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Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by IrishJohn, Dec 30, 2012.
Can you explain??
Something I learned to do when I first got on a bicycle as a seven year old kid, over half a century ago. Just copied my mates; no MSF instructors, parents or anything else required. My father did take a couple of minutes to show me the controls of a motorcycle four years later. That was the last instruction I ever had.
Countersteering……? I'd been riding for over 40 years before I came across the term….. in a magazine article by some instructor trying to impress with science.
I reckon, especially the first……
Roadcraft; alertness, awareness, anticipation, common sense, and riding to the conditions are more of a factor in surviving the mean streets than advanced skills and knowledge about the application of physics to motorcycling.
Top racing riders crash relatively often because they are pushing their own limits and their machine's. So do lesser mortals trying to emulate the stars….. often despite their lack of skills or sobriety.
Average Joes or Jills, who ride to get around and are aware of their mortality and their surroundings, manage to muddle along for years with a minimal rate of incidents, despite having only moderate skills.
When you lean a bike / moto, the front wheel turns in the direction of the lean. If the bike isn't moving, then this effect is solely due to the steering geometry causing the front wheel to turn. When moving there are additional forces at work but the result is similar - the front wheel wants to turn into the lean.
From Tony Foale:
I was referring to the thousands of "I ran out of road and went off the outside of the corner" crashes.
Very many motorcyclists are utterly clueless.
Agreed. Your point is what I understand to be the purpose of this discussion.
I'm no expert but I use countersteering to control my leaning angle. When you have to brake (front brake) while cornering you can use countersteering to keep your line instead of letting the bike stand up. With countersteering you can also swerve while cornering to avoid obstacles.
Note: I don't regularly brake while cornering, I adjust my speed before entering the corner. But sometimes you may have no other choice than shedding speed quickly, even through a corner, so that's what you do (and practice).
Yup - sadly, many of the utterly clueless are contributing words.
You think guys like Freddie Spencer, Kevin Schwartz, and Mat Mladin don't know what they are really doing, and you have more insight to what may be happening than multiple times national and world champions? Your evaluating their expertise on your experience with a learner student. :eek1
There is no doubt that accomplished racers know what they are doing, their ability to explain it to the masses might be more perception than reality, although their perception is their reality, it might not be mine.
Let me say first, I appreciate you linking to the article from which your explanation comes. It is informative, and should answer many of the questions presented in this thread.
Secondly, I failed to quote you properly for the question I asked. I should have included the entire sentence, "Once leaned, the steering geometry causes the front wheel to turn.", and only realized this morning that I hadn't.
I understand that steering geometry, causes / allows things to happen that make riding the twisties safe, fun and exciting, What I didn't understand was the idea that I had to learn something before the geometry would do that.
You have gone above and beyond by linking to the article, no need to provide an answer to my petty question.
EDIT; After reading again I find I have made at least two mistakes, the greater being I read "leaned" as "learned". I really need to pay more attention.
Thanks again for the link.
I'm still trying to understand part of the 'no BS' article by Keith Code. About half the way down the page on the following link:
Before I go any further I want to address off-road motorcycles. An off-road motorcycle will easily steer by pressing down on the inside peg, and in conjunction with shifting the upper body mass, will go over pretty easily . Still not what I would call good control but it can be done fairly efficiently.
Again, I am not a true tech guy, but it occurs to me that the small contact patch on knobbies or dual sport tires plus dirt bike steering geometry (which is not intended to provide an enormous amount of stability at speed) contribute to the reasons why steering results from weight shifts to the degree it does on a dirt bike.
Keith clearly acknowledges that off-road motorcycles (I'm assuming this includes dual-sports as well) will easily steer by pressing down on the inside peg and shifting upper body mass. Clearly we still need to hang onto the bars to retain good control. As Keith explains, this significant difference to sports bike and cruiser type motorcycles is due to the uniqueness of the suspension and tires. Shouldn't it be made clearer to dual-sport and dirt bike riders that peg weight and weight shifting are effective inputs as part of the steering process when riding these types of bikes on the road?
Because off-road and dual sport motorcycles can be easily steered by peg weighting and shifting the upper body, wouldn't ipso facto bicycles with significantly small tires be even more responsive?
Because the tire profile of knobbies or dual sport tires makes dirt and dual sport bikes more responsive to peg weighting etc. would fitting them to a regular road bike partially improve its responsiveness?
What specifically is it about the suspension of a dirt/dual sport bike that makes it so highly responsive to peg and upper body weight to that of a regular road bike where there is zero effect?
If someone could shed some light on these matters it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I don't think the tire tread is that important. Tire size, width and the weight of the rim, yes. And the steering geometry (castor). All in all, the forward stability the bike provides. High stability needs more input than just weight. A low stability bike is more easily convinced to change direction, either using countersteering or weight distribution.
I'm not smart enough to get into physics or science to answer your question except on the very basic level of bike weight and the height of center of gravity.
Off road bikes are always lighter and have more ground clearance than most any road bike. Those two factors allow the weight of the rider to have a greater effect on directional stability.
I think any rider that has the opportunity to ride an assortment of bikes will recognize and quickly adapt to the unique characteristics of what ever beast they are on. I love riding my KLR with tires that are capable on gravel / dirt and still have grip on pavement. Tire brands and tread pattern / compound do make a difference but I quickly adapt to a tire change and ride accordingly.
