Countersteer or Die!

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

  1. tvpierce

    tvpierce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    855
    Location:
    Maine
    Are there seriously people who don't believe in counter steering? :scratch That's like denying the existence of gravity.

    Are they also Flat-Earthers? :loco
    #21
    Siklid likes this.
  2. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16,549
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    Nah it is not another take. As I said, I skipped the initiation of the turn part just because of all that is involved. I'm only pointing out the actual true turn against the direction of turn after leaning in to the turn. How you get the turn started is where everyone goes bonkers.

    Prove it to yourself, try not either pushing on the bars or, if riding hands off, or leaning against the direction of turn and see what happens. If you don't do that you fall down go boom. It is simply the part that is totally inarguable. As I said, go try it.

    The whole initiation of the turn is enough to, as you say, make my brain hurt. That's some bad ass physics there.
    #22
  3. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,338
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    I tell my MSF students using the press action in the direction of the turn is simply the easiest, most direct way to become competent at CHOOSING the exact line you want your motorcycle to track through a turn. Then I say it is not the ONLY way, just the most direct, quickest result method to apply, feel and learn.

    There are many ways to make a motorcycle lean. But the key is to learn, practice and use a consistent effective method. Every time I see a "motorcycle failed to negotiate a turn" crash report in the news I know it was another rider that had no idea how to MAKE a motorcycle track the way want instead of letting it track the way it goes. I've had riders tell me "the bike wouldn't make the turn." No. YOU the rider kept the bike from making the turn. YOU the rider screwed up.
    #23
    nk14zp and WYO George like this.
  4. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16,549
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    Really the best thing in my thoughts is to do as you said. No need to tell them what they're doing. I rode bicycles for about 20 years and motorcycles for around 4 years before I learned about counter steering. My brother told me to try to turn right by steering right while riding a bicycle at a decent pace. Couldn't do it. First it wasn't natural to me and second it didn't work. I didn't need to know what I was doing, I just did it when I started riding a bicycle and then again riding motorcycles. Not knowing didn't affect my skills, seemed I could race flat track and hare scrambles along with screwing around on trails and then street riding. It just happens. If it doesn't... you crash.
    #24
  5. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,611
    Location:
    N.H.
    At a track day the head instructor had a great demonstration which was mostly aimed at the newby C riders.

    The school had a bicycle wheel with a long axle mounted so that you could hold it in front of you with a hand on each side. Another person would give it a spin. Then you were instructed to push your left hand forward and your right hand backwards. The wheel would instantly tilt over toward the left. Very difficult the prevent the tilt and that was a lightweight bicycle wheel without a tire.

    That's countersteering.


    Also the folks who think that they can turn just by leaning probably are doing a bit of countersteering without realizing it. The next time you are out riding, lean your body over to one side- that alone will probably have you pushing on that handlebar grip. You just countersteered but to a "I turn by leaning" person, they think that they turned just by leaning.
    #25
  6. BalancePoint

    BalancePoint Mucker

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    322
    Location:
    Florida, flatter than hammered shit.
    There are certainly many ways to make a motorcycle lean, but if your implication is that there are many ways to initiate a turn in a positive objective manner at the speed above which the bike must be counter-steered, I'd say there's only one other way, obviously. Pull on the side opposite the direction you wish to turn. The list of options stops at 2. I'm not an instructor, so if you have more options I'm willing to be convinced.
    #26
    scfrank and Rockred like this.
  7. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,221
    Location:
    Corrales, New Mexico
    I have noticed on my lightweight bike (270ish) the effort to counter steer is very slight. So it sort of feels like I am just leaning the bike to steer. On my heavier Vstrom (460ish) the force required to counter steer is more noticeable.

