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Old 07-19-2012, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default Counter steering

Just looked at video on counter steering and I've noticed that you kind of do it automatically. Seems like one of those things that you really have to concentrate on to mess up. I don't understand the physics behind it but when I saw the video it remind me of a base runner rounding first to go to second they take a slight right turn to give themselves a better angle to second. I know it's no the same thing if you look at it from a physics perspectives but that's what comes to mind.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:34 PM   #2
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decent analogy to base running... I found that I counter steered naturally, without thinking. I think most people do this, especially if they ever spent anytime on a bicycle as a kid. Explaining it in words is difficult, watching videos help, but going out there and "pushing" intentionally works best.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:56 PM   #3
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Yes. Doesn't matter what a rider thinks they're doing for steering, they're actually counter-steering.

When you realize how to make it work (even if you don't know how it works) riding becomes MUCH easier.

When you're upright, turning the bars causes any bike to "fall" to the opposite direction. Since you have to lean to turn, you initiate the turn via counter-steering, which leans the bike. When you've achieved the appropriate angle for the rate of turn, you naturally relax your push on the bar, which causes the bike to then steer into the turn as part of its natural automatic tendency to remain balanced.

In the end, it's really the rear tire that steers the bike or keeps it on track.. The geometry of the front end causes it to "follow" what the rear is doing, keeping the bike on balance. You *suggest* to the bike to take a different line thru the front end, and the back end responds to the command. This is why, if you have good throttle control, you could theoretically release the handlebars and maintain the turn.

Keith Code demonstrates this with the No BS bike, which has a second throttle off of the handlebar, and is the only way one could demonstrate the above statement.

Since you don't have such a setup, you could never accomplish the same, because removing your hands would slam the throttle shut- which causes the front end to dive, which loads the front tire, increasing the size of the contact patch on the inside, which increases drag, which translates into a counter-steering input from the ground up, which returns the bike to upright.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:11 PM   #4
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The first time I heard of countersteering, many years ago, it was like the moment that someone tells you that your foot is the same length as your forearm. You've just got to try it to see if it's true.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Wynne G Oldman View Post
The first time I heard of countersteering, many years ago, it was like the moment that someone tells you that your foot is the same length as your forearm. You've just got to try it to see if it's true.
I just did! AMAZING!
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TX_Dj View Post
I just did! AMAZING!
Like many things in life, it's all a matter of perspective.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:51 PM   #7
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Well said. If you try to tell someone that you turn the bars left to go right, they will think you are nuts. The problem is those same folks will react the wrong way in a panic situation because they don't understand what is happening.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by olhogrider View Post
Well said. If you try to tell someone that you turn the bars left to go right, they will think you are nuts. The problem is those same folks will react the wrong way in a panic situation because they don't understand what is happening.
And that is exactly the sort of situation that countersteering can mean the difference between an off, or not. We normally countersteer without even realising that we're doing it, but if you find yourself going round a bend too fast, if you keep a cool head you can usually purposefully countersteer your way out of it.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olhogrider View Post
Well said. If you try to tell someone that you turn the bars left to go right, they will think you are nuts. The problem is those same folks will react the wrong way in a panic situation because they don't understand what is happening.
Exactly.

This is why I prefer to say "press left, go left" rather than "turn left go right".

When they get "left is left and right is right" the retention rate seems higher and less confusing when it comes to crunch time.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:10 PM   #10
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Man, I got a muscle cramp now trying to see if Wynn was right about the forearm/foot length thing.

Anyway, countersteering is quite an essential riding skill, and it's really intuitive, once you get used to the idea.

I like TX_DJ's Left press/Left turn, Right press/Right turn way of memorizing it.

One of the easiest way to practice countersteering is to go straight at a moderate speed, and press the steering bar a bit (In this exercise, you're not doing a full turn, but just doing a mini swerve/directional change). The bike turns towards the side that you pressed on almost instantaneously.
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