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-   -   Counter Steering - When to Use? (https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling/1034744-counter-steering-when-use.html)

chaadster 10-16-15 07:34 AM

I gotta admit that I'm blown away by this general understanding of "countersteering" that's being discussed here! I mean, what's "counter" about it??

I grew up in a minibike/MTB/automotive world where countersteering mean turning against (i.e. counter) the direction of rotation in a slide. As in, if your rear wheel(s) slides towards the outside of a right hand turn initiating a clockwise rotation, you steer counter-clockwise. That's what I've always called countersteering.

Weighting the bar in the direction you want to turn is just how steer. At speeds and arcs where leaning the bike can describe the line you want, that's all you do. At low speeds and tight arcs, you throw in turning the bar. I've always found it simple like that.

I even had a motorcycle for a few years in the mid-'90s and rode with a group of older, experienced bikers who taught me how to run the back roads at speed and handle the throttle roll-off induced jacking of a Laverda v-twin when slowing for a turn, and I don't recall anyone ever calling pressing on the bar countersteering.

Clearly I'm in some kind of a minority here, but I'm curious as to what y'all call countersteering as I know it? Maybe I mixed up terms in my youth and just never got straightened out?

PepeM 10-16-15 07:41 AM


Originally Posted by chaadster (Post 18246231)
Weighting the bar in the direction you want to turn is just how steer.

That is what is referred to as countersteering. You are 'turning' your handlebar right so the bike leans, and therefore turns, left.

rpenmanparker 10-16-15 07:42 AM

^^^
When you turn the bars opposite to the direction you want to go. Not just weight them, but turn them. That makes the bike fall into the turn in the direction you want to turn. Sometime it is subtle, sometime severe. It just all depends on what you need. The pothole example is a good one. To go around a pothole on the left, you would flick the bars quickly to the right. That sends you over to the left. Countersteering.

PepeM 10-16-15 07:45 AM

Thing is, the pressure you have to put on a bicycle's handlebar to make this happen is so small it is almost imperceptible. On a 400lbs motorcycle going 150mph, it becomes much more noticeable. If you want to flick your sportsbike through a series of left-right corners at speed, you will have to give those bars a good push.

rpenmanparker 10-16-15 08:11 AM


Originally Posted by PepeM (Post 18246253)
Thing is, the pressure you have to put on a bicycle's handlebar to make this happen is so small it is almost imperceptible. On a 400lbs motorcycle going 150mph, it becomes much more noticeable. If you want to flick your sportsbike through a series of left-right corners at speed, you will have to give those bars a good push.

Right, on a bike it is almost not noticeable. It is just a minute flick. You definitely can't keep the bars turned counter for a long period. You will fall on the opposite side.

chaadster 10-16-15 09:02 AM


Originally Posted by PepeM (Post 18246239)
That is what is referred to as countersteering. You are 'turning' your handlebar right so the bike leans, and therefore turns, left.

Huh? I don't understand you at all.

Turning the bar right? We've been talking about weighting the bar on the inside of the turn, leaning the bike into the direction of the turn. There's no turning of the bar here, really, and I certainly don't understand it as turning opposite the direction of the lean and turn; want right turn, weight right side of bar, bike leans right, bike goes right.

Seattle Forrest 10-16-15 09:05 AM


Originally Posted by Inpd (Post 18245558)
Who would have though turning a bike would be so involved.

It's not.

The truth is it's like riding a bike.

You don't need to think about counter steering, it just happens.

RollCNY 10-16-15 09:14 AM


Originally Posted by chaadster (Post 18246391)
Huh? I don't understand you at all.

Turning the bar right? We've been talking about weighting the bar on the inside of the turn, leaning the bike into the direction of the turn. There's no turning of the bar here, really, and I certainly don't understand it as turning opposite the direction of the lean and turn; want right turn, weight right side of bar, bike leans right, bike goes right.

No disrespect, but this is wrong. Turning the bars right forces the bike to lean left, because trail.

chaadster 10-16-15 09:22 AM

Again, are we talking about turning the bar, or weighting the end of the bar inside the turn?

PepeM 10-16-15 09:32 AM

When you 'weigh' the inside of the bar, you are pushing it forward. Try pulling the other side, you will get the same result.

PepeM 10-16-15 09:34 AM


Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest (Post 18246396)
It's not.

