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Motorcycling 101: Counter steering, what is it? What does it mean?

Myself going through a curve on rte 112 in Massachusetts
Myself going through a curve on rte 112 in Massachusetts
MIke Stefansen

Counter steering. Whether you realize it or not you’ve been doing it your entire motorcycling career.

Counter steering is the practice of pushing on a handlebar to go in that direction. For instance the road ahead of you curves to the left, you push on the left bar. The motorcycle drops down into the turn more, you lean with it and you ease through the turn.

When you are riding below about 12 MPH a motorcycle will turn as you normally would it expect it to. But once you break that approximate 12 MPH barrier you begin a centrifugal force effect with the tires and rims. That makes the motorcycle react differently than you would imagine. Push left to go left. Push right to go right. We all do it. Most riders do not realize it happens. It doesn’t matter what type of motorcycle your ride, you have to counter steer to navigate it.

This is a good video I found online showing what counter steering is. Click here to watch it.

Between counter steering and lean angle you should be able to take command of every turn.

Body positioning is very important to the equation as well. Position your body to the inside of a turn, sliding your weight slightly to the side of the motorcycle that is turning. Slide right to turn right, slide left to turn left.

When you put all of these techniques together you have a sound riding strategy for your continued safety out on the open road.

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