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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may be putting myself out there a little, I consider myslef to be very much a rookie so please bare with me, but I noticed a rather strange problem/phenomenom with the steering on my 1993 ZX-11.

I was traveling down a straight and flat two lane road the other day (70-75MPH) and the bike was drifting towards the shoulder so I pulled the left side of the bar towards me to set the bike back in to the middle of the lane. What happened is not what I expected, the bike continued to drift much more quickly to the right. This section of road is nearly 50 miles long so I tried to to steer the bike from one side of the lane to the other for a good 30 minutes and noticed that the bike continued to steer in the opposite direction. If I pulled (not enough to "turn") to the left, I went right. If I pulled to the right, I drifted to the left.

Later on that day I hit a section of road with some sweeping corners. As I approached the corners I shifted my weight to the inside of the corner as I entered the corner, but I did not feel I was tracking correctly, so I decided to "countersteer" the bike, and as earlier in the day, pulling the handle bar to the left caused the bike to turn to the right, and lowered the angle of the bike to the road, which allowed me to take the corner much faster that the day before. It is hard to explain, but the posted speed limits for these corners range from 45 - 60 MPH, which was all I could handle the day before, but on the return trip I was able to take the corner 15 - 20 MPH faster.

For what it is worth, this same phenomenom occurs on every road surface I haven been on since.

Is there something wrong with me, the bike, or something else.

Thanks for helping/correcting the noobie.
 

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Or take the motorcycle safety course. Its a big part of the course. Push the right bar, turn right. Push the left bar, turn left.
 

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Thanks Kawi_T, took the words right out of my MSF Instructional mouth. Take the class. You WILL learn more than you might realize. Even on the little 250's that we use for conducting the classes.www.msf-usa.org for a class near you... Jay
 

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There's lots to learn about how motorcycles handle. Understanding how countersteering initiates motorcycle lean is a biggie.

I also recomend training. Putting on miles will re-enforce habits you've formed. Training will help to ensure that you develop and re-enforce good habits and techniques.

A good book to read is "Profecient Motorcycling".
 

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I may be putting myself out there a little, I consider myslef to be very much a rookie so please bare with me, but I noticed a rather strange problem/phenomenom with the steering on my 1993 ZX-11.

I was traveling down a straight and flat two lane road the other day (70-75MPH) and the bike was drifting towards the shoulder so I pulled the left side of the bar towards me to set the bike back in to the middle of the lane. What happened is not what I expected, the bike continued to drift much more quickly to the right. This section of road is nearly 50 miles long so I tried to to steer the bike from one side of the lane to the other for a good 30 minutes and noticed that the bike continued to steer in the opposite direction. If I pulled (not enough to "turn") to the left, I went right. If I pulled to the right, I drifted to the left.

Later on that day I hit a section of road with some sweeping corners. As I approached the corners I shifted my weight to the inside of the corner as I entered the corner, but I did not feel I was tracking correctly, so I decided to "countersteer" the bike, and as earlier in the day, pulling the handle bar to the left caused the bike to turn to the right, and lowered the angle of the bike to the road, which allowed me to take the corner much faster that the day before. It is hard to explain, but the posted speed limits for these corners range from 45 - 60 MPH, which was all I could handle the day before, but on the return trip I was able to take the corner 15 - 20 MPH faster.

For what it is worth, this same phenomenom occurs on every road surface I haven been on since.

Is there something wrong with me, the bike, or something else.

Thanks for helping/correcting the noobie.

Ok maybe i am reading this thing all wrong. You say that when you are going on a dead straight road, the bike pulls to the one side and when your still up and going straight, if you pull the opposing bar you turn faster to the other direction?

Ok if your going through a corner and you are leaning into the corner and you counter steer as far as i know the counter steering will make you turn faster as the front wheel slows the bike down to turn it in faster ( anybody can correct me if i am incorrect in saying this ) which most racers do if they are in a corner to hot.

This takes a lot of practice and lots of clean underwear.

My question is that if you are going dead straight then why would the bike lean further to the other side as your going straight?

