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qldnat

Counter steering

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qldnat
Counter steering? Do you do it? Why, why not?

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photomoto
At normal riding speeds (>10mph) I'm pretty sure counter steering is the only way to turn. For some reason some people don't realize that they are doing it.
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voodoo
Of course. The difference in stability through a turn is night and day over trying to fight the bike to maintain a steady line.

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aeisan
Yes, because the bike literally won't turn at higher speeds of you don't. Anyone that thinks they don't counter steer just doesn't understand what it is, or never goes though a corner faster than 15 MPH.
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Life is good on 2 wheels!

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Guest Ralph
Yes you have to use it you may not know you are but above a certain speed it's
how the bike turns, I have got into the habit of using a bit to much counter
steering and though I was quick enough through the bends I was trashing front
tyres even the tyre fitter that replaced a front scooter tyre on my last bike
said "what the hell have you done to that" problem was I did not know only I
was trashing them more than normal, so it's a case of everything in moderation
and letting the bike sort out the steering angle as you lean through the bends.
 
 

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jon
you're riding a motorcycle, you're doing it ! lol
that what makes the bike lean in corner. You have no choice to do that.

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mjh937
Yep. It is physics. The Twist of the Wrist II video has a good demonstration near the beginning that shows there is no other way to turn your bike (even if you do not realise it).

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potatochips
Come on fellas, yes, we all counter steer, the discussion usually involves when you do it deliberately for a reason, like quicker turn-in, changing lanes on the highway, or dealing with cross winds, sharpen up a low speed maneuver/turn. Ever fed more counter steer into the bars than what comes naturally? Try it at higher speeds and see how much quicker you can react by doing it deliberately.

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valhalla
Yep, press right, go right. Press left, go left.
'Nuff said.

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tanner68
Trig oughta know about counter steering. He does a lot of things counter to convention.

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rick
Yep. It is physics. The Twist of the Wrist II video has a good demonstration near the beginning that shows there is no other way to turn your bike (even if you do not realise it).
Bicycles too once speeds are up in that 15mph range. If you hold a bicycle wheel by the axle ends, give it a good spin and then push forward with the right hand, the wheel will instantly tilt top to the right. To bring it back upright, push ya gotta push forward with the left hand. 
It's amazing to me how many seasoned bicyclists I've had this conversation with just won't believe it - until they see it. 
 
Here's that Keith Code ToW II vid. Leave it to Keith to mount a 2nd set of bars to the frame to make a point 
 
 

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Guest August BB
That video is weird to me because they illustrate the point that countersteering is unavoidable and necessary to turn every single time (above a certain speed) yet at the end of the video they make it sound like it is optional to "improve your control".
 
Anyway, yeah I learned awhile back that countersteering is always done regardless of whether you think you are doing it or not.

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rick
I think the major point they're making is that you don't steer by leaning your weight to one side or the other. It's all about input forces your hands put into that gyroscope we call a front wheel.
 
1st time this was described to me was in the early 80s. I'd been riding more than 10 years at that point and it was a giant epiphany the 1st time I proved to myself it was my hands, not my body english doing the steering.

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tanner68
Learning to consciously push on the bar on the low side was huge step forward when I started riding.
A good visual example of counter steering is a dirt biker throwing massive roost and leaning the bike way over. Just like the guys do in a flat track. That is all counter steering.
Wikipedia covers counter steering well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering

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hobbs
For further contemplation:
 
The physical forces that the front gyro (wheel) exerts on the forks initiates the lean, but once leaned over it's the rear gyro that stabilizes everything from the steering stem back.
 
 

Everything went braap.

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jake
Yep. It is physics. The Twist of the Wrist II video has a good demonstration near the beginning that shows there is no other way to turn your bike (even if you do not realise it).
X2 twist of the Wrist. 

2015 FZ-07 2003 2014 GSXR 1000

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rick
For further contemplation:  
The physical forces that the front gyro (wheel) exerts on the forks initiates the lean, but once leaned over it's the rear gyro that stabilizes everything from the steering stem back.
 

ever watch videos where a bicycle wheel is spun and then suspended by a rope only at one axle end? The wheels in these vids turn cause there is force downward due to the weight of the axle extending out. Basically a countersteer at a 90 degree plane to how we push on the bars. With the axle supported this goes aways https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H98BgRzpOM  
If the steering is dead-on neutral, if no inputs are given to the bars, both spinning wheels act as gyros help stabilize that lean angle. As long as both wheels are spinning, you can't turn the physics off 
 
Doug Domokos, the king of the slow speed wheelie used a DC motor to drive and spin the front wheel while it was up in the air to add stability. 
 
