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How do you steer?

Old 12-03-23, 08:46 PM
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I try real hard not to think about how I turn the bike, to avoid the Centipede's Dilemma.
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Old 12-03-23, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by redshift1
p.s. I think counter-steering is only used to initiate ( and exit ) the turn. Once the bank and turn are established, the handlebars may even be now turned ( slightly ) in the direction of the turn.
Unless you're skidding through the turn, the front wheel must be turned in the direction of the turn during the turn.
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Old 12-03-23, 09:40 PM
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.
...one of the best attractions at the California State Fair, for a few years, was some guy who had put together one of those reverse steering bicycles (with two head tubes, the bars joined to the fork steerer using a pinion gear mechanism). He hired a cute young girl as his barker, and offered a hundred bucks to anyone who could ride the thing 100 feet. At five bucks a try, he was pulling in money like you wouldn't believe.

I once sat nearby for about 15 minutes, sipping on some bottled water to rehydrate. The line of guys who wanted to do it never got any shorter than ten. Nobody won.
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Old 12-03-23, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
Unless you're skidding through the turn, the front wheel must be turned in the direction of the turn during the turn.
At low speed, yes. At high speed you actually slightly steer opposite to the direction you want to go.
This is more for a turn like changing lanes not going around a corner.
I have no idea what the exact speed it and bicycles are probably moving too slowly to need to do that. I grew up on a Honda motorcycle. Dad was a Honda mechanic starting in Ď65. I learned counter steering early but it wasnít something anybody really discussed. Dirt bikes donít use it much but it really helps on pavement at high speed. Most riders try to just lean into a turn. You can but itís slow and not precise. Counter steering is much quicker and very precise.

I doubt it is really very useful at bicycle speed unless swerving abruptly.
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Old 12-03-23, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
At low speed, yes. At high speed you actually slightly steer opposite to the direction you want to go.
No. Once you're in the turn, the front wheel must be turned in the direction of the turn, regardless of the speed. The angle becomes very small at high speed, but it's still there. (Again, this assumes you're not skidding through the turn.)
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Old 12-03-23, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
PeteHski Well, If you don't care to know how to avoid an unexpected pothole or that last second ride ending bit of road debris at speed...I don't know what to tell you.

The biggest skill in a motorcycle endorsement class is how to utilize counter-steering. The test is designed to achieve basic competence for your own safety. A single failure. A single cone touched. You fail. You will not be licensed to ride a motorcycle today. The skill is a real thing.

...And you're right. Steering should be unconscious. 6 year-olds do it. Many adults ride their entire lives effectively with the skill of a 6 year-old and get along ok.

But, if you are the unskilled 6 year old adult, you are going to panic, freeze, hit that thing, or run off your line simply because you don't have a conscious practiced understanding of how to recognize the hazard and consciously effect the necessary correction.

That's the difference between rider and operator.
I have ridden a motorcycle zero times, yet I know how to handle my bicycles confidently and skillfully in sudden and unexpected situations. How could this have happened? It turns out that riding bicycles can also teach you how to ride bicycles. Iím not new to this bicycle thing, and figured some stuff out along the way. Other people I know have done the same thing.
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Old 12-03-23, 10:13 PM
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The fish are really biting today.
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Old 12-03-23, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
No. Once you're in the turn, the front wheel must be turned in the direction of the turn, regardless of the speed. The angle becomes very small at high speed, but it's still there. (Again, this assumes you're not skidding through the turn.)
If you are going through a high speed turn- like a cloverleaf, and suddenly turn in the direction of the turn you will be flying over the handlebars. Counter steering moves the contact patch slightly up to the side of the tire pulling the bike in that direction.
I am not an engineer but I have ridden thousands of miles on motorcycles. I read the explanation of what we were doing that was written by an engineer. We only knew how to ride high speed bikes.
A bicycle probably does not go fast enough to have the same effect.
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Old 12-03-23, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
The fish are really biting today.
...winter really brings on the season, doesn't it ? It's like when the ice first breaks up on some of the high Sierra lakes, and the trout will hit anything you throw in the water.
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Old 12-03-23, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer
...winter really brings on the season, doesn't it ? It's like when the ice first breaks up on some of the high Sierra lakes, and the trout will hit anything you throw in the water.
But the lure is so shiny and pretty!
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Old 12-04-23, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
Countersteering is for higher speeds. At low speeds I turn in the direction I want to go.
No, you donít. You only think you do.
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Old 12-04-23, 12:14 AM
  #37  
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ĎAt speedí rather than poodling around:

