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Extremly new, counter steering q's

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by verynoob, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Hi all, first off ill say i have yet to jump onto a bike and go for a ride/learn how to ride. However to get a basic premise of skills required to ride i have read the tutorials at the top of this page and i have also watched Twist of the wrist about 5 times so far.

    i do understand watching is not learning and i will need to practice on my bike.

    i do have a couple of questions i would like clarified before i go for that first ride.

    1) Counter steering, i understand the premise with the "push left go left" mindset and i understand it causes the bike to drop into the corner. However once the bike has leant in do you maintain that counter steering pressure for the duration of the turn until you are ready to right the bike? or do you allow the wheel to come back more or less in line?

    2) Rear brake, I have read that its almost useless over about 20kmph except in emergency braking/dragging the brake in a corner (for the more experienced riders clearly) so does this mean the rear brake is mostly used in conjunction with the clutch to simply maintain very low speeds during low speed manuvering?

    3) the rides around Mt glorious/nebo/mee are they very difficult for a learner being escorted by 2-3 experienced friends not flogging their bikes?

    4) Any tips on keeping the arms loose? in saying iam yet to jump on a bike and learn i have ridden a few trail bikes and one thing i have noticed is that iam very stiff through the arms and iam worried that will translate over to the road.

    thank you all for your time it is much appreciated.
  2. 1. Forget calling it counter steering for a start.
    There is a counter steering maneuver you will learn with more experience.
    For now it's called turning the bike. Or how to turn a bike. Or getting the bike to go where I want.
    Yes a good turning style will cause the front wheel to counter at the very beginning of a turn. So what ???
    Don't get wrapped up in stuff you don't need to know.
    Yes instructors and would be ones go on about it all the time. That's cause instructors are not usually very brite and they think counter steering is one big word and it makes them sound smart.
    And yes you look where you want to go and push the bar accordingly and hold it there till you hit your apex. Then you lightly roll the throttle on to bring the bike back upright. When you have the bike on a lean you use the throttle to change your position or line. Rolling a throttle off will make a bike turn in more. Turn sharper. Rolling a throttle on will make the bike turn less. Take a bigger arc. It will also try and sit the bike up on you.

    2. A rear brake is not a great brake. What it is good at is stabilizing the bike. Making it stiff and giving you more confidence.
    The rear brake is used in conjunction with the throttle more so than the clutch. Both the rear brake and clutch feed back to the throttle to do what you want from them.

    3. No the ride is great for learners. ride it at your own pace and enjoy the day. Ride it at someone elses pace and the day will suck. If your mates are mates then they will go ahead at their pace and wait for you up the road.

    4. Breath !!!!
    Wobble your elbows.
    But firstly have a proper grip.
    You should have weight from your palms behind the bars. Not on top!!!!
    Your fingers should just lightly d**** over the front of the grip. The weight from behind with your palms is what keeps the bike tracking true and taking the turns the way you want.
    Fingers are the start of a very bad habit. They are the start of a tight grip and stiff arms.
    remember D**** them over the grips. WEIGHT of the palms behind. Push left to go left. Getting the picture ??? All nice light and easy and the bike will behave all nice light and easy.
    So wriggle you elbows and fingers all the time. Consciously keep reminding yourself of the proper grip and it wont go tight. Well not as tight as most noobs.
  3. d**** = drape - stupid NR.
  4. Good explanations. At least I liked them.

    I once said similar things about counter steering on a forum and it almost resulted in a meltdown of the server due to the flaming that took place. I've always thought it an odd term as it makes it sound like you are turning in the opposite direction when what you are actually doing is applying counter pressure. Whatever. Not to mention it's quite intuitive. As you said when it gets too much attention it can be counter intuitive.

    Nonetheless a very sensible and clear answer.
  5. It's noticeable that the start of the great countersteering obsession coincided with two things.

    Firstly, a generation of riders started coming through who hadn't necessarily all spent at least 10 years riding pushies before getting a motorcycle. Prior to that, almost everybody getting on a bike knew (or, at least, their muscles and subconcious knew) exactly how to turn a single track vehicle because they'd been doing it since not long after they'd learned to walk.

