New Rider...refuses to countersteer

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by CutterBill, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Navy Chief

    Navy Chief Long timer Supporter

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    Organizations that get paid to teach people to ride would disagree with your opinion on this, it is taught in the classroom before students even get onto the bikes for the first time.
  2. Homer GSA

    Homer GSA R1200GSA 2008

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    There are many ways to ride a motorcycle, drive a car, putt a golf ball ........

    You do not have to deliberately counter-steer to ride a motorbike and many, including myself, don't.

    I have been an advanced motorcycle rider since 1992 when I did my police motorcycle course and then became a trainer. We steer from the knees/hips and we use soft hands on the bars - similar to catching a football/cricket ball.

    The course we run is five weeks after the rider has done a week trail bike course. The first two weeks is done on track/vehicle manouvering area with the first hour of each day doing low speed cone work. The rider is taught to sit on the bike like a 'sack of potato's' and learns to control the bike with their knees/hips in and out of a line of cones eventually being able to do it standing up one handed, sidesaddle and no hands with a throttle lock. The rest of the day is track work and braking etc - but no talk of counter-steering. Its all from the hips.

    Third week is out on the road and the speed builds up until the end of the fourth week when they are expected to be doing twice the advisory corner limits with the final week basically flat out everywhere. Counter-steering is not discussed. The end product is outstanding. We have 15 motorcyclists on squad and over 60 years have had one fatal crash and one that caused serious trauma - taking into account they spend 8hrs a day five days a week in a response capacity its bloody good.

    We do counter-steer, kind of, when really hooking in but that is at the very top end of speed through corners. Most of the control is still from the hips with a slight push on the bar. But for the majority of riding we simply don't. I think it is instinctive to counter-steer when hooking in as you tend to force the bike over into the turn.

    Keep in mind we dont lean off the bike like a GP rider so that may be another reason. We keep our body like the sack of spuds earlier and keep our head horizontal with the road.

    Anyways, thats my experience.

    Cheers

    Homer
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  3. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    I think bikes get confusing because at low speed when you aren’t leaning you just turn the bars the direction you want to go, like you would steer a car. I’m sure plenty of people who rode bicycles never rode them more than maybe 15mph and certainly didn’t lean much so this is what they would bring into riding a motorcycle. Once you pick up speed the transition occurs where you need to tip the bike and set the lean angle for the curve by pushing opposite direction only enough to set the lean angle, then your maintaining by pulling/pushing to keep that lean angle.

    A lot of people don’t ride a bicycle fast and aren’t experiencing counter steering forces or leaning over in corners if at all. They bring that experience into a motorcycle.

    My wife is deathly afraid of motorcycles because she feels like it’s going to fall over in corners. I could see how anyone who feels this way would be very apprehensive about tipping a bike into a corner and would resist those inputs. Just like flying an airplane it’s not for everyone.

    I learned to ride on a scooter without the clutch to deal with, I still think it’s a great way to learn. You can’t get going very fast and everything happens slower on one plus you can get your feet down no problem. Once your zipping around you can add a clutch into the mix later. Nobody knows how to use a manual transmission these days anyway, never mind one on a motorcycle. And they can always stick with a scooter if they want, plus they’re lightweight and inexpensive.

    Get a ruckus on a go cart track and that’s a good days fun for a learner or someone with experience. Or throw them in the bed of a truck and take them out to a quiet set of 25-30mph roads and learn there, you’ll be just a bit faster than bicycle speeds and it’s a nice small step up for someone who will need some time to adjust to the higher speeds and lean angles needed to corner with a motorcycle.
  4. falcn

    falcn Squidless Soul Supporter

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    I read a couple times now about the bad riding course experience, just want to let you know I read it. Forget about that one class, GET HER IN A TOTAL CONTROL CLASS IN CA. It doesn't MATTER that it doesn't get her a license in OR or WA or whatever state, that can come later. Not being able to ride won't get her a license in ANY state.

    Ah, damn. Just read that she quit. This is what can happen in these instances when people refuse to go to a competent class. Dang.
  5. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Got it.

    Based on what you said it appears that you have failed. Too bad.
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  6. Janus9

    Janus9 Been here awhile

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    But do they hold the bike up at the front of the bike and try to walk them through it, turning the bars for them etc... as if this is how you turn a motorcycle, before they get on the bike and try to ride it?

    I am very curious, are these organizations physically doing this because they believe if they don't explain it, physically force the rider to do it, these people will never learn how to ride and won't be able to turn the motorcycle while riding. This is what this guy was doing.

    Maybe they do, I don't know, and this is where this guy got the idea.

    Not everyone learns the same way, and some pick it up much quicker than others, some take much longer.

    Talking about it for a few minutes vs trying to force someone to do it, because this is the RIGHT way and you will never learn to ride unless you do, is two different situations.

    I also said, that talking about and learning about counter steering was important, but not at first IMO.

    From reading the posts she was able to ride some, but had problems with slow speed maneuvers at the very least.

    IMO, this ladies problem was that she was scared, was all tightened up etc..... She didn't want to lean the bike over too much out of fear that she was going to fall over. She needed to learn how to get over her fear, get more comfortable etc.. not learn the physics of counter steering and this is how the bike turns, you better start doing it this way etc....

    It's too bad this lady had this experience from someone she trusted.

