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 Counter Steering and Other Mysteries

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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:17 am

It seems to me that riding is fun – simple enough. It also seems to me that there are many
things involved in riding that are often talked about, but because of the perceived complexity are rarely understood.

I believe that counter steering is one of those things (topics) that are rarely understood by both the speaker and the audience.

I often hear folks talking about counter steering as if it is one of those activities that require a constant conscious action. I do not disagree with that thought (or the execution), but the manner in which it is explained makes me shudder and wonder if the person talking really understands what they are talking about. Trust me, riding at speed makes counter steering a must and most of us are doing it (to some degree) and probably do not actually realize that we are doing it. It is not the be-all-end-all activity that the wannabe rice rocket jock bending your ear wants you to think it is. Most of the rider (handle bar) inputs required are subtle and occur early in the turn (curve) and to a lesser extent at the end as the bike returns to vertical. The inputs become much more subtle as the speed increases.

Great link that will explain the topic: http://www.daytonamotorcycletraining.com/counter-steering.htm Watch the video!
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bigbird
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:06 am

x


Last edited by bigbird on Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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exavid
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:44 pm

Countersteering is a funny topic, funny-odd, not funny-ha-ha. What most folks don't seem to realize is that if they ever rode a bicycle they countersteered. At much of anything over a brisk walk a bicycle is turned by countersteering. It's the same with any two wheel vehicle with wheels in tandem formation. The really odd thing about it is if one is new to bikes and thinks about countersteering as they ride it's easy to get confused.
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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:44 am

exavid wrote:
What most folks don't seem to realize is that if they ever rode a bicycle they countersteered. At much of anything over a brisk walk a bicycle is turned by countersteering.

exavid wrote:
The really odd thing about it is if one is new to bikes and thinks about countersteering as they ride it's easy to get confused.

Exactly, and that is why after much contemplation I finally decided to post about this topic. I've been around many riders that talk about counter steering as if it is the magical golden ticket to riding. I have no quibble with the fact or reality that counter steering is a required activity. My problem is with those riders who advocate counter steering in a way that makes it sound like you should ride through a left curve (turn) with your left hand pushing the left grip forward throughout the full curve (turn). Their advice almost makes it seem like your front wheel is locked over to the right while you are slowly or aggressively rolling through a gentle left curve (turn).

As a person rides and gains confidence in their skills counter steering will become so natural as to be almost undetectable (as it relates to handle bar inputs).
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KurtPerthWA
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:00 am

Yeah, OK , but try it with a sidecar!!!LOL
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MaxB
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:10 am

I think "countersteer" was made up by motojournalsits , to have something to talk about in their rags.

If you have ever gone above 5 MPH you countersteer.

The only person I know that had trouble is a lady friend who for 15 yrs drove/rode behind on a trike (different beast). Finally told her to PUSH on the side she wants to turn to. No fancy talk , just what she needed to know. She's a lot better now. But she still doesn't like to lean very far. She slows down on the curves. Her age is still "29" and i am not asking.

MaxB (who learned on a bicycle eons ago)
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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:56 pm

Yes, trikes and unarticulated three wheeled vehicles are not natural , so the physics of counter steering do not apply in the same way as they do to a two wheeler.
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Biologist
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:14 am

I tried to understand the idea of counter steering using numerous publications but basing on them I understood really nothing! However, in opinion of all these papers this mode of action is essential to be used not "by intuition" but consciously - is it really any difference?
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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:39 am

In a nut shell - you counter steer to initiate a lean, you lean to ride through a turn.

I'll repost the link as I think it is much better at explaining this topic than any thing else I've seen or read.

I think exavid wrote one of the more appropriate statements:
exavid wrote:
What most folks don't seem to realize is that if they ever rode a bicycle they countersteered. At much of anything over a brisk walk a bicycle is turned by countersteering.

exavid wrote:
The really odd thing about it is if one is new to bikes and thinks about countersteering as they ride it's easy to get confused.
Great link that will explain the topic: http://www.daytonamotorcycletraining.com/counter-steering.htm Watch the video!
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billmc
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:03 pm

When I took my MSF course, they talked about counter steering. I just couldn't get my head wrapped around the idea, "turning left to go right and vice versa". When I tried to think about doing it, I couldn't. The instructor watched me go through a slalom and said I was doing it just fine.

Learning how to ride a bicycle, no one ever mentioned counter steering to me; I never had any trouble. I think I would have been much better off, if they never mentioned it to me and I remained ignorant of counter steering. Then I would have just "done it" and wouldn't have had to think about it.

