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First time rider (and ? about countersteering)
July 26, 2008 at 5:53 pm #1789zephyrzoneParticipant
This is a great site and has provided me with so much good advice. I feel much more knowledgeable now then before I came here. Thanks Ben and others!
I took the MSF course about 6 years ago but at the time couldn’t justify buying the bike. I passed the course (which surprised me actually) and figured as long as I had my license there would be plenty of time for me to wait and find the right time/bike to start riding. I have a good career making good money and finally afford to buy a bike. Ever since the MSF course I’ve been looking at the little Ninja 250 because I really like the idea of a sports bike over a cruiser or standard.
Of course my friends (non-riders and riders) all laughed at me for considering such a small bike- which does sting the pride a little- but I no better and this site just reaffirms the notion that starting small and within ones limits is the right thing to do. And NOW with the 2008 Ninja, I just can’t help but to buy it. Even the naysayers won’t know what to make of it since the thing looks like a middleweight champ. I’ve been calling every shop in and out of town and they are sold out everywhere. Once shop has 14 deposits and got 2 bikes in this week. Another had a black one that the perspective buyer didn’t pick up so they called me and said it was mine if I wanted it. Unfortunately I just don’t like the black. Aside from my personal taste, I want to be as visible as possible and the other colors (combined with nice colorful gear) can only help.
I found 1 shop that said they are getting a shipment in the next 2 weeks and I’m #2 on the deposit list! So it looks like I will have the new Ninja within the month and I couldn’t be happier! I am a bit anxious since it’s been so long since the course, but I plan on riding for about a month in and out of empty parking lots nearby before tackling the street.
The most useful thing I read about on this site was the need for FULL gear. I bought a helmet, gloves and jacket after the MSF class and figured that was all I needed. Boy was I wrong. I didn’t know road rash was so horrible. It helps that I have a very responsible friend who ALWAYS rides in full gear. He helped to reinforce the notion. The story about the girl who fell off of her boyfriends bike scared the hell out of me. So along with the bike I’ll be getting a NEON looking armored suit, bright helmet, gloves and boots. Thanks for everything Ben and others! I learned so much and finally feel prepared! Can’t wait to start practicing with the Ninja.
I do have one question about countersteering that wasn’t covered very well in my class. I spoke to my friend who explained it well but here’s what I want to know: When entering a lean/turn you must countersteer to initiate the turn, but do you continue to countersteer throughout the ENTIRE turn, or is it just to start that you straighten the wheel out?
PS- To the poster below. WOW. You’ve had some serious accidents. I feel bad for you and that poor dog.July 26, 2008 at 8:56 pm #9319
Well bud, every person you will ask about countersteering will give you a whole lot of explanations. I will try to be simple and clear. You by yourself cannot countersteer a bike conciously unless going in a straight line but this is another issue I’ll talk about below. While in a turn, it is automatic for the countersteering to come into play. I tried several times to watch for that but this is something natural, like an instinct because if you turn and that the front wheel was not countersteering, the bike would topple over i think. Watch closely some photos of bikers into a lean effect (that is what I call it) and notice the front wheel/tyre. And well, in a turn in my opinion, as you know, there are thee phase in a turn: the approach, the turn and the way out. It is only in the turn that the bike is in countersteer mode. You approach, lean and during your maximum lean, the bike countersteers and when coming to normal position, the wheel takes its original place. Imean you can lean a bit and do a turn but the more you lean, the more the countersteer effect comes into play. Try to get me on this. From my experience while tackling a turn, it is not you that countersteers the bike, but it is the bike itself that countersteers. As I said, a natural action action since while leaning, just fell the position of your hands and the bars. But just don’t concentrate, feel the emotions of being into a lean effect. And anything you do, do it coolly.
About countersteering an obstacle while riding in a straight line, this also most of the times is something natural. Imean you can avoid something either by pushing the bars either left or right, depending on the escape route but countersteering is a shortcut to quickly turn your bike into desired direction. Let’s say you have to quickly turn right to avoid dog shit. Normally going at a rather consequent speed, you would require certain force to actually bring the bike to a subsequent right turn. Contersteering is when you just quickly push the right bar to the left to have the huge effect of right turn. When doing so, the bike will have the tendency to go much opposite the direction you countersteered. Maybe I am not explaining well but this also is something natural and act as instinct because in situations you will not have time to think but it will be a quick natural action that you will not be aware of.