The truth is it's like riding a bike.

You don't need to think about counter steering, it just happens.

That is true. However, if your goal is to be as fast as possible around turns, then knowing the dynamics of cornering is beneficial.

Inpd 10-16-15 09:37 AM

Counter steering at TTT 09 TDF
 
So here is nice analysis of the team time trials at the 09 Tour de France. The discussion counter steering and its use by two teams and how it cost one team precious time is pretty insightful and shows that is not something that you master when your five.

https://realanalytics.wordpress.com/tag/cornering/

JReade 10-16-15 09:40 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C848R9xWrjc

gregf83 10-16-15 09:44 AM


Originally Posted by chaadster (Post 18246231)
I gotta admit that I'm blown away by this general understanding of "countersteering" that's being discussed here! I mean, what's "counter" about it??

You turn the bars to the right to initiate a left hand turn. Once the turn has started and you're leaning left you turn the bars left to complete the turn.

chaadster 10-16-15 09:44 AM


Originally Posted by PepeM (Post 18246469)
When you 'weigh' the inside of the bar, you are pushing it forward. Try pulling the other side, you will get the same result.

Ok, I can see that, but weighting (i.e. pushing down on the bar) is different to saying turn the bar (i.e. pushing the bar forward). It's a strange way to conceptualize steering, but nevermind that for now, because if that's how y'all see it, that's fine by me, but it does bring me back to my original question: what do you call steering against a slide?

As a philosophical point, by your definition of countersteering, there seems to be no definition of sterring that is not countersteering. Seems queer to me.

PepeM 10-16-15 09:48 AM


Originally Posted by chaadster (Post 18246519)
Ok, I can see that, but weighting (i.e. pushing down on the bar) is different to saying turn the bar (i.e. pushing the bar forward). It's a strange way to conceptualize steering, but nevermind that for now, because if that's how y'all see it, that's fine by me, but it does bring me back to my original question: what do you call steering against a slide?

As a philosophical point, by your definition of countersteering, there seems to be no definition of sterring that is not countersteering. Seems queer to me.

Thing is, you're not pushing down, or at least not 100% of your force is directed downwards, some of it is being used to push forward and that's what initiates the lean. If you're really trying to push down when cornering, I suggest you try pushing forward, it'll make your cornering much easier and faster.

As for the last part, when steering your car, you are not countersteering. Want to turn right? You turn your tires right. On a bicycle when you want to turn right you turn your front tire left, hence the 'counter' part of it.

redlude97 10-16-15 09:50 AM


Originally Posted by chaadster (Post 18246519)
Ok, I can see that, but weighting (i.e. pushing down on the bar) is different to saying turn the bar (i.e. pushing the bar forward). It's a strange way to conceptualize steering, but nevermind that for now, because if that's how y'all see it, that's fine by me, but it does bring me back to my original question: what do you call steering against a slide?

As a philosophical point, by your definition of countersteering, there seems to be no definition of sterring that is not countersteering. Seems queer to me.

unless you stand up and shift all your weight over the bar there is no way to only push down on the bar. When you weight it you are pushing forward as well as down, you just aren't realizing it.

MikeyBoyAz 10-16-15 09:59 AM


Originally Posted by rpenmanparker (Post 18246169)
Authorities say that one countersteers on essentially every turn. Not you?

I started reading the quote above your response too fast and thought I saw @timtak's name. It was worth the misunderstanding for a few seconds while I processed the implications.

TrojanHorse 10-16-15 10:13 AM


Originally Posted by Inpd (Post 18246490)
So here is nice analysis of the team time trials at the 09 Tour de France. The discussion counter steering and its use by two teams and how it cost one team precious time is pretty insightful and shows that is not something that you master when your five.

https://realanalytics.wordpress.com/tag/cornering/

You're both over analyzing it. They were already counter steering to get their turn going so no amount of sitting down at a chalkboard after the fact disguises the fact that the guy in front was a poor bike handler and the rest were just looking at his wheel.

What probably really happened is that the front guy was going too fast for the turn, freaked out that he was about to ride off the road and then LOOKED AT THE SPOT where he was going to ride off the road. Boom, prediction fulfilled.