APCZX11, if this is what your asking then i would like an answer to as it sounds strange if your riding in a straight line.

We wait and see:eek:hno :eek:hno
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
"whohilledkenny" :
I am not sure that I understand your question, but here goes.

When I travel in a straight line the bike is perpendicular to the road, but as the bike drifts within the lane, say to the right, if I pull/push the handle bars to the left, the bike continues to the rights side of the road.

When cornering, I lean in to the corner, but in the case above, I did not feel that I would keep the line I had chosen (I was drifting to the outside of teh corner), so as I am turning and leaning right I pulled the handle bars to the left, which caused the bike to lean even further to the right. This appeared to correct my line which allowed me to take the corners faster, which I think was caused by the lower angle to the road, but I am not sure.

Did this answer yoru question?

Also, I have done some Googling on counter-steering and I believe I understand the concept but it will take much practice to become competent at it.

Thank you all for your help.
 

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"whohilledkenny" :
I am not sure that I understand your question, but here goes.

When I travel in a straight line the bike is perpendicular to the road, but as the bike drifts within the lane, say to the right, if I pull/push the handle bars to the left, the bike continues to the rights side of the road.

When cornering, I lean in to the corner, but in the case above, I did not feel that I would keep the line I had chosen (I was drifting to the outside of teh corner), so as I am turning and leaning right I pulled the handle bars to the left, which caused the bike to lean even further to the right. This appeared to correct my line which allowed me to take the corners faster, which I think was caused by the lower angle to the road, but I am not sure.

Did this answer yoru question?

Also, I have done some Googling on counter-steering and I believe I understand the concept but it will take much practice to become competent at it.

Thank you all for your help.
Thats correct in the actual corner thing so i agree with you on that but what is confusing me is when you are perp to the road. If you are up and not leaning at all, if you pull right then you should go right, if you pull left, you should go left.

If your leaned over and going fast and pull opposite directions, then you will turn faster as it slows the front down to bring you further into lean and you go through the corner faster.

What i am confused about is the up straight riding and counter steering?:headscratch
 

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Wow, no offence but that is a really strange question coming from the owner of a ZX-11. :dunno

If I may make a suggestion, my advice to all new riders, find a practice run. What I mean is find a road or series of roads that has some good turns in it and ride it over and over again. Being on a familiar road will allow you hone your riding skills. Plus you will be more confident riding on unfamiliar roads because you know what you and your bike can do.

Sorry for the hijack, but you are riding a hell of a steed and I want you to be safe.
 

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Get a smaller bike that is under powered. Trust me on this,I'm not trying to bust your chops here, but no matter what you say you WILL get wrist happy and get in trouble very fast, than panic ,than get hurt just from the lack of experiance.
You will take this the way you take it and I won't be bothered by any responces sent at me and this is just my gut feeling, but if you don't know how to handle a motorcycle you have absolutely no buisness in a high power performance bike.
If nothing else take the course.Money well spent and the knowlege gained is allways benificial
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
PTREMB and Others:

No offense taken. I had not planned on starting out on such a large and powerful bike, but it was an opportunity that I could not pass up.

FWIW: I have taken and tried to use much of the advice you all have offered and it has already improved my skill level. As for being wrist happy, you probaly have every idea on how hard it is to not get wrist happy. Hopefully by the time I wear down my self control my skill level will be compatible with the capabilities of the bike.

Again, thanks for the advice and concerns.
 

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Wow, no offence but that is a really strange question coming from the owner of a ZX-11. :dunno
Ditto. I would sincerely hope you have ridden bikes before and have 'progressed' on to the 11. But if that is the case I am surprised at the Q. You really only properly steer with the handlebars up to about 10-15 mph. Anything over that and it starts to become lean/balance /countersteer. You should be 'at one' with the bike, its nearly all intuitive. Certainly in a straight line on a highway you use body weight and lean to 'steer', you don't go pulling in the handlebars. The bike may drift due to camber of the road etc, but you counter it by leaning against it, and a lot of the time you don't even know you are doing it.

Oh, and I guess I should have read the whole thread before jumping in, looks like you answered the whys and wherefores....
 

