Countersteering on a motorcycle is often misunderstood and it’s even a bit controversial among riders of all of styles and race groups.
While so contested in its definition, the actual meaning is quite straight forward:
Motorcycle countersteering is the process of turning in an opposite direction than perceived in the conscious mind of the rider. In reality, we must turn LEFT if we want to steer RIGHT and vice-versa, based on the centripetal force that is needed to actually turn a motorcycle at moderate and high speeds. In essence, a motorcycle steers in the direction that a rider leans, and not in the direction that one turns their handlebar.
It can be harder for newer riders to understand this concept, yet even some experienced riders get it wrong. Some even claim that this is a myth which is bizarre. These sceptics even search online for information to better discount this concept as simply blasphemy.
Motorcycle Countersteering Defined
This is an important element to learn if you want to become a safe and efficient rider out there on the trails. Even if you’re riding on the road, this is very important to actualize in your mind.
By fully understanding the dynamics of countersteering on a motorcycle, you can prepare yourself to avoid accidents like this:
So what happened here? Clearly he turned in the direction that he didn’t want to go. In fact, there were 4 attempts to correct his direction before his subsequent crash.
Note: The rider in this instance survived this crash but others aren’t so lucky.
Steering is used at slower speeds in residential areas. Once you’re up to moderate and high speeds, you’ll need to keep countersteering in mind if you want to avoid serious accidents like this.
The Counter Steering Myth
Yes – we have to raise this. There are some people that literally search for information to debunk such claims.
Motorcycle countersteering isn’t a myth. Many experienced riders understand this concept of steering in the OPPOSITE direction if where you wish to travel, yet beginners often ignore this concept until later in their motorcycling life.
Given the amont of explanations given in YouTube videos, it’s clear that this is not just a true concept, but one that has saved many lives. Quite simply: Steer in the opposite direct of where you want to turn, as this isn’t like driving a car or a truck.
The only exception to this rule is at very low speeds where yes, you would actually steer normally.
Why Training is Necessary
We’re big on motorcycle training here at Frontaer. It’s our belief that with the right training, riders can greatly minimize the likelihood of being involved in serious accident. Most riding schools to get your licence doesn’t really cover this well unfortunately, with a focus more-so on the physical aspects of gear selection and traffic awareness.
If you haven’t already done so, we recommend enrolling into an advanced motorcycle skills training course. This will help you develop those skills necessary towards safe motorcycle handling and where you can actually learn counter-steering in a controlled environment.
Just remember – push right and you go right. It’s really that simple.