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

Inpd 10-15-15 08:55 PM

Counter Steering - When to Use?
 
So I've been experimenting with counter steering. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2P6_NRG0Ro or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C848R9xWrjc

It all makes sense on paper and I can do it in practice, but why would I want to? If I do the regular lean and then turn handle bars I can turn quite sharply and safely.

Who would have though turning a bike would be so involved.

f4rrest 10-15-15 09:05 PM

The counter steer is subtle and starts the lean. You just don't notice it.

Steering a 1 liter sportbike into a sweeping turn requires more counter steer than it does on a lightweight, twitchy road bike.

I recall having to put pressure on the inner bar. Not so much on a bicycle.

Inpd 10-15-15 09:13 PM


Originally Posted by f4rrest (Post 18245570)
The counter steer is subtle and starts the lean. You just don't notice it.

Steering a 1 liter sportbike into a sweeping turn requires more counter steer than it does on a lightweight, twitchy road bike.

I recall having to put pressure on the inner bar. Not so much on a bicycle.

Sure I know what counter steering is, but I don't get why I need it. I can turn plenty sharp with the regular lean (no counter steer) and turn bars.

auldgeunquers 10-15-15 09:23 PM

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.

pacificaslim 10-15-15 09:30 PM

You (OP) may think that, but you're mistaken.

edit: auldgeunquers beat me to it!

gregf83 10-15-15 09:34 PM


Originally Posted by Inpd (Post 18245558)
So I've been experimenting with counter steering. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2P6_NRG0Ro or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C848R9xWrjc

It all makes sense on paper and I can do it in practice, but why would I want to? If I do the regular lean and then turn handle bars I can turn quite sharply and safely.

Who would have though turning a bike would be so involved.

Most riders figure this stuff out when they're 5 yrs old and never think about it again.

rpenmanparker 10-15-15 09:37 PM

Right. You can't think about it. It's just something you do when you need to.

Bunyanderman 10-15-15 09:51 PM

Well try it if you want, almost guarantee that it will throw you off balance.

unterhausen 10-15-15 11:00 PM

I saw a reference to a cyclist countersteering, and thought that I never do that. But as it turns out, your bike does it for you. Turn normally and watch the bars on a turn where you don't really have to pay that much attention. You'll see the bars countersteer for you. A motorcycle has so much momentum that the rider has to upset it a little to get it to turn.

UmneyDurak 10-15-15 11:14 PM

Don't fool yourself you are doing it even if you just "lean". Bicycle is super light and it doesn't take much. When you lean you are putting pressure on the bars, even if you don't realize it. Above certain speed counter steering is the only way to turn a two wheel vehicle. It's not about whether you need it, but it's the only way.

catgita 10-16-15 12:53 AM

A contious understanding and application of counter-steering is beneficial in emergency maneuvers and mountain biking. It is a skill that should be practiced regularly.

TrojanHorse 10-16-15 02:37 AM


Originally Posted by catgita (Post 18245832)
A contious understanding and application of counter-steering is beneficial in emergency maneuvers and mountain biking. It is a skill that should be practiced regularly.

You mean like.... every time you turn above parking lot speeds? Good thinking.

rpenmanparker 10-16-15 05:32 AM

Countersteering simply starts the bike falling in the direction you want it to go. E.g. steering slightly right leans the bike to the left for a left hand turn. When you recenter the bars, the left turn is completed. Countersteering makes it possible to turn more sharply and at higher speed than just using your weight to lean the bike in the direction you want it to go. If you try to turn the bike with the handlebars by direct steering, you will go the wrong way. Sheldon Brown makes it clear that this is the way essentially all two wheel (wheels in tandem) vehicles are turned. Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Glossary Cn - Cz

Homebrew01 10-16-15 06:09 AM

I think some of these videos make it more confusing, rather than less. Go ride a bike and cornering will come naturally. I never heard the term coutersteering until after I had been ripping through corners in races for years. I would probably have been slower if I tried to decide when to countersteer.

PepeM 10-16-15 06:27 AM

[h=2]Counter Steering - When to Use?[/h]
Whenever you want to change direction.

kbarch 10-16-15 06:29 AM

Seriously. The only time it's ever worth talking about counter steering is when one is first learning to ride. When starting out and going quite slow, the front wheel has to be pointed directly into the turn, often quite sharply. But to go any faster, one has to learn that that no longer works, and is in fact counter productive. Beyond that, it's no longer anything to think about.

Now can we talk about trail braking?

Bike Gremlin 10-16-15 06:35 AM

Even when leaning on the bike, without hands on the bars, the bike will counter steer on its own.

Works exactly the same on a bicycle. Around 2:40 is where it shows counter steer happening without hands - just leaning:


PepeM 10-16-15 06:39 AM

Lets talk about backin' it in instead! Safe during a crit?

merlinextraligh 10-16-15 06:44 AM

The useful thing that comes out of understanding countersteering is understanding how to alter your line in a turn.

Push down more on the inside handlebar, the line tightens. Let pressure off the inside handlebar the line widens. Once you get this, it's easy to alter your line in a turn.

If you don't (at least on a subconscious level) you can lock into one line that you picked on the entry of the turn and find it difficult to alter your line mid turn, which can be a serious problem.

gregf83 10-16-15 06:56 AM


Originally Posted by merlinextraligh (Post 18246123)
If you don't (at least on a subconscious level) you can lock into one line that you picked on the entry of the turn and find it difficult to alter your line mid turn, which can be a serious problem.

It seems to me that everyone just does this naturally. The only time I've ever thought about it was to experiment and confirm that countersteering occurs. I don't recall seeing anyone have a problem avoiding obstacles.

wphamilton 10-16-15 06:57 AM

Flicking the bike around a pothole you didn't see.

shelbyfv 10-16-15 06:57 AM

Ride more, read/post less....

Trakhak 10-16-15 06:59 AM

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.

rpenmanparker 10-16-15 07:04 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, the descriptions of the subtleties of countersteering sound unconvincing. But then, like all Virgos, I don't believe in astrology, either.

Authorities say that one countersteers on essentially every turn. Not you?

merlinextraligh 10-16-15 07:12 AM


Originally Posted by gregf83 (Post 18246141)
It seems to me that everyone just does this naturally. The only time I've ever thought about it was to experiment and confirm that countersteering occurs. I don't recall seeing anyone have a problem avoiding obstacles.

that's because you corner well. It's not unusual for people who don't to run off the outside of corners because they didn't realize it was a descending radius turn and didn't know how to adjust once they entered the corner, or have difficulty with potholes, cars, bikes they didn't expect.

I've seen it a number of times, and a number of various stories on BF result from it.

I think riders fall in 3 basic groups in this regard 1) riders who are adept at altering their line in a curve, intuitively,

2) riders who are adept at altering their line in a curve because they understand the dynamics of countersteeering,

3) riders who have difficulty cornering at speed and altering their line mid turn.

Riders in category 1 don't need to worry about it. My suggestion is that riders in Category 3, can improve their handling by giving countersteering a little thought, and more importantly, playing with it, altering their line by altering pressure on the inside bar.


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