    Off road in the sand I have been practicing steering by just weight shifting or leaning the bike, and it seems to make sand much easier. In sand counter steering isn't easy since the bars seem to do whatever they want. Still lots to learn
    #27
  8. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,338
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Aha, you hit on the issue of why countersteering is the preferred method, timing. Yes there are many ways to make a motorcycle lean. But most other methods are less direct in chassis response, more subtle in feel. Countersteering works on a standard handlebar, works on a cafe style flat handlebar, works on apehangers. Works regardless of where the feet are located, like under the rider or forward with floorboards. Even if the rider's feet are on the floorboards. When others say "I make the bike lean by whatever method" they are likely only saying what works for them on the bike they ride. Countersteering works for all bikes.
    #28
  9. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16,549
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    It damn well better be the preferred way - it's the only way a rider can steer a motorcycle without crashing at any speed over maybe 10 mph. No matter your method the only way the bike will turn the preferred direction, hold that rate of turn and move out of the turn is steering forces counter to the direction of the turn. It happens no matter what. It is nature of the single track beast.

    Mud and sand, other loose deep surfaces will change the game entirely since the front wheel no longer relies on the tire contact patch, but rather it acts like a rudder. A pain in the butt front mounted rudder. In deep sand the technique is to shift weight back and gas it some. Anything less will have the front wheel start to dig into the sand and act like a rudder. Most steering in deeper sand and mud will rely on weight shift and minimal front wheel due to tendency for the front wheel to knife in or wash out - plop!
    #29
    CaptCapsize likes this.
  10. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,381
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Actually, although the lean is the same as what you get when countersteering, what you describe is gyroscopic force. That actually has a quite small effect relative to the CG/momentum shift that countersteering produces. If what you describe is countersteering, then motorcycles would do fine when the front wheel hits ice or oil, while still spinning. They don't.
    It is a useful thing as a way to teach newbies. But there is a lot more to it than the gyroscopic force that a spinning wheel has.
    #30
    4bikes and jkav like this.
  11. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16,549
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    And all the more reason not to try to explain it all to new riders. Tell them what to do and let them ride. No one had to explain it to me. Just like no one had to explain why the human body has adequate flotation and my hands being able to propel me forward to be able to swim.

    It does make for a good BS session in a forum though.
    #31
  12. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,338
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    YES! More than a few times I have told a student, "don't think it, just do it and feel how the bike responds", because if you try to think it out and then try to do it, you'll never get the desired result. Previously someone posted to pull on the handlebar opposite the turn. Well, pull on the right or push/press on the left and the bike will go left. Same for the opposite input. Its the same result done a bit differently.

    I've played with "steering" at highway speed on a broad RH turn on a two lane road. I imagined I needed to quickly move the bike away from a large object on the centerline. I "steered" hard right as a unknowing novice might do, and the bike quickly moved across the centerline into the oncoming lane, and I nailed the imaginary hazard I was trying to avoid.

    Yes, to a point leaning a motorcycle comes easily and naturally to the point most marginal riders never realize they are countersteering. The difference is when the bike must be moved quickly and accurately. Then, countersteering HAS to be applied, quickly, with intent and expected result. That is something a rider needs to try and practice, or it will not happen to the right result.
    #32
    nk14zp, drmiller100 and BalancePoint like this.
  13. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16,549
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    Yeah, if you had to think every time it would take for ever to do a turn. It has to be as instinctual as humanly possible for best results.
    #33
  14. Patek

    Patek Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    905
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Don't forget oil...
    #34
  15. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    24,724
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    What oil to use is more debatable than whether or not countersteering works. Car tires I'll leave alone.
    #35
  16. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    24,724
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    Knowledge, practice that turns into skill is my choice.
    #36
  17. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,338
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Yet, a large percentage of riders, if they get home from a ride without issue, feel they have the skills needed. I have seen many a 20 year/first year rider. Meaning, no better skills at 20 years than a decent first year rider. Just the same marginal skill set repeated 20 years over.

    All riders have a comfort zone they ride within. My goal is to help them raise that comfort level with more skills and control, which makes for a more competent prepared rider.
    #37
  18. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16,549
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    Off roading with some racing does a lot for a rider, as does back road on a dual sport. Going out and sliding around looking for those really gnarly public roads where it is legal to ride. Push it a bit without cars and trucks around.
    #38
    AHRMA17L and scfrank like this.
  19. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,146
    Location:
    Nelson, New Zealand
    One instructor expressed it, "do you have ten years' experience? or one year's experience ten times over?"
    #39
  20. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,338
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Yeah, why can't we just agree that some of many forms of countersteering works, and each rider has to find what works for him/her, practice and use that, and be happy. Just ride more and use it.
    #40