The video is good. Watch the bike from the front, head on. Don't blink or you'll miss it. Once I saw what was happening, I started watching local traffic, including bicycles. Provided I was at the correct angle, I could see it happen. I still have a lot of trouble if I think about it, then try and do it.
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Chinasaur
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:26 pm

Excellent articles on Steering - Counter or otherwise...: http://www.msgroup.org/Articles.aspx?Cat=4
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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:03 pm

I am inclined to say, don't "read too much" into it or obsess about it. If you are unable to smoothly execute a curve at speeds above 15mph you should probably give up your bike. Otherwise ride and practice active riding. Work on skills (all of them) needed to ride well. Do not lose sleep over this pretend problem.
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:03 pm

For my part I have found the 'Wing' easily lets you countersteer without any conscious thought at all.

To observe countersteering in its extreme them bike speedway is probably the best example. The exagerated front wheel turned some 60 or 70 degrees to the bikes main axis is classic.
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Biologist
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:12 pm

Some days ago I decided to start training this mysterious counter steering - and IT WORKS! cheers
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sonuvabug
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:35 pm

To get a technical and applied explanation of counter steering ... sometimes referred to as "push"steering, I highly recommend David Hough's book(s) ... Proficient Motrocycling.

He covers the A-Z of riding ... a must read for all riders IMHO.
~ sonuvabug ~
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Jim Cater
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:04 pm

Waspie wrote:
For my part I have found the 'Wing' easily lets you countersteer without any conscious thought at all...

The 'weight' factor took a little to get used to between the G & S wings. Figured out to add more 'counter' with those feet out front & ouila!!

'countering' really is a normal reaction once a rider has some training miles under their helmet. A hi-miler friend explained it to me this way: scoot your butt over to the side of the saddle a tad & feel how your arms naturally move the bars just a tad. -- Did it on the center stand and even exaggerated the movement to prove the point.

I have to agree with Dale, it's something that naturally occurs while you ride and nobody gave a good explanation before.

My 2 pennies!!
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exavid
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:58 am

Today I rode both my SW and GW on the same windy road. I like to push a bit on the curves especially where the left and rights are close together. I find that I can ride the curves just a bit faster with the GW than the Silverwing. Probably wouldn't happen if the road was smoother, the SW tends to bobble a bit when pushed a on a rough curve whereas the GW's superior suspension tracks more smoothly around the curve so it's easier to hold a good line. I wish I had some tight S curves around here that had nice smooth pavement so I could compare the handling of the two bikes a bit more exactly. There's no doubt that the GW with its better suspension and larger wheels has an advantage but the SW comes pretty close in twisty performance especially in down hill curves where its lesser power isn't a handicap. Of course neither bike is a sport bike which would obviously out perform either machine in the twisties.
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john grinsel
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:16 am

First this countersteering stuff came out in the late 60's and early 70's with maybe the onset of MSF and their directors who don't/didn't ride much. Before that bears and monkies could ride bikes and not be able to think about it.

So really a lot of turning is done by feet ---push right go right--bike follows---hands along for ride, except at real low speeds. Big inputs from bars seem to be there in slow or mid speed swerves, or pushing the bike down in deminishing radis turns.

Learned in Japan, riding starts with the basics----for bike, feet pointing straight ahead, weighted, that way knees on tank, posture upright should be leaning a little forward, hands fall in place---skip the tank on scooter feet in the forward position can do a lot of work----bars only on Vespa and Yamaha TMAX seem to let you go lean forward some.

There is proper way to ride and then the way just to plop on seat. Being an active part of bike is more fun and probably safer.

Before jumping on me (you that don't/or havenot ridden a lot) try the feet.

My MSF instructor card is dated 1974. I ran motorcycle schools full time in Japan, 70-77 so have some experience watching and word with people on bikes/scooters.

Dave Hough just crashed---at BMW Rally screwing up fingers, on strange bike.

John Grinsel
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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:28 am

Thank you John, that added quite a few more words on the subject.

Especially that bit about Dave Hough - very interesting. Do you know if it was a strange BMW? Or strange as in odd or unknown bike to him? Was he attempting to countersteer using his feet and it just didn't work out?

John Grinsel wrote:
Before jumping on me (you that don't/or havenot ridden a lot) try the feet.
I feel that I can ask because you didn't include me in the groups that can not question you.
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MaxB
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:01 am


John Grinsel wrote:
Before jumping on me (you that don't/or havenot ridden a lot) try the feet.

I have a really hard time getting my feet on the handlebars. I guess I am getting old.
i have tried holding onto the passenger hand rails and getting them up there.
Yoga is easier than this.
Besides that , the motorcop didn't find it amusing.

MaxB (no yoga expert)
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john grinsel
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:17 am

I should add---feet on proper position.

John Grinsel
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matthew
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:24 pm

"on July 31, 2010, David Hough had a motorcycle accident which, from his description, was partly to mostly his fault, depending on how you look at it. He was riding a friend's Triumph sportbike. A truck, evidently with its brakelights not working, slowed abruptly in front of him. He overbraked, did a couple of stoppies, and then went end over end. He was, of course, in full safety gear. His only serious injuries were to his hands, which required surgery. He is still recuperating."

dated august 25th, from the suzuki gz250 forum.

