not.

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Appreciate it, but there's probably not much point in pursuing the matter in this setting. I think I comprehend what a slip angle is... and I know that a car, for instance, steers by generating a slip angle. What this debate has been about is whether that ever happens on a motorcycle, too. I think it does, and so do a lot of people who, unlike me, have credentials. Some don't, and I think their arguments speak for themselves.
7. ### Dolly SodI want to do right, but not right now

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No, this conversation had been about how and or whether one needs to initiate lean to turn a motorcycle at some very slow speed.

Slip angle, as discussed in that article, concerns a motorcycle already leaning and turning.
8. ### Lion BRI'd rather be riding

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Interesting... I had a similar learning experience, but on a completely different environment, as a dirt rider: I learned counter steering on a straight gravel road. I had never heard of counter-steering on those days, as I learned to ride on my own, but I knew one thing, that I did not want my front wheel to wash out on the deep gravel I was riding. The front wheel, though, kept tracking into the path of lowest resistance, usually trying to follow the tracks of other vehicles on deeper areas of gravel and they were weaving all over the place. So I learned by trial and error that leaning the bike was the way to go to manage the front wheel to go where I wanted it to go and not let it wander as much, not knowing I was counter steering... People asked me then (30-some years ago) and still ask me today how is it that I can ride so fast on gravel roads. I simply tell them "I counter-steer". And once the bike leans, get on the gas...

One funny thing is that once I heard counter-steering does not work on dirt. Really?

The second thing is that adventure riding (which is what I do most) has adopted standing up as the way to go. It does help on two main things (maybe three, if we include better vision on the distance and on what's next): 1) it helps the bike's suspension when going through bumps and rocky terrain, if you do it properly (flex your arms and knees as appropriate); and 2) when standing up, the notion of "steering with the pegs", is actually a counter-steering movement. Let me explain, as it sounds counter-intuitive, pun intended. Try it on your bike, as you stand up, press the right foot peg. What happened? To keep your balance your right arm pushed the handlebars, the left arm pulled the handlebars, effectively producing a strong counter-steer on the handlebars. If you don't do this move with your arms, you will fall off the bike... That is, effectively "weighing" the pegs generates an automatic compensatory movement, where the rider will counter-steer to balance him/herself on the bike. Very handy...

What's interesting is that most adventure riders think it is the leverage of their feet on the foot peg which is leaning or steering the bike, while in reality, it is the resulting arm pushing on the handlebars which is actually doing the majority of the leaning effort via counter steering. Interesting indeed that most adventure riders, the ones who ride standing, they purposefully counter steer and may not even know they do it, thanks for standing up.
9. ### Lion BRI'd rather be riding

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For everyone who still does not "believe" in counter steering, go for a ride. Then go to a safe straight area, and just slightly pull on the handlebars, one side then the next, and I guarantee we will no longer need to have this conversation, you will no longer need to bring diagrams to this conversation, nor find quotes of obscure theories.

In less than 100ft you will learn how much better riding is because you purposefully countersteer... I included a video I've done long, long time ago where I check to see if anyone is behind me and start counter-steering on a straight road just for the sake of it, because it is fun...

Of course, it also works on curves, to quickly lean the bike when you see fit to start the curve and, VERY IMPORTANT, to adjust trajectory while on the curve.

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Like I tell riders that question countersteering; chose a road you ride a lot with a general turn with clear sightlines, for instance a RH turn. While in the turn leaning to the right, "steer" the handlebar into the turn and find out where the bike goes. Then ride that turn again in the same direction, while in the turn leaning to the right, "countersteer" the handlebar and find out where the bike goes. That pretty seals the deal. If a rider tries to argue against that result, then quit riding.

Now aside from realizing that countersteering (however you apply it) does work and IS the way to accurately control the motorcycle when YOU chose to do it as YOU chose the results. A good rider also realizes that steering into a turn (pressing on the "outside" grip) is also a control choice and an effective technique. Not unlike in dirt riding if the front tire starts to wash out "steer" into the dirt/gravel and the bike will stand up again rather start a low side.
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11. ### Center-standLong timer

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..

Can you counter steer this one to initiate lean?

..
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12. ### lnewqbanNinjetter

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If going fast enough, you must.
Easily seen @4:50.
13. ### ikonoklassKountersteering Krew

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I had this same argument with Klay a couple years ago. After much reflection, I believe he is correct.
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I've been riding since I was a young kid. The way it has alway worked for me is: leaning turns the bike, and steering controls the lean. Countersteering is the fastest most efficient way to increase lean, and steering into the turn slows, stops, or reverses lean. This is why at slow parking lot speeds you steer heavily the direction you want to go, because almost no lean is needed and if you don't steer into it you lean too much and fall over. You can steer by leaning only, but it is slow and takes huge input, and if you go a little too far, correction is also slow so you have to grab the bars to correct.
One thing that I've noticed is that the amount of counter steering needed to initiate and maintain a lean varies significantly from bike to bike. It seems to be tied closest to the height (center of gravity) of the bike but I'm sure wheel base, tire type, and other variables come in to play also. On my shorter bikes with lower center of gravity, I find I need to give more counter steer to keep the bike leaned in the curve. On my dr and especially my strom, once in the curve it wants to fall further in on its own so I need actively steer more into the curve to keep it up and come out of the curve. I commute the same curvy road to work and it always surprises me how differently I have to drive the same road with different bikes.
15. ### Jim Moore"You ain't black!"

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The bike really shouldn't do that. Depending on the bike you can make geometry adjustments to get rid of that feeling. You should be able to (nearly) let go of the handlebars in a turn and have the bike continue to track. If the bike is tucking in you can raise the front end 5-10 mm (lower the forks in the triples). If the bike is standing up you can go the opposite way, lower the front end.

You can also add or subtract preload to make the bike sit higher or lower in the stroke. Or change springs, depending on how fancy you want to get.

Another trick is to change air pressure. If a bike is falling into the turn, try lowering the air pressure in both tires by 5 psi. That will make a noticeable difference. Speaking of tires, different manufacturers have different profiles. Dunlops and Michelins seem a little more tippy to me. Pirellis are the opposite. For adventure-type bikes. Metzeler Tourances require more input to turn (and keep in the turn), Conti Trail Attacks are more tippy. Also, a squared-off rear tire will cause the bike to try to stand up out of the turn.

Body position is another quick fix. Hang off more if the bike is standing up, less if it's tucking in.

I'll warn you, once you start messing with this it becomes a lifelong obsession. Nothing will ever be perfect, but it's fun to make changes and see how they affect handling. And once in a blue moon you'll think to yourself, "Dammit, that's IT!"
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16. ### Center-standLong timer

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17. ### BetterLateThanNeverNice, until you're not.

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Be more impressive if he had air in the tires.
18. ### GravelRiderAKA max384Supporter

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Could somebody here tell me what the best oil for my WR250R is?

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