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I have a few questions for when your riding.

I'm kinda familiar with counter steering but am kinda confused. To my understanding if you wish to turn right you turn the handlebars left ( pushing on the right handlebar ) but this just doesn't seem right. Why would you turn left to go right?

Now tank slappers. What exactly are they and what do you do if you start to experience one?

Finally, if you ever lock the brakes (front or back) are you just suppose to ride it out or release them and do something else?

Thanks
 

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There's been lots of discussion and debates about counter-steering and tank-slappers. I haven't been around here long, but I would imagine that using the "search" feature would turn up some posts.

In order:

1) It has to do with the gyroscopic effects of the front wheel. I wouldn't think too much about the countersteering until you get to the point where you're trying to shave seconds off your lap times. Just do what feels right.

2) A tank-slapper happens when the front and back tires get out of line with each other and then they try desperately to get back in line. I've only experienced them under hard acceleration when the front tire comes up slightly and then comes back down. It causes the bike to jerk violently back and forth, sometimes bad enough to toss you off. There's several schools of thought on what you should do but in my experience, there's not a whole lot of time to think about about it when things go south. I wouldn't recommend snapping the throttle shut or fighting the bars with everything you've got. I've always ridden them out by leaning forward, keeping the throttle steady and keeping a firm grip on the bars but not fighting them. I've never come off from a tank-slapper, but I think that might be more to my bike's credit than my own, or maybe just the luck of the draw.

3) Locking either brake isn't going to maximize your stopping distance. Locking the front is a quick ticket to a low-side. Locking the back isn't as big a deal but it can come around on you if you don't know what you're doing and take you down as well. If either tire locks up under braking, just ease up on the brake til stops sliding. You should find a good place (i.e., parking lot) to practice "panic stops" so you're a little more prepared when it happens under real conditions.

Hope that helps.
 

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Humzee summed it up pretty good. I might repeat a few things he already said. Here goes.

Counter steering works on some strange gyro magic. If you ever played with a toy gyro, you know that it tends to act contrary to common sence. I'll skip over the physics, and just go over the results. Pushing on the right bar, will try to turn the wheel left, but the front wheel gyro force will cancel the turn, and tilt the bike right. Its the only effective way to lean a bike over. You cant really lean the bike any other way.

Tank slappers. They are a headshake squared. the front bars start wiggling trying to stabilize themselves, but always overshoot, and then come back and overshoot even more. It gets worse, untill they hit the turning stops, and soon after that its over. Fighting them is half skill half luck. You definetly do not have enough time to think about it, but if you got some muscle memmory you have half a chance. Do not try to muscle them out of wiggling. All you'll do is transfer the wiggle to the back, and then you will have to fight the back wheel wiggling too. Basicly the same thing that will happen once the bars hit the turn stops. Instead try to keep the bars in your hands, but let them wiggle. give it LOTS of gas. All at once. Dump the clutch, anything to unload the front wheel. If you can get it in the air by half an inch, you have a chance to streighten it up and set it back down.
Whatever you do dont hit the brake. it will make things much worse almost immidiatly.

Brake locking. If you dont already know this, dont use your rear brake in a corner. If you are stopping in a streight line and lock your rear brake, leave it locked. It will take too much of your attention to fight it, and its not worth it. You need to concentrate on the front. You want to ride that line of almost locked tire for max braking force. The tire will make a very strange noise at that point. If you lock it up, release, and reapply. It will either slide forward (best) or it will try to turn violently to one side (worst) or the bike will try to fall over to one side. In other words you got about half a second to regain some grip before you scratch your plastics.
 

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yes, and that's a very old video that's been posted way back. that tankslapper was at its worse, both wheels started wiggling, there's no way he could've recovered. notice how bike was wiggling for a while and then how fast he went down, like being shot out of scramjet cannon.
 

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Its amazing how quick a bike can go from being an easily controlled machine to a out of control bucking beast that will throw you like a rag doll.
 

