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Steering & Countersteering Vs Speed

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by TheMav, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. I watched this video on youtube where the guy said that at really low speeds such as in a car park you would steer normally in the direction you want to go. But at higher speeds you need to counter steer - no wonder I kept taking corners too wide! He then went on to explain the physics behind it which made perfect sense.

    My question is if at a very low speed you need to steer normally and at higher speeds you must counter-steer due to the weight and inertia of the bike wanting to move forward, does that mean that at a certain speed in between the bike will just stay straight regardless of which way you steer? How would you steer then??
    • Funny Funny x 1
  2. Counter steering just speeds up the initiation of the turn. You can counter steer at any speed, but if you do it at low speed the bike leans without all the inertia and stability that speed give you and you will invariably drop it on its side. At low speed you use your body position and move slightly towards the way you want to turn. Try using only body position to initiate a turn at 100kph though, and barely anything will happen, there's too much inertia to over come. That's why you use counter steering. With counter steering, the bars are only turned in the opposite direction to Initiate the turn. Once the bike is leaned over, the front ends geometric trail will cause the bars to naturally point the front wheel towards the turn. So I guess in answer to your original question, in the crossover between slow and high speed turning you would use a combination of body position and counter steering to get the job done
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  3. Sounds like questions I used to ask myself when I started. Turns out I was over thinking it and it'll all come naturally with experience. Good question from a physics stand point though!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Thanks fellas
  5. I think you'll find the front wheel counters pretty much anyway at the initiation of the turn. Unless you can turn without any lean at all on the bike. Can be done but it's pretty hard to do.
    I've watched a lot of bikes come at me in a day. In a career..... and guess what. The front wheel counters whether your conscious of it or not.
    And I probably should have read Rob's report before making a fool of myself...but I'm good at that. And I don't give a toss... Maybe that's why I always got used as the crash test dummy
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. #7 TheMav, Jul 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  7. What did I miss? I don't see any belittling :confused:
  8. Sorry, thought he was referring to me in the last paragraph
  9. Yeah it's like we've just walked in to the aftermath of a Jerry Springer show without knowing what the fight was about. Do tell!
  10. Haha, my bad... there used to be a lot of smart asses on netrider when I first joined hence I have made less than 20 posts in over 12 months. The mods must have cleaned things up.

    Thanks again for the useful info.
  11. We don't tolerate smart asses around here, smart arses, well that's different.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. There's a roundabout near my work which feels like it supports the OP's original theory (although I'm not disagreeing with what everyone else has said). It's a weird one, I do a right hand turn on it. It's rather small, and not round, two lanes go through it from left to right without needing too much deviation, and one lane from right to left, and one lane coming from my direction, which can't go straight ahead. I really struggle on it pretty much every day, I just have to go around it so slowly because it feels like I can't get the bike to turn enough. I do it at probably around 20 kph, often from a standing start. The tyres are still cold so I can't really get into it. It's just the toughest part of riding for me by far.

    I have no probs on any other roundabout or corner, this one just feels like its at that speed between carpark and normal cornering and I often think what the OP said :) I find going wide left then cutting back tight gives the best result, but its a big challenge every day. Don't worry though TheMav, it still turns enough (just) to get through every day :)
  13. Yes. Very evident on a bicycle, once you get above certain speeds.


    What? No, the faster you go, the faster you need to steer. More effort will be required, but you're still counter steering. Think of C.S. as the norm & low speed steering as the anomaly.

    Grab a copy of Twist of the Wrist II & have a read, it's all laid out very well & straight forward.
  14. #15 Ljiljan, Jul 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
    This is the problem with forums. You ask a question and you get 15 replies, 11 of which all say different things. The last four are either sarcastic responses or wry observations about the thread.
    The fact that you are taking corners wide has nothing to do with countersteering or lack of it. You are taking corners wide because of some other problem(s).
    Counter steering is far more about the method than what the wheels are doing. Above 10 km/h you apply pressure to the inside bars regardless of which way the wheel is pointing. At some points it may be pointing away from the turn at others it will be into the turn. The pressure remains on the inside in one long fluid application. Below 10 km/h you steer directly.

    It's worth realising that the direction the wheel points during turning is only a result of the lean angle of the bike. It is leaning that causes turn rather than the pointing of the front wheel. Both counter-steer and direct steer initiate and maintain lean at their respective speeds. At least that's how I understand it.

    Coming back to your question, there may be some magical speed around 10km/h that a bike won't respond to an impetus. Good luck trying to find it.
  15. Kinda disagree with this. IMO it is absolutely necessary for the front wheel to be turned towards the direction of the corner for the bike to turn when lent over. If the bike was lent over with the wheel pointed straight ahead, it will not turn. In fact with no centrifugal forces to counter the lean it will continue to lean further until it falls over.
    Most dont even realise then wheel has turned towards the corner after they have counter steered, as the angle is only small and the weight of the wheel and the geometric trail do it for you, without any secondary input required.
  16. 4? You're more likely to get 14 on netrider.
  17. #18 robsalvv, Jul 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
    Here's a probably cheeky thought exercise for you DW given your statements above.

    Which direction does the rear wheel turn/point when the bike is leaned over and turning?

    Edit: Just regarding the statement a bike will not turn if the front wheel doesn't tip into the direction of the turn, have a look at this picture:

    I'm pretty sure number 3 is turning. At most that front wheel is perhaps a degree or two off straight ahead... that's more straight than turned, but the bike is still turning/changing direction.
  18. I saw this posted on our Ozstoc site this morning.

    Physics behind counter steeering.

  19. Unfortunately that video is just right enough to be compelling, but there's a few things wrong in that video which shows that they don't fully understand the process! Quite surprising for a mob touting themselves as the cambridge science centre.

    Lean does not initiate a turn.

    The lean angle is a result of the curved path and speed. A rider can't choose their lean angle, only the curved path and speed.

    Angular momentum isn't the only thing providing a bike stability. Some uni mob put on counter current rotors on a bicycle removing all gyroscopic effects and the bicycle was still stable.

    But anyway, it's right enough to not be dangerous information.

    For a better clue about countersteering and the physics, click on the link I posted up in post two of this thread.

    As for more about the wheel turned into the turn...


    Number two is definitely turning right and is still in his leaning phase, but that wheel is pointing slightly out to the left. It might point into the turn if the bike ever enters a steady state turning condition when the countersteering input pressure is zero... What makes it turn into the turn at that point?