RC Bike 101 – Countersteering Basics

If you’re new to rc bikes you will notice the steering turns opposite your transmitter response. Why does the front wheel point left when you turn the radio’s wheel (or stick) right? This is the correct way an rc bike should behave and the reason its setup this way is because of countersteering. The following short video (not mine) gives a quick demonstration of countersteering for bikes.

When your steering your rc bike, you cannot operate the steering the same way you do a rc car. A radio with a wheel doesn’t help the situation in the beginning and personally I think it can trick your brain into thinking your driving a car. Steering a car you turn wheel left and HOLD THE WHEEL as long as you need to in order to make that turn. Of course same situation if you have a dual stick controller, only your holding the stick left.

To make that left turn with a rc bike, you will still turn the radio wheel left, but instead it is a quick turn and then return back to neutral position. Countersteering will make it turn correctly, but you do NOT hold the steering wheel in the turn the same way as a car. Its only to initiate the bike to lean over as much as you need and once the bike is leaning over, the turn radius of bike becomes a mix of lean angle, speed, and additional steering responses. More throttle makes bike stand up and that widens your turn until bike is upright and going straight. Less throttle and bike leans more and bike turns sharper. As described in the video, turning the steering in opposite direction helps steer the bike into the lean, which helps bike get upright again.

Duratrax DX450 has a powerful rear gyro for a 1/5 scale bike so drifting is really easy on smooth surfaces

Let me bring up an issue regarding the side crash bars on a bike. Once the bike has leaned all the way down and onto the crash bars you will see a VERY negative effect on steering. The bike will actually begin to go straight! This is because pressure is taken off front wheel (that pressure gave the front tire grip) and instead is now on the crash bar dragging on the ground. Crash bars are necessary for rc dirt bikes, but use them like a boot of a rider, for emergency situations where you lean over too much. Never use crash bars as a crutch to get you around a turn, but instead only for emergency help when you leaned too much or crashed. Get off them as soon as possible!

I am by no means a good driver. I havn’t used my bike in 10 months waiting for the e-gyro to come available for my VMX. I am starting all over. If your new, I suggest practicing somewhere open and smooth like a parking lot or baseball field. Its important to get the feel of the bike without having to deal with small spaces or a rough location where the bike is bouncing everywhere. If you have a bike with a mechanical gyro, you need space to open up throttle to get gyro back up to speed as well, unlike a e-gyro where that doesnt matter. I liked learning on a parking lot because the bike had great traction and the painted stripes on the ground gave me visual objects to practice steering around like chicanes or figure eights. Spend a few battery packs on the basics, then hit the dirt and have fun!

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