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Countersteer experiments(20 posts)

Countersteer experimentsDog
Sep 23, 2001 6:13 PM
Ok, I spent 8 hours experimenting with countersteer, (regular?) steer, and lean yesterday (after our debates last week). These are my findings.

First, initiation of turn. A turn (at anything over a walking pace) can be initiated by lean or countersteer, but not by only steering the way you want to go. Do that, and you go the other way.

Leaning alone can intiate and continue a turn.

Countersteer can initiate a turn, or decrease the radius of a turn already in progress. What countersteer actually does, though, is induce lean of the bike without necessarily shifting body weight. That is why it is quicker, as the bike leans and turns well before you must shift body weight. (This is also, from what I've read, why motorcycle turns must be initiated with countersteer, as the motorcycle is so heavy it would take a whole lot of body weight shifting to get them leaning quickly enough).

Leaning alone can initiate and continue a turn.

Indeed, no matter how turning is intiated, turning normally (into the direction of the turn) does indeed take over and continue the turn.

The notion that for countersteer to take place, the rear wheel must be sliding is false. However, for countersteer to be continuous, this might be true. Countersteer induces lean, and you can only lean so far. Countersteer can certainly tighten a turn (without the rear wheel sliding).

Make sense? Any thoughts?

Next question, how the heck do we stay upright and steer on rollers?

re: Countersteer experimentsthe_gormandizer
Sep 24, 2001 5:54 AM
I missed the previous debate, so I'm sorry if what I say here has been said. This topic is hotly debated in the motorcycle world. Recently, someone (I think it was the famous Keith Code of the California Superbike School) outfitted a motorcycle with an auxiliary fixed handlebar equipped with throttle. Journalists were invited to ride the bike. The articles appeared in publications like Motorcycle Consumer News and Motorcycle.

As the motorcyle got to a decent speed in a straight line, they would take their hands off the regular bars and put them on the bars fixed to the frame, and keep the throttle steady. The challenge was then to control the 'cyle by lean. In general, they found they could not easily compensate for even the slightest sidewind! The bike became almost impossible to control, which dumbfounded those who were generally able to ride "no-hands".

The conclusion is that counter-steering is much more important on a motorcycle than previously thought, and perhaps it does more than simply produce a gyroscopic moment that helps tilt the bike.

I am not sure how this applies to a bicyle exacty since the tire proportions, center of gravity etc might have some effect. However, it seems the best way to answer the questions would be to equip a bicycle with a fixed bar and try the experiment for yourself!
What I think happens on rollers is that, if I start to lean abill
Sep 24, 2001 6:12 AM
little to the left, for example, I then will turn the bar a tad to the left and re-position the bike under me. If I find that I've drifted off to the left and need to center the bike on the rollers, then I need to both lean to the right and turn to the right. I'll bet that some countersteering goes on, too, although I can't say that I've ever thought about it, otherwise these two maneuvers would be contradictory, and you'd constantly be sliding off the rollers. I'll bet that the failure to counter-steer (which, I guess, as a slight movement on the rollers has become second nature, most of the time) or, more probably, counter-steering too late, accounts for those occasional times where I still roll off.
I would have liked to have seen that, but I am gladMB1
Sep 24, 2001 6:20 AM
I wasn't on your wheel. LOL

Man we do some crazy stuff.
Sep 24, 2001 7:47 AM
I think your independant observations confirm what I was trying to say. Most anyone who's taken a motorcycle course is made fully aware of it.

Rollers have a couple things going for them. First the wheels are gyroscopes and add stability. Ultimately you need to counter steer to get the bike to move since your lean angles are reduced and you don't get the effect of the contact patch moving very much from angling over the bike. There is some of this going on but the radius of turn for rollers is quite large - unless you're trying to shoot into the next room....
nggggggggg (sound of loud buzzer!!) BS POLICE HAVE BEEN ALERTED!Bas Vanderwahl
Sep 24, 2001 7:58 AM
Wrong. THis does not confirm what you were trying to say. Please reread your post.
Does Too - Does Not - Does Too - Does Not - Does Toogrzy
Sep 24, 2001 8:02 AM
You're going to have to do a little better than that if you want to refute something.

One could easily ask you to do the same - Mr. Skid.
huh?Bas Vanderwahl
Sep 24, 2001 9:26 AM
I think most have stopped arguing with you as it seems to be a waste of time.
Sep 24, 2001 1:14 PM
Seems not everyone...or do you just have time to waste?
Ought to alert the Pedantic Police on all of you! *S* (nm)RhodyRider
Sep 24, 2001 8:34 AM
Sep 24, 2001 8:45 AM
Sorry, didn't intend to offend by discussion something that requires a little thought.

We can always talk about leg shaving, I suppose.

Oh, now, c'mon Dog...RhodyRider
Sep 24, 2001 11:09 AM
...I was just making a wise-ass comment out of lunch-hour boredom. This is certainly a good topic, and as an ex-motorcyclist I know the value of counter-steering. It works, plain & simple. I can't articulate the "why" as well as you guys have, but like obscenity I know it when I "see" it. I find it to be instinctive at this point, after so many years of two-wheeled movement. I guess that is why I found it to be somewhat nebbishy (in a good way!) to focus so much time & effort on something I find to be second-nature. I realize not everybody finds it so easy, so now I'm going to take this opportunity to shut up & listen, maybe I'll learn something new.
Wouldnt it be better named the DOGMATIC police?? :) nmBas Vanderwahl
Sep 24, 2001 9:24 AM
OK, here we go again! Some thoughts.Bas Vanderwahl
Sep 24, 2001 7:55 AM
First off, you must have a lot of time on your hands. 8 hours?

