Common wisdom tells us if you want to turn left you turn your front wheel on your bike to the left. Want to go right? Simple, turn the wheel to the right. At least, that is the impression many new riders have.
Learn Counter Steering in 2 Easy Steps
Unfortunately, they’ve got everything backwards! When riding a motorcycle at road speeds you really shouldn’t be turning the front wheel very much at all. However, when you really need to corner fast, you might be surprised what happens.
They call it counter steering, and it’s arguably the most important thing you need to know about cornering properly on a motorcycle.
To counter steer properly, there are just two simple steps you need to follow:
1: Steer with your body
Step number one is to use your body to steer, not your arms. Steering with your arms will make your front wheel “catch” the pavement and the next thing you know you’ll be flying head first over your handlebars. So if you want to turn to the right, lean into the turn by leaning right. If you want to go left, then lean left.
2: Reverse Direction of Front Wheel
As you lean into the turn, you need to slightly turn your front wheel away from the direction you want to go. I know that this sounds absolutely crazy, but don’t think about it too much. Just lean, and let your body naturally counter steer. It’s an instinctive motion, and you will do it naturally as you lean.
If you are new to motorcycle riding, then you may want to keep this in mind next time you are out and slowly ride so that you get used to the concept of consciously counter steering.
If you need more practice, find an open stretch of road and go back and forth making large S motions with your bike so that you can get a feel for the way your bike grips the turns and how your body leaning affects this.
Further advice on riding motorbikes
If you really want to learn how your bike reacts to riding, instead of leaning try pushing straight down on your handlebars in the direction you want to steer. So push directly down on the left handlebar if you want to go left, and push down on the right side if you want to go right. Get a good feel for the way the bike reacts and how you can control the bike by leaning and counter steering.
About the author:
Mike Long is the owner of Motorcycle Insurance Helper, an online site dedicated to helping motorcyclists find cheap motorcycle insurance quotes. He also keeps a blog with all the latest motorcycle news. If you are looking for motorcycle insurance be sure to check out his site.