New Rider...refuses to countersteer

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

  1. curtis6870

    curtis6870 Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
    3,517
    Location:
    GA
    The old countersteerung thread was WAY better. No relationship advice, only that of riding. Some of which was even accurate.
  2. ObiJohn

    ObiJohn Screaming Banshee Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,216
    Location:
    Seattle suburbia
    Well, your ladyfriend who says that countersteering doesn't make sense yet keeps on crashing is stuck on stupid. If she keeps on doing the same thing (and failing) while expecting different results, I'd discourage her from riding. Or, I'd ask her if she's tired of going off the road and falling, and if so maybe it's time to try something different even if she doesn't see how it could work. After all, what does she have to lose... except continuing to crash? She is obviously feeling some pain from falling and from frustration... isn't she tired of the pain yet?

    You need to tell her that bikes turn by leaning, and the only way to lean a bike is to move the center of gravity toward the direction you want to turn. You do that by pushing the handlebar on the side you want to turn, and that starts the bike leaning in that direction, which starts the turning... and then you hold the handlebars in the position that keeps the lean angle you need to complete a turn. A motorcycle is not a car, and the physics and mechanics of turning are different and counterintuitive.

    If she will not go 10 to 15 mph down the center of the runway at your private airport and at least try the countersteering exercise of pushing on the opposite handlebar slightly to see what happens, then she has a cognitive bias issue that precludes her from safely riding a motorcycle on the street at any speed. If you care for this person, advise her that if she absolutely will not even try countersteering then she should forego motorcycling for her own safety.
    Andyvh1959 likes this.
  3. Turismo9999

    Turismo9999 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    214
    Location:
    Bryson City, North Carolina
    Just so all you guys chiming in now know, this all wrapped up sometime back. She decided to give up riding.
    Berchunis and Traxx like this.
  4. fonztheyeti

    fonztheyeti king of all i survey

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,085
    Location:
    below me
    sure... spoil the fun...
    Johann and Suncoaster like this.
  5. CutterBill

    CutterBill I hate motorcycles

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    Rosamond, CA
    LOL... If I had any brains at all, I would. She is smart, funny and very good company. But, having been a bachelor for the last 35 years, I'm pretty happy doing things my own way.

    Bill
    Sal Pairadice likes this.
  6. ozmoses

    ozmoses .

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    39,969
    Location:
    -
  7. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,124
    Location:
    New York
    Ugh. I am so creeped out by that. Its like thinking about how to get a hard on. I don't think about that, if I did I would probably have a problem. Its just happens. We have a hard wired balance computer built into the brain and body and its quite capable of handling a 1000 lb 100 mph man/ machine hybrid. If it weren't, motorcycling and even bicycles would not be possible. Its too basic to my existence and too mysterious to examine it that close.
    kames, sieg and 2old2Bbold like this.
  8. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    18,786
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    Has the OP's friend crashed and burned yet?
  9. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,124
    Location:
    New York
    The OP was in June, he probably married her by now with a kid on the way.
  10. CutterBill

    CutterBill I hate motorcycles

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    Rosamond, CA
    LOL No marriage, no kids. I'm 66, she is 66... plus. :D As for the final outcome, she decided that she simply didn't have the timing, coordination, reflexes, etc to safely ride. End of the story.
    Sal Pairadice likes this.
  11. JETalmage

    JETalmage Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2014
    Oddometer:
    872
    That's a pity. I'm 66, too. Taught my wife to ride in an afternoon without confusing matters by even mentioning countersteering. ;-)

    JET
    sieg likes this.
  12. local1

    local1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,722
    Location:
    Etowah,Tennessee
    Not everyone is wired to ride a motorcycle?
    ZappBranigan likes this.
  13. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,995
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Yes, with the right mindset, and a person (male or female) with a good sense of balance and "body center" awareness (what I refer too for teaching downhill skiing, skating, roller blading, motorcycle riding) that person can take to riding pretty quickly. That is the both the plus and minus of countersteering. As a plus, a person with those natural skills applies PASSIVE countersteering actions without much action or active mental choice. As a minus, a person with those natural skills is not likely aware of specific actions to apply ACTIVE countersteering action when needed. Such as when a bike runs wide in a turn; a person reliant on passive countersteering may not make it active to recover and maintain control and path of travel. A person reliant (and even not aware of being passive reliant) likely tenses, freezes, brain overloads, in that second of travel to make the actions needed, save the ride, or fail the actions needed and crash.