    Secondly, Keith Code started making an awful lot of money telling people about it.

    Prior to the mid/late 1990s, countersteering rarely got more than a brief passing mention anywhere in road riding circles (with no involvement in racing I can't speak for what might hasve passed at the track). Quite how anybody had managed to safely ride a bike in anything but a dead straight line for the preceding 100 years is something of a mystery :D.

    Not that any of the above helps the OP so I'll get back in my box now.
  6. Interesting. I think Keith Cole's stuff is fantastic and I get a lot out of it. I just wish he had coined a different term for the technique/principle. Not a huge issue but I was just surprised to hear someone else bring it up.
  7. When I was being taught back in the seventies by some very good riders they called "counter steering" ...... "Pressure steering".
    A few of the older geezers still called it that when I first started training myself. Now no one calls it pressure steering anymore. Hoping counter goes the way of the wind soon too.
  8. push left, bike goes left
    push right, bike goes right.
    this is all i know.
  9. Back to the original question about counter steering. If you have experience on a pushbike then forget about counter steering. Riding a motorbike is like riding a pushbike - except it is all downhill.

    If you have never ridden a push bike, then I would suggest forget about a motorbike and get out in a park on a pushbike. Once you can steer and keep a pushbike up, then a motorbike is just a heavier version.
  10. I don't have a problem with the countersteer terminology. It makes sense to me.

    As a child (4 ~ 5 ~ 6) I taught myself to ride pushbikes, using my mother's old 28". The internal dialogue I worked out for it was 'Out-tracking' the front wheel. You need to make the front wheel go out from under the bike, so the bike will begin the fall - or tilt - in the direction you want to go. Then, depending on the bike and the geometry and stuff, you can either release the pressure, or stop the input, or sometimes you have to steer in on purpose to catch it. It's just like balancing a broom handle on your hand. That's how I figured it out as a small child, and nothing I've seen or heard in the following 44 years or so says that's wrong.

    It's just a different set of words or jargon to explain the same thing.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. I agree with trying on a pushy and you will soon work it out.
    The first time this came to my attention was way before the trendy countersteering term was used. It was when I was studying Automatic Control at Uni and dealing with "non-minimum phase" systems. The lecturer gave a pushbike as an example and pushing out on the inside handlebar and mentioned that most wouldn't be aware they were doing it.It just seems to come naturally as you learn. When you become conscious of it then it seems kinda cool and you can make use of it with intent.
  12. I rode bicycles heaps as a kid and as a teenager. No worries, never had a problem going around a corner, and never thought about it.

    Then hopped on a scooter (I know, stupid thing to do) and nearly hit the curb when I went to turn a corner. It didn't turn. It wasn't a bicycle. I had no idea what to do to make it turn. I kind of worked it out, developed my own way of doing things and got along.

    Then I went and got my motorbike licence. They told me about counter-steering. Aha! The lightbulb went on! So that's how you do it! Yes, I'd kind of been doing it that way on the scooter, but that didn't translate to effectiveness.

    So, in terms of, ride a bicycle as a kid, know how to turn a motorbike later in life, nah it doesn't quite work that way. Bicycles are very light, and very nimble. I little weight movement goes a long way in shifting the steering of a bike, and working the bars hasn't got a lot to do with it. Motorbikes have a lot of weight, a lot of weight in spinning wheels, and turning effectively, and especially effectively in an emergency, requires a lot more than what you learn as a kid on a bicycle.

