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08Missile

Countersteering: Push Or Pull

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OK boys and girls, question: I've searched the boards quite a bit and haven't seen much about pulling the bars to countersteer, instead of pushing. What say you? Is that a legitimate and sound technique? Now, from reading other posts, maybe I'm steering too long into the curve and not releasing pressure on the bars after I lean it over, but pulling the bars seems to give me more effect with less effort. I really think I start out pushing but then I pull the inside of my elbow down toward the tank and immediately the bike turns in very easily. It also seems to have an added advantage on the left handers because as the inside of your right elbow comes down to the tank, the throttle rolls on automatically. And, you can regulate how much it rolls on by your hand position on the throttle. And, some might even think it's more intuitive to pull the bar in the direction you want to go. Well, that's been my experience so far. Fire away!

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It shouldn't matter much either way, but I think most pro racers will do both in order to maximize power and spread the load over two arms to conserve energy.

 

 

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OK boys and girls, question: I've searched the boards quite a bit and haven't seen much about pulling the bars to countersteer, instead of pushing. What say you? Is that a legitimate and sound technique? Now, from reading other posts, maybe I'm steering too long into the curve and not releasing pressure on the bars after I lean it over, but pulling the bars seems to give me more effect with less effort. I really think I start out pushing but then I pull the inside of my elbow down toward the tank and immediately the bike turns in very easily. It also seems to have an added advantage on the left handers because as the inside of your right elbow comes down to the tank, the throttle rolls on automatically. And, you can regulate how much it rolls on by your hand position on the throttle. And, some might even think it's more intuitive to pull the bar in the direction you want to go. Well, that's been my experience so far. Fire away!

 

Just be careful not to be adding lots of throttle WHILE adding lean angle...

 

Throttle roll on should be after lean angle is set, and what you describe sounds like you can get away with it on the road, but at pace might be a bit hairy!!! Especially if your tyres are not nice and warm...

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I don't think there is an absolute right or wrong in this, but after a little consideration three things came to my mind. You can't pivot steer if you're emphasizing pulling. Pulling feels to me like a natural way to force yourself to be crossed-up. Push left go left seems logical to me (once you've accepted countersteering), whereas pull right go left seems awkward. There is some subtlety and finesse in all this, but my opinion is to push.

 

 

And, some might even think it's more intuitive to pull the bar in the direction you want to go.

I'm missing something here... You don't pull the bar in the direction you want to go :blink:

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I think:

- push right = go right

- push left = go left

 

If one were to pull, it would probably be exiting a sharp curve:

- you're in a right handed curve

- you've pushed right, gone right

- once you've hit the apex or once you started rolling on, you need the bike as upright as possible before maximum acceleration may be safely applied.

- while the bike is leaned right, as you exit the apex, you could perhaps pull on the right bar, which has the same effect of pushing left = making the bike lean left...except you're leaning right already, so leaning left is really standing the bike up more than from it's leaned right position than it is leaning left.

- If you stand the bike up, you can increase the throttle earlier or more 'agressively'

- If you stand the bike up, you risk going wide if you've done it too early...so it's also when to do it if ever....

 

My 2 pence, make that 2 centimmes!:P

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Thanks for the responses. VanHorn - Guess I should have said pull the bar toward the direction you want to go, i. e., to go left = lean left, pull the right hand bar to the left.

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There is a bigger difference than preference. Pulling the bars to turn and twisting the throttle is not a good idea. The rule is that you don't add lean angle and throttle at the same time. You're going to cross a line that has no happy ending. When you're a newer rider, you can get away with it because you're really not pushing the limits of your tires, but I guarantee that if you're in that habit, when you improve to the point that tires and throttle control matter, you're screwed. Sooner or later that will bite you in the butt.

 

When you're making a steering input, why would you want to control 400 lb's and 50-130 mph with a stretched out arm that you're moving away from? I wouldn't feel near as comfortable. My inside hand is right by my face. You're spreading out the distance between you and the outside grip while you're leaning into a corner. If you're leaning INTO a corner, a little push on the bars would work itself out real well since you're going that way anyway.

 

When I have my panic moments, I pull a Lorenzo. If you watch him, he has his inside elbow tucked in as far as possible. He's obviously controlling the bike with that arm. When I have an OH NO moment, I simply tuck my inside arm and give a little push. When I was newer I tried the pulling motion with the outside arm and push/pull (THAT one is a real booger when you're digging into a corner) and they're nowhere near as easy or inviting as using the inside arm to control a corner start to finish.

 

When I'm leaning into a corner, I can make fine adjustments with the position of the inside arm being right there. With an extended arm, having to make an adjustment to get the bike to move, the tension to make even fine adjustments can alter and change the bikes motion by a significant amount. I'm steering from 2 feet away versus 4-6 inches.

