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 General Discussion
 Counter-steering is only HALF of it!
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17378 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500
Peer Review: 4

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  9:27 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend                        Like
Well, I think it's time I wrote another 'Tip' article. 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 that when 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, 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), when in a curve if you use your brakes you will SHORTEN the curve and at counter-steering speeds, in a curve, if you use your brakes you will WIDEN the turn.

Counter-steering is only half of it! 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.

James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17378 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  9:52 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Footnote ...

This topic comes up because I have been responding to questions like "The MSF doesn't allow us to cover our front brake and they tell us NEVER to brake while in a turn. Are they right?"

When I respond that they are only 'right' at slow speeds, like when students are on the MSF ranges, there is not much in the way of enlightened eye opening going on. I would hope that once in a while someone would respond with "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?" But as it turns out, the MSF totally fails to address what ELSE happens at the cross-over point between steering and counter-steering and the result is that students are left believing that the MSF does not itself believe in covering brakes or that it believes that using a brake in a turn will result in dumping a bike.

Well, on this site I would rather you learn all of it, not just the half that you must. Counter-steering is only half the story.
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gary
Standard Member
143 Posts


Kingston, New York
USA

Honda

1100 Shadow '99

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  10:40 AM
I have a friend who teaches a MSF and has for a long time which he tells me that if they give to much info it just makes the job harder because the students gets totaly confused. I remember when I took the class,(advanced), they rushed it to the point I was confussed and that was after 40 years of riding. I wonder if just a weekend is enough? Seems to me that maybe a week would be better but at prices they charge who could afford it.
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jollyroger
Advanced Member
2157 Posts
[Mentor]


St. Charles, MO
USA

Harley-Davidson

Springer Classic

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  12:14 PM
quote:
[i]Originally posted by James R. Davis[/

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, 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!!!!!



Well, then I'll consider myself one of the other of ten, because I've not only learned that you can brake in a turn, you can also throttle off in a turn to get much the same effect...it amazes me how many people will go too hot into a turn and end up losing it because they have been told to goose it on instead of slowing down. I personally have found that dialing back the throttle will save your sorry butt in a lot of situations...
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dandrewk
Standard Member
156 Posts


San Rafael, CA
USA

Ducati

Multistrada 620 Dark

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  12:39 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis



... 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? I




Well, I do know this, but yesterday I was painfully reminded.

My driveway is on an up slope. I always park in the garage nose in, so leaving I back it out and turn so the bike is parallel with the garage entrance. I then turn the bike to go up the incline of my driveway. This obviously requires a lot of throttle to go from a dead stop with the wheel slightly turned and move a heavy bike uphill.

Normally, no problem. Yesterday I must have had a brain fart. I had the wheel turned too much, and when I throttled to go up the driveway I didn't give it nearly enough gas. Result - a skinned shin, and because the bike fell over on a sloped cement driveway - a gouged muffler guard and scrapped front quarter and bottom panel. That's $100 to replace the guard and about a $75 bill from Colorrite.

Wish I had read this yesterday.
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River
Male Advanced Member
506 Posts
[Mentor]


Chippewa Falls, WI
USA

Kawasaki

Concours

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  4:47 PM
Thanks for once again clearly illuminating in words what we see happen in practice- I've noticed this effect, but couldn't articulate how to talk about it....


^o^
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Roshi
New Member
23 Posts


Tokyo, Tokyo
Japan

(None)

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  7:58 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

...First, you NEED to know that when your bike is moving at faster than about 6-8 MPH you can ONLY counter-steer...


Mr. Davis, I have a question related to this comment.
Purely from a dynamics standpoint, not a stuntman standpoint, if the bike were moving let say 40MPH and the rider provides no steering input whatsoever (for argument's sake, no hands), would that rider not be able to control the bike to go right or left based on weight shift? I don't think the rider could turn sharply, but would a gradual turn be possible?

If so, is the bike actually countersteering itself? Or is the definition of a "turn" in this post smaller than a certain radius at a certain speed?

Again this is purely a physics question and not a comment whether or not counter-steering at higher speeds is the safest way to turn.

