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I have had three different scooters in the last 10 years, so I'm not nearly as experienced as a lot of you, but this is the way I look at it. The problem comes in an emergency situation when you have to swerve quickly to avoid an obstacle. The only way to swerve the bike quickly is to counter steer. I think the primal, natural instinct deep down inside us is to turn the bars in the direction we want to go. This creates a dangerous situation in an emergency at speed, because it isn't going to work. To retrain my instinct, I consciously think about counter steering. On every left turn I think push left, turn left. Right turns: push right, turn right. I hope that by doing this, over time if I have an emergency, my 'new' instinct will kick in and I will swerve quickly (in the right direction) and avoid an accident.
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jess wrote:
Nope. All motorcycles.
Yes...

Now I can also tell you that on the small Tricity the effect is much more pronounced than on a Vespa, I think it's the fault of the four-fork steering geometry.
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fledermaus wrote:
I still play with the process. Countersteering is pretty much unconscious at this point, but I sometimes do more weight shifting to assist the turn. If nothing else it's entertaining.

My wife, an occasional rider manages basic turns fairly well but is uncomfortable with higher speeds. I think what might hold her back is that slight feeling of "falling" to the inside of a turn, which causes one to fight it by straightening up and decrease efficiency. Make sense?
That is EXACTLY what it should feel like. Kinda like leaning downhill while skiing. But instead of fighting it by straightening up, she should be using the throttle to move from the feeling of the scoot "falling" to the feeling of the scoot "pulling", where she will find control and confidence. Practice!
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jess wrote:
Everybody is counter-steering. The ones that say they're not are mistaken. I will undoubtedly get a few responses of people who swear they are not. They are also mistaken.

You can probably count them as "not thinking about it".

There are some caveats, though:

1) on a small-wheel scooter, the force generated by the spinning wheels is smaller, and so the amount of counter-steering needed is probably less than on a traditional motorcycle.


I think that the size of the wheels dont have much to do with it. It is more a function of body weight to bike weight. I never consciously counter steer and have never felt a riding deficit for it. That is true on a BV350 or Vespa GTS or a Niner One 9 29" wheeled bicycle. I think from listening to you guys, though, that riding a heavier bike via subconscious leaning would not work quite as well. If I ever ride anything bigger than a 300, I'll keep that in mind.
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rdhood wrote:
I think that the size of the wheels dont have much to do with it. It is more a function of body weight to bike weight. I never consciously counter steer and have never felt a riding deficit for it. That is true on a BV350 or Vespa GTS or a Niner One 9 29" wheeled bicycle. I think from listening to you guys, though, that riding a heavier bike via subconscious leaning would not work quite as well. If I ever ride anything bigger than a 300, I'll keep that in mind.
The size (the mass, actually) of the wheels have everything to do with it. Leaning the bike at speed requires overcoming the gyroscopic effect of the spinning mass of the wheels. Countersteering is how you do that, whether you are thinking about it or not.

Smaller wheels generally have less mass, and so less gyroscopic force that you need to overcome. You still need to overcome it, but it takes less effort to do so.
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UTC quote
Counter steering is simple physics.

The gentle push of the bars away from the direction of the turn moves the front wheel to the outside, naturally causing the bike to lean into the turn.

It sounds strange until you think about it.

Bill
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UTC quote
It's not all about gyroscopic forces. It's also down the the caster of the front wheel and the tyre's profile. When you 'lean with your weight' you'll make the front wheel turn away from the direction you lean - hey presto, the bike turns in the direction you were leaning. Doing it via the handlebars consciously gives far finer control of course.

Stickyfrog - I'm also one who doesn't 'think in words'. Somehow I've always 'got' countersteering, right from when I first rode a bicycle. I'm sure that's why I find mechanical systems easy to understand, I can 'see' how it works.
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Personally, I consciously countersteer; when I'm thinking about it. Otherwise I subconsciously countersteer or go straight.

Some people don't like to talk about it, but everyone countersteers. Just as
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everyone_Poops. Maybe we need a book about it.
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It took me a while to grok this. It was a response by Jimc to a video of a reckless wreck that helped it all make sense. I realize that most of the time I initiate a subdued coutersteer by shifting my weight and leaning. If I want to have a stronger /tighter turn I should initiate the countersteering with my hands.

