Motorcycle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys. Got my first bike, rode it for the first time yesterday, just a few blocks around residential streets. I actually got the hang of shifting....

But leaning/turning: I'm fuzzy on that.

The DMV handbook says that you "push right, lean right, go right". Meaning that you actually turn the handlebars to the left....:confused:

One guy I work with confirms this. But that's just TOO counter intuitive for me to understand.

Another guy I spoke to says, no, you actually push with your left, and the handlebars, to go right.

Can anyone shed some light on this, or point me someplace that can help me a bit?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
It is definately tough getting used to leaning and turning. Sounds like the biggest cause for confusion is when you are "pressing, leaning, going", you're not actually turning the wheel (unless you're going like 15mph). The whole point of pressing and leaning is to push the bike where you want it to turn, not turn the wheel like a car.

The best advice I can give you is if you're turning left, press and lean to the left, but keep your body upright to counteract the bike leaning. And most importantly, turn your head and look at where you want to end up. The farther ahead you can look, the more accurate your turn will be. If you're looking down right in front of you or at your wheels, you'll loose your balance or miss the turn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
921 Posts
Best thing to do is take the Motorcycle Safety Course. They will explain and demonstrate the principle of counter-steering and why it works. The front wheel actually does turn away from the direction you want to go, just for a moment. This starts the bike lean.
Watch this video and pay particular attention to the angle of the front wheel just before he turns.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGtCMxu8PyM&mode=related&search=
Rocksolid
 

·
Certified Homeless Biker
Joined
·
2,554 Posts
think about this: in immediate moment when you turn the handle to the left the bike will go left, but bike's balance point is still on the right, thus you're forcing the bike to lean to the right, thus you're turning right (bike turns by leaning) (the video I saw in the MSF rider course showed this pretty clear in slow motion).

The "other" guy you talked to must have never ridden a motorcycle before :). I found it confusing until I start to ride. Try it yourself in a parking lot or some big place. Whichever side you push is the side you're turning.

Also in addition to jcrans20's statement" keeping your body upright only for tight turn and you're going slow. If you're going fast you need to lean your body to the direction you're turning to (hence "kneedragger" - you see this often in racing), the point is to keep the bike at certain angle so that the tires still have good traction on the road but the balance point is lower. Best explain how to do this would be watching racing :)

YF
 
G

·
Don't over analyze it. Look in the direction where you want the bike to go, and all will happen pretty much instinctively. Countersteering is not as effective at parking lot speeds, so there is no absolute rule. The most important habit to develop is to look where you want the bike to be, and it WILL go there. Ask the guy who was looking at the ditch he didn't want to go into. Guess where he went?
 

·
Certified Homeless Biker
Joined
·
2,554 Posts
lol sorry I meant empty parking lot like early Sunday with no one around.

YF
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fast_Jimmy
G

·
From what I have heard at low speeds it just like a bike but at higher speeds its not the wheel that makes you turn its the lean... And to get it to lean right you turn the handle bar to the left (opposite)...

I have heard everybody does it but many dont even realize it...

I also saw somewhere that you "counter steer" (turn opposite direction) just to get the bike to lean, then you turn back to the normal direction but my motorcycle DVD I got with the CHP instructions just says to counter steer the entire way, but thats cone weaving... When taking a sweeping corner you may counter steer to lean and then turn back to normal throughout the turn...

I say you just go out and ride and you will probably do it without even noticing ;)... But the video I watched said once you are able to recgonize that you do it, you will have more control of the bike.
 

·
Bikes, Guns and Video Games - Ain't life grand?
Joined
·
601 Posts
It's called "Counter Steering" for the exact reason you describe...because it's counter intuitive or counter to your desired direction.

One of the best things I learned about from my MSF class, which you should take and learn everything you can, is to look where you want to go. When you're panicked or in a situation that doesn't feel right, force yourself to lift up your eyes and look where you want to go.

Ever been driving down the road and see something you want to avoid? What do you usually do, you look right at it and say, "Man I've got to avoid that." and while you're approaching it you keep staring at it and what happens?? You usually run right over it!!! Why?? It's called target fixation.