    Maybe she will in the future enroll in a class with only women from an instructor that isn't so caught up on teaching how to ride from the perspective of the physics of riding. Some people just take longer than others and need a more human perspective of teaching.

    I also wonder if this guy is an engineer or physicist or something similar, that would explain a lot.
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  7. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

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    Evidently he to defered to the great philosopher W.C Fields.
    "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit no use being a damn fool about it."
  8. troy safari carpente

    troy safari carpente Team f5oolery

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    Hear, hear... the above post should be mandatory reading for all of the Johnny come lately riding school graduates out there, that espouse ad infinitum the (omg it's a goddamned epiphany :norton ) "counter steering" rhetoric amongst their fellow "riders" like it is some sort of be all and end all secret to steering a motorcycle. :clap
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  9. fateddy

    fateddy \m/

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    This is the best countersteering thread in a while. How will you all decide who gets to have the last word?
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  10. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    Keep it simple learning, no need for a physics lesson. You can watch twist of the wrist once your comfortable riding around and eliminate you’re bad habits.

    The OP is from aviation and that’s how they train. I don’t think he was trying to be harmful explaining how things work. That’s very common for pilots (I’m a pilot also). I think end the end she probably had fears that couldn’t be overcome and riding wasn’t for her, which is fine, it’s not for everyone.

    I didn’t know what counter-steering was for the first 10 years I rode on the street, I just knew what to do to get the bike to behave how I wanted.

    When my father learned to ride in his mid 60’s having just ridden bicycles his entire life I handed him a bunch of my riding books and told him to watch a twist of the wrist over and over and wipe out the bad habits. He’s a solid rider in just a few years with decent cornering skills and just rode a bike to Alaska 13k miles. He knew what counter-steering was way before me thanks to Keith Code’s video and the total control books.
  11. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    Me....err wait
    It will be @no
  12. ETZ

    ETZ Gary

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    You don’t need to know the physics to be able to do something. People have been falling flat on their faces for ever without knowing the first thing about Newton’s inverse square law.
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  13. Berchunis

    Berchunis Been here awhile

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    It may came to some as a shock, but there are people out there who would last 20 minutes on a motorcycle before they crashed.
  14. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    WHAT??!!! Say it ain't so!!

  15. JETalmage

    JETalmage Been here awhile

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    Clearly, all those crashes were due to omission of an erudite lecture on "counter-steering."

    JET
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  16. Tool.Nerd

    Tool.Nerd An idiot that owns a bike

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    Rather enjoyed the pair of "stunters". Then I started wondering if the left one burnt her head/shoulder against her friend's engine. Probably not an attractive scar.
  17. curtis6870

    curtis6870 Long timer

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    How bout counter-counter steering?
    I do it.
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  18. kames

    kames Been here awhile

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    This is a subject that fascinates me. I had never heard of counter steering until I started reading this forum a couple years ago, when I bought my first sidecar. It pops up all over the hacks forum, about unlearning counter steering for hacks. I've had motorcycles as long as I've had a license, 37 years, motorcycles were always just faster bicycles. Just this summer I did some experimenting on country roads and here's what "I" found. It works, but it's a terrible sluggish way to steer a bicycle, it works better steering a motorcycle. It feels like weaving to steer to me. I'm not steering a motorcycle by doing it without realizing it. I'm just leaning my body, I can do it no hands. Now it does make sense to me that this could become more important with a large bike with a lot of mass, but I've never owned a large bike. I rode a friends gold wing once, many years ago, but didn't catch on I couldn't steer. I did, however, notice the mass effect in sweeping curves. I continue to learn. At the moment I only own the sidecar rig, so the point is moot for now.

    I suspect many of the crashing women in the above video have never operated a clutch and need to start in a more basic place, having said that I learned by grab and go. When I got my endorsement my local DMV had no road test for it, the guy said "ride around the block and I'll stand here and watch you". It's entirely possible I can't ride, who knows.
  19. CROSSBOLT

    CROSSBOLT Been here awhile

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    I watched in fascination young girls mastering the clutch and foot shifts at MSF Basic Rider Course in Florida, 2009. Those two instructors had those girls riding and shifting in a very short time! They, none of them, had ever driven a manual shift car ever! There was one crash during the course and that was a young guy who knew everything! The counter steer exercise was interesting in that everyone "got" it and passed. There were two older women who had to re-test because they were too slow! One of them was my dear wife! She still takes most turns on the highway at 35 mph!

    The hazard avoidance/rapid lane change is nearly impossible without using mostly counter-steer technique which is the point of the exercise. It forces the rider to understand and use the skill.
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  20. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Souped-Up Weasel

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    It's not that you "can't" steer a motorcycle without deliberately countersteering. Obviously you can. Any kid riding his bike to school with no hands can show you that. But, both you and the no-hands kid are still initially causing the front wheel to out-track, meaning to turn away from the direction you want to go. That's the only way to get a bike to lean in the direction you do want to go. Once you accept that, you can recognize that the quickest, most direct, and most precise way to make the front wheel out-track is by pressing on the handgrip in the direction you want to go.

    Either way will work. You can move your body around, which will eventually cause the front wheel to out-track, and cause the bike to lean ponderously in one direction or another. Or, you can give the handgrip a gentle nudge, which will cause you to go from straight-up-and-down to leaned over and turning almost faster than you can think. I know which one I prefer.
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