Countersteer What?? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 39 Old 07-31-2019, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Countersteer What??

I have seen some good stuff on this site and I thought I would stir things up by bringing up"Countersteer." there was some talk about trail braking, which is good stuff. a while back there was a video on the news where a newish rider got into a corner and could not hold a tight line. he went slightly wide and physically encountered a fire truck in the opposite lane coming the opposite way. the Newbie had a helmet camera running, showing him unable to tighten his turn.

Within 2 minutes of seeing that video I was on my bike heading out to practice countersteering.
Countersteer occurs when you push forward on the right handlebar and the m/c turns to the right. same thing pushing forward on the left handlebar causing the bike to turn to the left. This only happens when you have some speed. at walking speed you can stand on the pegs and the bike will turn in the direction you turn the handlebars.

when you have some speed and need to initiate a turn quickly you need to countersteer.

Now some people will say "well everybody knows that"

But some people may say "that won't work"

if you are not familiar with this technique I suggest you try it.

any thoughts on this subject ?
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post #2 of 39 Old 07-31-2019, 06:16 PM
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I rode bikes for 30 years without hearing about or even thinking about counter steering. But, I was still doing it.

Now it is much more conscious for me and I think push the grip more than I do lean the bike.

"If its not broke yet, it can still be fixed"
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post #3 of 39 Old 07-31-2019, 06:47 PM
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The Physics of Countersteering

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post #4 of 39 Old 07-31-2019, 07:54 PM
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If anyone here has ever ridden even a bicycle or a kick scooter, once past 4-5 miles per hour you are countersteering to change the direction of the vehicle. Every vehicle running on 2 wheels countersteers to change direction at speeds above 4-5mph, or so.

Other "body English" comes into play, but countersteering is always the major player in the turn.

Steve.
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post #5 of 39 Old 07-31-2019, 10:28 PM
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In a sense, the rear wheel drives the direction of the motorcycle. The front only changes it - by force, if you will. The rear wheel's gyroscopic force will always want to push in a straight line. So imagine a straight line projecting forward from that rear wheel for a moment. If I push my my right handlebar forward, the front tire will stray to the left of that straight line, causing the motorcycle to "fall" to the right. How much force I use to hold the bars at any particular place will determine how long and at what angle I have now forced the bike to travel. If I release all force from the bars during this process, the gyroscopic force of the rear wheel will slave the front to correct itself back to that straight line that it's always trying to push. By the same physics, once I have forced the bike into a right-hand curve, I must push the left handlebar forward to straighten the bike (and possibly initiate a left turn).
Ever notice, even during racing, that if a rider and his/her input is ever removed from a moving bike, it automatically self-corrects to an upright straight-line ride? Anybody here remember the last scene of the old movie Electra Glide In Blue?
So, Countersteer is not only what you use to initiate a turn, you are doing it throughout the turn to hold whatever angle/line/course you are choosing to travel.
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Last edited by scab; 07-31-2019 at 10:31 PM.
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post #6 of 39 Old 07-31-2019, 10:55 PM
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That video you describe - it is more probable that the rider could have tightened his turning radius. Modern bikes have way more capabilities than most riders can utilize. It is more likely that he froze and thought he could not, or he panicked and was not looking where he wanted to go (so called target fixation).

I've been in curves that I entered too fast, and rather than drift into the opposite lane, I've consciously pushed the bike over farther (counter steering). My bikes have shown me how much they have left when I want to give up. Note that I am not an aggressive rider, and in every such case I was following someone more slowly than they had taken that very turn.
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post #7 of 39 Old 07-31-2019, 11:06 PM
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We teach all our students from the second they arrive, to "look where you want to go" - which later becomes " look and push" in the direction you want to go.
You can make it more complicated if you like, but it doesn't need to be.

And it is the only way to steer a bike, whether people realize they are doing it or not.
Obviously it works much better if you do know you are doing it.

If you get far enough away............................ you'll be on your way back home.
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post #8 of 39 Old 07-31-2019, 11:08 PM
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If that is the video on Glendora Mtn Rd he had a bad moment. Been over that numerous times. It's flat and level and he freaked because there was a fire truck. Big time brain fart.
More riding and paying attention key.
Portions of that road are not marked with center line.
Worst thing is that on weekends there is huge traffic there. Bicycles and cars. During the week little to no traffic and it's hoot to ride!
Mind the guys on skate boards though.

Last edited by notacop; 07-31-2019 at 11:13 PM.
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post #9 of 39 Old 08-01-2019, 12:30 AM
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I read that Keith Code once welded a motorcycle fork in the straight position to demonstrate leaning does not steer a bike. At all. Only the pushing of the bars accomplishes it. The bike that had fixed bars/fork would only go, you guessed it, straight, even if you hung off it.
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post #10 of 39 Old 08-01-2019, 12:32 AM
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I've been riding a long time... and the two bits of riding advice that have served me best over the years are:

1- Look where you WANT to go. This resolves target fixation, a major cause of wrecks...
2- Countersteer - consciously release any pressure from the arm on the outside of the turn, and you won't believe the efficiency improvement in your turning radius...
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