I'm new to the board, but not new to riding. I've been riding a little over 10 years now. I learned how to ride on an ex500. Later, I bought a FZR600 as my first official bike. (Sorry man, back then hands down it was the best bike for the money.) About 5 years ago, I came back to the brand that taught me to ride. But to get to the point, today I just had a conversation with someone who had been riding for sometime as well, but knows nothing about counter steering. After questioning several people, seems hardly anyone knows the concept. So I figure the newbie corner is a good place to shed some light on the subject... could actually save your life. Statistics say that your life is in serious danger during your first year of riding. After the first year or so, the risk of killing yourself drops dramatically. (how comforting) A big problem is improper steering when placed in a tight spot with only mili seconds to decide what to do.
POP QUIZ: You're traveling on the freeway at about 70mph and want to make a LEFT turn... which way do you turn the handle bars? Right or Left?
If your answer is "left dummy!" then you just smacked into the railing on the RIGHT side shoulder and are dead.
Counter steering- we all do it, even if you don't know you are doing it. Most people learn to ride a bike subconciously. We give the bike input, and the bike reacts. So are mind says, "I do this, the bike does that." It's all subconcious. The reality is that if I'm traveling at highway speeds then I need to turn the handle bars left to go right, and right to go left. How can that be? It's all about physics. When you turn the handle bars RIGHT, the bike actually wants to fall over onto it's LEFT side because of the forward momentum. As the bike falls over, you begin to bank and are now in a turn. Imagine an 18 wheeler big rig trying to take a 90 degree corner at 100mph. If the driver steers right, the trucks going to roll off the road to the left.
Now this is how people get themselves into a bind. Since they learned how to ride subconciously, when they find themselves needing to make a quick decision, suddenly their CONCIOUS takes over and they steer the wrong direction and actually turn into the danger rather than away from it. Of course when you are traveling slower than 10-15 mph, like in a parking lot, the opposite is true... you want to turn right, turn the handlebars right. The reason for this is that you aren't traveling fast enough for the bike to fall over due to the momentum. Still skeptical? Get on your bike and get out on the freeway. Get in the middle lane traveling at freeway speeds, and (when clear)CONCIOUSLY turn your handle bars right or left, and see which direction the bike goes. It's kinda weird at first, but you get used to it, and eventually it becomes second nature, which is much safer than riding subconciously.
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