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Anonymous

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MCN  says:

You Ask/You Answer: Countersteering

"I'm new to riding, and people keep telling me to steer the wrong way into corners – which certainly wasn't mentioned in my training! I've done some digging online, and have read up on the theory of 'countersteering' but there seem to be lots of conflicting opinions on the practice. Is it the right thing to do, or is it...

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  • Posted 2 years ago (10 December 2012 13:28)

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Diablere

Joined:

Dec 12

Posts: 1437

Diablere says:

as Mentioned in a previous post, if you wern't countersteering you'd be spending a lot of time extracting yourself ouf of hedges (or worse) just because you're conscious of doing it or not doesn't change the rules of physics. where life becomes more fun is when you actively countersteer, when it gets really fun is when you're instinctively doing it combined with all the other methods of getting a bike around a corner.(throttle control, body postion, weighted pegs,correct lines)

the best advice i've ever had as a rider is to buy a slow bike.then you have to learn all the available methods of going faster without the ease of horse power.(or worse electronic aids, that should stir the debate). if you want to feel countersteering work then get a motocrosser and go play in the mud.

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jahagon

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Mar 10

Posts: 100

jahagon says:

The best way to understand counter steer is to experience it first hand. The best way to experience counter steer is to go round a roundabout with one hand on the inside bar whilst leaving the other one off. You'll notice that you counter steer automatically, pushing the bar away slightly to get the bike to turn. Try it, it's a revelation.

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bmwgs

Joined:

Mar 10

Posts: 1032

bmwgs says:

.

i was told if you cant  corner a bike then you learn couter steering by a motorbike cop./

plus i was told to push down on the right bar and the bike will go go right and push down on the left bar and it will turn left.  remmber the bike will go the way the front wheel is pointing.   i have been on a bike for 6 years and i dont now how to counter steer properly as i just lean to steer.

 

 

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snev

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Jan 11

Posts: 8079

snev says:

can someone actually explain counter steering cuz I really don't understand what it is.

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snev

Joined:

Jan 11

Posts: 8079

snev says:

Nope don't worry....

I just looked it up on Youtube. It turns out that I have been doing this naturally since 1979..... just didn't know it. Thanks Riding Gods.

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burningbush

Joined:

Jul 09

Posts: 143

burningbush says:

Dont think about it

The more you think about counter steering the more it does your head in. It comes very naturally, all motorcyclists do it without thinking. All to do with gyroscopics I believe.

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kl595

Joined:

Nov 03

Posts: 470

kl595 says:

snev

If you watch experts drifting out of corners on tarmac, or dirt, the handlebars are almost in an opposite lock. This is counter steering in the extreme. There is evidence to suggest that when turning into corners on the road, countersteering produces a gyroscopic effect which turns the bike quicker. You can try this by coming up to a right hander, take your hands off the bars and push the inside of the right handlebar with your right hand. The bike will turn in and go round to the right. Your mind will think it should go to the left but the bike will turn to the right.

Please don't try this, kill yourself and sue me. I am only repeating what I have read. Personally, I prefer to go slower and take the corner more naturally and flow with the bike. :)

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philehidiot

Joined:

Feb 09

Posts: 4758

philehidiot says:

technique...

I wrote a bloody essay on this and Sorry, we could not add your comment.


MCN, if you want people to contribute, fix your bloody forums.

Oh, so swearing about it and editing in your reply is the way to go.

Hang on. I'll be back with beer.

 

Right.

 

So how to countersteer. First you need a correct posture. This changes depending on what bike you're riding but it basically means being slumped a little, bending your elbows so your forearms are parallel to the floor and ensuring your arms are nice and relaxed. That means supporting yourself properly without weighting the handlebars too much - if you can't do it, get to the gym and do some core exercises or get a more upright bike.

 

This position allows good control, good feel and importantly means any bumps and jerks won't be transmitted into the bars.

 

So countersteering, also known and active steering and probably some other names is complicated in terms of physics but really simple to do.

 

Go to a car park. Ideally an empty one with no ice on it - might be tricky to find.

 

Then you need to ride in a straight line using the riding position above. You'll notice you have far more feel for the bike. Now try nuding one of the bars at about 20mph. For argument's sake nudge the right hand bar forwards and lean your weight to the right. You will start turning and as you're relaxed on the steering it will automatically come back to steering to the right.

 

What's happening? Well you're altering the gyroscopic axis of the front wheel so the effect that normally helps keep you upright is now helping send the bike over. UNLESS YOU ARE STUPID WITH IT YOU WON'T GO DOWN. The tyre is also being guided onto the edge where is naturally steers the bike.

 

So really, just push the bar in the direction you want to turn. You will have been doing this subconsciously as it's probably impossible to turn at above 10-15mph without it so it will not feel entirely unnatural. Once you get this it'll help you corner much safer as taking conscious control allows you to pick safer lines into corners, for example. It also allows execution of extreme swerves, etc that can save your skin.

 

Once you've got a grip on that, you can throw in peg stabilisation - i.e. weighting the pegs to steady your line, consider throttle control through the corners (i.e. opening the throttle slightly to maintain speed as you're slowed by lateral cornering forces) and so on.

 

Be aware that fast cornering in this weather isn't advisable as if you don't have ice, you have bloody grit everywhere so take it steady and just experiment with the principle.

 

If you're riding through winter you'll get a much better idea of how your motorcycle behaves at the limit of grip but at much safer speeds so come summer you'll find yourself much better able to judge corner speeds, assess the limit of grip and know what to do when you do inevitably cock it up and exceed the grip for the situation.

 

Any part of this that doesn't make sense (I've had half a beer by

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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SatNavSteve

Joined:

Sep 10

Posts: 1318

SatNavSteve says:

I agree with Snev, until I read a complex explanation of what this was about years ago, I then went out and found I'd been doing it all along as well. I think its something that just naturally develops when you ride a bike for a long time and you don't realise you are doing it. One thing I will say is I find you tend to do it more on bikes with low and/or narrow bars as on bikes with bars like adventure bikes have, it tends to be less evident, maybe because the leverage is greater and the effort to steer is less, maybe one reason why people with sit-up-and-beg style bars find riding less strenuous.

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SatNavSteve

Joined:

Sep 10

Posts: 1318

SatNavSteve says:

Sorry!

Just read all the comments and it sounds like I'm repeating what others have said. Well, great minds think alike! We have heard all about counter steering but has anyone tried to explain just how a motorcycle goes round a corner? I'm sure this will bring some comical answers but its hard to get your head round when you think about it technically!

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