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countersteering should be used in every corner you make with the exception of slow maneuvers. It is, in fact, pushing in the opposite direction of your intuition.

Without going into technical details, when you push on the handlebar to the right, the bike's balance will be thrown to the right and vice versa.
 

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sorry this is so damn long

warning first post, and its late, I hope I don't get myself banished for such a long post if it doesn't make sense

I saw some good explinations on counter-steering here, and I haven't been riding all that long, but I would try explaining its because the tires on a motorcycle are so rounded, forgive me if this doesn't make sense, this is my first post and I'm not always the best at explaining things, but I thought I would give it a shot.

When you lean, even keeping the wheel straight the bike turns because you are not on the bottom of the wheel anymore when you lean, you're off center, which because the side of the wheel follows a different path than the bottom... ie: its a curved surface the bike naturally starts to do a circle, or a turn.

The bottom of the tire in the center constantly hits in a straight line as the wheel turns when its straight, the sides of the wheels obviously curve around the edges of the tire.. curving, not following a straight line like the center of a tire does. If you roll a tire upright, the center of the tire touches, and the next surface area that touches as it rolls comes right after the first in a straight path on the tire's surface.

If you were to tilt the tire and roll, the following spot that is going to touch is not directly ahead of current section on the tire in a straight line because the wheel curves, the wheel is turning on the ground as it follows that line on the tire because its on the rounded part of the tire.
The reason you have to countersteer is because when you lean in a turn you end up on the side of the tire, because of how much the tires curve on the bike, the amount of lean needed to make the bike start turning is very minimal. As you'll notice on easy or gradual turns, you barely have to lean the bike at all to get it to turn.

With sharper turns and higher speeds you have to lean the bike more in order to compensate for the g-forces pushing you towards the outside of the turn so that you do not stand up straight and come out of the turn early. If you were to keep the wheel straight as you leaned into a sharp or higherspeed turn, the amount of lean required for you to keep the bike from standing up and coming out of the turn because of the g-forces would put you far over on the curved section of the tire. That natural route the tire would want to take because of how far over you were on the tire would be alot sharper than the turn you were on. Remember it doesn't take much lean with the wheel straight for the bike to start turning.
Countersteering causes the surface area of the tire that is touching the ground to be more towards the center of the wheel which is more flat, (thus a less curved part of the tire - remember it doesn't take much curve on the tire to get the bike to turn) while allowing you to lean low enough in the turn to compesate for the g-forces pushing towards the outside of the turn.

So basically to sum it up, because you have to lean in a turn to compensate for the force pushing out of the turn, it would put you on a section of the tire that would cause you to turn sharper than you want, counter steering turns the wheel so that the tire is touching more towards the center and giving you the correct curviture to get through the turn. The amount you have to lean to compensate for the g-forces of a turn would put you would put further on the curve of the tire than you would want if you kept the wheel straight.

Does that make sense to anyone or should I have just kept this post in my head? I would hope that someone who already understands it can read this and get what I meant, but not sure it'll help you understand if you didn't already get it. I didn't understand it when I first started, but you have to do it, especially at higher speeds and sharper corners and it works. [Add on] Also, on a side note, the curviture of the tire conveniently helps the bike to lean over naturally to one side or the other as you counter steer, making it easier to manuever the weight of the bike. You don't have to try and "man handle it" or throw you weight around to get it to do this.


lol, wow, if this post sucks, I am sorry because I re-wrote it twice trying to make it more understandable lol. Maybe that is the reason someone earlier in the post said they were just gonna skip explaining the physics of it.... lol Hope it helped.:2cents: :burnout:

thanks for reading this whole darn thing, please comment and let me know how I did.

(edited to insert paragraphs :thumb: )
 

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hahaha, no offense but splitting that into paragraphs would prolly help cuz my eyes had issues readin' all them lines... i've had teh same issues before :p
 

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So what you are saying is that when you push on the inside bar, the contact patch of the front tire moves further back (decreasing trail) and that what couses the bike to lean?
 

