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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm relatively new to riding. I've been a road cyclist for much of my life, and although the balance is similar, turning is not. In my safety course, the instructor kept talking about pushing in the opposite direction of a turn. This completely boggled my brain and I just couldn't get my head around the concept...especially at lower speeds. Now that I'm riding daily, despite the cold, I'm sort of understanding the concept. It seems with an ever-so-slight push in the opposite direction, my turns are getting sharper and I'm able to throttle into it a bit better. Still having trouble understanding the full concept/physics of the method.

I was hoping someone could give me some advice to boost my confidence when I'm going into turns. Let's just say, I plan my routes in my head currently, to avoid sharp turns, both with/without speed.
 

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It call counter steering. Depending on what bike you are driving it's usually more effective at higher speeds. You will get used to it and will become second nature and won't even think about anymore.
 

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Really, the only way you'll gain confidence is by doing it. The concept you describe, counter steer, is the same on all two wheeled vehicles. If you're a cyclist and haven't run into a building, you know how to counter steer, you just haven't had to think about it. The gyroscopic effect that creates counter steer is more evident the faster the bike is moving (because the wheels are turning faster). It's also more noticeable on the motorcycle because the gyroscopes (wheels) are more massive than on your bicycle.

If you want a perfectly safe way to experiment a bit, take the front wheel off your bicycle and hold it by the axel in front you. Have a friend spin the wheel as fast as they can get it going. Now try to push the right side of the axle forward. The wheel will bank to the right. Push the left side of the axel forward. The wheel will bank left. This is what you're doing when you steer your bike at speed. At what speed counter steer begins depends somewhat on the bike, but if you haven't run into anything yet, your hands have already figured it out.

Here's a video that might help.
Good luck, stay safe, enjoy the ride!
 

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I'm relatively new to riding. I've been a road cyclist for much of my life, and although the balance is similar, turning is not. In my safety course, the instructor kept talking about pushing in the opposite direction of a turn. This completely boggled my brain and I just couldn't get my head around the concept...especially at lower speeds. Now that I'm riding daily, despite the cold, I'm sort of understanding the concept. It seems with an ever-so-slight push in the opposite direction, my turns are getting sharper and I'm able to throttle into it a bit better. Still having trouble understanding the full concept/physics of the method.

I was hoping someone could give me some advice to boost my confidence when I'm going into turns. Let's just say, I plan my routes in my head currently, to avoid sharp turns, both with/without speed.
As has been mentioned, you already do this instinctively with your cycles. Practice will give your the confidence that you want. Sometime we over analyze too much. Do not try to over think it. When I was learning to walk again I got a great piece of life advice about things we know work already, "Don't think about it just do it.". From there it was all about practice and I walked unaided by crutches or cane on a new prosthetic leg in 3 days. Practice and it will come naturally.

Enjoy and ride safe, welcome to the community.
 

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Physics. Any force exerted on a rotating object (your wheels, bicycle or motorcycle) will affect the object/wheel 90 degrees relative to the rotation. Think about it. On a bicycle you have doubtlessly turned just by leaning. Handlebars straight, lean right, bike turns right. Lean left, bike turns left. Force applied to top of wheel (leaning right or left), force acts 90 degrees in the direction of rotation. Bike turns right or left, as if you turned the handlebars. This is where it gets tricky. Push bars in the direction you want to turn, force acts 90 degrees in the direction of rotation. Push bars left, force applied to back of wheel, force ACTS on top of wheel, pushing top of wheel left, just like a lean. Same push bar left, force applied to front of wheel, force acts on bottom of wheel pushing bottom of wheel right.
 

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I look at it this way
Lean steering is used for long lazy curves and low speed turns
Counter steering can usually be done one the bike reaches 25MPH some can do it sooner but 25 is pretty consistent on all bikes i have ridden.
Counter steering is used in sharper curves at higher speeds or when traveling in traffic to change lanes quickly.
The crux of counter steering is that you need to shift your body position on the bike to be more stable through the turn or quick lane change. You are counter weighting the bike instead on leaning with it and this may be why you don't feel as stable doing it.
To practice and get a better feel for it find a long straight stretch of road and practice pushing the bars the opposite of the direction you want to go and doing S sweeps in your lane while shifting your weight to counter balance. then begin using it while driving in traffic. It will become second nature and may save your life when some cager locks up his breaks or pulls out in front of you since it allows your to change direction or lane very quickly
 

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I'm relatively new to riding. I've been a road cyclist for much of my life, and although the balance is similar, turning is not. In my safety course, the instructor kept talking about pushing in the opposite direction of a turn. This completely boggled my brain and I just couldn't get my head around the concept...especially at lower speeds. Now that I'm riding daily, despite the cold, I'm sort of understanding the concept. It seems with an ever-so-slight push in the opposite direction, my turns are getting sharper and I'm able to throttle into it a bit better. Still having trouble understanding the full concept/physics of the method.

