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Discussion Starter #1
Next time your with your riding buddy (or anyone really) ask them......
While riding down the road which way do you turn your bars to make a right ?
you may be surprised how many people (bikers included) think they turn the handlebars right. 8)

And the fun starts when you have to convince them you turn the handlebar left to make a right. :lol:
 

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Right. Most folks are a bit murky when it comes to countersteering explanations. Of course, when you're going really slow, then you do turn the handlebars to the right.

When you tell them that, they get glassy-eyed.
 

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It's actually a little different on our bikes. Counter-steering comes in to play much later than any other bike I've had. Has anyone figured out at what speed we stop turning right to go right, and begin turning left to go right?
 

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Here here I was thinking the Burgman was reading my mind and knowing where I wanted to go. ;)
 

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In my experience with motorcycles, countersteering usually comes into play at something a little more than a walking speed. I haven't had any experience on a scooter (yet) so I have no idea if it is any different.
For those who may not know, the only way to turn a bike at speed is to lean the frame in the direction you want to go. You initiate the lean by pressing on the handlebar in the direction you want to go (press right-go right or press-left-go-left).
For instance, for a right turn press the handgrip to the right. This will make the front wheel turn left but the bike's frame (and rider) will lean right and the front wheel will then quickly turn in the direction of the lean and around the turn (or curve) you go. This all happens so fast you really don't even see or feel it happen.You can demonstrate this for your friends (and yourself) while sitting still.
Mount your bike (center & sidestand up) and have someone straddle the rear wheel and get a firm hold on the bike (seat, luggage rack, etc) so it won't fall over (but not so firm that the bike can't lean slightly). Put both feet up on the pegs (or floorboards) and then push the right handgrip away from you. As the front wheel turns to the left, the frame (and rider) will start to lean towards the right and the front wheel will then turn towards the right and, if you were moving at speed, the bike would then go right. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Of course all you said is correct the problem is almost all of us have ridden a bicycle in our youth and learned by instinct never once thinking about which way we were turning the wheel. Yes it does work the same with a scooter.

Fact remains I get a lot of laughs out of just asking
--which way do you turn the wheel to make a right -- :lol:
 

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Countersteering on the Burgman 650 scooter is a bit different from my V-Strom motorcycle. The main difference, is that the transistion to countersteering seems to occur at a slightly higher speed on the scooter than on the motorcycle. I think it is due to the smaller diameter wheels.
The V-Strom has a 19" front wheel, the Burgman a 15" front wheel.

V-Strom > walking speed
Burgman > trotting speed ( or running speed for a 56 year old like me...)

This led to a couple of awkward situations at first, until I developed a feel for the difference. For instance. Making a left hand turn from a stop sign, the motorcycle will countersteer almost as soon as I start moving. On the scooter, I pushed on the left handgrip part way through the turn, and it started to head right instead of left. It only makes a difference during very low speed maneuvers.
 

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I was allways under the impression that the reason it went the opposite direction when you turned the bars was due to the Gyroscopic effect of the spinning front wheel. This would account in the different feel that Paul notices with his two bikes and different wheel sizes. It would also account for the speed at which this Phenom starts to take effect.

You see I learned how to ride bikes through racing when I was young. I raced motocross, ice racing and dirt tracking. Now ice racing and dirt tracking are great examples of this counter steering. Have a look at these racers and its quite easy to see that in order to turn left they have the front wheel almost full lock right. I must mention its a great feeling to be going sideways like that with your feet up, Unless its on the road and not on the track. It happend to me one time as I came around a corner on my old CB550 and hit sand on the road. Thank god for my racing experiences as it let me just power slide that road bike around the corner without dropping it or soiling my pants :lol:
 

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allwalk said:
Turn? :? I just lean :roll: and the bike goes that way . :D
Yah, that's what I used to think too. Then I read an article about countersteering (about 20 years ago). When you lean, you are unconciously applying countersteering input to the handlebars. Lean right, and you press forward a little on the right side of the handlebar. Actually, if you have a relaxed grip on the handlebar when you lean, it will countersteer itself.

But when you understand the dynamics of countersteering, and do it conciously, you have much more precise control. In an emergency situation, there is no comparison. You control everthing through the handlebars - not by shifting your body weight. The lean over, and return to vertical, is amazingly fast and precise when done with countersteering. This is a major advantage when carrying a passenger also - you can easily override their body action - even if they lean the wrong way.

Go out on a light traffic road and try it. Push the left hand grip forward to turn left. Push the right handgrip forward to turn right. Push the opposite handgrip to return to vertical. Even if you keep your body straight up, the scooter will do exactly what you tell it to do through the handlebars.

