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Old 05-03-2002, 03:40 PM   #31
Bryan8252
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Default Re: How do I change direction while in a turn?

I am VERY pleasently surprised; all great comments and not even one stinker. There is something here for everyone, and I thank all of you for taking the extra time and effort required to put together these thoughtful responses.

Bryan
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Old 05-03-2002, 10:36 PM   #32
richmotor_1
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Default what is countersteering?

Everybody has been talking about countersteering, but maybe Chariton, with no MSF course, doesn't really know what that is. It's kind of a weird idea, so maybe this will help.

I have a lot of experience riding mountain bikes, and had never heard about countersteering, so when I took the MSF course and the technique was explained in the classroom, it didn't make sense at all. Push the handlebars AWAY from the direction you want to go?!?! I actually tried to correct the instructor. Um, excuse me, if you want to go right, shouldn't you turn the bars to the right?

The best the instructor could do was "You'll see when you ride and try it." No real explanation.

What's happening, I now realize, is this.

Riding straight, the bike-and-rider's center of gravity is directly above a line connecting the two contact patches of each tire. Balanced. To turn, you need to change this orientation, or LEAN THE BIKE. The center of gravity needs to be to one side or the other of that imaginary line; say to the left of it, for a left turn. Now, you can't directly move the bike-and-rider mass, and its center of gravity, to the left-- unless you push off from the rider to your right, sending you off to your left and him (or her) off to the right. I guess you could also go aero-style and use a rudder-like thing to turn. Barring those techniques, though, all the controls on a motorcycle go through the tires, so what you CAN do is change where the tires are in relation to the center of gravity. This is countersteering. TO TURN LEFT, YOU ACTUALLY TURN THE BIKE TO THE RIGHT, OUT FROM UNDER YOU, MAKING YOU "FALL" INTO THE TURN TO YOUR LEFT. From there, you actually DO turn the handlebars to the left, to keep from falling over, although it happens so naturally you don't have to think about it. To turn more sharply, you push the bars left to push the bike farther out from under you so you "fall" into the turn faster; to straighten up, you pull the tires back underneath your center of gravity.

Great advice about looking at the solution, not the problem. Fixate on the grille of that truck or the chain link fence just past the shoulder and you'll soon be there. Look through the turn you want to make, at where you want to go. Also, trust your bike! turning-wise today's sportbikes are capable of more than you or I will ever ask of them, so trust your bike's abilities.

Countersteering works. If you find yourself in a situation like that again, LOOK AT THE PLACE THAT WILL SAVE YOUR ASS AND PUSH ON YOUR INSIDE GRIP UNTIL YOU'RE HEADED THERE.

And practice! find a curvy road and go there often. you can even swerve within your own lane on a straight road.
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Old 05-03-2002, 11:08 PM   #33
skrump
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Default Re: How do I change direction while in a turn?

All great comments above, so I have only a small thing to add, one that helped me out quite a bit while carving the canyons arounds L.A.- And that's simply to keep your head level with the horizon through the turns. Anybody who's been riding awhile probably does this without thinking about it, but it's not necessarily an automatic to a new rider. (Wasn't for me!) I found that when I was first learning to ride, when leaning into a turn I was leaning body, shoulders and head. This was disorienting, and made it more difficult to determine what my lean angle was in relation to the ground. Once I started keeping my head level with the horizon (still leaning body and shoulders) I felt MUCH more solid on balance, found more confidence through turns, and was able to safely push my bike right up to it's limits should an emergency come up.

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Old 05-04-2002, 05:16 AM   #34
Flickmeister
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Default Re: How do I change direction while in a turn?

Being a former MSF instructor, I have seen how confusing an explanation of countersteering can be. Telling someone to do the opposite of their natural reactions doesn't work well at all. I NEVER went into the concept of turning your handlebars to the right to get the bike to turn left. We simply taught "look left, push left (on the handlebars), go left." The other alternative is to simply tell people to look where they want to go and go there. It works virtually all of the time.