1. Set up by countersteering
2. Outside pedal down at 6:00
3. Inside elbow bent down more than usual
4. Optional - more for mtb, outside elbow pointed up and out
5. Lean bike by shifting weight on the saddle and pressing on outside pedal, like on weighting an outside ski during a turn
6. And turn the bars slightly in direction of the curve.

And thatís it. Easy peasy.

Edit: Forgot a coupleÖ. 7. Point inside knee toward apex of curve. 8. Slow in, fast out. 9. Going wide then hitting the apex and going wide out to maintain speed.

See, itís not technical at all.

Kind of like golf.
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Old 12-04-23, 01:33 AM
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Countersteering sets a (motor)bike into the lean angle you want. It is necessary, because most motorcycles (yes, motorcycles) outweigh their riders by a considerable ratio. One of Isaac Newton's Laws no doubt explains why a 400lb streetbike headed East at 65mph will not easily deviate from that line, but all the rider really needs to know is that a quick yank of the bars opposite the intended turn will bank the bike over, and it will start to steer in the direction it is banked.

Bank angle trumps steering input. Even steered to the right, if banked enough to the left, a motorcycle is going to steer left. However, if the turn is tight enough you may want to take out most or all of the countersteer. It's done it's job. You were never going to get that much mass with so much Kinetic Energy leaned over any other way. You are nicely heeled over in the bank angle you want. With the right amount of lean for the speed, the amount of steer into the turn may well be zero.

It is really an amazing thing to go through a fast sweeping turn on a motorcycle at speed. Its just crazy how stable it feels. On a bicycle, I have never consciously countersteered. The dynamics of a 185lb rider vs 20lb roadbike are the polar opposite of a 185lb rider vs 400lb streetbike! Why are we imagining that the same techniques apply? At the speeds, and in the weather conditions of much of my bicycle riding, turns are best taken at near walking speed with plenty of steer in the direction of the turn. If someone knows a different way to do it, cool. As for me and my house, we will do what works for us. Cheers.

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Old 12-04-23, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
I have ridden a motorcycle zero times, yet I know how to handle my bicycles confidently and skillfully in sudden and unexpected situations. How could this have happened? It turns out that riding bicycles can also teach you how to ride bicycles. Iím not new to this bicycle thing, and figured some stuff out along the way. Other people I know have done the same thing.
I hear that Tom Pidcock is pretty handy with bike handling too and AFAIK he doesnít ride motorbikes either.
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Old 12-04-23, 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by skidder
Once I get up to speed and don't have to slow down very much ts usually leaning into the turn. At slow speed its turn the handlebars as required with both hands. Is this something the OP finds mind-blowingly complex?
Not complex at all. I was riding along the other day and noticed that I seemed to always use my right hand to nudge the handlebar to the left. It was a random thought that I figured had the potential to become a 4 page thread on Bikeforums.
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Old 12-04-23, 03:35 AM
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For those who believe countersteering is optional or only at high speed, then thereís this test

If you watch the whole video it explains all 3 factors that contribute to bike steering and their relative importance. There is also no requirement for a competent, skilled rider to understand any of the physics!


Note: Whenever this video is posted, someone is always in denial of the fact.

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Old 12-04-23, 04:45 AM
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My impression (not having ever ridden on a motorcycle) is that conscious, deliberate counter-steering is required for motorcycles but that bicycles don't require deliberate counter-steering. At least, I've never intentionally counter-steered any of my bikes, except experimentally.

If the phenomenon of counter-steering a bicycle requires laborious demonstration, such as the construction of a bike whose turning in one direction can be locked out by remote control, it is subtle enough to be imperceptible to riders.
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Old 12-04-23, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak

If the phenomenon of counter-steering a bicycle requires laborious demonstration, such as the construction of a bike whose turning in one direction can be locked out by remote control, it is subtle enough to be imperceptible to riders.
It is subtle and thatís why most people donít realise they are doing it. But if you watch a total beginner learning to ride a bike you can see that they have to consciously learn to counter steer before they can ďbalanceĒ and actually ride at all. Usually they wobble around over and under correcting until they eventually figure it out in their mind.

