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If you haven't seen this clip, it's a good illustration of what counter steering is good for. I don't always think of counter steering, but I try to do it consciously even in situations when it's not important.

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Madison Sully wrote:
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". What!!?? I got it all but this

Saved me a few times, I have. Laughing emoticon
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giallo wrote:
If you haven't seen this clip, it's a good illustration of what counter steering is good for. I don't always think of counter steering, but I try to do it consciously even in situations when it's not important.
Excellent giallo. Thanks!

This is why I try to practice counter steering on most rides so it come naturally when I need it and I don't have to think much about it.

Miguel
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I've tried it and for me it takes more input than just leaning.

If I enter the corner too fast I'll back off the throttle and if I'm still going too fast I'll brush the rear brake to avoid diving from the front while I focus on the exit.

Horses for courses I guess.
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giallo wrote:
If you haven't seen this clip, it's a good illustration of what counter steering is good for. I don't always think of counter steering, but I try to do it consciously even in situations when it's not important.

***Literally sreaming in horror***
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Push right and fill pants afterward.
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That video made my ass pucker. I've been riding for 54 years - I counter-steer without thinking about it. But, I do counter-steer. Every now and then I make it a conscious effort to see how it tightens up a curve. Leaning is part of the process, but it is the counter-steering that guides the bike.

My wife and I discuss this every once in a while. She is a natural, fluid rider. It is a delight to watch her move through a curve. Counter-steering and leaning.
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My riding instructor explained it this way:

"Look where you want to ride and push your hand in that direction."

In motion, motorcycle lean steers your direction of travel.
Countersteering induces lean in the motorcycle.
Leaning your body also induces lean in the motorcycle.
Shifting your body mass into the bend also induces lean in the motorcycle.

If you practice countersteering every ride until it is your natural manner of riding,
you still have leaning and body mass shift in reserve should you need it...

which you likely won't.
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It is identical to the accident that destroyed my life in 1987 ...
The only difference was that the truck driver was drunk and invaded my lane ... and then he fled leaving me on the asphalt.
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Max6200 wrote:
***Literally sreaming in horror***
This is exactly what happened in my first crash. Luckily it was at low speed and I only crashed into the curb.

It is an awful feeling to be doing the only thing you know to steer away from trouble and have it only make it worse and worse.
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Attila wrote:
It is identical to the accident that destroyed my life in 1987 ...
The only difference was that the truck driver was drunk and invaded my lane ... and then he fled leaving me on the asphalt.
Horrible Attila!! So sorry for you.
Miguel
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Max6200 wrote:
***Literally sceaming in horror***
Wha? emoticon Oh, the horror!

I taught my kids about countersteering when they were learning to ride bikes. They wouldn't believe what I told them until they tried it for themselves. They were completely shocked!
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Guzzi Gal wrote:
I taught my kids about countersteering when they were learning to ride bikes. They wouldn't believe what I told them until they tried it for themselves. They were completely shocked!
Good on you for teaching you kids young Guzzi Gal!!

I didn't discover counter-steering till I was in my 20's and I asked a few road bicyclist how they took the corners so fast. Then I tried it myself and discovered the magic. It was revolutionary.
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Miguel wrote:
Good on you for teaching your kids young Guzzi Gal!!

I didn't discover counter-steering till I was in my 20's and I asked a few road bicyclists how they took the corners so fast. Then I tried it myself and discovered the magic. It was revolutionary.
Miguel
Young!?! I guess 54 is the new 34? I'll take it!

Science is real.
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Guys (and ladies), just out of curiosity, how do you "discover" counter steering only after years of motorcycling? Didn't you actually feel the bike countersteering at every turn you've taken before?

