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How to Counter Steer

2691 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Michael
In the past every now and then I would come across someone who had been riding bikes for a while but had never heard of counter steering. I believe if you want to ride a bike safely then you should be using countersteering. It enables you to change direction much faster than just moving your weight around.

Is there anyone out there that does not use countersteering? If you don't understand countersteering, try riding along in a straight line at reasonable speed and very slowly push on the left hand handlebar until something starts to happen. You will notice that it makes the bike turn left. This seems illogical until you look into the physics/mechanics of it more closely.

Info here
Steering a motorcycle | motorcycle counter steering

Video here
Power steering motorcycle video
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Thanks for posting this up. Thats pretty useful info for beginner riders. Most riders that have been riding long enough do it unconsciously like its second nature to them.
Thanks for posting this up. Thats pretty useful info for beginner riders. Most riders that have been riding long enough do it unconsciously like its second nature to them.

The way it seems on some clips shown it kinda of looks like the bike is "Drifting", how much practice would it take for an inexperience rider to learn this?

This is certainly not second nature to me.
if you watch some of the ama superbike races you can see some of the riders "drifting" some of the sharper corners. how long/quick it takes someone to learn is all up to rider. some can learn very quickly while some will drop their bikes several times before mastering this. watch this video. this is what happens when you just "turn" your bike right away without counter steering.

Ahh now it being put into a better perspective, riding has a few hidden techniques i didn't know about, haha.

And that is what happens when you don't counter steer properly correct?
Ouch, that video hurts ! The MSF course given at multiple locations in most every state of the union is invaluable for beginning riders. They supply the bikes and 2.5 days of riding and classroom . Generally , if you pass the written and riding exams you will be exempt from state testing at your DMV. You just take your certificate of completion to DMV and they give you a new license motorcycle certified. But the best thing is they teach you how to ride safe and defensively while learning the basic riding techniques...including counter steering which is a revelation........The classes are often given at junior colleges and will have a fee of about $150. Just Google MSF..get signed up....enjoy and prosper and be safe!
I highly recommend any beginner to go to any of your local motorcycle riding courses. You will thank yourself in the long run. They will teach you a lot of stuff that you can't learn on your own.
counter steering

This is something I realized as a kid riding my bicycle. Now I was a mech engineer in the budding. I theorized at the time that everyone initiates a turn this way regardless if they realize it or not. I still believe it to be true.
Think about it. If you are traveling in a straight line, consciously attempt to turn right by turning your bars right. You will tip to the left & had better turn left to keep your balance.
I encountered the term "counter steering" a few years ago, after I had been riding for many years. Read an article about it, but didn't really get it. Subsequently realised that I had probably been doing it for years, and decided that "counter steering" was probably a term invented by some instructor to impress novices.

I use different cornering techniques on different surfaces and in different situations.

The only potentially serious accident I have had (35 years ago) was caused by a car passing another car at high speed, pulling in and sideswiping me. "I didn't even see you," said the driver.

He was at fault, but if I was more aware of what was going on around me, and better positioned I could have avoided it. An in depth knowledge of counter steering would not have helped in the slightest.

That incident made me aware of the need to use my ears as well as my eyes, to check mirrors frequently (and glance over my shoulder before changing lanes or turning at an intersection), and to be conscious of my position on the road.

Basic bike handling skills are important, but baffling novices with fancy stuff is counter productive. As important, if not more so, is road craft in traffic. Thinking ahead about where you want to go, and being aware of what is going on around you.

I read an interview with a bicycle courier in Bangkok yesterday. On avoiding accidents he said that he had learned to look at the faces of drivers to read what they are going to do.

"Hmmmm," I thought, "I can relate to that, and observing the position and behaviour of vehicles on the road."

At the same time be aware that anything can happen (and often does here in Phuket; even Bangkok traffic is more disciplined!).

Here in Phuket my daily ride is a bicycle; my motorcycle is for high days and holidays. The principles are the same.
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