So now I too consciously practice hand initiated countersteering. That way, the needed action will take place "instinctively" at the right time.
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UTC quote
jess wrote:
The people who absolutely, positively refuse to counter-steer are in fact already dead. Of the remaining people, some understand what they are doing and some do not. Of the people that do not understand that they are, in fact, counter steering, some will continue to refuse to understand, and will probably continue to deny that they are, in fact, counter steering. Ultimately, this is of no consequence. They're either counter-steering or they are, in fact, dead.

Understanding it is, in my opinion, pointless.
Good point, I see now what you mean.

I looked the 'understanding' part from a different angle. Here it comes:

When I did not understand countersteering, I did indeed countersteer. I survived curves, I was able to ride fast.

However, when I realized, understood, what countersteering is, I was able to practice it and learn to use it on purpose. And, hey presto, I was able to swerve even faster and take curves even sharper!

Understanding countersteering had an impact to my ability to countersteer.

... so yeah, splitting hairs here, but that's where I saw value in understanding - in the end, not so much disagreeing with your disagreement
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being a bit caggie handed, I probably pull steer more than I push steer
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I'd suggest a lap round the block without counter steering. No hands, just lean for the turns.

I encountered a fellow in parking lot running an RC model motorcycle that steered on two wheels. He demonstrated how the steering servo countersteered, turning fork right to turn left. The plastic rider figure didn't "lean" at all. It was a fuel-powered two wheeler he launched like a bowling ball that hauled ass around the lot.
Your honor, I rest my case.
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UTC quote
stickyfrog wrote:
Thanks for all of the replies. One of the reasons I brought this up is a conversation my wife and I were having about internal monologue. Once she explained to me what it was (some people's thoughts are like sentences they 'hear' while just have abstract non-verbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them) I determined that I do not. She was astounded as she polled everyone in the family and I am the only one that doesn't.

So I wondered if there was a correlation with conscious counter steering and just the concept of leaning and not thinking about it. I consciously counter steer. I have a visual of the upcoming curve and adjust speed and apply pressure to the bars necessary to stay on my envisioned path.

I have talked to other riders that have a constant internal (sometimes even external) monologue going as they ride hearing the voice talking sentences about what they need to do. They are mostly of the lean and not think about counter steer camp.

Curious if there is a correlation or not. Probably not.
An interesting question, made me think.

In general, I don't think with a 'voice', at least that's how I feel.
When I countersteer on purpose, which I sometimes do, I'll guess I focus my sight (and thoughts?) mostly on where I'm heading to and my hands just kind of pull/push according to how the bike turns.

Once and awhile I test ride new bikes (have a neighbour working at dealers...). With those, new to me bikes, I'll have to first try out how the bike behaves. I believe even then the process is the same. I'll just adjust my movements according how I see/feel the bike behaving... no internal monologue involved.
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KimPossible wrote:
It took me a while to grok this.
Clap emoticon For using grok!
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fleece wrote:
being a bit caggie handed, I probably pull steer more than I push steer
Pulling steer has the same effect of pushing, provided that you pull the opposite handlebar.

I do both, but if I want to ride fast I always pull. I'll try to explain why.

Say I'm doing a left turn. Nevermind all the operations and movements to be done before (sight, position on the bike, braking, etc). Imagine I'm in the exact moment when I begin steering the bike.

At this point I'm already positioned with my lower left side of the torso outside, left knee outside, left foot ready to push on the peg; upper torso lowered on the handlebar, left elbow outside and head as low as possible but with the chin up and looking inside the turn.

At this point shall I push with the left hand or pull with the right hand? I rather pull.

Because while most of the left half of my body is being used to push the bike low and inside the turn, the right part is being used to help pushing this way.

This means the right shoulder is low and close to the middle of the gas tank, the right elbow is pushing on the tank, the right knee too, the right foot is light on the footpeg.

In this situation, pulling with the right hand contributes in adding weight to the right side of the bike, contributing in pushing it as a whole to the left.
It is not a great force, it is not a big weight, but if I was pushing with the left hand, even that little weight was being wasted, because I was applying it "towards" the outside of the turn, in contrast with everything I was doing with the rest of my body.

All this only lasts for a fraction of a second, just the time I need to use the handlebar as a leverage.
Also, the faster I want to ride the less I tend to lean, because the more I lean the later I can open the throttle, the slower I am.