I'm not trying to rage a flame war nor to offend anyone, I'm just worried I'm missing something due to language barrier (e.g. if I translate the "I discover" concept in Italian it's "I found out for the first time").
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Most people learn it the moment they can keep a bicycle upright for more than a few seconds at a time. Whether they are conscious of it is a different question.
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jess wrote:
Whether they are conscious of it is a different question.
People celebrate Sir Isaac Newton as a great scientist. Nobody wants to talk about all the innocent lives wrecked by calamitous apple/head interactions that never occurred until he invented gravity.
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No ok but I mean......one actually feels the bike countersteering, with the hands.....I can't understand what is meant with "discovering"?
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Mauro150LX wrote:
No ok but I mean......one actually feels the bike countersteering, with the hands.....I can't understand what is meant with "discovering"?
I don't think so. I think most people are unaware it is happening, and that they actually making it happen.
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jess wrote:
I don't think so. I think most people are unaware it is happening, and that they actually making it happen.
Ok.. I can accept that this is more likely than not accurate.
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Mauro150LX wrote:
Guys (and ladies), just out of curiosity, how do you "discover" counter steering only after years of motorcycling? Didn't you actually feel the bike countersteering at every turn you've taken before?

I'm not trying to rage a flame war nor to offend anyone, I'm just worried I'm missing something due to language barrier (e.g. if I translate the "I discover" concept in Italian it's "I found out for the first time").
I rode bicycles through my whole childhood. I rented Honda 90s in high school, then had a daily delivery job on a Fuji Rabbit for over a year. I never thought, or even knew about countersteering the whole time (though I was obviously doing it).

As I wrote previously, this bit me in the ass when I bought an MP3 at age 58. I even took the Basic Rider course before picking up the scooter from the dealer.

So I, for one, really did need to learn about the physics of it and do it consciously until it became automatic.

Parenthetically, when I countersteer with the handlebars first and then follow the scooter as it leans into the turn, this 550 pound beast feels like nothing at all.
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Yes, the MP3s certainly need quite a bit extra of conscious counter-steering to get them to perform at their best.
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jimc wrote:
Yes, the MP3s certainly need quite a bit extra of conscious counter-steering to get them to perform at their best.
That may explain my very conscious learning about countersteering.
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znomit wrote:
People celebrate Sir Isaac Newton as a great scientist. Nobody wants to talk about all the innocent lives wrecked by calamitous apple/head interactions that never occurred until he invented gravity.
You mean it "revealed gravity" ...
Ambiguously, in this argument, gravity as physics and severity as health consequences coincide.
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jimc wrote:
Yes, the MP3s certainly need quite a bit extra of conscious counter-steering to get them to perform at their best.
Madison Sully wrote:
That may explain my very conscious learning about countersteering.
+1.

This also explains why in Italy there are many used three-wheelers with very few kilometers for sale, many who buy them get scared after the first thousand kilometers (620 miles)!
You can find them for sale used with less than 1000 miles.
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Mauro150LX wrote:
No ok but I mean......one actually feels the bike countersteering, with the hands.....I can't understand what is meant with "discovering"?
I may be slow Headache emoticon, but I'm definitely one of those how discovered counter steering.

In reference to apples - before the discovery I only said 'ouch' when an apple hit my head. Afterwards I swerved away from the apple and avoided the hit.

Seriously - I had ridden bikes for a long time. I liked riding and doing various stunts already quite young. I was good in balancing a bike, did very long wheelies, 'donuts' while standing on the pegs...my friends thought I could master a bike well. Heck, so thought I.

Still, I did not know, nor understand the idea of counter steering. To be more specific - I did not understand that pushing one end of the handlebar makes a bike change direction (or lean/duck, however you wish to define the chain of events) so fast and dramatically.

I have no idea why this had never occured to me while riding, but it just hadn't.

No riding schools here for bikes those days, all was self learned.

When I learned about countersteering as an adult and pushed the handlebar deliberately I honestly felt like I had been cheated all my life - why hadn't anybody told me about this when it made such an impact on bike handling.
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znomit wrote:
People celebrate Sir Isaac Newton as a great scientist. Nobody wants to talk about all the innocent lives wrecked by calamitous apple/head interactions that never occurred until he invented gravity.
There is no such thing as gravity.

Only an identical force with the same name.
OP
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I've been riding two wheels since I could walk. Got my first minibike (Honda QA50) when I was 6 and have mostly always had some sort of motorized two wheeler around. I used to ride with a guy on the twisty northern NH roads and I could never keep up with him. I asked him how he could take the curves so fast. He never used the words counter steer he just said he pushed on the bar in the direction he wanted to go and put his weight on the peg (aka leaning) on that side.