I was hoping someone could give me some advice to boost my confidence when I'm going into turns. Let's just say, I plan my routes in my head currently, to avoid sharp turns, both with/without speed.
Just a follow up, first thank you for putting this out. I have ridden for a lot of years now and, as several have said, many actions including counter steering are second nature. I have a good bit of twisty in the first part of my ride leaving the house and at the end going home. So, I paid closer attention as I rode home yesterday and out this morning. I have 6 turns in about 1/4 of a mile to get on the highway for my commute. I run in second gear through it all, between 10 and 25 MPH. I find that I use counter steer and some lean to zip through it all. Just nature and a fun start to the day.

Ride safe and enjoy.
 

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I'm relatively new to riding. I've been a road cyclist for much of my life, and although the balance is similar, turning is not. In my safety course, the instructor kept talking about pushing in the opposite direction of a turn. This completely boggled my brain and I just couldn't get my head around the concept...especially at lower speeds. Now that I'm riding daily, despite the cold, I'm sort of understanding the concept. It seems with an ever-so-slight push in the opposite direction, my turns are getting sharper and I'm able to throttle into it a bit better. Still having trouble understanding the full concept/physics of the method.

I was hoping someone could give me some advice to boost my confidence when I'm going into turns. Let's just say, I plan my routes in my head currently, to avoid sharp turns, both with/without speed.
Not much to add to all the good advice. I will say that when I first started to ride a cruiser, the first thing I noticed was that they “like” to stay upright. They are long, low, and heavy. I had to get used to pushing even the 900 harder over than what I was accustomed to. On your bike, it is so flickable that you’re doing it subconsciously. I hesitate to advise that you push it over harder because I don’t want you to get carried away. But essentially that’s what you’re going to need to ease into. When you want to turn left; push with your left hand and let your body counter just slightly leaned to the right while the bike leans left under you. Your left shoulder will drop and your right shoulder will rise. You’ll know when you pushed too hard when the floor board scrapes a little and you get that 2 second heart attack. Realize that could happen someday and don’t over react by pulling the bike back up really hard in your turn or you will high side it. That nasty physics thing again.
 

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PS. I think it confuses new riders when safety instructors say “steer in the opposite direction” it’s not wrong of course, but could be worded differently. Think about it this way instead. Push right, go right. Push left, go left. Sure when you push on the left it’s like your steering right….but it’s easier to wrap your head around that when you push on the left it’s like your pushing the left aide of the bike down which of
course we know that bike is going where it’s leaning. The rest is easy because most people will subconsciously lean their body in the opposite direction
 

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Good thread, really like the replies. Nothing to add, just get out there and practice.
Also, Not too be a smart *ss,Just Remember-TURNING A BIKE IS NOT ONLY WHICH WAY YOUR PUSHING THE BARS-It's Also get used to Leaning your body into turns/@Different speeds. Which I'm Sure you know Also applies to road Bikes:)........(y)
 

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Also, Not too be a smart *ss,Just Remember-TURNING A BIKE IS NOT ONLY WHICH WAY YOUR PUSHING THE BARS-It's Also get used to Leaning your body into turns/@Different speeds. Which I'm Sure you know Also applies to road Bikes:)........(y)
And if you look where you want to go, you will naturally lean your body properly, too. It's a hard habit to develop, but absolutely necessary. Looking ahead in a turn or curve is not only necessary to negotiate curves safely, but it helps the lean to feel more natural and balanced.

Like the others have said, practice then practice some more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not much to add to all the good advice. I will say that when I first started to ride a cruiser, the first thing I noticed was that they “like” to stay upright. They are long, low, and heavy. I had to get used to pushing even the 900 harder over than what I was accustomed to. On your bike, it is so flickable that you’re doing it subconsciously. I hesitate to advise that you push it over harder because I don’t want you to get carried away. But essentially that’s what you’re going to need to ease into. When you want to turn left; push with your left hand and let your body counter just slightly leaned to the right while the bike leans left under you. Your left shoulder will drop and your right shoulder will rise. You’ll know when you pushed too hard when the floor board scrapes a little and you get that 2 second heart attack. Realize that could happen someday and don’t over react by pulling the bike back up really hard in your turn or you will high side it. That nasty physics thing again.
This was a perfect explanation. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Good thread, really like the replies. Nothing to add, just get out there and practice.
Been riding daily for two months now. Been on one group ride and gearing up for another this weekend. I'm kinda kicking myself in the ass for not doing this earlier in the season; depression levels are gonna go way the hell up when it becomes too cold to ride all winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not much to add to all the good advice. I will say that when I first started to ride a cruiser, the first thing I noticed was that they “like” to stay upright. They are long, low, and heavy. I had to get used to pushing even the 900 harder over than what I was accustomed to. On your bike, it is so flickable that you’re doing it subconsciously. I hesitate to advise that you push it over harder because I don’t want you to get carried away. But essentially that’s what you’re going to need to ease into. When you want to turn left; push with your left hand and let your body counter just slightly leaned to the right while the bike leans left under you. Your left shoulder will drop and your right shoulder will rise. You’ll know when you pushed too hard when the floor board scrapes a little and you get that 2 second heart attack. Realize that could happen someday and don’t over react by pulling the bike back up really hard in your turn or you will high side it. That nasty physics thing again.
"2 second heart attack" 😳
 