But still, I thought it'd be fun to share all this with you
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UTC quote
I wonder if I was the only kid who tried swapping hands on the handlebars of a bicycle while riding? Instant wipe out. Took me a couple of attempts to realize my brain just couldn't deal with the steering being reversed. Torn pants, skinned knees, bloody elbows.

Hey, hold my milk, I got this!
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Oh my I'm so so happy I finally met my other half of the sky!

I did the same while cruising at low speed ony my 350cc Guzzi. Found my self on the ground immediately ahahahaha ROFL emoticon
OP
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UTC quote
jimc wrote:
It's not all about gyroscopic forces. It's also down the the caster of the front wheel and the tyre's profile. When you 'lean with your weight' you'll make the front wheel turn away from the direction you lean - hey presto, the bike turns in the direction you were leaning. Doing it via the handlebars consciously gives far finer control of course.

Stickyfrog - I'm also one who doesn't 'think in words'. Somehow I've always 'got' countersteering, right from when I first rode a bicycle. I'm sure that's why I find mechanical systems easy to understand, I can 'see' how it works.
From what I have gathered so far, those of us without an inner monologue are in a small camp.
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stickyfrog wrote:
From what I have gathered so far, those of us without an inner monologue are in a small camp.
I definitely have an inner monologue. And sometimes an outer one, too, as I will occasionally actually speak my inner monologue inadvertently.

But I don't think about counter-steering.
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Guzzi Gal wrote:
Clap emoticon For using grok!
You might want to read this post and subsequent posts, then.
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jess wrote:
I definitely have an inner monologue. And sometimes an outer one, too, as I will occasionally actually speak my inner monologue inadvertently.

But I don't think about counter-steering.
It is starting to look like the two are really not related.
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jess wrote:
You might want to read this post and subsequent posts, then.
ROFL emoticon I came across and read that whole thread a while back, and enjoyed every word.

Heinlein's books were especially fun to read when I was a kid because my grandparents were SDAs. My birthfather's beliefs regarding his sibling's parentage are very in line with what can be found in those stories. He also claimed not to be my sire, despite the fact I'm his spitting image. Ancestry proved him wrong. Razz emoticon
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Guzzi Gal wrote:
Heinlein's books were especially fun to read when I was a kid because my grandparents were SDAs.
I still read Henlein yet, I have several.
Obviously some English terms translated into Italian lose their meaning.

PS: what does SDA mean?
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Attila wrote:
I still read those books now, I have several.
Obviously some English terms translated into Italian lose their meaning.

PS: what does SDA mean?
Seventh-Day Adventists. To some a religion, to others a long-running cult. That said, nice people and good food.
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I don't ride scooters much any longer but have put close to 100,000 miles on motorcycles. I have to admit that once I stopped riding scooters the entire lean versus counter steering debate was lost on me. When preparing to ride in the Alps in 2017 a friend in the group I was going with started talking about some of the more technical passes and how it was beneficial to plant one's foot hard on the opposite foot peg of the direction one was leaning as one entered the corner. Without calling it counter steering it seems to share the concept. I have done that unthinking ever since.
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Guzzi Gal wrote:
Seventh-Day Adventists. To some a religion, to others a long-running cult. That said, nice people and good food.
Yes ... I know some, I didn't know the SDA acronym.
My city is home to many different religious communities, sometimes I go to the Buddhist temple.
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Counter-steering works best at higher speeds. Higher is something faster than ~15 mph. For slower turns, I prefer to lean, but for faster turns counter-steering is the only safe way. For me, at this point, is second nature. YMMV.
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Attila wrote:
But really? So I didn't quite understand what kind of counter-steering you are referring to ...
I think you are thinking about the counter steering in a car, like in a rally car...

Thanks Mauro
Mauro150LX wrote:
Attilio è controsterzo anche quando imposti la curva, se x esempio curvi a sinistra l'avantreno ruota dapprima verso destra, così facendo la moto scende in piega..... è l'effetto giroscopico della ruota davanti, che poi si può accentuare in vari modi, tirando/spingendo i manubri, premendo sulle pedane, spostando il peso del corpo, cercando gli ancoraggi ecc ecc

