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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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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.
 

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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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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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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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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I think the term "counter-steer" makes the simple complicated for the newby.

I others have pointed out, MSF courses preach, "push right-go right, push left- go left". Of course pushing on the right bar, forces the wheel left, creating counter steering, but a rider need not think about all that. Just teach them to push in the direction they need to go, and look where they want to be (and not at what they don't want to hit) and they'll be good to go.

The above plus the concepts of traction reserve and how rider inputs affect the reservoir of traction available were great take-aways from doing the MSF advanced rider course.
 

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..... 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......
This is known as "The Handlebar Death Grip". The rider panicked and gripped the bars so tightly that the front seemed 'locked'. This happened to a buddy of mine during a twisty road mountain ride. He encountered severe rough pavement in the corner and gripped to bars tightly causing him to run wide. Luckily there was no oncoming traffic!!! He then began practicing a more relaxed grip during riding to make it second nature when rough pavement is encountered.
 

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I heard push right to go right, left to go left. I bleeb that's what they teach in motorcycle safety course. I seem to remember exercises where we rode at the instructor and had to make a direction change at the last moment to the right or left depending on the instruction from the teacher.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering
 

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I read an article that said a lot of the actions that keep you alive in a pinch are counterintuitive to what your brain is telling you to do. Brain says, "you came in too fast, guardrail/cliff is coming, hit the brakes and watch out!" Training says, "release the brakes, look through the curve and let the bike do its magic." You've survived another day.
 

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I was taught the "Push right, go right" technique, and it gets the job done. But recently I've tried what I call "aggressive countersteering", giving the bars a good twist to initiate the turn. Feels weird, but it forces the bike to lean into the corner very quickly.
 

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Countersteering isn't the only way to steer a bike. It is one way, and perhaps the best way, but it is not the only way. Anybody who ever stands up on the pegs can attest that weight movement from side to side results in incredibly quick direction changes. In most cases you're not even in a position to "countersteer" because your hands are at the top of the bars and cannot "push" or "pull" the bars. But if you are dodging big rocks, simply shifting your weight from one peg to the other results in a far quicker avoidance maneuver.

Don't be misled into thinking countersteering is the only tool in your toolbox. Use everything at your disposal. Target fixation (look to your escape route), body positioning, footpeg weighting, countersteering. It all works together, and in the right circumstance you may need one or the other of those steering tools, or multiple ones in conjunction.

By all means, practice countersteering. But when you're out there in that parking lot, stand up on your pegs and also practice weight shifting from peg to peg. You will surprise yourself with how fast you can turn a bike, and how sharply too. Not that I recommend it, but you can ride mile after mile without even touching the handlebar (assuming you have a throttle lock) by simply shifting your weight on the bike or the pegs. Be familiar with all your tools, whether or not you use them.

Also, as earlier mentioned, rely on your inside arm to do the steering. People who run directly into trees or other objects could be target fixated, but in conjunction with that your arms will fight each other to turn, and the "death grip" result is you'll not be able to turn the bike. Relying on a single hand to do most of your steering helps eliminate that.
 

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Be very careful with that "aggressive countersteering" technique. The average rider is strong enough to yank the front wheel sideways, particularly if you are aggressively countersteering at the moment your front wheel hits a bump or otherwise unweights. Smooth movements, not aggressive ones, are your friend. Even in a panic, try to smooth out your inputs. You might be surprised at how close to traction limits you regularly ride, but you'll really be surprised if you aggressively push/pull your handlebars and yank that front tire sideways.
 

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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.
Keith also was adamant about "smoother is faster." I read that he had a bike set up so that the brakes could be disabled, forcing the student to control slowing with only coasting and downshifting. For many students this resulted in the same or faster lap times, and improved them once on braked bikes, as they were entering and leaving corners faster.
 

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If leaning doesn’t steer a bike then how do you steer when riding with no hands? I’m not recommending anyone do it AT ALL.

I was younger and only had a Harley to ride, no car. Winters were tough. I’d ride down the interstate with the throttle locked, no hands because they were both on top of the rocker boxes to keep from freezing. I would lean it through turns. Obviously no steering was going on since my hands were hugging the engine.

I do countersteer when riding casually through turns but if I’m riding aggressively I’m leaning.
 
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