I agree on a motorbike the forces are much higher so it may initially require some conscious effort to learn how counter steer affects your ability to lean a heavy bike into a turn. It makes sense to teach that on a motorbike training course, but it is not really necessary for bike riders on 8 kg road bikes.
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Old 12-04-23, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It is subtle and thatís why most people donít realise they are doing it. But if you watch a total beginner learning to ride a bike you can see that they have to consciously learn to counter steer before they can ďbalanceĒ and actually ride at all. Usually they wobble around over and under correcting until they eventually figure it out in their mind.
You're probably right. But I can't help thinking about the fact that infants who are learning to walk lurch from side to side until they train themselves to keep their body weight centered above their feet. When they begin falling to the right, they learn to move their feet to the right. No wheels involved, obviously, but still.

Similarly, when kids learn to ride a bike, they learn to steer to bring the wheels under them: when they begin to lean to the right, they learn to steer to the right. Again, if counter-steering is involved (which I guess it is, given the preponderance of opinions in this thread), it's awfully subtle.
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Old 12-04-23, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
You're probably right. But I can't help thinking about the fact that infants who are learning to walk lurch from side to side until they train themselves to keep their body weight centered above their feet. When they begin falling to the right, they learn to move their feet to the right. No wheels involved, obviously, but still.

Similarly, when kids learn to ride a bike, they learn to steer to bring the wheels under them: when they begin to lean to the right, they learn to steer to the right. Again, if counter-steering is involved (which I guess it is, given the preponderance of opinions in this thread), it's awfully subtle.
Just watch that video I posted. When you see it in slow motion, the required counter steer for maintaining balance is obvious. Itís not a matter of opinion, it is a hard fact. The opinion part is whether or not we need to learn this physics to improve our bike handling. My opinion is that we absolutely donít. I would bet that if we surveyed a bunch of pro cyclists on this, the vast majority of them would just stare blankly!
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Old 12-04-23, 07:43 AM
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My one remaining reservation concerning the idea that counter-steering is invariably employed for steering a bicycle is this:

When I hold my bike upright by the saddle (with the bike not yet rolling) and let the front wheel flop to one side, however slightly, rolling the bike forward results in the bike turning toward the side to which it's leaning. I can't figure out how counter-steering can be involved there.

And, come to think of it, acrobatic cyclists on fixed-gear bikes can ride backward and no-handed as long as they like. Does the counter-steering happen in the instant before they begin leaning?
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Old 12-04-23, 07:52 AM
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Ok, on to the next question: how do you breathe?
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Old 12-04-23, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
My one remaining reservation concerning the idea that counter-steering is invariably employed for steering a bicycle is this:

When I hold my bike upright by the saddle (with the bike not yet rolling) and let the front wheel flop to one side, however slightly, rolling the bike forward results in the bike turning toward the side to which it's leaning. I can't figure out how counter-steering can be involved there.
Thatís because you are planted to the ground on your feet and holding the bike up. There is no balance required.

If you watch the whole video it goes on to explain how bikes will self-steer if you push them off down a hill.
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Old 12-04-23, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak

And, come to think of it, acrobatic cyclists on fixed-gear bikes can ride backward and no-handed as long as they like. Does the counter-steering happen in the instant before they begin leaning?
Well again in the video it demonstrates that you can ride around endlessly in a circle without counter steering once you are balanced into the lean. But you still have to first steer the other way to initiate that lean. I doubt that the acrobats are exempt from the physics, even if it may appear that way.

Another interesting thing in that video is the demonstration of how it is impossible to ride a bike even in a straight line with no steering. We (or the bike via self steering) have to constantly make tiny subconscious steering inputs to remain balanced.

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Old 12-04-23, 08:21 AM
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If we're talking about bovines, you just remove the "onions," then apply some kind of substance to prevent infection. I think an elastrator band is the modern way to do it.
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