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Thread: Counter-steering, an unhelpful term

  1. #1
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    Counter-steering, an unhelpful term

    By now almost everyone riding a bike must know about so called COUNTER-STEERING unless they're an absolute novice. Most others will also know how it works and why. A few might even know how it got the name. Many more, but not everyone, will know that we all do it all the time whether we realise it or not or our bikes wouldn't start to turn, even the ones which require you only to think, turn, to start the turn and it'll do it.

    I prefer to call the phenomenon PUSH-STEERING, because it's what we really are doing. I want to turn to the left so I push forward on the left 'bar. For right it's the opposite. Even after riding for so long I still do it consciously whenever I want to initiate a rapid change of direction and just before coming to a complete stop so that the bike will cant slightly towards the foot I intend to put on the ground.

    Give it a try. You might be surprised at how effective it is.

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    I found this to be a good demonstration of the phenomenon. There's plenty of videos out there about counter-steering but none show you the consequences of not understanding it.

    TRIGGER WARNING - I'm serious, if seeing crashes sets off your anxiety then please don't watch. You have been warned. In saying that, I think the guy survives.

    https://youtu.be/VVE79XT8-Mg
    Made you look

  3. #3
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    Synthetic or mineral oil?

    Road or race tyre pressures?

    Accelerate or brake for that bus?

    Vagina or Vage?

    Counter or push/pull?


    These ARE the dividing questions on a motorcycle forum.

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    To train or not to train.

    Big naturals or silicone enhanced.

    Red Bull or V.

    Fair enough for the OP to mention a basic skill, most should know of it by now, some of us even use the counter steering technique in our rider coaching
    If the words I say offend you, imagine the ones I keep to myself...

  5. #5
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    What I'm trying to get across is that the very term Counter-Steering can be confusing to some, and not only beginners, because it suggests doing the opposite from what is wanted - to steer in a chosen direction.

    Calling it Push-Steering says something positive and is very easy to grasp. To go left, push the left 'bar forward in the direction you want to go.

    The point I made about pushing a 'bar forward being effective even when at almost a stop may not be realised by many who do know about using it at higher speeds.

  6. #6
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    There's more to this issue than the term. The technique itself is counter-intuitive ... which means thinking consciously about what we're doing can be more of a hindrance than a help.

    Brain biology is such that rational, conscious thought is a relatively slow process compared to instinctive/subconscious thought, and slower still compared to reflexes. In moments of life-or-death crisis, you don't want to be mentally ticking a checklist, reciting some trite acronym or risk-assessing your options.

    Soooo (with respect) it's a technique better learnt by individuals through practice and experience, rather than teachers/trainers and classes ... but maybe there is a need to kick-start the learning process? Actually, I'm not even sure about that: has anyone been taught to countersteer a bicycle? It's the same principle. And yet, without it being pointed out, most of us manage to ride a bike, admittedly with the odd grazed knee.

  7. #7
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    I think the term 'Counter-Steering' is exactly what it is. You can call it push-steering, as your pet name for it, but it is still definitely 'Counter-Steering'.

    BUT hold on........ Why not call it 'Pull-Steering' instead, as you pull the opposite bar to the way you want to turn?

    Call it whatever you like, but it is still 'Counter-Steering'


    Mobil One 15/50 Fully synthetic, thank you

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamA View Post
    What I'm trying to get across is that the very term Counter-Steering can be confusing to some, and not only beginners, because it suggests doing the opposite from what is wanted - to steer in a chosen direction.

    Calling it Push-Steering says something positive and is very easy to grasp. To go left, push the left 'bar forward in the direction you want to go.

    The point I made about pushing a 'bar forward being effective even when at almost a stop may not be realised by many who do know about using it at higher speeds.
    Call it what you wish, the fact remains that the technique is referred to as counter steering in all teaching environments. And as another poster mentioned, it's best taught in a practical teaching environment.

    Quibble about the term if you wish. I find it funny that there are words in the English lingo with silent letters, such as knife or knock. Won't be starting a post on KB about it though...
    If the words I say offend you, imagine the ones I keep to myself...

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    Is there a limit to how hard you can counter steer?

    if so how can you tell.....

    apparantly i don’t do enough of it.

    Loving the smell of diesel in the morning again

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    Cassina/Axehole bait much?
    You just know that these clowns will turn this thread to shit by the end of tomorrow...
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldog View Post
    Is there a limit to how hard you can counter steer?

    if so how can you tell.....

    apparantly i don’t do enough of it.
    Your speed and the acuteness of the bend are the determining factors. If you fall off, you've over cooked it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldog View Post
    Is there a limit to how hard you can counter steer?

    if so how can you tell.....

    apparantly i don’t do enough of it.
    i found that when you get quite physical with the counter steer and physically switching sides it tended to cause a little wheelie as the bike goes through the vertical.The harder you push the quicker the transistion.The motogpguys get blisters on their hands at the start of the season

  13. #13
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    Must try harder, comes to mind.
    next ride then

    Loving the smell of diesel in the morning again

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWST? View Post
    The motogpguys get blisters on their hands at the start of the season
    So would I - have you seen the grid girls?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldog View Post
    Is there a limit to how hard you can counter steer?

    if so how can you tell.....

    apparantly i don’t do enough of it.
    Get someone who knows their stuff to show you. Counter steering can be done with gusto but yeah if you get carried away with it, you'll be on your butt.

    In a bend you can add some counter steering to tighten the path of the bike, so it helps to know how your bike responds to the push input on the inside bar.
    If the words I say offend you, imagine the ones I keep to myself...

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