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A friend of mine had a bike immeditely after WWII & another bike or two. Still he was married, seems pretty common amongst so many, plus a child to bring up.

So like a gentleman he gave up his much loved 1951 AJS 350 single in '53.

So around late 80s he is looking around at the m/c world & buys this used 500cc v-twin, you chaps know the one set up with the bbls going to right & left of the rider.

Also reading all the m/c mags & comes across this seemingly new way of riding being "counter steering". Not a dummy I can assure you & after a bit of reading he realized he was doing this with his m/cs to even his bicycle over in England. So that was the end of his stress on what he might have missed out those 30 yrs.

Still riding a BMW 1000 & is my peer by two yrs in age. NEVER had a m/c accident in his life!!!!!!!
 

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Vash said:
So what you are saying is that when you push on the inside bar, the contact patch of the front tire moves further back (decreasing trail) and that what couses the bike to lean?

Um... lets see if when you said the contact patch of the front tire moving further back...you meant more towards the center/flatter section of the tire and by decreasing trail you meant less curviture... then um... I think we're on the same page lol. Sorry I may have confused myself here. Trying to think of this can confuse you because you don't really think of this when you counter steer, I wasn't really trying to explain how to counter steer but rather why it works or how it works. If you don't have a good picture imagination, then you might almost have to go outside and have someone help you lean your bike to the side and turn the tire to see what I mean... (though I wouldn't recommend it, godforbid someone down their bike in the drive way trying to see what the heck I'm talking about. LOL

As far as why the bike leans... it leans because you shift you weight some and then turning the wheel (countersteering) helps the bike shift "its" weight to help you get to the right angle needed to get around a turn. So yeah, I guess when you countersteer the bike naturally dips to the side where you need it. You'll notice if you ever are out practicing in an open area, if you start to steer right the bike will naturally lean left and start to dip depending on how sharp a turn you decide to take. Same if you steer left and the bike naturally dips right.

The bike is an awesomely engineered machine... very stable and calculatedly balanced. It will naturally try and work in sync with your body as you turn and lean as long as you use it right. But if you tried to turn right by leaning right and then made the mistake of steering right, instead of counter steering the the left, it would stand the bike straight back up.

Some bikes try to stand up on their own more than others, I noticed on my 2002 CBR F4i that coming out of a turn, the bike would correct itself back up, it naturally wanted to be upright, where as my 2003 R6 I have now, will let you lay it all the way over if you choose to do so lol. (I've not personally tried it, but I can sense what its thinking lol) Oh well, hope this explained a little more.
 

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Can't say I agree about F4i standing up, may be it needed new tires. Although I have F4, I had worn tires and different brands, and bike tended to run wide. But after a set of new Pilot Power, I can brake mid-corner and bike maintains its course. Picking the bike up has more to do with my intention than bike self-stabilizing itself. Putting more throttle allows the bike to lean further.
 

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Hmmm, I agree about using the throttle to be able to get lower... as far as my CBR standing itself up easier... maybe it was just me. And as far as being able to break mid turn, I've never done that, I do everything i can to avoid touching my brakes while corning.
 

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rear brakes

I was instructed by an MSF coach to leave the rear break locked if it gets locked. The reason being is that when that back end is wiggling and you let off the rear brake the back tire regains traction and tries to "snap" back into place. Thus throwing the rider off (high side).
 

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Re: rear brakes

tyesco said:
I was instructed by an MSF coach to leave the rear break locked if it gets locked. The reason being is that when that back end is wiggling and you let off the rear brake the back tire regains traction and tries to "snap" back into place. Thus throwing the rider off (high side).
In a straight line, this is absolutely correct. DO NOT touch the rear brake in a corner. You're are going to get really familuar with a ditch otherwise.
 
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