Countersteer or Die!

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

  1. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

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  2. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    Ha, figures its a Kevin Cameron article, his are the best for describing how things work. Years ago after reading his articles I finally understood that engine "breathing" is what is desired to make best power and torque, not just engine size.

    What Kevin describes as the roll axis for leaning and how Honda engineers had to learn fuel placement around that roll axis for handling is to me very clear. I have built three recumbent bicycles where by design my body roll center (the belly button) is very close to the roll center of the bike when I am on it. Hoo boy is that a responsive chassis layout, so much so that until you get used to it the rider is constantly over-steering and using way too much steering input. Relax, lighten up the inputs and the bike is very stable and easily ridable. Wish I had this stuff in high school Physics classes, I would have listened and done better than a C grade.
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  3. lnewqban

    lnewqban Ninjetter

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    [​IMG]
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  4. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    For motorcycles, the axis of roll, longitudinal roll, is the one we strive for. Its the roll we enjoy as we haul through corners and feel the bike respond to our inputs. The roll axis is why we can maneuver a motorcycle through a turn without even having hands on the grips. Thats why a cycle with the footpegs directly under the riders butt can be "steered" with footpeg pressure.

    This video has some fantastic views close in at the action.

    Though the way the lean angle is presented straight on really is not correct because it shows the bike leaning on the contact patches, and not through the roll axis.
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  5. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    ... to late

    ... I'm dead. :muutt
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  6. RVDan

    RVDan Long timer

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    I've been riding for twenty years without a crash. I read this thread and then crashed in my own driveway.
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  7. lnewqban

    lnewqban Ninjetter

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    Exactly!

    It can be seen in these videos that the axis of roll is located as high above the road as the center of gravity of the mass formed by rider and motorcycle.
    Observe how these bikes roll around an imaginary point located between the front fender and the air intake.
    The head of the rider rolls over the right at the same time that the contact patches roll over the left.

    http://www.motogp.com/en/videos/2009/07/22/hyper-slow-motion-at-sachsenring/109101

    Also, the actual lean angle should be measured from the center of the contact patch, rather than from the center-line of the tires.
    The wider the tires, the bigger the difference is between the angle of the chassis and the actual lean angle.

    Forward vid to 1:25





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    #87
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  8. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    Thanks for that. I could "see" the roll axis and actual lean angle of motorcycles long before these videos became common, but seeing it diagrammed makes all that more clear. Because the rider and motorcycle are a composite in the physics of leaning, rider body position is critical to achieving effective cornering. Consider a rider that leans his upper body the wrong way at high lean angles: if done in that picture above, it becomes clear that improper body position causes the motorcycle to lean more than it has too when cornering, and can get a rider in trouble quickly.

    That diagrammed photo also clearly depicts how modern elliptical profile sport bike tires offer a consistent contact patch from straight up to leaned in. In fact, due to loading at lean, some tire profiles offer more contact while leaned in than when straight up. Which also confirms that many modern motorcycles provide far more capability than most riders ever even begin to use.
    #88
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  9. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Axis roll... mmmmmmmmm cinnamon roll..... I'm hungry!

    This is now unofficially boring. :snore
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  10. 4bikes

    4bikes Been here awhile

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    I Guess you have to work on Your Reading ;')
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  11. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

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    My oldest son is a reasonably accomplished motorcycle racer. I asked him once what he did when he badly over-cooked a turn while road racing. He said, "running off the racing surface is not a good option. I push harder on the inside handlebar forcefully and hope the front tire sticks. If it doesn't we low side. But more often we make the turn."

    I will admit he had a lot of low sides. But they are safer than running off the outside of the turn and hitting something solid. Particularly for street riders!

    I think casual riders have a hard time understanding counter steering because of their childhood bicycle experience. They didn't really force a counter steer but rather simply leaned the bicycle. They were counter steering of course but it doesn't feel like pushing the inside bar to make a turn. But aboard a 500 lb motorcycle at speed requires a level of force that is more than 'leaning'. Particularly in street situations! Running wide into oncoming traffic is almost certain death. And you run wide on a motorcycle when trying to depend on your body lean.
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  12. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    This is so true. When I was getting some cornering coaching a few years back, a similar piece of advice really stuck with me: If you've got yourself into a pickle like that, pushing harder is always the right thing. The bike can do far more than you think it can (and you are probably leaning far less than you think you are). And if you do run out of traction, a low side is always better than a high side. That really taught me to commit.
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  13. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

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    That was the other word he used. You have to 'commit'...
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  14. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Coming from the off road side of things, it's kind of like when the rear end slides out too far, the wise choice is to low side it - slide out. If the throttle is chopped it's high side city! Ya look like Superman flying through the air, but the landing will remind you, you ain't Superman - it hurts!

