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"body steer" vs "counter steer"

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by ~DadAgain~, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. OK - so my riding is pretty much all in peak hour commuting conditions and I dont get out to the fun stuff anywhere near as often as I'd like.


    I'd still like to improve my cornering... and when I *do* finally get out for a trip over the mountain I'd like to feel confident that my corners are as good as they can be.

    So I've been playing - just a bit - on the few gentle bends on my way to and from work trying to get the most from my few months experience on the road.

    As far as I can tell theres a couple of conflicting thoughts:

    1) Practice moving the body - Slide that butt-cheek off the sadle, bend the inside corner elbow a bit (thus forcing the head down and to the inside of the corner slightly) and glide smoothly round the corner. It all feels good and is no doubt good practice for more strenuous corners where body positioning is vital, but on the tame corners I have the end result is my bike hardly deviates from vertical at all!! Theres no need for any countersteer and the movement of weight alone seems to be enough to make the gentle sweeping bends at the mightly speed of 60kph.... Obviously this is handy in the wet - it keeps my old, brittle desperately-in-need-of-replacement tyres firmly on the road and maximises my grip, but hey if I do this all the time I'm gonna be the KING of chicken strips!

    2) Do the counter steer thing - Just push and lean, great fun and good to try and use *some* of the tyre beyond that middle inch! - But once again if I do this then I'm not practicing body-movement.

    Any thoughts - am I being a complete knob alternating between these 2 approaches? Is one considered more 'correct' than the other? Do I just need to go and search for a corner tight and fast enough to combine both??

    What do you all do in suburban crawl corners?
  2. Complete Knob???
    But you should be working them together. Riding twisties well becomes all about setting up preparing using the right technique and then looking for the set up to the next event.
    So by using one technique or the other in isolation, you are not bringing it all together.
    Pick your Turn in point.
    Set your speed.
    Position your body
    Look through the corner
    crack open the throttle.
    Roll on smoothly.
    Rinse and repeat
    It takes all of the bits put together to get it right.
  3. Be careful that you don't counter steer against the direction of your body lean - at the minimum this negates the lean and at worst destabilises your bike.

    It's normal to straighten inside elbow as you lean into the corner if anything.
  4. Interesting - but wouldnt straighening the elbow push your body to the outside of the corner instead of helping you tuck in to the inside?

    (here I am now sat with my hands on the edge of my desk trying desperately to straighten my left elbow AND move body left and it CANT be done! :? )
  5. That's because the desk is fixed. The theory is to push the bars as you lean so that counter steer is working with you, staightening your elbow will have that 'push' effect.

    But I'm a bit concerned that I may be encouraging you to try something you're not comfortable with.........it's so important that you ride within your comfort zone and most of this will come to you as you gain experience. It did for me. :)
  6. DA: Countersteering is the only way that a motorcycle commences a turn. Whether you know it or not, you are countersteering in both your scenarios, 1 and 2.

    Given it is still early days for you, my advice is to concentrate of getting countersteering right first, but also push your elbow down to the inside of the corner, which will pull your head and much of you upper body to the inside as well. Really point your elbow down into the corner, and look through the corner, where you want to go.

    Worry about moving your arse off the seat once you have countersteering down pat. It is only really needed when you are getting corner speeds up anyway. I have seen way too many people getting their arse off the seat, and yet failing to countersteer properly, and therefore are barely making it around corners. Moving the body alone does not steer the bike, except in a very minor way, for example if you a rolling down hill sitting up without touching the handlebars, and steering a straight line or mild curve with your knees. :grin:

    There are many threads around here about this topic, some of which are informative. :cool:

    Oh, and yes, you are being a complete knob in trying to choose between the two techniques. They are complimentary.
  7. yeah yeah I get that they are complimentary - but the original point remains: you can take a corner at any given (slow) speed with some body movement and very little lean, or little body movement and a bit more lean....

    I'm enjoying experiementing with both to varying degrees - but I'll take on board your advice that concentrating primarily on the countersteer shoudl be the main focus with body movement coming later....

    Hey its all fun and I'm not doing anything so radical as to make me uncomfortable just tweaking, observing and noticing...

    Damnit - I need to get off these suburban traffic lined streets and hit the hills! :evil:
  8. I just want to nit-rider the "fixed desk" thing - the handlebars of a motorcycle (and bicycle) actually steer into the direction of the turn all by themselves once the turn has been initiated. That is to say, once the turn is initiated, the inside handlebar actually moves a little closer to the rider, not further away.

    The rider simply continues to apply an opposing force to the handlebar (countersteering) to stop the bike from turning its front wheel into the turn so far that the motorcycle stands itself back up.

    Different from a car where the driver inputs a fixed amount of rotation to the steering wheel to make a turn and forces are irrelevant; bicycle and motorbike riders input a force and the "steering wheel" does what it has to do. :)
  9. BTW, I'm not sure where you are coming from D1300. You only need to Countersteer to create the lean that commences the turn. Once you have the lean, you don't need more countersteering input, except to adjust your line through the corner.

