Thursday, September 10, 2009

Counter Steering Dynamics and Execution

Want to go right? Press right!
Want to go left? Press left!

I get a lot of folks through our safety class, and a large amount of those that ride have never noticed counter steering. I use the word noticed because counter steering is something we learned back when we began to ride a bicycle. Problem is, it's such a small movement of the bars that it is easy to miss. We tell ourselves it's our upper body lean that creates the direction change, and therein lies the problem...Trying to use your upper body to change direction actually slows your ability to swerve or turn.

Once again, it is a very small movement of the bars, and it requires time. The dynamics involved are such that pressing forward on the right handgrip will turn the bar to the left. This creates the lean to the right, and the lean is what makes us turn. Once practiced and then mastered, you'll learn the value of knowing this technique. You'll also learn how powerful it is.

Continuous practice of the counter steering process is crucial because your mind will tell you to press the opposite direction at first. That train of thought needs to be broken. Also, it requires a great deal of finesse. Start out in an empty parking lot, and practice until it becomes natural. Then, bring it to the street when traffic is light and practice by using it to change lanes or avoid debris in the road. Ideally it should become so natural that when the inevitable happens, your swerve should start before your thought process does.

You should also learn that during a corner, gently increasing pressure on the inside handgrip will tighten your line or help you to corner sharper. Remember that your upper body for a swerve should remain upright and independent of motorcycle lean. Let that bike do all the moving around underneath you. After all, that's what bikes do...

Now press right and go right.