It made no sense to me but I tried it and it worked. I didn't know why though.

It wasn't until joining this forum and reading Proficient Motorcycling did I really understand the physics behind it.
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Wilbur Wright (yes, Orville's brother) was the first that we know of that explained countersteering.
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I had the opportunity to ride a JAP speedway bike at a dry lake bed. The bar bend favored turning the front to the right and there were no brakes. The single low RH footrest served as a kickstand. The bike was therefor incapable of right turns and served as a fine demonstrator of countersteering.
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For those who have a hard time understanding or refuse to believe in countersteering. This image might help.

BTW, this looks like too much fun!
What direction is the curve? Which direction is their front tire turned? No, dirt has nothing to do with it.
What direction is the curve? Which direction is their front tire turned? No, dirt has nothing to do with it.
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steering a bike should be second nature. not something you should have to think about.

dirt bikes counter steer because the back wheel has lost traction, spinning faster than the pavement and pushing back end out.

street bikes look a bit different.
https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=sportbike+cornering+shots&form=HDRSC2&first=1&tsc=ImageHoverTitle

counter steering a streetbike is different. its only done for a split second to get bike into a lean faster. its not used to actually steer through the corner. unless of course back tire looses traction during the corner.
⚠️ Last edited by jerryd on UTC; edited 2 times
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Bing? Seriously? I've never seen anyone use it
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Sure, there's a lot of complex physics involved.

But, in practice, it's really quite simple.

The countersteer initiates the lean.

The lean initiates the turn.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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mpfrank wrote:
Sure, there's a lot of complex physics involved.

But, in practice, it's really quite simple.

The countersteer initiates the lean.

The lean initiates the turn.
Thankyou for that pic. That matches my experience
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jerryd wrote:
steering a bike should be second nature. not something you should have to think about.
I'm not sure why it should be second nature but it's not. About 10 years ago I taught a 30+ year old woman to ride a bike. She grew up in Morocco and had never been on nor ridden a bike. I rented a tandem bike and took her along an ocean bike path. She loved the magic of it. The turn around point is large parking lot in a state park. she was embarrassed to let anyone see she couldn't ride a bike. There was no one in the parking lot so I went for it. It took about ten minutes and a couple falls but she rode and laughed the whole time. But it didn't come as second nature by any means. I love watching kids when they finally ride without training wheels. It's beautiful, but its not second nature to them either IMO.
jerryd wrote:
counter steering a streetbike is different. its only done for a split second to get bike into a lean faster. its not used to actually steer through the corner. unless of course back tire looses traction during the corner.
I was out riding my road bike today. I sure did a lot of counter steering thru turns in the twisties, including long sweeping turns where I counter steered the entire curve. You might argue I didn't need to but I sure felt like I had more control and it doesn't have any negative impact as far as I could tell.

Best
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sorry but this video very clearly shows regardless of what the producer is saying the bike turns left when the steering is turned left. and the bike turns right when the steering is turned right. very clear in the one finger demo.

the definition of counter steer is steering turned right but bike is turning left. I simply dont see anywhere in this video where that happens

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jerryd wrote:
sorry but this video very clearly shows regardless of what the producer is saying the bike turns left when the steering is turned left. and the bike turns right when the steering is turned right. very clear in the one finger demo.

the definition of counter steer is steering turned right but bike is turning left. I simply dont see anywhere in this video where that happens
I believe the phenomenon you are experiencing here is called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The counter-steering effect is actually very brief -- it is the initial turn of the handlebars, and lasts (in the video you posted) probably less than a quarter of a second. The turn that you think you see -- which is longer and more obvious -- is just the rider recovering from that initial, quarter-second push. But that's not the important part. The important part is how he got into that state to begin with.

But if you really doubt it, then by all means, go out and test it for yourself. Trust, but verify as has been amusingly stated elsewhere.
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jess, nothing you stated changes anything I stated. we are both in agreement counter steering is brief.

Miguel stated he was counter steering through his turns. as if he was on a dirt track where counter steer is actually not brief but happening through the whole turn.
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Location: Italy
UTC quote
This guy is counter steering through the whole turn:

which is something anyone could do with constant practice and with great amusement
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