    So, can I suggest that what trainers tell newbies who are getting their L's is actually very helpful? Sometimes a little head knowledge helps out a lot.
  13. Regarding learning to ride on push-bikes I never felt comfortable with turning the handle bars the way I wanted to go (ie slow speed maneuvering). This translated to also being crap at slow speed maneuvering on a motor bike, but at least I can look at myself in the shop window while going around a corner without running off the road...
  14. I find what backmarker said very interesting, as it was not my experience, even thought I too rode a scooter first. It does however mirror my wifes experience on motorbikes. But with hindsight, I also did paper rounds with hundreds of saturday Age newspapers stacked all over the bike. Maybe this experience is more valuable than riding a super light racing bike? Anyone else got any ideas on this?
  15. Okay so the guy who ran the pre-learner course I did and tested me for my L's actually stated that he's only been counter steering for the last few years and some old blokes still refuse to do it. At that point I was confused and a little excited to learn this advanced technique.

    Then I discovered that it isn't, in fact, optional, it's HOW YOU STEER A FREAKING MOTORCYCLE. And realised that my instructor was just like bretto described.

    He also had a few pet phrases that he overused and that SHITS ME. Which is off topic, but I feel better about it now.
  16. 1) Countersteering
    Find yourself a nice long sweeping turn and experiment. Try doing both and see what happens. People her can say but there is nothing like experiencing it for yourself to lock it into your mind. If you have any of those long sweeping freeway on-ramps near you they are god to try it on.

    2) The rear brake is not useless and is good for lots of things but some of them are advanced techniques. In terms of simply stopping hard, some bikes pull up so fast on their front brakes that the rear doesn't do much, some bikes pull up faster with some rear, but even then it is the front brake doing most of the work. Again you may need to experiment to see what works best for you.

    3) No idea

    4) Tight grip will cause aching muscles and worse will give inputs to the bars which you are not intending. At the moment as a new rider you are probably using the bars as a security blanket and in time you will relax more and more. If you become concious that you are gripping tightly, flap your chicken wings breath deep and relax.
  17. 1) Countersteering, didn't quite understand what they were getting at when I did my licence with HART but after riding a bit on sweeping bends it was clearer.
    2) Rear brake - when I first started riding I lived in a quite hilly area, so used it initially just for hill starts. Recently had an issue with a front brake lever and started using it more in normal stopping in conjunction with front brake, find it smoother.
    3) In Vic so WTF
    4) Chicken dance is the way to go.
  18. PaaaAAaat! Any conversations "I" have involved myself with concerning counter steering, we're to bring it OUT of the sub-conscious, and make it the riding "tool" that it needs be.
    I rode a pedal bike to school. Yes, I completely understood and had noticed how I was controlling the bike...later discussions about motorbikes, in my case, just put a name to it. THAT!, allowed me to proactively control the motorbike, rather relying on some automatic thing I did.

    Counter steering should be a well known fully actionable act, that one does, on purpose.

    I respectfully disagree with not knowing what it is, not doing it as a conscious action, or being afraid to use the term with it's intended meaning.
    Push left/go left is the point. The whole business of the wheel going this way then that, while factual, isn't so important initially.

    But to not really know it, and rely on instinct for it to happen, borders on irresponsible and dangerous, mate.

    Edit...bearing in mind that I'm 54, when I hear of these old riders that don't know what it is and managed ok without it, I shudder and hope that they get off the road SOON. They are a fekking disgrace. Choofers!, that just choof around obliviously, like your average "hat head" in a cage, who's proud that his brakes last 50k, and who are still running the tyres their car came with 5 yrs earlier!

    Retarded old goats, that I find insulting, considering I'm one of them, and it reflects on me. Grrr!
  19. So funny but true Raven. And for a long while the old codge was head of the get hit list.
    Same ones never use the rear brake and could take it off.
    Same ones lay it down to avoid a collision.

    God I hate to sound as old as I am but at our age mate we were left to our own devices to learn to ride. There were no such thing as riding schools. And very very few had any real idea on how a bike works.
    If you were very lucky you got to race, and hopefully someone with a bit of skill and patience saw some talent in you and took you under their wing.

    Yes the bikes of today are so much faster. Yes they stop so much better. Brakes to me would be one of the biggest improvements made on motorcycles from the pre-seventies to the nineties.
    And the amount of options available to new riders to learn the right way from the start, and in turn places to go play and practice these new found skills.
    Riding is a lifestyle and a life skill