In one MSF course I was teaching, everyone was looking & turning in the correct direction. Then the other instructor told one young man about countersteering (i.e.: turning the bars to the right to turn the bike to the left). That created a huge can of worms that took an hour to undo. He was turning fine before the explanation, then afterwards, he'd look to the left (expecting to go that way), he pushed on the bars and went to the right. He did this a couple times and scared the living daylights out of himself. I had to take him aside and spent damn near an hour restoring his confidence and getting him to push on the correct handlebar. Knowing what countersteering is fine, just teach the physical input as "push left, go left" instead of saying "turn yours bars to the right and the bike will turn left." The human mind does not deal well with doing the opposite of what logic tells it to do, especially when learning new skills and there is some danger involved (falling). If you just teach "push left, go left," they'll simply do it and the fact that they are actually turning the bars to the right will never enter their mind. I'm a firm believer in the KISS theory--works everytime (Keep It Simple Stupid). Enjoy the ride. Cheers, ILAKSMU aka, Jack (-:
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Old 05-04-2002, 07:46 AM   #35
dp5
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Default important thing about countersteering

is that it's a DYNAMIC input, not STATIC. in other words, to countersteer push BRIEFLY on the inside bar and RELAX. the bike will take on more lean and then turn the front wheel where it needs to be. if you KEEP pushing on the inside bar, worst of all with your elbow locked, you won't let the bike do its thing and just steer right off the outside of the turn. i know, i've done it.



so one of the most important things that nobody ever seems to mention - keep your elbows slightly bent ALWAYS, and keep weight off the wrists by gripping the fuel tank with your knees. only use hands to steer, NOT to hang on!



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Old 05-04-2002, 02:49 PM   #36
Flickmeister
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Default Re: How do I change direction while in a turn?

Jeeeez.....I forgot one of the neatest tips I ever learned and it's simple as hell. To make sure your body is properly aligned with your motorcycle in a turn (i.e.: your body has the same lean angle as your bike), simply point your shoulder in the direction of the turn, keep your elbows loose and bent, and tuck the elbow in the direction of your turn in towards the bike. You'll be amazed at how it can help your cornering.



And the other thing we haven't mentioned yet that is most essential to proper riding, especially when negotiating a turn is smoothness. This means when you are braking, shifting, and using the throttle. Most people know to be smooth when applying the brakes or getting back on the gas. Just as important is closing the throttle smoothly and releasing the brakes smoothly, especially when you are releasing the brakes at the same time you are getting back on the gas. Smoothness, as you enter the turn, clip the apex, and exit the turn are essential to properly turning your motorcycle. The faster you go, the more important it is. ILASMU strikes again!
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Old 05-04-2002, 03:13 PM   #37
sarnali
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Default Re: How do I change direction while in a turn?

I think my bandit at about 7500 rpm is the best music I've heard, My vfr sounded pretty good at full yank too, then there's always yer classic v-twin chug or my old r100 volks-like wheeze who needs tunes when you have mechanical music?
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Old 05-04-2002, 03:18 PM   #38
sarnali
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Default Re: How do I change direction while in a turn?

Oh yeah, look where you want to go, countersteer , drag the rear brake, DON'T chop the throttle or stamp on the brakes, and slow down till you know what your doing, You only get to make a few mistakes, and you just usued up one
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Old 05-04-2002, 09:10 PM   #39
svted
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Default Re: what is countersteering?

I race mountain bikes expert class (when I'm not on my motorcycle) and countersteering works on a bicycle...it always has. You never had a thought about countersteering when you were riding mountain bikes. Why do you put so much convoluted thought into the concept when you are on a motorcycle? We often don't have time to think when things get tight on the road, so we have to train ourselves to just automatically do the right thing. We have to practice the right steering input over and over again till it is second nature. I recommend track days, practice swerving around real or imagined obstacles on an isolated road, or practice tightening up your turns routinely. You must train your mind and body to simply react, there is no time to think.

One more thing, I recommend that you play around with a spinning mountain bike front wheel held in your hands in front of you. Pretend your arms are a fork and give the wheel a steering input. You might find that the gyroscopic effect is what is forcing the bike to lean over. Countersteering has been around and talked about for over a century now...Its still fun to talk about it, but its more fun to not have to think about it when you really need to use it.



Cheers ,Ted
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Old 05-05-2002, 05:32 PM   #40
surfimp
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Default Re: How do I change direction while in a turn?

Dude:



Look, Lean, and Roll



1. Look towards your corner apex & exit



2. Lean your bike over by pusing on the inside grip (counter steering). If you need to turn harder/sharper, push more. Don't lock your elbows and stay RELAXED.



3. Roll on the throttle, smooooooothly



That's what they teach in MSF.



Remember that your bike will turn WAY better than you can, at this point. Have faith in it. Even if you think YOU can't make the corner, you're riding a CBR600F and unless you have seriously and egregiously miscalculated your entry speed, the bike WILL make it. Trust it.
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