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  1. #1
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    counter steering

    maybe you know this, maybe you don't....if you do, please add. if you don't, please give it a try.

    wanna corner waaaaay better and faster? of course you do.

    if you are like most cyclists, when you corner, you learned to stick your knee waaay out.

    however, this is not efficient.

    the way to corner is....keep the top half of your body straight, keep your knee inside, touching your top tube, and push down on your handlebars, looking through the turn. your bike will be leaning, your upper body straight, it feels and looks goofy but you can make way tighter turns. this also works on the road when coming downhill. it's scary at first, but when you get the hang of it, you can take turns waaay faster than you should and you live to tell about it.

    a good way to practice this is in a parking lot (or grassy knoll) with a traffic cone (or any obstacle to get around). ride at it, then exaggerate the lean of the bike and turn/corner around the obstacle with your inside knee touching the top tube, the top half of your body straight, your bike leaned, your head looking through the turn (like a switchback).

    you can do this seated as well as crouched.

    (no reason for posting this, just wanted to share and post something that isn't a "what bike should i buy" thread)

  2. #2
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pablosnazzy View Post

    if you are like most cyclists, when you corner, you learned to stick your knee waaay out.

    however, this is not efficient.
    Valentino Rossi may beg to differ.

    I agree with you completely though. Hanging a knee on an mtb looks dorky. Keep knees in, head up looking to corner exit, rotate your hips, and you're railing.

  3. #3
    Custom User never's Avatar
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    What...no video showing us how it's done?

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    Bad Company dminor's Avatar
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    Countersteer:



  5. #5
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pablosnazzy View Post
    if you are like most cyclists, when you corner, you learned to stick your knee waaay out.

    however, this is not efficient.

    the way to corner is....keep the top half of your body straight, keep your knee inside, touching your top tube, and push down on your handlebars, looking through the turn. your bike will be leaning, your upper body straight, it feels and looks goofy but you can make way tighter turns. this also works on the road when coming downhill. it's scary at first, but when you get the hang of it, you can take turns waaay faster than you should and you live to tell about it.
    Hmm...guilty as charged. The more the bike leans, the further out my knee goes. I'm having trouble picturing it though...you wouldn't happen to have a picture handy, would you? (I did watch D's video, but they all have that drop the inside foot thing going on, and I feel like I'm not moving nearly fast enough for that to look half normal).

  6. #6
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    i learned to put my knee waaay out there on turns from crit racing. i had to get used to keeping my knees in. i learned the technique from paul "skip" hamilton, who won the leadville 100 a couple times in the 80's and taught bike camps. i'm sorry i don't have a video or picture.

    here is a picture i got off the web, imagine you are doing the countersteer, but instead of your knee out there, your knee is touching your top tube and your head is turned to look through the turn. and you can turn your wheels in a bit more aggressively.

    http://cyclingreporter.com/wp-conten...ersteering.jpg

  7. #7
    Bad Company dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11
    I did watch D's video, but they all have that drop the inside foot thing going on . . .
    Watch the cornering segment again and pause it at 13:30; his positioning is a bit exaggerated but the principle is there.

  8. #8
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Haven't gotten around to the one you posted in the other topic yet...I was just referring to the one in this topic. I'll go check it out, thanks!

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    Bad Company dminor's Avatar
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    Ohhhhhh . . . hah, did that as more of a joke. But - - that's the kind of riding I cut my teeth on as a pre-teen/teen (although NOT on a 750). I loved sideways so much I was >< close to trying my hand at Speedway.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kevrider's Avatar
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    acually, you don't countersteer with your knees and, properly done, you're not pushing 'down' on the bars. for a right turn, you would be pushing forward with your right hand, making the wheel point left => hence the 'counter' in countersteering.

    the left-pointed wheel is subtle and instantaneous, just long enough to send the wheel out from under the bike to the left... which makes the bike fall to the right. this initiates your lean into the turn. Vale knows all about this.

    in reality, i think pushing 'down' on the grip sends a force from your shoulder to the bar which includes a force vector that's parallel to the ground, so you'd get the same effect. it just takes more effort.
    Last edited by kevrider; 07-15-11 at 11:35 PM.
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  11. #11
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Everybody counter steers when they ride a bicycle... they just don't realize that they are doing it.