 

Then there is getting back on it out of a corner. When you pick the bike up, if you're staying over on the bike (see pick-up drill) you're going to be even FARTHER separated from the bike. You want to try pushing to control steering WHILE distancing yourself from the bike? I don't.

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Sorry. Didn't mean to abandon my own thread.

 

Zilla, I've got to digest some of your post but I appreciate the time you put into it.

 

Sounds like I need to sign up for school. CSS that is.

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Sounds like I need to sign up for school. CSS that is.

Do it! :) Totally worth every penny.

 

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When you do level 3 you learn there is a big difference between pulling and pushing.

Before I did level 3 I used to both pull and push in order to help keep a better balance on the bike.

 

Anyone notice the bike is a little unstable when you flick it into a corner?

Bracing the outside leg and pushing from the ball of your outside foot, through your quad and your back into the inside arm which shoves the bar away from you means the bike can really slam on its side without any instability at all.

 

For me, then, its always push not pull to turn into a corner although I do pull on the inside bar to stand the bike up on the way out of corners.

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Hello 08Missle. You're onto something--the biceps have much better leverage and strength to pull heavy weights than the triceps you use to push with. Why? The triceps tendons have to go over the elbow joint so the muscles have to work against that leverage. So, pulling can feel much stronger. At the same time, it takes very little strength to turn a motorcycle (at least till you start going really fast).

 

As you approach a turn, you might try tightening your abs (of all things) and allowing your body to bend forward toward the bars. This will unlock your arms and allow them to turn the bike with very little sense of effort or even intention. Look at people's avatar photos, and you'll see their elbows are well bent when they're leaned over. The first lean is forward toward the bars, then down into the corner. At least, that's how it feels to me.

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I asked a couple of instructors about which is better with this post in mind, and they said if you're comfortable using the outside, do it. If you're comfortable pushing and pulling, do that. They teach using the inside arm, but nobody said one method was right and one was wrong.

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Hello 08Missle. You're onto something--the biceps have much better leverage and strength to pull heavy weights than the triceps you use to push with. Why? The triceps tendons have to go over the elbow joint so the muscles have to work against that leverage.

 

Interesting. The tricep make out about 2/3 the size of the upper arm and have more power, but the difference for most people between Curl and French press isn't very big. Your explanation may hold the answer to that.

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How strong your arms are has absolutely no relevance to how quickly you can turn a bike.

There is a reason MotoGp stars spend all their time on CV and leg work: upper body strength is simply not that important.

The decision to push or pull the bars is all about how many problems you are asking the bike to solve at the time you are flicking it into a turn.

If you pull on the bars it is much more difficult to keep your upper body still in relation to the bike than when you push especially if you are already locked in (which you should be) and can push all the way from the outside footpeg.

If the rider flops about as the bike is being steered there is a significant amount of mass moving about on the bike making it unstable as it moves from an upright to leant over position.

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OK boys and girls, question: I've searched the boards quite a bit and haven't seen much about pulling the bars to countersteer, instead of pushing. What say you? Is that a legitimate and sound technique? Now, from reading other posts, maybe I'm steering too long into the curve and not releasing pressure on the bars after I lean it over, but pulling the bars seems to give me more effect with less effort. I really think I start out pushing but then I pull the inside of my elbow down toward the tank and immediately the bike turns in very easily. It also seems to have an added advantage on the left handers because as the inside of your right elbow comes down to the tank, the throttle rolls on automatically. And, you can regulate how much it rolls on by your hand position on the throttle. And, some might even think it's more intuitive to pull the bar in the direction you want to go. Well, that's been my experience so far. Fire away!

 

Well, clearly the coaches know how to do it either way, since you see them riding around one-handed when giving hand signals to students... :)

 

On a long street ride on a sportbike my lower back gets tired, and sometimes I ride with my left arm resting on the tank, so I do all my steering with my right hand. I'm not recommending riding one-handed, but it's handy to be comfortable with EITHER a push or pull for steering, if you ever need to.

 

Having said that, I try to use only pushing when riding hard on the track, because I can get a more consistent input using a push with pivot steering. If I try to pull, I am more inclined to yank on the bar and get a bit of a wobble at the end of the input.

 

I agre with another poster that it doesn't take a huge amount of strength to steer the bike - that depends a lot on the bike, of course, but also depends a lot on leverage. If you are pushing DOWN instead of forward on the bar you can push really hard and not get a result!