Note: This is effective at speeds over 10 mph - and these are fairly small motions - you are applying pressure, not yanking the handlebars any major amount right or left.

It is really quite easy to get the hang of it, and it will soon become as automatic as twisting the throttle. It can enhance your safety and riding enjoyment a lot.
 

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Paul is right. For those of you who still have doubts, try it yourself. Find a stretch of clear road and, at about 30 - 35 MPH, GENTLY press a handgrip in one direction and the bike will turn in that direction. Just GENTLY press in the opposite direction and the bike will then turn back in the opposite direction. Remember, it doesn't need a hard push - just slight pressure on the grip.
Once you get the feel for this, you can do a series of press-right and press- left and do gentle swerves back and forth as you go down the road until you feel comfortable with this technique. With practice, it will become habit. (This method of swerving is how you avoid something that suddenly appears in your line of travel such as a pothole or debris). Once it becomes habit, you won't have to think about how to swerve should it become necessary in an emergency. Those milliseconds you save may make all the difference.
Again, don't do this unless there is no other traffic on the road and keep your speeds down. Pick a dark spot in the roadway ahead and imagine it is a pothole and gently swerve around it. You'll be surprised at how quickly your bike will respond once you understand how and why the bike responds the way it does.
As far as the gyroscopic effect, that is what keeps the moving bike upright and actually has to be overcome when you lean the bike.
 

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Just to set the record straight I know how to counter steer. I was being a smarty pants when I said I just lean it.
 

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allwalk said:
Just to set the record straight I know how to counter steer. I was being a smarty pants when I said I just lean it.
Ha! I knew it!

But I've got to believe there are some other folks on the forum who do not understand countersteering, and truly do think that the way to turn a motorcycle or scooter is by leaning. I rode for about 12 or 15 years thinking that - somehow I survived. There weren't any MSF schools back then... So, it was worth the effort to do the writeup. Hopefully we'll help somebody out.

Someone provided this link on the V-Stom forum today. It is an Australian site. Some interesting discussion of riding techniques (braking, steering, and much more). Worth a read. Even for folks who know it all, like Allwalk & Pauljo. :wink:

http://bikepoint.ninemsn.com.au/portal/ ... fault.aspx
 

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Hey Paul! In one of your posts you mentioned being able to overcome the effect of a passenger who may lean in the opposite direction while turning. This brings up a serious problem for a rider if you're not expecting it and can cause the bike to straighten up while you're taking a curve.
Leaning with the bike and rider scares the h_ _ _ out of a novice passenger and most of them instinctively want to lean in the opposite direction. The best thing I've learned is to instruct new passengers that whenever you lean, just peek and keep peeking over your shoulder on the side you are leaning -you lean left and they peek over your left shoulder-you lean right and they peek over your right shoulder. Take a few gentle turns first and they soon get the hang of it and learn the bike won't fall over when it leans.
Also, instruct them not to make any sudden unexpected movements. Tell them to tell you first before they stand up on the pegs (or floorboards) to scratch their butts or reach down to fix a pant cuff that's riding up. No surprises for the rider! :D
 

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DonRich90 said:
Hey Paul! In one of your posts you mentioned being able to overcome the effect of a passenger who may lean in the opposite direction while turning. This brings up a serious problem for a rider if you're not expecting it and can cause the bike to straighten up while you're taking a curve.
Again, you can instantly correct for a situation like that with countersteering - you'd have great difficulty if you were trying to control the machine by shifting your weight. As long as you keep pressure on the inside handlebar grip, the machine will not stand up. And if they are still leaning into the turn when you need to get upright, a gentle push on the outside grip will bring the machine right back up. I do advise a new passenger to keep their shoulders lined up with mine - and I don't move my body around a lot on a ride like that - no need to with countersteering. Once rolling, I'm in control. Where I get a little nervous with a newbie passenger is when I'm stopped, coming to a stop, or starting up from a stop. But if you have a mishap at 3 mph - it won't have the same disastrous effect of a mishap at 50 mph.

A couple of years after I adapted to countersteering, we went to visit my wife's relatives up in Maine. I rode my Kawasaki 750 motorcycle. Once of her nieces is a very large girl, who outweighed me by at least 100 pounds. She wanted to go for a motorcycle ride so bad, but didn't seriously think that anyone would take her. I did. I could tell she was very tensed up when she got on the passenger seat, and the suspension was pretty well sacked out. But I took it easy with accelleration, and kept my body pretty much straight up. Countersteered of course - once you learn how you don't ride any other way. I understand she still talks about the day Uncle Paul took her for a motorcycle ride. It was a major event for her. I wouldn't have had the courage to do that before I learned to countersteer. If I've told this story before, forgive me. But it is a great example of the confidence one can gain from learning to countersteer.
 
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