I guess I'm asking this because there are times I consciously counter-steer, but times I don't consciously counter-steer, I always wonder what I was doing.
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kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  8:06 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Roshi

...if the bike were moving let say 40MPH and the rider provides no steering input whatsoever (for argument's sake, no hands), would that rider not be able to control the bike to go right or left based on weight shift?

There is such a bike to demostrate this:

http://www.superbikeschool.com/mach...-machine.php

(Be sure to watch the video)

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Roshi
New Member
23 Posts


Tokyo, Tokyo
Japan

(None)

Posted - 10/06/2005 :  11:12 PM
quote:
Originally posted by kiddal

quote:
Originally posted by Roshi

...if the bike were moving let say 40MPH and the rider provides no steering input whatsoever (for argument's sake, no hands), would that rider not be able to control the bike to go right or left based on weight shift?

There is such a bike to demostrate this:

http://www.superbikeschool.com/mach...-machine.php

(Be sure to watch the video)





Hey thanks! I don't have the application to watch the video, so I read the entire article. Very interesting experiment! "I guess I was countersteering afterall" is the conclusion that I came to.

I guess I was doing it also because it gave me the most acurate reponse to get to where I wanted to go in the turn, and thus the safest way to turn.

However I read from the article that, bikes CAN "turn", physically by shifting weight, but that turn is so insignificant that it should be ignored, for the sake of safety.

So I guess the answer to my question is: the definition of "turn" in this post is for practical riding purposes.

OK. I'm sorry I went off on a tangent. I understand that the purpose of this post is to say the Counter Steering is part of the mechanics of turning at speed.
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Tom
Junior Member
42 Posts


USA

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  12:30 AM
James
In your statement
"Your bike 'dials in' the lean angle, not you."

Doesen't the rider dial in the lean angle by how much counter steering input he gives?

Tom
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17378 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  1:51 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
quote:
Doesen't the rider dial in the lean angle by how much counter steering input he gives?


That's a fair question.

The amount of counter-steer used (how hard you push the grip) does, in effect, 'dial in' the lean angle because it is what establishes the radius of the turn. Lean angle is a function of speed and turn radius.
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jlanthripp
New Member
13 Posts


Rossville, GA
USA

Yamaha

Virago 700

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  12:38 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

quote:
Doesen't the rider dial in the lean angle by how much counter steering input he gives?


That's a fair question.

The amount of counter-steer used (how hard you push the grip) does, in effect, 'dial in' the lean angle because it is what establishes the radius of the turn. Lean angle is a function of speed and turn radius.



I was reading this and something occurred to me, and I wanted to run it past you more experienced riders and see if there's any validity to it. Maybe the leaning is begun in the first place by centrifugal force when you push on the inside handlebar. It would start for a tiny fraction of a second as a turn in one direction, centrifugal force would pull the bike over in the other direction, and the resulting lean would turn the bike to the side whose handlebar got pushed.

Let's say I go to make a right turn. I push on the right handlebar, setting up a slight left hand steer. Centrifugal force pulls the bike over to the right, and that lean sets up the right hand turn, because the middle of the tires are of larger circumference as the outside of the tires.

Does that make sense? Or am I way off base?
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17378 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  12:47 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Your concept of centrifugal force causing the lean is accurate. I have no idea what you meant about tire circumference, however.
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jlanthripp
New Member
13 Posts


Rossville, GA
USA

Yamaha

Virago 700

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  1:01 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

Your concept of centrifugal force causing the lean is accurate. I have no idea what you meant about tire circumference, however.


Because the tires are rounded instead of flat across the tread, the middle part of the tire tread has a larger diameter and circumference than the outer part of the tire tread. You explained it far better than I can in Tip #48 IIRC.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6950 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  1:28 PM
I disagree about centrifugal force causing the lean. The initial countersteering effort causes the front tire to track to the outside momentarily. With the contact patches of the tires heading to the outside of the turn the bike is going to fall in and the steering geometry then puts force on the steering to balance things and turn in the correct direction.