    Oddly enough no one ever taught us how to "lay 'er down". The situation usually just happens as a result of the right action. Come into the turn too hot, trying to carve in deeper with the front wheel and some throttle to keep the rear spinning is the right thing, if the speed is actually too hot the rear will come around (swapping ends as they call it) and low side. If the brake is involved, it may be that the rear wheel slides out on the flat track, since that is the only brake and using it hard will usually result in lock up. I swapped ends a lot when playing on a short track, come in hot and just can't quite get it to turn in tight enough. Part of the learning process in flat track and dirt. Don't tear up near as much as a sport/race bike does. Bend a brake pedal or shifter, that's about it. Cart wheeling a high side breaks stuff!

    I don't get the "push the bar" thing being the sole comment from experienced riders, because that is simply part of the action for a turn. Leaning the bike in harder when off road is common, mostly because the rider ends up foot out and leaning the bike is shifting weight in, bar action is still part of the game plan. On the pavement the corresponding action may be leaning or sliding more upper body in while doing the bar action, sometimes even opening the throttle since it will tend to make the bike turn in deeper. I just find it hard to break out any single thing. Take away any part and the action is reduced.

    Telling a new rider about the push/pull thing is fine, get them to experiment, but leaving out weight shift and leaning does not make sense. After they learn push/pull, they should learn how weight shift plays in, even if it's just leaning the upper body or hanging a knee out a bit. Letting off throttle versus opening it in a turn. Even light braking eventually, to see what happens then. They should play with all the "tools".
    #94
  15. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    My best example of effective countersteering (that saved my ass) was in south central Missouri, SE of Potosi, running the twisties 2up leading three other bikes on my 94 R1100RS. Came out of a left hander into an uphill cresting right hander. I was reading the tree line to estimate the turn radius since I couldn't see the exit over the crest (nudge, nudge) and thought the turn looked good for a 60mph entry speed. Well,....no, its a decreasing radius cresting right hander, with a pickup in the oncoming lane. I kept the throttle on, looked deeper to the turn exit, and pressed hard on the RH grip to lean it in tighter. The centerstand isn't touching, its grinding all the way through the turn. My RH boot edge is dragging. My passeger yells. We cleared the turn with no more drama. I asked her why she yelled, she said "my boot edge was dragging!" You OK? Thumbs up in front of me, ride on!! Good thing I took a deep late apex into the turn.

    The bike nailed the turn, solid, 2up. Had I freaked, chopped the throttle, touched the brakes, etc, the bike probably would have run wide and I may have nailed the pickup. Same for if I had freaked and looked at the pickup instead of the turn exit. My training, and confidence in the bike and myself saved my ass. And it was a strong humbler to not go in hot when you can't see the turn exit. But like said above, it was the moment to commit, and not give up control, like way too many riders do.
    #95
  16. JohnCW

    JohnCW Long timer

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    Out of curiosity, why would 'rolling back' the throttle and trail braking into the unexpected reducing radius corner have meant 'giving up control'?

    And didn't grinding hard parts mean that you were just lucky that the unknown corner didn't tighten up any more than it did, because you would have been unable to lean the bike any further, and would have been forced onto the wrong side of the road and into the oncoming vehicle?

    Also wouldn't getting off to the side of the bike in advance of the corner, as part of stopping the bike standing up, as you trail braked into this unexpected corner also have given you more ground clearance (reduced lean angle and slower speed) and parts may not have even touched?

    The reality is you had a pillion on board (which of itself should mean riding conservatively and considerately), you drove hard into a blind corner on the gas, scraping hard parts big time, and you were lucky to pull it off this time. Next time the result may be different. And you really want to promote your superior 'training' as what pulled it off? Honestly I think it needs some work, quite a bit actually.
    #96
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  17. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

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    I didn't say anything about rolling back the throttle and trail braking as giving up control. I said about chopping the throttle which is a common mistake made by riders not skilled in cornering.

