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Is counter-steering a thing?


Kevin
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Originally I'd just steer by leaning/putting more weight on one pedal, but more recently I've been finding that ineffective. It feels like in order to (smoothly) go right, I actually have to subtly twist my hips left and hold them there. Taking a page from motorcycles, I was thinking maybe this is a counter-steering effect? Anyone else get this impression while riding, or am I just weird?

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When I was still riding my X8, I had to adapt my steering technique in the way you described, especially when exiting a turn, after I changed the tire to a more grippy street tire. Lots of counter-steering because the grip would encourage the wheel to stay the course instead of correcting itself.  

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If you think about it logically and remember when you first started riding a wheel you will recall that you were continually falling one way or the other and until you learnt to steer into the fall you came off.

Basically you do not need to counter steer to initiate a turn all you need to do is not to fully correct the natural tendancy for the wheel to go offline and that is enough to initiate a turn. When you've learnt to ride this all happens subconsciously. 

Counter steering works as well in that it can quickly put you off balance and initiate a turn but to say that it's necessary to counter steer to turn is just silly as that would imply that you would need to counter steer to initiate the counter steer in the first place and counter steer to initiate that, ad infinitum.

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At least with my experiences from motorcycling, counter-steering doesn't really work in very slow speeds, but is fairly essential for turning in higher speeds. When I was riding my motorcycle-license a good 15+ years back, the instructor explained the technique and we had a separate lesson just for practicing counter-steering. It became second nature pretty fast. Never really paid attention if I do it with the wheel, but I think so (at higher speeds).

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15 years back?!  From your pic I thought you were about 19 - what have you been doing, drinking baby's blood? :o

:D  Well, that picture's taken in 2008, so I was 25 back then, and still had that "short" hair ;). In Finland, you can get an A1 ("light motorcycle", 125cc/max. 9kW) -license when you're 16, I got mine in 1999. It will automatically become "full" A-license (no restrictions) when you turn 20. Never had any bigger motorcycle than the 125cc though, but of course it wasn't restricted to the 9kW -power except for the very first summer ;)

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I'm still learning so to turn affectively I'm still using my hands to push off the air (imaginary wall).  I've been practicing twisting my hips to shorten turns.  What's funny is that I can turn smoother and tighter to my right and not so well to my left.

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Counter-steering is absolutely necessary in order to safely initiate turns at higher speeds. Wikipedia actually explains this one quite well. Refer to the "How it Works" section of this article.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering

So how do you initiate the counter steer? 

Do you counter counter steer?

If so how do you initiate that? By counter counter counter steering etc. etc. Ad infinitum.

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I'm still learning so to turn affectively I'm still using my hands to push off the air (imaginary wall).  I've been practicing twisting my hips to shorten turns.  What's funny is that I can turn smoother and tighter to my right and not so well to my left.

Same here - left turns are a bit iffy.  Don't push that wall too hard.

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So how do you initiate the counter steer? 

Do you counter counter steer?

If so how do you initiate that? By counter counter counter steering etc. etc. Ad infinitum.

I think you need to make the distinction between 'steering' to a direction and making the physical turn. I think counter-steering is simply applying a torque to the opposite direction to which you want to turn, which gives you greater lean angle? It makes sense when you think about it. Say you're turning at high speed. You don't simply just lean in and expect to turn. Usually when you lean, you'll notice that your wheel kinda pushes outward a bit opposing your lean? Ie, You'd lean to the left, but at the same time the wheel has gone a bit to the right to compensate for your lean angle. 

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At high speed I'm certain I just lean in to the bend with no thoughts or hint of Countersteering. In fact normally you'll find that the wheel naturally follows the direction of your gaze. 

I usually have to tell the people I'm teaching not to concentrate on obstacles they want to avoid or they'll be sure to hit them. :)

Edited by Gimlet
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I'm still learning so to turn affectively I'm still using my hands to push off the air (imaginary wall).  I've been practicing twisting my hips to shorten turns.  What's funny is that I can turn smoother and tighter to my right and not so well to my left.

i am exactly the same.

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I've been out for a longish ride today and can definitely confirm that counter-steer (or something very like it) is definitely a thing (I realised I was having trouble with some turns because I was trying to stop myself counter-steering because none of the videos mention it).

I also learned that soggy ground really saps the battery life.

i am exactly the same.

Let's all have a meetup and go on a ride on a route that only has right turns. :D

 

Edited by MrBump
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If you think about it logically and remember when you first started riding a wheel you will recall that you were continually falling one way or the other and until you learnt to steer into the fall you came off.

Basically you do not need to counter steer to initiate a turn all you need to do is not to fully correct the natural tendancy for the wheel to go offline and that is enough to initiate a turn. When you've learnt to ride this all happens subconsciously. 

This makes sense, and I think matches up a bit better to what I actually do with my wheel. It's similar to countersteering, but probably better described as avoiding turning the wheel into the turn (anti-steering?). Regardless it feels the same to me as what I would do if I were actually countersteering, just less in magnitude.

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On 9/27/2015 at 11:09 AM, Gimlet said:

If you think about it logically and remember when you first started riding a wheel you will recall that you were continually falling one way or the other and until you learnt to steer into the fall you came off.

Basically you do not need to counter steer to initiate a turn all you need to do is not to fully correct the natural tendancy for the wheel to go offline and that is enough to initiate a turn.

Right, but then you wouldn't be able to control whether you turn right or left.  

On 9/27/2015 at 11:09 AM, Gimlet said:

When you've learnt to ride this all happens subconsciously. 

Counter steering works as well in that it can quickly put you off balance and initiate a turn but to say that it's necessary to counter steer to turn is just silly as that would imply that you would need to counter steer to initiate the counter steer in the first place and counter steer to initiate that, ad infinitum.

Call me silly, but AFAICS counter-steering is the only reliable and quick way to initiate a turn, and it's no rocket science either. To initiate a left turn we first twist the wheel to the right. After that we need to twist back to not fall and the result is that we have moved/turned to the left in the overall process. There is no ad infinitum, as twisting the wheel clock-wise first doesn't assume twisting the wheel counter-clock-wise before.

How do we know that this is the only reliable way of initiating a curve? If it would be possible to reliably and quickly lean left/right, i.e. move weight (the center of gravity) to one side or the other, we should be able to left/right-balance an EUC without moving forward/backward. But we aren't.

Edited by Mono
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  • 2 years later...

I hope to bring this thread back to life and pose hopefully a simple question and get more feedback please!

Does one HAVE to even if just a TINY bit counter steer a E U C? Other things?

I have read and reread the wiki explanation and tested myself but still not convinced  either way.

Also on my pedal uni and bike.

Other sports snowboard, skateboard, ski, surf.

It is true in real life for me that when I ride my bike at normal speed hands free and push gently the left handle bar forward ( right turn) the bike will turn left.

Same on motorcycle.

Thoughts, ideas, reasons why?

Thanks, ukj

 

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Countersteering is effective in all vehicles, or rather counter leaning to steer is effective in all tandem vehicles including bikes, EUCs, in line skates, snowboards, and skis.

If you read this article and then go, "yes but" then keep rereading the article until you stop going, "yes but".

https://superbikeschool.com/about-us/machinery/no-b-s-machine/

 

Edited by LanghamP
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