For someone to really get this into mind, the are a lot about physics, I think so but better ride coolly and not concentrate on whether or not you are contersteering. My first days of riding I was actually unaware that I was countersteering my bike in turns until I read about it and said NO how can the wheel be in a lefty position when I am turning right. Then I started to think and do some research and use some sense and logic. Lol. Well I may have committed some errors while explaining but correct me if so because we have to learn a lot and share. I mean with others and in general.
Go for you passion and ride what pleases you, the moment you like what you have and what you are doing. Don’t bother about others laughing at you. Be cool and don’t be over excited. I remember I was soo excited to ride a zx-7 and could not actually because this resulted in indirect stress. lol yeah. Then I walked around a bit and when I was cool, I rode it fine.
Think I have talked a lot. I have lots to say and know. Duh biking is in blood. Duh…
Solomolo RiderJuly 27, 2008 at 12:41 am #9329megaspazParticipant
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…July 27, 2008 at 2:05 am #9336BuddParticipant
while in a turn if you want to turn harder, then you push down harder in the direction you wish to go (counter steer). You actually counter steer to get out of the lean as well. Enjoy the site and good luck finding the new ninja. I would (did) go with a used bike first. I almost dropped mine this week.
“I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineJuly 27, 2008 at 7:18 pm #9388fotobitsParticipant
There are many misconceptions regarding countersteering, many of them the result of Keith Code preaching that countersteering is the only way to steer a motorcyle. He’s wrong, as anyone with sport riding experience can tell you. My son and I took two of Code’s schools a few years back. I got my deposit back on Levels Three and Four after we completed Level Two, and signed us up for two more days with Reg Pridmore’s CLASS.
The clincher came at Laguna Seca during the body positioning demonstration at Code’s school. One of Code’s instructors had a bike on a a centerstand, showing us the proper way to hang off while cornering. He was explaining we should be relaxed enough to take our hands off the bars in the corner (excellent point), and while he was demonstrating this technique the bike began to tip over. Another instructor used the grab handles to straighten the bike. I looked at the first instructor and asked “Did you just make the bike lean using your body weight?” He sheepishly admitted he had.
A few weeks later at CLASS I listened as Reg explained how to use your body weight to fine the your bike’s attitude while leaned over, after countersteering to initiate the turn. We were at the Streets of Willow Springs, and I had been having difficulty through the Bowl at the back of the course. I just could not feel what the front end of my bike was doing through that section. Reg also explained the importance of keeping your weight off the bars in turns, as had Code. After Reg’s talk I went back out on the track and paid attenton of keeping a light touch on the bars, keeping the balls of my feet on the pegs, and pushing on a peg to lean the bike further or stand it up a bit. The result was magical. I could feel every pebble my front tire traversed, and my cornering speed through the Bowl increased each lap. More importantly, I was in control and no longer apprehensive, which increased my margin of safety even though I was going 15 mph faster than previously.
Does this mean you cannot countersteer while leaned over? Of course not. But there are other, better, ways to steer your motorcycle in corners, especially in emergencies. A few weeks after taking CLASS at the Streets I was at a track day at Buttonwillow. While on a fast (for me) lap I came up behind another bike entering the Lost Hill on the back side of the track. This is a mound of dirt with the apex at the crest. It is a blind corner on entrance. Anyways, I was entering the corner about 30 mph faster than the other rider and preparing to pass him on the inside when he suddenly changed his line and dove toward the inside of the corner (just like Code teaches). I stood on the left peg and passed him on the outside at the crest of the hill, but was now off my line and headed for the dirt. I got my head and shoulders as far down and right as possible, kept my weight off the bars, leaned my left knee into the tank and stayed out of the dirt. If I had countersteered at the crest of the turn I probably would have tucked the front and crashed.
You can also alter your line with the throttle, if you are in the proper gear (i.e. not being lazy and taking turns in a high gear). Keep your engine’s RPM up, and backing off slightly will tighten your line. Rolling on slightly will carry you toward the outside of the corner. The key is being smooth.