    Yes, I was very lucky that the turn allowed me to apply the actions and make it through. Like I said it was a real humbler about not assuming what I could not see going into the turn entry. The counter-point I make is that I made a huge mistake assuming the turn was consistent, but I did have a skill set to save my ass as I said. No, what I did for that turn is not the only way to do it, nor was it the right way to do it. The skills I had got me through it instead of what many unskilled riders would do.

    Again, I said it was a real humbler to not go in hot like I did. I clarify now that it is far better to go in slower and out quicker.
    #97
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  18. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Try riding into some corner you know well, roll off the throttle in the middle of the corner and see what happens. Then try braking in the middle of the corner and see what happens. Chances are really good you will find in both situations the bike wil go wider in the corner unless you compensate and steer in deeper. In reading bike tests, at least good comprehensive ones, you may find where the rider comments about a bike wanting to stand up under braking or roling off throttle in a turn.

    Conversely, if you accelerate mid turn the bike will tend to turn in tighter. Don't have the reasons or the science, just know what happens when I do it.

    Lot of assumptions for not knowing the situation. No idea how radical the decrease in the radius was, no idea how "hard" the rider was riding. All that is really stated is that he overestimated a reasonable speed based on what he saw. An error. Would you have said the same thing if he had said the speed was 30? Same error either way. He may have been at or only 5 mph over speed limits depending on where he was riding. So it very likely may have been relatively casual riding, with one error. No reason to hang off before going into the corner. Have you never hit a decreasing radius turn? One where the turn rather quickly becomes significantly tighter without warning? A rider doesn't have to be riding hard to be caught up short in one and is more likely to have it catch them out when riding casually.

    I see his explanation, some assumptions were wrong. Maybe if he had said "entered the corner a bit too fast because", instead of saying came in "hot".
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  19. JohnCW

    JohnCW Long timer

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    Basically Mark, you haven't a clue what you are talking about.

    Ever heard of a riding technique called 'throttle steering'. Probably not. It works like this ....

    You roll off the throttle and your slowing speed for a given lean angle tightens you into the corner. Conversely roll on the throttle for a given lean angle and you're increasing speed will make you run wider. Basic physics. That's why we accelerate OUT of a corner.

    No charge, lesson was free. Please spare my a 5000 word response.
    #99
  20. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Maybe you tell my bike that - and these riders toor:
    Top tips for braking in corners

    Braking mid corner can feel odd. The steering has more weight placed on it, making turning the bike harder. The bike may also want to stand up a little.

    Apply a little more force to the inside bar to keep the bike on the line required to make the turn. If you find that you have entered a turn faster than you had anticipated, use some front brake to slow the bike and make the turn.

    However be aware, too much brake force and the front tyre may lose traction. So be smooth.

    Another method used to assist in tightening a bikes line in a corner is to use a little rear brake.

    Dragging the rear brake slightly, can assist in tightening your line. Again too much brake and you may lose grip, but a little will assist in you making the turn.

    It is better to use a little brake, either front or rear while leaning the bike, than to stand the bike up and brake hard. It is something that should be practised, so when the technique is needed, you can operate it successfully without losing front or rear grip.

    Remember that a bike will maintain a tighter turning radius for any given lean angle with the throttle slightly opened.

    Watching racers like Casey Stoner through turn 3 at Phillip Island is an example of this method.


    About the author/test pilot: Marty Thompson, 48, has been riding since he was a kid, got his first road bike in 1983, raced road bikes from 1993-1997 and has owned more than 30 bikes. He was a B support rider for Cosway Motorcycles/TKA in 1996 with Kevin Curtain as his team mate.



    Here is a quote from an interview with Keith Code discussing turning and in this case, geometry change while braking and accelerating:

    You can do a simple experiment to feel a light version of this by getting the bike leaned over in the corner, go back to gas and then off the gas. When the weight transfers forward, off gas, the bike's first response is to stand up some. That same effect is amplified if brakes are used while leaned over. To counter that "stand up" action the rider must apply some bar pressure to hold his lean. Rider's learn to do this almost unconsciously. It's quite similar to the false perception that the bike stands up on corner exits from acceleration, which it does not. Riders unconsciously steer the bike up as they add gas.

    So I guess I have more of a clue than you think. I think you missed the physics of the effects on suspension and what happens to geometry. Plus it is what my bikes have done when playing around in corners to learn what they do.
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