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I'm relatively new to riding. I've been a road cyclist for much of my life, and although the balance is similar, turning is not. In my safety course, the instructor kept talking about pushing in the opposite direction of a turn. This completely boggled my brain and I just couldn't get my head around the concept...especially at lower speeds. Now that I'm riding daily, despite the cold, I'm sort of understanding the concept. It seems with an ever-so-slight push in the opposite direction, my turns are getting sharper and I'm able to throttle into it a bit better. Still having trouble understanding the full concept/physics of the method.

I was hoping someone could give me some advice to boost my confidence when I'm going into turns. Let's just say, I plan my routes in my head currently, to avoid sharp turns, both with/without speed.
Your pushing into the lean and the lean does the
turning. Slow turns it doesn't apply
 

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I'm relatively new to riding. I've been a road cyclist for much of my life, and although the balance is similar, turning is not. In my safety course, the instructor kept talking about pushing in the opposite direction of a turn. This completely boggled my brain and I just couldn't get my head around the concept...especially at lower speeds. Now that I'm riding daily, despite the cold, I'm sort of understanding the concept. It seems with an ever-so-slight push in the opposite direction, my turns are getting sharper and I'm able to throttle into it a bit better. Still having trouble understanding the full concept/physics of the method.

I was hoping someone could give me some advice to boost my confidence when I'm going into turns. Let's just say, I plan my routes in my head currently, to avoid sharp turns, both with/without speed.
I'm relatively new to riding. I've been a road cyclist for much of my life, and although the balance is similar, turning is not. In my safety course, the instructor kept talking about pushing in the opposite direction of a turn. This completely boggled my brain and I just couldn't get my head around the concept...especially at lower speeds. Now that I'm riding daily, despite the cold, I'm sort of understanding the concept. It seems with an ever-so-slight push in the opposite direction, my turns are getting sharper and I'm able to throttle into it a bit better. Still having trouble understanding the full concept/physics of the method.

I was hoping someone could give me some advice to boost my confidence when I'm going into turns. Let's just say, I plan my routes in my head currently, to avoid sharp turns, both with/without speed.
Like others have said, counter steering is correct. What they have not said is why. Sometimes knowing why will help you do something that seems counter intuitive.
To ride any MC or bicycle, the contact patchs of the tires must be directly under the center of gravity. If it is not, you will tend to fall. To turn left you will want to move the contact patch to the right (turn bars right) so that the bike center of gravity moves to the left , where it 'falls' left for a bit and consequently turns left. Once in a stable left turn, the center of gravity is still directly above the contact patches because of centripetal force.
If you want to go straight again, you must get the contact to the left of the center of gravity. So turn bars left. Tho the bike now appears to stand back up vertically, it is actually 'falling' against its center of gravity.
This is tru at all speeds, tho clearly obvious at faster speeds. A great visualization of this is a kid riding a bicycle for the first time. See how wobbily they are? They are constantly trying to keep the contact patches under their center of gravity. They don't know what they are doing, we tell them it is balance, but balance is properly maintaining center of gravity over contact patch.
There are other factors involved. If you lay a cone on its side and roll it, it goes around in a circle. When viewed from the back or front, a bike or MC tire is round, this is actually a varying angel cone. So just leaning a tire causes it to turn. This contributes to stability in a turn, but counter steering must still be done to initiate changes of direction.
 

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Understanding the forces and reactions related to countersteer can certainly help develop better high speed turning and control, but I believe all this 'over-thinking' of the process does nothing but confuse most new riders. How many of you taught your 5 yr old about countersteer when you put them on their first bike? I've been riding bicycles since 1960 and riding motorcycles since 1981. I never even heard the term 'countersteer' until 2007 on a ride with a friend who wanted to impress me with his MC knowledge. Telling someone that they have to use countersteer to ride their motorcycle is like telling a pigeon he has to use aerodynamics to fly. That's why when people ask about it, I usually start of by telling them that if they've ridden 100 feet without running into anything, they already know how to countersteer.
 
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