People go where they are looking. Part of fighter pilot training is to teach them how to look where they want to go, not to look at what they want to avoid. Because once we become fixated on a target, we naturally either steer or fly right towards it. So, learn to look where you want your bike to go and you'll naturally go that way.

But you really should invest in a MSF course. It was fun and I really learned a lot. I've been riding bicycles my entire life and even raced road bikes for awhile. I'm extrememly comfortable on 2 wheels and I thought a mototcycle couldn't be that much different. Well it is and it isn't....but I'm too lazy to tell you all the ways it's different so go to an MSF course and learn for youself. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
I'm a newer rider and am also still getting used to how a bike handles while turning at different speeds.

Like many say, look in the direction you want to go, and your body will almost instantly make your bike react to go in that direction. If you want to turn and you are still facing forward, you will likely keep going forward.
I still often make the mistake of not fully looking in the direction I want to go and am weak on my leaning techniques and often make wide turns and find myself having to slow down in the middle of turn which isn't good, because you want to keep a consistent speed while turning.

The faster you go on your bike, the more you will understand how countersteering works and how any shifting of your body weight will move the bike in one direction or the other. This is very important to know when traveling at high speeds on the freeway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,011 Posts
Re: turn left to right right, turn right to go left -- got it? good. I hated that -- someone told me that and I was confused. If they could've just said countersteer, I'd understand. I studied this countersteering thing (from vids to youtube) and it all made sense. I even got a few tips from MC teachers on youtube.

Countersteering is easier demonstrated/observed than explained. You will just do it.

Dennis
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,874 Posts
I've never taken the safety course, but if you remember when you were a kid, you counter steered without even knowing it. You have much better control of your motorcycle if you stay the same position in the seat while turning OR going down the road. The more you lean your body without the bike leaning under you, the less control you have. Stay straight up in the saddle, counter steer, and let the bike lean without your having to PULL it over. If you feel the force of the turn in your butt, and you're not being pulled off the bike, then you're doing it right. Not sure I said that right, so I'll try this. If you can put a ruler up the side of your bike, and you're as straight as the ruler, then you're doing it right. When the bike leans, you go with it. (I know, I know, he's totally confused now!) :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
580 Posts
Best thing to do is take the Motorcycle Safety Course. They will explain and demonstrate the principle of counter-steering and why it works.
Best advice.

I also saw somewhere that you "counter steer" (turn opposite direction) just to get the bike to lean, then you turn back to the normal direction but my motorcycle DVD I got with the CHP instructions just says to counter steer the entire way, but thats cone weaving... When taking a sweeping corner you may counter steer to lean and then turn back to normal throughout the turn...
You will counter steer the entire turn. Google search "countersteering and gyroscopic effect" and you will learn a ton, and walk away more confused than ever at the same time. But no, don't try to correct the turn after you countersteer... just go with it..

I've never taken the safety course, but if you remember when you were a kid, you counter steered without even knowing it. You have much better control of your motorcycle if you stay the same position in the seat while turning OR going down the road. The more you lean your body without the bike leaning under you, the less control you have. Stay straight up in the saddle, counter steer, and let the bike lean without your having to PULL it over. If you feel the force of the turn in your butt, and you're not being pulled off the bike, then you're doing it right. Not sure I said that right, so I'll try this. If you can put a ruler up the side of your bike, and you're as straight as the ruler, then you're doing it right. When the bike leans, you go with it. (I know, I know, he's totally confused now!) :p
I will have to disagree here. Bikes don't like to turn. Fall off of one in the middle of a turn and watch what the bike does on its own and you will see what I mean. And the faster you go, the less the bike wants to turn. That is why you lead with your head and get off the bike when turning fast. Trying to stay lined up on your bike will lead to a rider running out of tire way before necessary... a couple of lowsides teach that lesson pretty quick.
 

·
Premium Member
2009 BMW R1200RT-Patrol
Joined
·
446 Posts
I know I am reviving a genuine antique thread, but this leaning thing, or should I say NOT leaning thing is kind-of different from what I am familiar with.

