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Counter-steering Is only Half
Of The Story

By: James R. Davis

To my mind there is entirely too much confusion about the transition point between steering and counter-steering. You really should UNDERSTAND what is happening at that time.

First, you NEED to know that when your bike is moving at faster than about 6-8 MPH you can ONLY counter-steer. It is not optional. It is not a decision you get to make. Physics determines what happens when you push on one grip or the other, not you.

So, most of you do know that above that speed threshold should you press on the right grip, for example, your bike will turn to the RIGHT. That's counter-steering.

But what not one in ten of you has intellectualized and understand in a way that allows you to use that knowledge is that at steering speeds (slow), if you are in a turn and use your brakes your scoot will fall DOWN but at counter-steering speeds and in that curve when you use your brakes your bike will 'fall' UP!!!!!

Further, at steering speeds (slow), if you use your brakes when in a curve you will SHORTEN the curve and at counter-steering speeds if you use your brakes in that curve you will WIDEN the turn.

Counter-steering is only half the story!

Get your head around the idea that at faster speeds YOU DO NOT LEAN YOUR BIKE, IT LEANS ITSELF! Your bike 'dials in' the lean angle, not you. At faster speeds when you use your throttle your bike dials in a STEEPER lean angle while at slower (steering) speeds, using your throttle will make your bike stand taller - it is how you 'save' a bike that is about to fall down in a slow-speed turn, no? If you want to lean farther into a fast turn you increase throttle and maintain the same radius. That is exactly the opposite of what you do at slow speed.

The dynamics of your motorcycle reverse at about 6 MPH. Counter-steering is an important part of that, but that's not the whole story. And now you know 'the rest of the story.'

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(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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