1. Countersteer is truly used correctly in automobiles when you have the rear end kick out in a turn (called oversteer) and to counter the oversteer you counter steer. Its when you see a car in a left hand turn with the front wheels actually turned right. THis is actual countersteer. It counters the affect of the over steer or rear end kicking out. Right? I think this is our problem with this debate. I think for lack of a better word, two wheelers use this countersteer term to name the need to turn opposite very slightly (almost unnoticeable) to initiate a lean. Its impossible to lean without it. Unless you had someone on the side of the road to push you into your lean you couldnt do it. Try riding right on the edge of the sidewalk and try to turn away from it. Its dificult isnt it. You have to try to jerk the bike over into a lean because you cant "countersteer".

2.Your test results are weird. You said. "A turn (at anything over a walking pace) can be initiated by lean or countersteer, but not by only steering the way you want to go. Do that, and you go the other way."

Truth: you cant lean unless you have a force push you that way. ie wind, rider bumping you, countersteer. So, leaning alone cant initiate a turn. You probalby countersteered w/out noticing it, it is very slight.

3. You said, (I will paraphrase for the sake of time) "while cornering, straighten your inside arm to countersteer and increase speed." 100% wrong.

4. Please explain how countersteering mid-corner decreases the turning radius???

5. FOr true countersteer to happen mid corner, and to be used as something to get you through the corner the rear has to be slipping. IT CAN be done very quickly without the rear sliding but there has to be some serious steering corrections to make up for it.

6. Did you find in your 8 hour study that countersteering was bendeficial in midcorner?? It just "upsets" the steadiness of the bike, something you dont want to do when at the limits. Smooth and subtle is the key for keeping the rubber gripping.

7.How did you do your test. Were you sure you were actually turing opposite or just less?

8. Rollers are EXACTLY the same principle as on the road. No different. Have you noticed when you get to the edge of your rollers its tough to recover?? The reason is because you cant countersteer to turn back away from the edge.

9. CONCLUSION: One has to turn left slightly first to turn right and vice versa.
Sep 24, 2001 9:01 AM
First, I was simply on a long ride. I was intending an 11 hour ride, but I got too many flats and went home. Just happened to experiment while riding. Some people do that, you know, ride their bikes a lot.

"Countersteer is truly used correctly in automobiles..."

Why get hung up on this? Countersteer in autos is completely different than 2 wheeled vehicles. What do you mean by "correctly"?

"Try riding right on the edge of the sidewalk and try to turn away from it. Its dificult isnt it. You have to try to jerk the bike over into a lean because you cant "countersteer"."

I agree 100%. That's my point.

"Truth: you cant lean unless you have a force push you that way. ie wind, rider bumping you, countersteer."

Not to be offensive, but now this makes me wonder if you've ever ridden a bike. The force is your body. You can lean the darn thing all the way to the ground (but not recover) with the wheel perfectly straight. Not a good thing to do, but leaning is certainly possible without an external force or steering. Just try it.

"4. Please explain how countersteering mid-corner decreases the turning radius???"

You lean more. Can't explain the mechanics of it. These are observations.

"8. Rollers are EXACTLY the same principle as on the road. No different. Have you noticed when you get to the edge of your rollers its tough to recover?? The reason is because you cant countersteer to turn back away from the edge."

I pretty much agree, except for the "exactly" part. Can the contact patch move fore/aft on rollers? Your last sentence proves my point. I don't understand the confusion.

Thanks for a good discussion.

counter-thoughtsBas Vanderwahl
Sep 24, 2001 9:21 AM
1. I commend you on your long ride. I too thought about this and while on a 30 minute descent in the Santa Cruz mountains I tried this countersteer thing. I tried and tried in every corner to countersteer (turn the stem past the top tube) to see if it would help. All it did was upset the bikes natural smooth arc.

2. By correctly I meant used more correctly with the meaning of the word "counter." Maybe I shouldnt get hung up on it but i thought maybe that was our problem, I was talking about countering oversteer and you were talking aobut some other kind of countersteer. YOu used it as a way to corner faster, better.

3. I guess you probably could lean over with out help, its hard, just as it is to jerk away from the edge of a sidewalk, but I think we countersteer without knowing it, to initiate the lean, but its much more dificult to do so w/out c-steer. I never realized why this was hard until we had this discussion.

4. Remember this debate was only started when I said you cant use countersteer midturn unless you were sliding. THat should be the whole basis of this debate. YOu can do it sporadically with out sliding but its unproductive and causes the rider to make quick corrections.

5. My last sentence proves what point? That you were wrong intiially? THat was MY point, of course all in good debate fun. :)

6. Your welcome. I enjoyed it too.
re: Countersteer experimentsA Non
Sep 24, 2001 8:38 AM
Jeeze, no offense, but no wonder you are on the verge of a divorce! Do you put that much energy and thought into your marriage?
Sep 24, 2001 8:43 AM
Jeeze, no offense, but you must be my wife.

What else are you doing to do while riding all day long - mass/accelleration calculations? Talk to the wife on the cell phone? Now there's a solution. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jeeze, no offensepeloton
Sep 24, 2001 11:18 AM
but Dog brings up a topic that requires a little thought, and all you can do is throw insults? Keep it to yourself in the future unless you have something constructive to say.
re: Countersteer experimentsmackgoo
Sep 24, 2001 8:41 AM
I think your leaning is actually introducing counter steer. If you turn into the turn when over I think will tend to bring you back up and straighten.