Da quel che ho capito si stanno riferendo all'effetto giroscopico, non al controsterzo volontario tipo motocross x intenderci...ciao!
and Thanks fleece. A picture is worth a thousand words..
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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Knight Train wrote:
the entire lean versus counter steering debate was lost on me.
Wait wait, I missed something - is there a debate on this matter?
like these are 2 different schools of thoughts!?
Because counter steering and leaning are actions that can be done at the same time... did I misunderstood?
Knight Train wrote:
how it was beneficial to plant one's foot hard on the opposite foot peg of the direction one was leaning as one entered the corner. Without calling it counter steering it seems to share the concept.
It might, but actually these are 2 different things; counter steering is... well, steering on the opposite side where you want to go; pushing the outer foot peg helps stabilizing the rear wheel when you enter the turn and keeping the line
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When I answered that I consciously counter steer way back on page one of this thread, I must say that the longer I am on a machine, the more it may become somewhat automatic to do it. However, the first 500 miles or so, of getting to know a machine and how it handles definitely requires more thought, . I will say that I do have an inner monologue as I approach every turn and layout where I want to end up, especially in a blind turn to layout a delayed apex.
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NightWing wrote:
I wonder if I was the only kid who tried swapping hands on the handlebars of a bicycle while riding? Instant wipe out.
A local engineered a bike with reversed steering. He used to bring it to bike rallies and make money off of people who thought they would be able to ride it 20 paces.
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Mauro150LX wrote:
Wait wait, I missed something - is there a debate on this matter?
like these are 2 different schools of thoughts!?
Because counter steering and leaning are actions that can be done at the same time... did I misunderstood?
Well, the multiplicity of posts on this thread could suggest that there is. In fact the title of the thread suggests that there is an either or premise afoot. That being said, generally speaking, I simply ride my GS and other than teaching myself to ultimately unconsciously set my foot on the opposing peg, I do not consciously counter steer. And yes, I recognize your view point that they are different things.

I ultimately learned to corner smoothly (well most times at least) by taking a course from a man named Walt Fulton. Walt's "school", "Streetmasters" taught "delayed apex cornering". While much was about when to lean the bike over, nothing about "counter steering was ever mentioned. Well, at least not that I recall.

Perhaps it is something that one ultimately does unconsciously as one leans? Beats me.
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Bill Dog wrote:
Lean.

Just lean.
Yes.. What he said.
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Everybody counter-steers, wanna prove it? Hop on a bicycle with a locked front fork and go around a corner.

On the other matter, I first read SiaSL while repeatedly listening to Leon Russell's "...and the Shelter People". It was transformative. Forty years later, not so much. Must have been the pot.
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UTC quote
jess wrote:
The size (the mass, actually) of the wheels have everything to do with it. Leaning the bike at speed requires overcoming the gyroscopic effect of the spinning mass of the wheels. Countersteering is how you do that, whether you are thinking about it or not.

Smaller wheels generally have less mass, and so less gyroscopic force that you need to overcome. You still need to overcome it, but it takes less effort to do so.
I have a test for you. get a front wheel off of a bicycle. hold the axel with both hands and have someone spin the wheel. now slightly push the left or right hand.

report back your results please.
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Gigi, '13 GTS 300ie Touring
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Gigi, '13 GTS 300ie Touring
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old as dirt wrote:
I have a test for you. get a front wheel off of a bicycle. hold the axel with both hands and have someone spin the wheel. now slightly push the left or right hand.

report back your results please.
I've done this test. It's difficult to change the plane of the wheel. But it's decidedly worse with more mass.
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old as dirt wrote:
I have a test for you. get a front wheel off of a bicycle. hold the axel with both hands and have someone spin the wheel. now slightly push the left or right hand.

report back your results please.
Well, we did, (I was 7 at the time) and while Valerio (9 at the time) was holding the wheel, I managed to spin it so fast, that when Valerio decided to make a move, two of his fingers ended up broken when he lost control of his grip..

He never played with me again after that day, but we both learned a valuable lesson...

Don't put your fingers into a spinning wheel... Laughing emoticon
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UTC quote
I have a constant inner monologue, can't make myself shut up in fact.

The vast majority of the time I don't think about countersteering.
But when I enter a turn and realize I'm too hot, or if I'm in a sort of near-miss situation, my inner monologue screams at me.

"Aim at the thing you want to avoid".

Saved me a few times, I have. Laughing emoticon
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A Physics teacher my junior year of high school did this with a girl. Teach said, Sally, put your mass up here, patting a stool. Spin wheel, turn left, turn right, da da. We later learned that Teach and Sally were a thing. An illegal, job ending thing, but they both kept quiet.
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