You should also practice setting yourself up before the corner. Get your braking and downshifting done before lean into the corner, then roll on the throttle and accelerate through the turn.July 28, 2008 at 6:39 am #9415AnonymousGuest
Countersteering is when your bike grows a pair of wings to take flight.
“Roads? Where we’re going. We don’t need any ROADS!” – DocJuly 28, 2008 at 10:12 am #9417zephyrzoneParticipant
Awesome. Thanks guys! I’m sure this subject has been covered endlessly, and I appreciate the feedback. It was good to hear about the class fotobitz, thanks for sharing your story.
I had every intention of buying a used Ninja 250 but the updates for 2008 seem so dramatic, it’s worth the extra $1500 over a late model used one (IMHO). I mean, the new bike looks gorgeous in photos and I hear it looks even better in person. I AM concerned that I’ll drop it as I think this is a matter of “when” and not “if” (hopefully not at speed!), but just looking at it gets my blood rushing.
It’s been years since I’ve taken the MSF course (and passed) so it’s going to feel odd being on a bike again. I’ll be practicing in the parking lot for quite a while before hitting the backroads.July 28, 2008 at 10:27 am #9420
How can you, not countersteer when leaned over? I think the bike IS but not much since you are using body weight and positioning because I once leaned in a tight turn and felt I was about to fall because maybe I was using too much countersteering I dunno but next time I did the turn I used some body positioning and weight and I was more relaxed. These two including countersteering work togeza..ey? But you know…each person in every country has an explanation for countersteer..even YOUTUBE!!! duh…I say ride and learn….
Solomolo RiderJuly 28, 2008 at 10:28 am #9421
Solomolo RiderJuly 28, 2008 at 10:34 am #9423
Congratz and godluk… Dn’t focus too much..stay cool and dnt forget the side stand coz that’s how I droped my bike for the first time..imean the bike was on the side stand but not properly taken out(the stand)… better $1500 in some good gear but you money XDD haha..do the milleage stuff when you get the bike(if new) going straight and going into bends,normal roads wot…this will refresh u..i fink and then u go parkalot…
Solomolo RiderJuly 30, 2008 at 12:38 pm #9596BuddParticipant
After going 2up with the wife, I have to agree with fotobits that body weight can steer you in turns. She was no where near the bars, but her shifting her weight on the back was able to move the bike.
“I am the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineJuly 30, 2008 at 10:53 pm #9630
yeah that’s what she would do when i was doing serpentine to get her used to leand effect..imean after the serpentine when i was straight forward again, she would go left ride slowly and that’s when i discovered that stuff and left the steering on her or when i was tired..lol
Solomolo RiderAugust 10, 2008 at 8:39 am #10197slipknot61Participant
I live in So Cal and I waited 1.5 months for 2008 ninja 250 (deposit down and “next in line”). I received a call on Aug 1st from the dealership that said kawasaki cancelled all the 2008’s for the rest of the year in order to start production on the ’09s. They don’t have any idea of when the ’09s are coming out (2 dealerships claim it may be in mid-fall). Be optimistic but don’t get disappointed if you don’t get one.August 11, 2008 at 11:17 pm #10333jmiller3Participant
I have an 08 and believe they are worth the wait.
So many pro’s and so few con’s as a new rider.
To me the pro’s are:
-Doesn’t look like a trainer bike……cannot count how many times I am asked if it is a 600.
-Fit and Finish for a bike 3x the cost.
-Leans over NOW in a turn which has really boosted my counter-steering confidence…I’m now hunting switchbacks…
-Above 9k RPM’s the little engine really hums
-Brakes are good after a few quick stops already
-Gotta gotta gotta keep the rev’s up and work the clutch like they taught us in MSF
-With 16 lbs of torque my lawn mower has more low-end grunt
THE SINGLE BIGGEST CON:
-I keep telling myself it’s only a trainer and I am ready to get an ‘adult’ bike but part of me really cannot bear to part with this wonderful little machine……August 11, 2008 at 11:30 pm #10336
***-With 16 lbs of torque my lawn mower has more low-end grunt***
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