  • Thanks 1

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For years I've wrestled with the counter steer mystery and have come to the conclusion that I am instinctively counter steering, probably more with a pull than a push. While cruising around, whether on my Harley or the ZX12, I have consciously concentrated on counter steering,pushing, with the result of a less enjoyable ride. I know beyond a reasonable doubt that abrupt counter steering gives you an abrupt and quick turn in the opposite direction- which is great in an emergency. But, I don't dwell on this conundrum while relaxing on my various bikes. On the track ,yes, I am fully aware of counter steering because I have to,whether push or pull, - I should say I better counter steer but on the open road I'm leaning and cruising.Careful my friends

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On a long ride home from watching local racing I decided to experiment. I'm a proponent of using the inside bars, if anyone hasn't read above, and will remain that way. I feel comfortable and think my steering is well monitored doing this.

 

BUT..... while I was playing around riding home I found that I could get a sharper and crisper jerk of the front wheel by pulling on the outside bar. On the highway, even though I could give a strong push and stay in control, I was scared to crank down on the bars for fear I'd go shooting across the median.

 

I pulled into a parking lot and played around with it some more and found that it would take a hole different set of muscles to train to get into a good body position, but the bike just popped over into the turn by pulling. Unfortunately I'd just done a trackday Saturday, but I'm going to do another in May, and plan on keeping this in mind to try working out for a session.

 

One thing worth doing, I might add, is looking into what happens after you've made a steering input. At speed, even with quick turning, most of us take a while to make a steering input (longer than we think at least). But have you paid attention to what happens to the bars after a quick turn input? Sure we use counter steering, but the tire doesn't stay pointing outward. The bars seem to passively turn with the wheel into the corner into the position to match where the bike's leaning. I've never felt it until I was giving the small inputs into the bike on the highway and then in the parking lot. I think it will give a better understanding of what your bike is doing while it's steering and what you're fighting when you are holding on to the bars tightly. Could be one more reason as to why we run wide with stiffer grips.

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I'm currently suffering from a badly inflamed shoulder/bicep attachment that makes me very aware of how I use my hand/arm/shoulder on the left. It also made it very apparent that I both push and pull on the handlebars to turn the bike - and also to straighten it up after finishing the turn, when there is no need/option to accelerate out. In other words I invariably use both hands simultaneously to change direction.

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Following my coach the other day, I figure that they must get used to using both push and pull to steer, maybe Bullet or Cobie can chime in, but certainly in the Throttle Control drill, they demonstrate what they're doing with the throttle by raising their left hand, throughout the corner they've only got the right hand on the bar.

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We all ride one-handed at times, which demand the remaining hand to both push and pull. But as I understand the original question it's whether people only push or only pull with one hand when using both on the handlebars, or if both arms are used simultaneously in opposite directions.

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Hi all,

I haven't been on the board for a while but returned to see quite a few more viewpoints. I appreciate all the opinions. At this point, I just want to clarify that pulling was something I "discovered" by chance and yes, I consider myself a beginner among you. I'm still trying to develop a plan. Got the TOTW DVD and seeing the techniques is really helpful. I wish Cobie or even Mr. Code himself would weigh in. Anyway, thanks again for all the suggestions. I can tell you all are truly interested in helping. Appreciate you!

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Hi all,

I haven't been on the board for a while but returned to see quite a few more viewpoints. I appreciate all the opinions. At this point, I just want to clarify that pulling was something I "discovered" by chance and yes, I consider myself a beginner among you. I'm still trying to develop a plan. Got the TOTW DVD and seeing the techniques is really helpful. I wish Cobie or even Mr. Code himself would weigh in. Anyway, thanks again for all the suggestions. I can tell you all are truly interested in helping. Appreciate you!

 

Keith is in currently in Europe coaching World Superbike rider Leon Camier and Cobie is in New Jersey with the school (on a rather lengthy spring roadtrip) so it's tough for either of them to get onto the forum at the moment.

 

I let Cobie know you were looking for his input, he read the thread and sent an email response:

"In short, the bars don't care whether you push or pull, but it's easier/stronger and better to push more."

 

He also mentioned that in his riding he does pull, especially left hand. (This part was written in an email shorthand that is a little unclear but I took it to mean that he pulls some (or sometimes), particularly with the left hand.)

 

Hope that helps! :)

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Thanks Hotfoot. Please tell Cobie thanks, too. I'm still experimenting with it. Today, I found that it seems like all you have to really do is direct the inside of your arm at the elbow toward your rib cage and the bike just falls over. Honestly though, it's a little hard to gauge because a very subtle movement causes a very dramatic effect. Thanks again.

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I've been out on a couple of bikes recently with foot forwards riding positions and it definitely works to brace the outside foot and pull on the outside bar to get a good, fast and stable turn in.

I guess either works provided you are properly locked into the bike and can brace against the force you put through the bars so you stay still and the force is transmitted directly into turning the bars.

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