Toys Without Countersteering: Sea-Doos, Spyders, and Trikes

written by David Mixson

Countersteering only works on two-wheeled things that lean to turn. That means countersteering does NOT work on mechanical stuff such as four-wheelers, Can-Am Spyders, or motorcycle trikes. 

Turning a Motorcycle

On a motorcycle (which uses countersteering), you push left to go left—or turn the handlebar in the opposite direction that you want to turn.

Figure 1 (below) shows a motorcycle entering a left-handed curve. Using countersteering, the rider pushes on the left handlebar to make the motorcycle lean to the left.

Figure 1 Countersteering on Motorcycle

(Push on Left Handlebar to Turn Left)

Turning a Can-Am Spyder

On a Can-Am Spyder (which doesn’t use countersteering), you push right to go left—or turn the handlebar in the same direction you want to go. 

Figure 2 (below) shows a three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder entering a left-handed curve. Since it doesn’t use countersteering, the rider pushes on the right handlebar (or pulls on the left) to make the motorcycle turn left.

Figure 2 No Countersteering on Can-Am Spyder

(Push on Right Handlebar to Turn Left)

Feeling Countersteering

If you want to feel countersteering, ride something that doesn’t use countersteering soon after you’ve ridden your motorcycle. You’ll notice the difference immediately. 

Wasn’t that amazing? 

The last time I rode my friend’s Sea-Doo at his lake house (tough life, right?), it felt awkward since I had to turn the Sea-Doo in the opposite direction that I was used to on my motorcycle. But in a matter of seconds, my brain made the adjustment. 

For more information about the physics of countersteering, read Countersteering Mastery: The Ultimate Guide to How Motorbikes Turn.

* This article is an excerpt from my book Motorcycle Smarts.

Read Next

About the Author

David Mixson writes about the topics other motorcycle books gloss over. He worked as a NASA engineer for over thirty years and is the author of three books.

We hate SPAM too.

Unsubscribe at any time.