 
 
 
 
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worker1
Push on the right handle, go right. Also push on the left peg.
 
Push on the left handle, push on the right peg, go left.

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rick
 Also push on the left peg. push on the right peg, go left.

Go back and look at that twist of the wrist vid 
Sorry, unless pushing your feet down can twist the frame in such a way that it effects the stem and then the forks, the pegs have nothing to do with it.
 
Oddly enough, if the frame is that flexible (and the old R bike in my avatar was - bikes just don't wallow anymore - if it's something you've never experienced, that's probably just as well), And it's not so simple as push right go right when the frame is flexi-flier/like. Pushing with some force on the right side of that bike ol' Luftmeister fairing caused that R90 to steer left
 
Body english can change center of gravity and have a huge effect on how far you must lean to go thru whatever turn at a given speed. 
 
But initiating the turn and determining how far the bike will lean and then bringing it back upright or flipped to the other side - well, it's all in your hands
 
 
 

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rick
sure, the back wheel adds stability. And those stability forces actually fight the forces created by our counter steer. Make the back wheel heavier and heavier (w/o making it wider) will making steering heavier. But the gryoscopic forces created by the spinning of the front wheel do not go away just cause we stop pushing on the bars. As long as it's spinning and it's attached to the forks, it's still exerting roll or stability, pending on whether we're pushing or not
 
A 16" front wheel (remember those?) will be give quicker steering, but feel a bit twitchy when leaned over.
 
Do that little trick I talked about with a bicycle wheel. Spin it and push one end of the axle forward. The wheel will immediately tilt to the direction of the countersteer and then stop tilting once you stop pushing forward. The wheel will continue at that angle as long as it's spinning. It then takes more countersteering to get it to either tilt more or back upright. Attach that wheel to forks and forces from both wheels are now additive.
 
Yeah flat tracking. An interesting case where the ass end is leaned over but the front is dang near upright during the slide. That large diameter front tire is definitely contributing to stability as the rear follows it about.
 
I do find definitions like the one in that Wiki link interesting. The bit about where the contact patch shifts to is actually after the fact. W/o that happening, of course, centripetal forces launch us off the high side like a marble dropped on a turntable. But its really the gyroscopic precession that initiates things.

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sansnombre
A few decades ago I took a class at Laguna Seca called something along the lines of Superbike School. This was taught by Keith Code, the guy who promulgated the concept of countersteering and wrote the book, "Twist of the Wrist."
 
Yes, apparently we do this maneuvering naturally, subconsciously understanding the process, but If I recall the idea of bringing this concept into our conscious thought was was two-fold - we can race faster and safer if we're doing this intentionally, and on the road, we are safer if we can avoid obstacles or danger by utilizing this concept and behavior.
 
If you haven't tried it yet, do it. It might save your life. It works.

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rowdy
The nice thing about being "aware" of counter-steering is that it you can practice it until it becomes instinctive, and it can save your A$$. I've entered turns a little too hot, and just pushing that inside grip down can meant the difference between making it and not. Plus, it makes riding the twisties so much more fun, when you feel it, and know how well it works.

Why can't left turners see us?

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thomascrown
I usually avoid these type of discussions, but counter steering is used to tilt the bike in the direction you'd like to turn. If you can tilt the bike over purely from internal forces generated by your body, then you can technically make a turn without counter steering.

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cndnmax
I usually avoid these type of discussions, but counter steering is used to tilt the bike in the direction you'd like to turn. If you can tilt the bike over purely from internal forces generated by your body, then you can technically make a turn without counter steering.
 
While true (think bicycle with no hands), you'll be working harder and extremely inefficient. To get a full cornering lean without input from the bars is damn near impossible.

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Guest Ralph
Just don't get into the habit like I did of relying solely on counter steering,
I was killing front tyres and knew it was something I was doing but putting
my finger on it took a wile, but I found I was just pushing on the inside bar
and not doing a lot of leaning or shifting my weight the result was a front
that looked like one of the old triangular race tyres but with no thread on the sides,
now at 6000 miles on the front and looks like it will do a good few more.
 
 

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