My reference point is the 1980 technology where con-brio cornering demanded the rider to slide under the low side to keep proper traction on the pavement. I see that reinforced on the race tracks, but that is not so relevant to the street.

I now understand that the tire designs are world-apart different and I might be better off to break that habit, concept and idea. If I am understanding the current thinking correctly, I am supposed to stay 'straight in the saddle' as if there is a vertical rod attaching me to the bike, lean it and me as a unit, and let the tires and bike do their thing.
 

·
Zip
Joined
·
3,373 Posts
Not exactly. When you are cornering on a motorcycle, the combined center of gravity of you and the bike needs to lean over by an amount sufficient to navigate the curve. If you lean in toward the inside of the curve, the bike itself can remain more upright while you are still maintaining the required lean of your combined center of gravity. That will increase your margin, since the tires are not leaned over as much.

So if you are not riding aggressively, you don't need to move your body. If you are riding and cornering aggressively, leaning over will help. Imagine touching your chin to your mirror.
 

·
Registered
CB125T, EX250 commuter, Ninja 250 racebike, CBR250R(MC19), VF500F, CBR600RR, VFR750F
Joined
·
603 Posts
There's limited amount of lean-angle before you roll off edge of tyre and lose traction.


Here's article I saved from somewhere.


In most regular riding, staying in-line with bike will be fine. When you're riding more spiritedly, it's best to hang off inside. This gives you larger safety margin in case you come around corner and have to tighten your line for obstacles. Such as deer or potholes or gravel. Difference between max-angle of tyre and your current bike-angle is your safety factor. By dropping body inwards to raise bike, you increase reserve safety angle.

Another thing that helps is when you hit unexpected loss of traction such as gravel or water, a bike that's more upright when cornering (with you low on inside) tends to drift laterally while maintaining same lean angle. If it was leaned over more with you in-line , front tyre would just let go and you've low-sided.
 

·
Registered
2021 CanAm Spyder RT
Joined
·
4,318 Posts
Counter steering seems anti-intuitive to the non-rider, but they do it without thinking about it when riding a bicycle. The non-rider or new rider who thinks that the handlebars turn in the direction of the bike's turning can't understand why they should press the handlebar grip in the opposite direction. When I was an MSF instructor I used to challenge the students who already were riders, but who balked at the idea of counter steering to try to turn the handlebars of their bike when riding in a straight line at 40 or more mph. They quickly realize that they cannot actually turn the handlebars but when trying end up counter steering.

Leaning the bike in a turn seems scary to new riders. Part of the problem is that their perception of the lean angle is grossly exaggerated over the real angle. They lean over 5% and think that they were leaned over almost to the point of touching a knee down. It just takes some time and experience to get used to the leaning without worrying that the bike will be sliding out from underneath you. And riders who try to take a curve solely by leaning the bike, but without counter steering will end up not making the curve or having to slow down to ridiculously slow speeds. Learning to counter steer correctly early in the process is a valuable skill for any rider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,416 Posts
For most of the non-athletic types they will get nervous in around 20 degrees of body lean (mostly in the head) because they feel there is no support to prevent them from falling over. They don't want to fall over at speed as they feel the fear of crashing. If they bend their neck away from the turn as their body leans greater that 20* yet their eyes see the horizon at less than 20* they can easily become comfortable out to somewhere in around 30-35*. Any more than that and they need time to get accustom to the lean angle while learning to trust the geometry that provides for a stable bike. For the more athletic types that are already used to manipulating body position beyond normal walking and climbing angles and quickly endorse greater lean angles. These are also the type whom normally seek the trill of speed and embrace the lean as a way to sustain it in a turn.
 

·
Administrator - American Legion Rider - KA5LRS
Joined
·
28,612 Posts
When I was an MSF instructor I used to challenge the students who already were riders, but who balked at the idea of counter steering to try to turn the handlebars of their bike when riding in a straight line at 40 or more mph. They quickly realize that they cannot actually turn the handlebars but when trying end up counter steering.
Well, they could turn the bars but it takes extra effort. If you couldn’t turn the bars then conventional trikes would only go straight. It just takes effort and counter steering wins.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top