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Not so Newbie
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Discussion Starter #1
There have been some questions about counter steering, leaning, and steering through corners. I’m a MacGyver kind of person so I am always curious about how things work.

This video http://www.gyros.biz/lecture/wmv/4.wmv demonstrates that gyroscopic precession has a strong effect on motorcycle control when cornering at speed. A front wheel, with the weight of the tire spinning, is a big gyroscope. Watch as the instructor pushes on the gyroscope (counter steer). The result of this action is a lean of the wheel in the direction we would want a motorcycle to lean. Next watch as the action of a lean turns or twists the gyroscope in the direction we would be turning.

With my background as a licensed aircraft technician working with helicopters I am very familiar with gyroscopic precession. The weight of motorcycle front tires spinning at higher speed produce strong gyroscopic attributes that contribute to the stability of motorcycles in a corner.

At lower speeds, you need a more pronounced change of direction using counter steer to also move the center of gravity in the same direction as the push (Newton’s Laws of Motion) causing the bike, in concert with precession, to lean. The angle of the fork rake and the trail distance to where the tire contacts the road also creates a turning action in the front end when the motorcycle is leaning. The engineers at Kawasaki designed this in using rake, trail and wheel base for more low speed stability.

Now at high speed, in a twisty, when your bike feels like it is on rails, balanced engineering and gyroscopic precession is why. At high speed, just putting your body weight on the handle bar is enough to get counter steering results.
 

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Poser Proud®
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3,778 Posts
Nice. Thanks for the post. Very interesting video.
 

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Not so Newbie
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248 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I couldn't believe how lucky I was to find this video. The nice thing about it is the gyroscope is fully gimbled for free movement in all directions. Plus, a lot of the demonstration is with the wheel set vertical and turn in what would be a forward moving direction.
 
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