Look where you want your bike to go. Simple. That's the only emergency turn-related skill you need to practice. Unless you still have training wheels on, your bike will naturally go where you're looking. Want to miss a pothole? Don't look at it. Look where you want to go instead.

andr0id 10-16-15 10:13 AM


Originally Posted by auldgeunquers (Post 18245604)
Don't overthink it ... if you are going around corners, and you are not high siding (that is, falling over to the outside of the turn), then you are countersteering. Those are your two choices. You may not know that's what you are doing, but that is what you are doing.

It's just far more obvious on a motorcycle because you have a huge heavy front wheel that is giving a much stronger gyroscopic effect that the wheel on a bicycle.



Originally Posted by TrojanHorse (Post 18246599)

Look where you want your bike to go. Simple.


If you can't see the road due to trees or whatever, ASSUME it is a corkscrew and prepare accordingly. It is always easier to speed up and turn less than to slow down and turn more in a corner.

Mvcrash 10-16-15 10:32 AM

1 Attachment(s)
At slow speeds, you just steer a bicycle like a motorcycle. As your speed increases a phenomenon called gyroscopic precession takes over. When it does, if you push on the left side of the handle bar the bike will turn left, if you push on the right side, you will turn right. You can easily test by having a long straight road, gain some speed and gently push on one side of the handlebar or the other. You'll feel the bike start to lean, just quickly stop or you'll turn. Reading about the physics behind gyroscopic precession can make you a bit nutty but here is a general definition.

Gyroscopic precession is a phenomenon occurring in rotating bodies in which an applied force is manifested 90 degrees later in the direction of rotation from where the force was applied.


http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=482801

RollCNY 10-16-15 10:35 AM


Originally Posted by chaadster (Post 18246519)
... but it does bring me back to my original question: what do you call steering against a slide?

I would call it "steering into a slide" just like steering into a fall is called "steering into a fall". I am also not an authority on naming conventions, though I am known for giving excellent nick names.

But they all work on the same principle, which is turning the bars to force a lean into the bike, to maintain balance and trajectory.

Bike Gremlin 10-16-15 10:55 AM


Originally Posted by Trakhak (Post 18246150)
Maybe I'm one of the only people on here who never owned a motorcycle, but I've never noticed or practiced countersteering on a bicycle in the last 50 years or riding and racing. Given that it's easy (if harrowing) to carve corners with hands off the bars at speed on downhills simply by leaning the bike sufficiently, the descriptions of the subtleties of countersteering sound unconvincing. But then, like all Virgos, I don't believe in astrology, either.

When you turn with hands of the wheel, the bike counter steers. Look at the video I posted. Around 2:40 seconds. Rider leans, hands off, and the bike counter steers before taking the turn. They put an indicator on the bars (attached a pointer at 90 degree angle to the bars, so that it shows clearly).


Originally Posted by PepeM (Post 18246253)
Thing is, the pressure you have to put on a bicycle's handlebar to make this happen is so small it is almost imperceptible. On a 400lbs motorcycle going 150mph, it becomes much more noticeable. If you want to flick your sportsbike through a series of left-right corners at speed, you will have to give those bars a good push.

It's not the weight itself. Riding a motorcycle slowly takes little force to counter steer, even though it's wheel is few times heavier than bicycle's. It is the gyroscopic effect of the wheel that makes even bigger difference. Motorcycle goes a lot faster than a bicycle. At higher speeds, over 100 km/h, it takes some force to turn the bars in order to steer.

Stucky 10-16-15 10:58 AM

Countersteering is something that you needn't think about- you do it automatically when it is necessary- even if you've never heard of it. If that weren't so, you'd be hearing of a lot of crashes caused by people trying to counter steer when they shouldn't, and vise-versa. In fact, I wouldn't even think about it when riding, because if your noggin tries to over-ride your natural responses to the physics involved, you may just find yourself trying to countersteer when you shouldn't, and then crashing as a result. Just don't think about it. You don't need to think about it.

joejack951 10-16-15 11:06 AM


Originally Posted by kbarch (Post 18246095)
Seriously. The only time it's ever worth talking about counter steering is when one is first learning to ride.

That would have been a fun discussion with my two year old on his balance bike. Erm, no. Instead, I just let him figure out how to balance and turn on his own and now at three he's riding a pedal bike. Sticking a kid on a bike with 'training wheels' would be the antithesis of teaching a kid about countersteering though as you can't/don't countersteer with 'training wheels'. Hence why they aren't training wheels at all.


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