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Discussion Starter #1
I know what counter steer is and how it works, but I've never really used it.
I guess I have a fear of dumping my bike the first time I try.
But here's what I don't understand:
Do you use counter steer only to initiate the turn, or do you push on the bars (holding the counter steer) all the way through the turn?
I assume this is a technique I will have to learn too use gradually, but I really want to learn it. It could save my ass someday.
Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well ya, I realize that. But I'm asking about deliberate input to the bars for higher speed corners, such as exit ramps.
 

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You can't mentally think of riding a motorcycle as you can't mentally ride a bicycle. They are reflexes that you have learned.

My personal input in matter? It's one of the most useless topics brought up in a motorcycle course. The majority of motorcycle accidents happen from someone not leaning enough into a corner. If I were to train someone I'd tell them just lean the bike as much as possible, your weight is negligible compared to the weight of the motorcycle. Your body will naturally countersteer to balance the bike.

Another point that I would add is to get as much miles under your belt as possible. Nothing beats real world experience. We can talk about balancing all day but nothing replaces real world experience.


Remember as you turn, chin out pointing into the corner, elbow out, lean your body out, knee out & everything else will follow. Pretend you want to wrestle an oily pig into the corner.
 

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If you are riding with any speed at all, you are countersteering already. You are just not consciously doing it.

The best explanation I've read is that countersteering steers the wheels from under the bike causing it to roll (lean). Once the angle of lean (bank) is achieved, the front wheel will automatically turn into the turn due to the wheel caster effect. A well sorted bike needs little to no input once the turn is established.

Kieth Code explains it well in Twist of the Wrist.

https://youtu.be/pN91HM16TFY?t=177
 

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If you are riding with any speed at all, you are countersteering already. You are just not consciously doing it.

The best explanation I've read is that countersteering steers the wheels from under the bike causing it to roll (lean). Once the angle of lean (bank) is achieved, the front wheel will automatically turn into the turn due to the wheel caster effect. A well sorted bike needs little to no input once the turn is established.

Kieth Code explains it well in Twist of the Wrist.

https://youtu.be/pN91HM16TFY?t=177

^^^^^
this
 

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I will agree with Rockerguy's point about reflexive action.

As your speed picks up, you no longer have the luxury of time to think about what action to take to achieve a goal. It must be instinctive.

I point out to my flight students as we are working on landings. "When you drove here, did you have to think of which way you had to turn the wheel to enter the parking lot?"
 

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I know what counter steer is and how it works, but I've never really used it.
I guess I have a fear of dumping my bike the first time I try.
But here's what I don't understand:
Do you use counter steer only to initiate the turn, or do you push on the bars (holding the counter steer) all the way through the turn?
I assume this is a technique I will have to learn too use gradually, but I really want to learn it. It could save my ass someday.
Thanks for the help.
You have used it.

If you've ridden any two wheeled vehicle at any real speed, then you HAVE used it. Your body did it naturally unless you failed to enter and exit a corner at speed.
You often need to hold some pressure on the bar while thru a fast corner, w/o really pushing on it though.

Just consciously think about what's happening next time you take a moderately fast corner.

And, I agree with the previous advice, we're all on the same page.
 

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It's counterintuitive because pressing on the right handlebar, for example, sounds like it should turn the wheel to the left as if you're turning left. But the front wheel acts like a big gyroscope and this causes the wheel, and the bike, to lean/turn to the right. It's a simple matter to give it a try. You won't crash. Try it on a wide straight highway without any nearby traffic.

Here's an excerpt from the California Motorcycle Handbook, which is oriented towards entry level riders:
Basic Vehicle Control
Turning
3. Press—To turn, the motorcycle must lean. To lean the motorcycle, press on the handlegrip in the direction of the turn. Press left—lean left—go left. Press right— lean right—go right. Higher speeds and/or tighter turns require the motorcycle to lean more.

Once you're leaned over you don't have to press any more. An advantage is that it's the fastest way to lean.

A consequence of it involving the gyroscopic effect of the front wheel is that it doesn't work at very slow speeds. There you must use the technique that you learned on a bicycle.

I don't notice this on my GSXR, but on my XT225 if sit upright, loosen my stance on the bike a bit, and press a bar, I can feel the bike lean beneath me.
 

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It's not the gyroscopic forces that turn the bike though. You feel the gyroscopic forces resisting the turn. That's why the bike gets heavy during high speed esses.
 

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For road racing I used it the entire time and will always use it. You will not dump the bike from counter steering unless you have run out of tire which is usually when you are either way over on your knee or elbows.

How I used it: I would late brake and as I approached the beginning of the apex not only would I already be off the bike but would be counter steering because of its ability to make the motorcycle turn in quickly. As I am in the apex I begin accelerating with more of a aggressive counter steer all the way out of the apex to the point the bike was upright enough to give full throttle. The bike naturally wants to go upright and as you give more throttle it becomes a tougher fight. Counter steering with a lot of throttle helps that fight. BUT its a double edge sword. Every rider has a different body shape and wing span. I am 6'1" so my wing span is very very long. I don't need to go very far in order to be on the ground where as a smaller guy does. How this helps me: I have more useable tire and can counter steer more without loosing the front end. This is assuming you have good tires (I have always ridden everything Michelin (Pilots-slicks, and everything in between)). The best way forward for a new rider is just to lightly press on the handle bars as you are entering a corner. Right corner/right press, left corner/left press and from that point its all about what your comfortable with.
 

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Countersteering is the turning of the front wheel in the opposite direction of your intended direction of travel in order to quickly roll your bike into a lean.
Countersteering does not in and of itself make the bike turn, though. In fact, for a fraction of time, your wheels are actually traveling opposite the intended direction.
After you countersteer and lean, you must then turn the steering back into the direction of travel to turn. Usually on a motorcycle, all that is required is easing off the pressure you applied to initiate the countersteering effort.

The key in not so much countersteering, but how effectively you can roll the bike on it's longitudinal axis to get into a lean. It is this lean that allows you to corner and balances out the "centrifugal" force of cornering.
Countersteering just happens to be the most effective way to lean the bike, but peg pressure, tank pressure and body position can also influence bike lean.

Have you ever been in a panic situation where you lean the bike to turn but the bike refuses to tighten it's line? Most of the times, it's because you are so stiff on the bars, that you don't allow the steering to turn back into the lean and tighten your line. Unlock the elbows, lighten the grip and the bike will fall into the corner.
 
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