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If you are up and not leaning at all, if you pull right then you should go right, if you pull left, you should go left.[/QUOTE]

No. Not true. You can't turn a cycle any other way other than counter steering unless you are going so slow you turn the front wheel to steer (like pushing the bike around in your garage).

Try heading straight down the highway and pull ever so slightly with only your right hand; you are "steering" the forks to the right. The bike will start to veer left.
Now push ever so slightly with your right hand; you are "steering" the forks to the left. The bike will veer to the right.
The bike goes the opposite you turn the forks which is why it is called countersteering.
Everyone who rides a motorcycle countersteers but not everyone realizes it.
To really get her leaned over in a curve you just countersteer more... push the right bar (or pull the left bar) to turn the forks to the left, the bike will lay over and turn to the right.
Leaning has nothing to do with initiating a turn if all you do is lean. Hypothetcially, weld your front forks so the front tire is perfectly straight ahead and try only leaning; betcha the bike keeps going straight.... There was a motorcycle racer who made a video showing this; I just can't remember who it was - maybe Lee Parks?


Edit..... Sorry, not Lee Parks. Go to Youtube and search Keith Code countersteering. You'll see....[/QUOTE]


Ok well maybe i am just mad then but if i pull on the right bar then i go right and if i pull on the left bar i go left. Maybe my bike is just broken or something. When i am leaned over and i counter steer then i agree whole heartedly and recon its the coolest feeling but when i am going slow and up straight, then the way i pull is the way i go.

Ok well enough about this. Newbee, gooluck with the bike and keep that fist light around the gas or you will beocme another statistic and we dont want that.
 

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Countersteering is an important part of motorcycle steering. Any bike will do this on any surface. Just Google countersteering and you should find enough reading for a few months...
Damn a few months? how much sh*t can countersteering have?

Also, I have done some Googling on counter-steering and I believe I understand the concept but it will take much practice to become competent at it.
practice? wtf guys its only powersteering, it should be basic instinct, a natural reaction, u kno. its the same thing as riding a regular pedal bike, cept bigger everything.

sry if i sound a lil out there, but its common sense, that and i jus got off of work and hadnt had my nightly unwind, so im still kinda uptight, excuse me.
 

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This is something that comes out at every course or talking to new riders, they don't believe it to be true until somebody demonstrate it to them or they realize they actualy counter steer without knowing they do.

To iterate what whokilledkenny and Pacman wrote:

Myself had a argument with somebody many years ago about this at work, I simply did not believe him, that is after I've been riding bike on and off or 10 years or more! That afternoon when I went home I realized I was doing it without even knowing I was. Had to eat humble pie the next day and apologise.

The answer is actualy very simple, you can not steer a bike if you do not counter steer!!!!! unless you go very slow, even a bicycle get steered this way.

I've heard of people trying to steer by only leaning and they can not ride twisty roads safely or even worse, fast.

Do not think of pulling into the opposite direction you want to turn - it is much safer to think of pushing into the direction you want to turn.

Another common problem is riders who goes from, for example, a naked, sit up-right bike to a sport bikes or bikes with drop handles, which you lean into the handles, they tend to want to push down in stead of forward and as a result under steer. If you keep you fore-arms as close as parrallel to the ground, this should not be a problem at all, you also won't have much weight on your wrists, do this by moving your bum back on the seat, will let you lean more foreward, but do not put your weight on your wrists, control it with your midriff, you will also have more space to steer because your arms will not be fully extended.

Also remember, one of the biggest inputs in your steering is you eyes, you will go where you look! Old cliche: look at the solution, not the problem when you encounter a obstacle like an oil slick or rock in your path.

What I also find when somebody tell new pillions to lean with you when you lean normally causes problems as well. This cause the pillion in general to try to steer the bike from the back as a result.

If you tell a pillion to follow the lean of the bike as you counter steer, they get it right almost first time. More experienced pillions will be aware of your steering techniques so they can anticipate the turn and this help a lot.

I'm rambling on and on here, and there is a lot more to say - GO ON A COURSE.
 
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