You don’t know how to steer – Bike Science

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How Steering A Bike Works

I watch the Veritasium YouTube channel more than is healthy. Usually, he explains physics stuff like why no one can measure the speed of light, discusses what shape the universe really is and has enlightening insights on how squirrels land on their feet. For American viewers, he’s the Bill Nye for adults and his channel is supported by many proper scientists so what is said is invariably true and correct.

Well, today he’s turned to the more mundane subject of steering a bike. Which in a nutshell goes something like, “You have to steer the wrong way to go the right way”.

 

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9 thoughts on “You don’t know how to steer – Bike Science

  1. I wonder if there’s any different in a motorcycle. I’m guessing there is because it weights more, the center of gravity is lower and it goes faster. In fact if you are going fast downhill in a bike, I don’t think this problem still exists, you just lean into the curve.

    1. Former motorcycle instructor here. It’s absolutely the same on a motorcycle (when traveling more than a walking pace). You have to countersteer to initiate the turn. And if you need to turn more steeply, you have to countersteer even more. I was talking to a friend of mine about countersteering on a motorcycle, and he didn’t believe it. Of course he’s the same guy who when he tried a motorbike on a farm, couldn’t avoid literally running into the side of a barn. Gee, I wonder why? 😉

  2. I am not a subscriber, so dont know what it is about exactly, but know that a precious book about science in bicycling exist.

    Should you have read this book (https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/bicycling-science-fourth-edition) you would have known about counter-steering earlier.

    I have bought and now possess all the 4 editions, and afair it is discussed in detail at least in the 3rd and in the 4th edition. Maybe in the earlier, too.

    I am pretty sure that some of the older editions are available in pdf format, even in the “light web”.

    Enjoy,
    Zoltan

    1. I made a mass of English above, I meant “Had you read …”.

      Or at least I hope it is proper English at least.

  3. It reminded me of the most helpful piece of advice I got when learning to ride a motorbike – “The bike really wants to stay upright once it’s being driven so won’t tip over unless you make it.”

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