If you’ve ever had a conversation with a motorcyclist who doesn’t “believe in” counter steering, you might want to put this video in front of their nose. Spoiler alert: counter steering works whether you believe in it or not.
This video is a demonstration of California Superbike School’s latest “No BS” bike; the instructors use this “no body steer” bike to teach that counter steering is unequivocal. This bike has been around in some iteration for a number of years, but the reminder is always a good one.
The bike has two sets of handlebars each with throttle control; one is the stock setup and the higher set is bolted to the frame of the bike (not the triple) and cannot steer the front wheel. When a student grabs the bolted-on handlebars and tries to control the bike there’s an obvious problem: the bike will kind of steer, but it’s super sluggish.
When the rider puts actual pressure on the steering bar, it’s obvious how much more control and precision is possible from steering the bike with the bars instead of just leaning. Any rider on any bike can practice this demonstration, although it won’t be quite as obvious without the hard-mounted bars.
If you have never intentionally counter steered, try this: go hop on your motorcycle. Without starting the engine, turn the bars from side to side so you have a precise feel of exactly the motion of your steering. Now get out onto the road on your bike, and very, very gently, intentionally push on the right hand grip in exactly the arc you just experienced with the bike parked. Push on that bar and you’ll feel the bike tip over to the right. Push on the left and you’ll feel the bike tip to the left.
Try this out in a wide open parking lot in second gear and you’ll be able to push harder and harder; without upsetting the bike. It just tips into a turn as obediently as you can imagine. Even a gigantic, heavy touring bike will tip into a turn with very little argument when you counter steer with precision. Have you ever watched a video of those Harley-Davidson police bikes that tip into corner after corner, doing u-turns inside a parking spot, or figure-8s? That is all precise and strong counter steering.
This is just one of the secrets to riding well; when you have confidence that your bike can very quickly tip deep into a corner, that muscle memory and confidence will be there when you need it.