MMP 07: Why understanding countersteering is so important [Podcast]

In this session of the Motorcycle Mentor Podcast, I discuss countersteering and explain why I think it is one of the most important things you should understand… regardless of whether you are a beginner or experienced rider.

best beginner motorcycleCountersteering is how you control your motorcycle: push right to go right, push left to go left. But pushing on the right bar is actually the same as pulling on the left bar… which means to initiate a right turn you turn the handlebar in the opposite direction. Sound confusing?

More specifically, in this session you’ll find out about:

  • My first trip to Deals Gap.
  • What is countersteering — my simple definition.
  • Why understanding countersteering with your head is so important.
  • Why there is so much passionate debate about the physics of countersteering.
  • Why I think having countersteering part of your muscle memory can significantly increase your abilities to avoid an accident.

Resources and links mentioned in this session:

Video showing countersteering…

Video explaining more of the physics…

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I’d like to personally thank the following people for rating the podcast on iTunes:
Eric Nelson, Don Plantenberg, and Susan Collander. Thanks. I really appreciate it.

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5 Responses to MMP 07: Why understanding countersteering is so important [Podcast]

  1. Drew August 22, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    As a beginner who hasn’t yet ridden or taken the beginning rider course I was very interested in experiencing for myself how this works. No motorcycle? No problem. Hop on a bicycle, get up to speed and you’ll see that countersteering works the same way even without a motor.

    • MotorcycleMentor August 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

      I’ve tried it on a bike too. Shocking , I know. It does work the same but it is even more pronounced on a heavier motorcycle.


  2. rc September 29, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Nice work David, THATS whats its about. Its amazing what an open mind and good common cents can teach… Important to not just know, but to live by. Why so? In an emergency, if an understanding of countersteering is not built right into your soul, you’ll panic and steer right into what you tried to avoid.

    Don’t think of it as a technique, idea, or thought…it just IS.

    Even still, bring it up among a group of riders, and you’ll have people argue that countersteering is wrong, does not happen, and is impossible. They will claim leaning and weighting the pegs is how a motorcycle steers.

    This is why kids run into you when you remove the training wheels from their bicycles. With training wheels, you don’t get countersteering… without, you do.

    Hats off to you for not dismissing this as 90% of new riders people do.

    • MotorcycleMentor October 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks. Countersteering is real and every rider needs to KNOW that it works. Great point about training wheels. I’d never thought of that!


  3. rc October 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    I did, and figured the training wheel thing out the hard way. Just about the second the end of the bar hit me in the crotch…was helping two kids at the same time. I hit the ground like Ray Rice’s wife!

    You guys, please, please, and please again go test this out for yourselves.

    A great practice, for me, is to drop some shiny coins in a large parking lot. They wont buy anything, anyhow. Your goal is to hit the coin with the front tire. Miss equals fail.

    It teaches target fixation, too, since you’ll never miss one of them if you are focusing on it.

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