My KLR and R100GSPD are both more responsive to light input than my old HD police bike, but the agility of the KLR is nothing compared to a little DR200. It's been awhile since I rode a pure dirt bike but I remember a couple of years back my shock and surprise when after many years of not riding dirt I had an afternoon on a friends 200 cc KTM. Extremely powerful for it's size, and light, quick, flick-able handling that I had never experienced before.
I'm not a racer, I do have a R1150R, the best handling and most powerful bike I own. It's potential far exceeds my ability and scares me every time I leave the city limits. I ride it the least of everything I own because it encourages me to ride like a hooligan, and I'm too old for that.
Your good self included?
here that vid . i had a heck of a time finding it. please bear in mind it has no editing, the first few seconds are a view of the floor and my hand. also it is meant to demo that a mc can go around corners without hands, that leaning off and counteleaning have an effect on lean angle. but most importantly it is meant to show how to aggressively counter steer and that aggressive steering is possible when is a turn.
for the record even with no hands countersteering is still induced by body English
As you specifically asked me to comment on the video, here's my thoughts in good faith. I trust you'll also treat this response in that same manner.
The choice of motorcycle for the demonstration is interesting. Is there any dispute that the heavier a motorcycle, the more feet forwards, the wider the tires, etc. the less responsive it will be to rider inputs such as weigh shifting and peg weighting? I wouldn't think so. A heavy cruiser will respond less to these rider inputs than a light 250 dual sport (even Keith says the light dual sport can be effectively steered by these methods). A heavy cruiser should also respond significantly less than a certain green 600 sports bike in another well played video.
With this in mind, the rider of the cruiser in the first section of the video is able to ride around corners, all be it at a slow speed, with no hands on the bars using just weight shift. I'm sure we've all seen the many videos where this has been demonstrated. There's even one of a guy doing a tight cones course, and one where a cruiser does relatively decent speed weaves through a course of solid light poles. The purpose of these videos is not to suggest that riding no hand using body shift only is an effective way to control a motorcycle. Who would even consider that? Their purpose is to demonstrate that contrary to the claims of a certain person, body shift is a real steering force that can be utilized to assist a motorcycle turn with less bar induced counter-steering. The rider of the cruiser in the video demonstrates this fact.
The next technique seems to be both counter-steering and body sway. Those hips look to me to be moving back and forth like an Hawaiian hula dancer. Highly effective way to control a motorcycle, bar initiated counter-steering in conjunction with body movement. If you say its 100% bar only I'd say you'd have to totally immobile and lock the rider rigid other than his arms to prove that point. If people can unconsciously counter-steer they can sure unconsciously move other body parts.
The next technique seems to be just leaning. Principally it demonstrates to me that cruisers don't respond very well to just leaning. I don't have a doubt that my light 250 would easily take those gentle curves at that speed with mostly leaning together with only the slightest of bar control.
Next different technique seems to be counter-steering and counter-leaning. This demonstrates again that body weigh is not only important, but highly unproductive if inappropriately applied.
So in summary, to me the video supports the notion that every motorcycle, even a cruiser, will responds to some degree to body weight shifting to initiate a turn. It demonstrates that cruisers don't respond as well as lighter more performance oriented bikes, and so more bar initiated counter-steering needs to be utilized. It demonstrates that the rider of a motorcycle must have their hands on the bars at all times to balance and provide the fine control not possible by any other method. It demonstrates that counter-steering in conjunction with other rider inputs is an effective way to control a motorcycle. The combination of techniques will vary according to the situation, rider experience, and type of motorcycle.
This is completely wrong. I am car free, and have been riding motorcycles for over 40 years. I understand, and have on ocasions too numerous to count, been in a position where quick, precise steering is required. I was able to perform those maneuvers for the 20 or so years that I had no idea that I was countersteering just as well as the last 20 or so years that I have known but did not have to think about it when the maneuvers were required.
There is a lot of information in the head of a new rider. We do NOT need to add information that is not needed.
Unless they have been riding straight their whole lives, they know how to corner a bike. Problem is, they wrote a check with their wrist that their ass couldn't cash.
Ride within your limits and practice.
Thanks for the link.
I have to say I don't understand why this information would be valuable to a new rider. Slow weaving without hands, repeatedly crossing painted lines, knowing that some tires really don't respond well to paint, all seem counter productive to teaching good, safe, riding habits to novice riders. It would take a powerful vocal narrative to make this a convincing new rider tutorial.
The various scenarios involving hands on the bars and leaning, demonstrates to me that hands on the bars counter steering and follow through hands on the bars control, is quite capable of providing a safe trip through a turn when various other "body control" techniques fail miserably. Again, hard to explain to a new rider who might not understand exactly what they are seeing as right or wrong.
Just to rererestate what I'm reading: Countersteering is the only thing that turns a bike, however there are multiple ways to induce countersteering: handlebars, weighting of pegs, leaning of the rider, etc. I haven't seen anyone who has tried to ride a two wheeler with no ability to turn the bars at all regardless of which input causes the initial countersteer. Nor have I seen anyone who has tried a two wheeler that is physically preventing the bars from turning one direction, even slightly, try to turn it by any mean toward the direction the bars will turn.
If anyone tried either of the prevented turning type of two wheeler and succeeded, that would show that it is possible to turn without countersteering via any means of input.
Why discuss something that is "intuitive"? Because too many people who have ridden successfully for years still 'lose control' when turning.