(don't mean to hijack the original topic, but people might want to know, if they know who Hough is).
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MaxB
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:32 pm

john grinsel wrote:
I should add---feet on proper position.

John Grinsel

Oh OK I can go wtih that. It is easier when going left put weight on left foot and left handlebar. You just zoom around a left hand corner. lean forward and there ya go.

just kiddin about the feet on the handlebars hahahahhahahha on;y did that once. Honest

MaxB
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jdeereanton
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:01 pm

matthew wrote:
"on July 31, 2010, David Hough had a motorcycle accident which, from his description, was partly to mostly his fault, depending on how you look at it. He was riding a friend's Triumph sportbike. A truck, evidently with its brakelights not working, slowed abruptly in front of him. He overbraked, did a couple of stoppies, and then went end over end. He was, of course, in full safety gear. His only serious injuries were to his hands, which required surgery. He is still recuperating."

dated august 25th, from the suzuki gz250 forum.

(don't mean to hijack the original topic, but people might want to know, if they know who Hough is).

Okay, but now I'm struggling to understand why it was randomly inserted in John's lesson to us all on countersteering.

I did know who David Hough is, and was really puzzled about the report especially as it was reporting on something that happened almost 2 1/2 months ago.

And Matthew don't worry about a hijack especially on this topic it happens quickly.
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:36 pm

I didn't know who Hough was so thank you for the explanation. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:46 pm

jdeereanton wrote:


Okay, but now I'm struggling to understand why it was randomly inserted in John's lesson to us all on countersteering.


Probably because David knows/knew more about countersteering than good ole John ever did/will.
jocolor
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:29 pm

I ride one handed a lot while talking pictures. The camera is attached to a lanyard around my neck, should things get hairy I drop the camera and grab the handlebar. I know and accept the consequences of this action. That being said, you can really feel the affects of countersteering using one hand to steer the bike. Gently pulling or pushing on the handlebar will initiate the turn. Dale is very clear here that countersteering begins the turn, leaning and throttle help do the rest.
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:01 pm

Of course, your advice is worthless until you have done 500,000 miles driving with one hand while taking pictures. Taking video will also be accepted.
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Jim Cater
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:41 am

Let's not forget!
You must be able to do it with your feet, while drinking from the misplaced cupholder AND talking to the 'other half' through your Bluetoothed enabled helmet!!

cheers

Geez!, you guys are such smart-a$$e$!! rolling laughter
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:57 pm

I have to agree with what "BigBird" had to say about playin' around with counter steering: "Be Careful". I was out here on a back country paved road one day and decided I'd try this mysterious method out just for the fun of it. I already new about this phenomenon but wanted to see what happens when you push the "wrong" way a bit.

Not the smartest thing in the world to do... that's an "instant-down" maneuver (if carried too far) that shouldn't be messed with. So I don't experiment with that stuff anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:05 pm

I tried to drive my friend's Spyder (the Sport model) and had to yell to him to get me off the thing cos I'm so used to leaning (and thus also countersteering) that I ended up going the opposite of how I wanted to go and nearly went up the curb.

Countersteering is one of those things that you already do intuitively. If you aren't already aware of it or are just beginning and try to overanalyze and force it, you could very easily go too far and, as DickO mentioned, even go down. I remember reading about it in the MSF manual and wondering what the heck it meant. Once I was on the road, I forgot all about that stuff, and then only later remembered reading about it and then realized that I was already doing it. If I'd just tried to do that from the very beginning, especially at low speeds, I would probably have fallen.
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sonuvabug
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:41 am

Hammy wrote:
... snipped ... Countersteering is one of those things that you already do intuitively. If you aren't already aware of it or are just beginning and try to overanalyze and force it, you could very easily go too far and, as DickO mentioned, even go down. ...
Question

Hammy, I respectfully disagree. There are some people who do not ride intuitively ... and probably shouldn't be riding at all.

We occasionally ride with another couple and even after three years, the gal rider just can't or won't countersteer. She rides sitting absolutely straight up and not only does she not countersteer, she doesn't lean into a curve when it would be appropriate to do so.

After our last time out with these otherwise wonderful folks, we've decided "never again" will we go riding with them. ~ bugjr ~
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:27 am

I have ridden with another person who is unable to master the subtlty of countersteering.

I think this occurs due to fear and I have stopped trying to correct her, as she believes she is riding with a lean.
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PostSubject: Re: Counter Steering and Other Mysteries   Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:01 pm

It took a while to lean/counter-steer my silver wing. I would slow down on twisties. It seemed like it took a long time to get really comfortable swaying with the road. Now I don't even think about it. But I'm not at that comfort level on my ninja yet, as much as I'd like to be.
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