    Straightening your elbow will definitely create the push needed for countersteering, but once you have the lean all it will do is push your body to the outside of the corner, meaning that you are pushing the bike below you and therefore leaning the bike more than is necessary to get around the corner. That is not only wrong, but it is an extremely bad habit to get into. It is not an advanced riding technique, it is a poor riding technique.

    DA: Yep we all learn and practice the individual skills independently, and then combine them to get a better overall result. I know I did. My point was mainly that even if you move your butt and bend the inside elbow, you are still introducing some countersteering even if you are not conscious of it. It is, after all, the only way to make a bike go around a corner. :) Also, it is true that in slippery conditions, getting your weight off the side of the bike and reducing the requried lean angle for a given corner and speed is a good technique.
  10. Only hang off if you think you're going to need the extra ground clearance. If you don't know what's around the corner - ie, it might look fairly slight but there's a chance it could tighten up - then you might want to get over a bit. Otherwise straight up and you'll be good.
  11. Firstly I haven't been riding for as long as a lot of others, so i'm not saying his to be a know it all....

    When i did the Level 1 SBS the instructor told me that you countersteer the bike to the desired point and then let the bars track for the path that you have chosen by leaving them alone and rolling on the throttle.

    This is how i have been practicing on the street, should i be continuing to apply pressure to the bars mid corner, or let the bike do its thing as i have been?

    Just interested to know so that i don’t go reinforcing an improper technique.
  12. I am not a fan of this theory…
    I am a fan of keeping the bike fairly upright even when you have clearance so that the suspension can do its thing, and so that if you have to apply any braking force, it is less likely to cause issues with the bikes alignment (IE It laying down)
    Then again I am no where near as experienced as Loz, so I am not going to say he is wrong…
  13. Are you saying that once you have the desired lean you then pull the inside handle back towards you rather than just holding it constant? I'll give it a go, perhaps I may have to have a rethink about how I ride.
  14. What he is saying is that you put constant pressure on the inside bar away from you to maintain the bikes position, or it will naturally stand up.
  15. #16 devotard, Nov 6, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    It's all interwoven and not worth nitpicking too much. Use countersteering pressure to increase lean angle/maintain lean angle, release some countersteering pressure to pick the bike up/maintain lean angle or in the case of aggressively changing directions and picking the bike up purposefully, apply pressure on the bars steering into the corner. I say pressure because it's a bit deceiving as the bike is constantly wanting to turn into the corner by itself to pick it up and go straight, so even though you're still applying a countersteering PRESSURE on the bars, the front wheel is almost certainly pointing into the corner after initial tip in. Pressure on the bars does not necessarily equate to pointing the wheel in the same direction you're applying pressure.

    Anyway, all this is completely academic as it is an intuitive thing once you're actively applying pressure to throw the bike around rather than just leaning your body and hoping the bike turns.

    Here's a video I did last weekend looking past the front wheel. Notice that there's no dramatic "steering", but after tip in the wheel is pointed slightly into the corner. Ignore the fairly dramatic countersteering into the slower corners, that's the rear hanging out, not the usual countersteering.
  16. you don't need to move your bum to body steer. reg pridmore has 4 stages in his book and moving the bum is 3rd. first is leaning your upper body into the corner. second is leaning upper body, weighting inside peg and putting pressure on the tank with the outside leg. did a hart course a while back and they had similar idea. grip with the knees and push into the corner with your shoulder. has the same effect. not moving my bum until I get this sorted but my initial turn is now much quicker and i'm still adjusting my turn in points and entry speed to cope.
    was moving my bum before I did the course but without the quick turn in it seems wasted.
  17. :shock: Don't do it!

    Choose life!

    By the time you are comfortable enough to get extreme lean happening, you will not have to be consciously worrying about countersteering, but pulling the inside handle back to you is not going to turn out well :eek:
  18. Choose life? :roll: :roll: :roll:

    How would you suggest that one would get through a chicane quickly without pulling on the inside bar/pushing on the outside bar?

    The beauty of most bike designs is that they're self correcting to the point they'd be near better off without a rider. I guess that's how so many people are passengers on their own bike.
  19. Body steering... is a myth.

    I'll grant one possible exception, a high falluting theory, unproven, hotly contested by Flux regarding extremely high performance cornering... but not worth mentioning here.

    Dad, if you go through that corner again and again at higher and higher speeds without leaning off, the bike has to lean more and more. If you start to lean off, the bike will lean less... interestingly though the lean angle of the CoG is the same whether you lean off or not.

    With two planted wheels, leaning off has ZERO turning impact and getting a bike to steer by repositioning the rider's weight is an illusion.

    Dad, you need to spend some time looking through:
    http://www.msgroup.org/Articles.aspx?Cat=4 Steering
    http://www.msgroup.org/Articles.aspx?Cat=5 Handling in a curve