I don't believe that the conical shape of tires has much to do with turning either. Otherwise a bicycle with very narrow tires wouldn't behave the same in turns.

Didn't somebody make a video once showing the countersteering effect on a motorcycle?
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amhopf
Male Standard Member
216 Posts


Littleton, Colorado
USA

Honda

02 VFR800 ABS

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  3:38 PM
here's the way i grasped (literally & figuratively) countersteering when it was explained to me for bicycling: take the front wheel off the bike and hold the skewer (axel) and have a friend spin it, then push with the right hand/pull with the left. the gyroscopic effect will lean the wheel to the right! well that’s the lean that makes you turn when countersteering. ‘aint physics neat?
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jlanthripp
New Member
13 Posts


Rossville, GA
USA

Yamaha

Virago 700

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  8:08 PM
quote:
Originally posted by amhopf

here's the way i grasped (literally & figuratively) countersteering when it was explained to me for bicycling: take the front wheel off the bike and hold the skewer (axel) and have a friend spin it, then push with the right hand/pull with the left. the gyroscopic effect will lean the wheel to the right! well that’s the lean that makes you turn when countersteering. ‘aint physics neat?


Well, as long as it works, I'm happy with it...

The whole centrifugal force thing is just something that popped into my head when I read the beginning of this thread and tried to visualize just why the bike turns right when I turn the handlebar thingie left at speed, but turns left when I do the same thing, say, at idle in first gear
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Arnold
Male Standard Member
176 Posts


Santa Monica, CA
USA

Kawasaki

KZ1000

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  10:19 PM
Okay I am enjoying this thread because I am learning a lot.

That said, let's imagine a scenario:

Say you are exiting a freeway via a decreasing-radius off ramp exiting to the right. Let's further say that for whatever reason you find that you have entered this ramp too "hot". You have already initiated your turn when you realize this. What is the best course of action??? Should you try to get the bike upright and then threshold brake? Or should you lean more into the turn as in Jim's previous diagram? Ease off the throttle? Is it permissible to brake at all while leaned into this turn?? Or should you countersteer to the right (i.e. push the right handgrip to tighten the turn)? or do I have it all backwards?

Sorry for all the questions, but I don't do much freeway riding. Most of my riding is low speed cruising. Thanks in advance for any and all replies!

Edited by - Arnold on 10/07/2005 10:21 PM
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rolog
Standard Member
107 Posts


city of smiles
Philippines

Ducati

2004monster620

Posted - 10/08/2005 :  10:16 AM
Arnold, the answer to your question if james is right is to increase throttle.

i now remember that everytime i feel i am going too fast entering a curve i ease off on the throttle and/or apply some brake, this always results in me feeling that i am fighting the bike because it wants to stand up while i want it to lean further into the curve. I almost always go wide then.

It seems to go against logic to give it more throttle when you already feel you are going too fast, but it seems this is the right thing to do. Am i right? Can't i just ease off and countersteer harder?

Edited by - rolog on 10/08/2005 10:26 AM
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17378 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 10/08/2005 :  10:39 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Increasing speed in a turn increases the lean angle not decreases it. Only when you are going at steering speeds (slow) does increasing throttle decrease the lean angle.

If you are too hot in a turn and the lean angle is getting close to peg scraping you should ease off the throttle and maintain your radius.

If you have already begun to drag a peg then you lean your body into the turn and ease off the throttle.

If you must tighten the turn the only way to do that is to use counter-steering. If the lean angle is already near peg scraping you must ease off the throttle, lean into the turn - if you must because the peg does drag, and use more counter-steering.

Edited by - James on 10/08/2005 10:42 AM
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rolog
Standard Member
107 Posts


city of smiles
Philippines

Ducati

2004monster620

Posted - 10/08/2005 :  11:57 AM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

Increasing speed in a turn increases the lean angle not decreases it.



when you say increase the lean angle do you mean the angle with respect to the vertical plane? Is it the same as saying increasing speed in a turn will lean the bike more?

Edited by - rolog on 10/08/2005 12:12 PM
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