    Passive countersteering is what we all do on every ride in some form or another. Active countersteering is what a skilled rider does when the actions make the ride better, or when the actions SAVES your ride, saves your ass. Without active countersteering skills, a rider is nearly doomed to crash someday, in some way. And the lack of active countersteering skills I'd bet is the first, main, primary cause of most single vehicle motorcycle crashes. Lack of strong braking skills is the next likely casue of single vehicle crashes, and involves a high percentage of multiple vehicle crashes.
  14. sluagh

    sluagh not fade away

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2019
    Oddometer:
    244
    Location:
    USA
    Good explanation. Don't know why, but some people seem baffled by the subject and/or hopelessly wrong and don't know it. These people should all read this.
    ETZ likes this.
  15. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,995
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    When I teach riding I make this distinction: when we 1st learned to ride a bicycle, we wobble all over as our "steering" brain and "countersteering" body fight for awareness and control. At some point, the brain and body click into countersteering and riding a bicycle then becomes that part we never forget.

    So people get on a motorcycle, and aside from the obvious size and weight, think "this is like riding a bicycle!" Yes, wobbly and uncertain, until we adjust for the size, weight, and power. But once the bike starts to feel stable the old senses of bicycle riding countersteering kicks in and the rider gains confidence. For most of motorcycle riding this sensation is enough to control the bike and enjoy the ride. It is the reason most riders make it home from most rides, gaining confidence and comfort. BUT, when the actions of countersteering require specific, purposeful, control actions and inputs, those passive riders can get in trouble VERY quickly. I feel this is also at the basis of what gets riders in trouble when the road overcomes their skills sets. A simple easy radius curve on a two lane road can suddenly overwhelm the brain processing of an unskilled passive rider, and the rider actually "rides" the bike out of control.

    If a new rider was never really confident and certain riding a bicycle, or had not ridden a bicycle for decades, the natural brain/body countersteering is ineffective of gaining that basic control on a MUCH heavier motorcycle. On a bicycle, the RIDER far outweighs the bicycle and the body CG is high above the composite CG of the rider and bike. It takes very little body countersteering action, passive action, to make the bicycle lean, turn and maintain control. On a motorcycle, the MOTORCYCLE far outweighs the rider, and the body CG has far less passive influence over the composite CG of the rider and motorcycle. It takes more active rider action to make the motorcycle controllable. This is also why a much lighter and smaller motorcycle is much easier to ride than a heavy large motorcycle.
    Turismo9999 and Sal Pairadice like this.
  16. alex4515

    alex4515 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2018
    Oddometer:
    44
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    This is one of the best posts I've read about countersteering, especially for those that say "I've been riding for years and ain't never heard of no dang countersteering!"...I'm not entirely of that mindset, but close - the more I read about it, the more I felt likely to overthink it at some point, but this puts it in perspective for me. It's good to actually know or realize what you are doing, so that you have the ability to consciously decide to use it.
    ETZ likes this.
  17. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,124
    Location:
    New York
  18. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,995
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Good video. Everything on that video emphasizes that ACTIVE countersteering is what really puts lean and directional control literally in the rider's hands. I demo this for the Street Skills 1 and 2 class on my R1200RT, doing it quite aggresively, and by the 3rd or 4th action I can get the front tire to jump up off the track surface due to the load/unload on the front suspension. Yet, the bike and path of travel is still controllable. I recall seeing this done by Gold Wing riders during the old version MSF ERC during the compound swerve exercise.
  19. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,124
    Location:
    New York
    WTF are you going to do if you suddenly see a huge pothole right ahead of you? If you can't counter steer, you hit the pothole. How can you set up for a turn, or even balance going in a straight line without counter steering? You can't
  20. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,995
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    Exactly! And that is what gets so many riders in trouble. They never learn how to make the motorcycle do what they need it to do, when they need it to do just "that", so they suffer whatever happens. Usually responding with "there was nothing I could do!" Which isn't lying, within the realm of what the rider doesn't know how to do.