    Throwing your knee out counterbalances the bike.

  12. #12
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    kevrider has got it right. Want to snap that bike into a turn? Push forward on the same side of the handlebars as you want to go. This is especially effective with much heavier vehicles like motorbikes.
    When I discovered this on my motorcycle... It was a whole new world. The difference between that and just leaning into the turn was night and day.
    - Solo Attack: When you attack, let the sprint group lead you out. You take no points. But when they sit up, you put your head down and hold threshold. Remember: When you see Jesus you are still about 2 minutes from blacking out. Hang on.

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    Bad Company dminor's Avatar
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    ^^ I raced a whole season of indoor short track without touching my compression release (two-stroke) at one track because I learned the 'snap.'

  14. #14
    Senior Member kevrider's Avatar
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    insomnia sucks. i need to stop visiting this site before bedtime, it spins up my brain.

    throwing a knee into the curve moves your center of gravity towards the inside of the curve. this allows you to:

    a) trace a given turn radius at a given speed with less lean angle (for more safety margin), or...
    b) trace a given turn radius at a given lean angle with more speed (for victory).

    another motorcycling lesson. leaning your upper body into the curve has the same effect.
    In a world full of people, only some want to ride. Isn't that crazy?
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  15. #15
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    i know throwing the knee out is the way we are taught to do it, that is the thing about this technique. knee is in, touching the top tube as you lean the bike super aggressively in the turn. it feels really sketchy at first, and if you hesitate, you fall, but if you just trust yourself and the bike, it works, and you can take corners, tight corners, faster and tighter than you think possible.

  16. #16
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Alright, I watched the video in the other topic. Good stuff. But isn't his inside knee still hanging out into the corner?
    Picture from Google image search: http://cdn1.vitalmtb.com/photos/stor...jpg?1294792235
    It looks like his inside knee is off the top tube and pointing into the corner. I guess I'm just trying to figure out how you can have your knee touching the top tube and still be pointing your body into the corner. I'm going to take my bike out into a parking lot tomorrow and play with this, but I want to make sure I have the right picture in my head before I attempt this (or whether I'm already on the right track and just completely misunderstood your description).

  17. #17
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    zephyr - the upper half of your body is strait as you lean the bike into the turn. your inside knee is in, touching the top tube. i will try to get a picture of us doing it and post it.

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    Lots of downhill corning examples

    This post has lots of downhill fast cornering shots for anyone of interest. Includes Sam Hill, etc.

    http://www.sicklines.com/2009/05/27/...s-open-finals/

  19. #19
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevrider View Post
    acually, you don't countersteer with your knees and, properly done, you're not pushing 'down' on the bars. for a right turn, you would be pushing forward with your right hand, making the wheel point left => hence the 'counter' in countersteering.

    the left-pointed wheel is subtle and instantaneous, just long enough to send the wheel out from under the bike to the left... which makes the bike fall to the right. this initiates your lean into the turn. Vale knows all about this.

    in reality, i think pushing 'down' on the grip sends a force from your shoulder to the bar which includes a force vector that's parallel to the ground, so you'd get the same effect. it just takes more effort.
    I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by kevrider View Post
    throwing a knee into the curve moves your center of gravity towards the inside of the curve. this allows you to:

    a) trace a given turn radius at a given speed with less lean angle (for more safety margin), or...
    b) trace a given turn radius at a given lean angle with more speed (for victory).

    another motorcycling lesson. leaning your upper body into the curve has the same effect.
    Some moto techniques don't translate to cycling well. Something gets lost when going from a 150 lb. rider on a 300 lb. bike with LOTS of power at the rear wheel to a 150 lb. rider on a 30 lb. bike that is often unable to apply any power at all to the rear wheel when in a turn.

    Those moto GP guys' bikes are at maximum lean angle so they practically crawl off their bikes to get weight into the inside of the turn but that don't work on bicycles IME.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 07-16-11 at 12:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrockern8r View Post
    kevrider has got it right. Want to snap that bike into a turn? Push forward on the same side of the handlebars as you want to go. This is especially effective with much heavier vehicles like motorbikes.
    When I discovered this on my motorcycle... It was a whole new world. The difference between that and just leaning into the turn was night and day.
    Just tried this half an hour ago on a xc trail I used to ride. What a difference! Much faster turns, more speed when exiting! Now my 09 Trance X3 feels like another animal, nimble and fast! I knew I could save the fork upgrade .

    Just a bit to add to the technique: when pushing forward on the same side of the handle bar, push the foot on the opposite side as well. So the bike feels like it's hanging between the left hand and right foot when turning left. It makes the bike fly through the corners!

    Also lean towards the handle bar helps. Sometimes when the turn is too tight and I got scared to lean forward, that's when I screw up the turn.
    Last edited by angkec; 07-16-11 at 12:47 PM. Reason: typo

  21. #21
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    ok, got a pic from the actual class. yeah, my friend landon is on a road bike, he is one of the fastest mountain bikers i know, and this is one of the reasons why...this is how he corners on his mountain bike

    notice (if you can, it's kinda hard) his knees are in.


  22. #22
    Senior Member kevrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Some moto techniques don't translate to cycling well. Something gets lost when going from a 150 lb. rider on a 300 lb. bike with LOTS of power at the rear wheel to a 150 lb. rider on a 30 lb. bike that is often unable to apply any power at all to the rear wheel when in a turn.

    Those moto GP guys' bikes are at maximum lean angle so they practically crawl off their bikes to get weight into the inside of the turn but that don't work on bicycles IME.
    just threw that in there to explain why people stick their knees into the turn. it's not something i practice on a mtn bike.

    i do lean my body into the turn on the roadie. at 30-50 mph, i think it helps, even if it's only to reduce my fear. heh. it keeps the tire closer to the center of the tread.

    the guy in the pic is doing the opposite, moving his torso to the outside of the curve. he's getting the tire closer to the edge of the tread, which is more of a mx technique to tighten his line. that i do often on the mtn bike.

    back in the day, we used to call all of this "body english."
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    Pennsylvania offers free motorcycle safety classes and this is the first thing they teach. Decelerate, push to initiate lean, look through and accelerate through the turn. Applying the principle on a bicycle made my turns more nimble and precise. It's almost impossible any other way on a motorcycle. It seems couterintuitive to start a turn by pushing out of it, but once you get into the habit, the difference will be huge.

  24. #24
    Senior Member kevrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Some moto techniques don't translate to cycling well. Something gets lost when going from a 150 lb. rider on a 300 lb. bike with LOTS of power at the rear wheel to a 150 lb. rider on a 30 lb. bike that is often unable to apply any power at all to the rear wheel when in a turn.

    Those moto GP guys' bikes are at maximum lean angle so they practically crawl off their bikes to get weight into the inside of the turn but that don't work on bicycles IME.
    ya know, just reread your post in a different way. blame neo for the bump.

    me + my bicycle ~180#
    me + my motorbike ~ 575#

    moving my body on the bicycle will have a much larger effect on our collective CoG that moving around on the motorbike. if anything, it makes more sense to body english the bicycle than the motorbike to increase safety margin and/or corner speed.

    as you say, it's not that simple; sliding the butt to the side is hard to do on a bicycle. but a leg/torso are significant chunks of weight and make some difference in lean angle.
    In a world full of people, only some want to ride. Isn't that crazy?
    Seal/CRAZY/misquoted

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