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Most People Don't Know How Bikes Work

  • Published on Nov 27, 2021
  • Why are bicycles stable? The most common answer is gyroscopic effects, but this is not right. This video was sponsored by Kiwico. Get 50% off your first month of any crate at kiwico.com/veritasium50

    Huge thanks to Rick Cavallaro for creating this bike on short notice. Thanks to all the friends who participated in the filming. Rick was also responsible for the Blackbird Faster Than The Wind Downwind Cart. ru-clip.com/video/jyQwgBAaBag/video.html

    Much of the information presented here on the stability of a riderless bicycle stems from original research at
    Delft bicycle.tudelft.nl/schwab/Bicy...
    Cornell ruina.tam.cornell.edu/research...

    This line of bicycle-balance research was initiated by Jim Papadopoulos: www.nature.com/articles/535338a

    Great videos on bikes and counter-steering:

    MinutePhysics: How Do Bikes Stay Up? ru-clip.com/video/oZAc5t2lkvo/video.html

    MinutePhysics: The Counterintuitive Physics of Turning a Bike: ru-clip.com/video/llRkf1fnNDM/video.html

    Why Bicycles Do Not Fall - Arend Schwab TED talk: ru-clip.com/video/2Y4mbT3ozcA/video.html

    Today I Found Out: We Still Don't Know How Bicycles Work ru-clip.com/video/YWsK6rmsKSI/video.html

    TU Delft - Smart motor in handlebars prevents bicycles from falling over: ru-clip.com/video/rBOQp2uY_lk/video.html

    Andy Ruina Explains How Bicycles Balance Themselves: ru-clip.com/video/NcZCzr9ExKk/video.html

    More References:

    TU Delft Bicycle Site: bicycle.tudelft.nl/schwab/Bicy...

    Bicycle stability program: ruina.tam.cornell.edu/research...

    Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Luis Felipe, Anton Ragin, Paul Peijzel, S S, Benedikt Heinen, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Sam Lutfi, MJP, Gnare, Nick DiCandilo, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Mike Tung, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Ismail Öncü Usta, Crated Comments, Anna, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Oleksii Leonov, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson,Ron Neal

    Written by Derek Muller
    Filmed by Trenton Oliver, Raquel Nuno and Derek Muller
    Edited by Derek Muller
    Music from Epidemic Sound and Jonny Hyman
    Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev and Emily Zhang

Comments • 17 974

  •  ShortHax
     ShortHax Month ago +42743

    It’s easy to build a rocket. It’s not like it’s bicycle-science

    • BH4VVY33T
      BH4VVY33T 3 days ago


    • Jayson Kenley
      Jayson Kenley 14 days ago

      You broke the internet with this comment omg

    • Aster Lagebo
      Aster Lagebo 22 days ago

      @WiZarD only in Russia

    • Starfire Horizon
      Starfire Horizon 23 days ago +1

      @NastySasquatch I Was Waiting For Someone To Bring It In... Damn, That's A Prize You Won. Not Sure I'd Accept That One.

    • LexieAssassin
      LexieAssassin 24 days ago

      It's easy to build a rocket. Now, getting it to go where you want it to go, that's the hard part.

  • dogsrocks
    dogsrocks Month ago +1385

    To me its incredible how humans just learn to do these things unconsciously. Noone tells you that when youre a kid, you just try over and over again until suddenly you do it right without even knowing what youre doing differently.
    Imagine how many things you do right without even understanding why oder what exactly it is youre doing. Absolutely incredible

    • Mark H
      Mark H 5 days ago

      You speak german?

    • That Guy
      That Guy 6 days ago

      @I'm just here for the asmr You could learn, start with a bike with training wheels on the back. Some senior citizens go to college for the first time and get a degree. Never too late to learn.

    • Marv
      Marv 8 days ago

      Yes, the human brain is amazing

    • Leif
      Leif 9 days ago

      How can anyone do bicycle research or at least full time? Seems like it would be very tedious and not interesting..

    • Vanga Pesalaam
      Vanga Pesalaam 16 days ago

      Good thought

  • Pindex
    Pindex 21 day ago +31

    Love this video. Thought I would already know it all, but of course, you were a step ahead : )

  • Voices of Music
    Voices of Music 23 days ago +52

    When I rode a motorcycle we all countersteered. But I guess we were just steering.

    • Scottrick LaRoque
      Scottrick LaRoque 20 days ago

      Dern, you beat me too it. I told a new rider, a good friend of mine, to steer opposite the way he wanted to go and he said I was crazy, then the next day he came to me asking about it, I'm glad I read an article in cycling magazine so I could explain it with big words so he didn't feel dumb. lol

  • Bismarck
    Bismarck Month ago +188

    I actually did some "Research" like this of my own. I sometime tried to steer my bike without leaning, and I found it to be very hard just pointing the handle in the direction I wanted to go go. I eventually discovered that this is technique we've been using all along, just by executing a dumb idea of mine.

    • Mutation
      Mutation Day ago

      What if...you put your body weight in the direction you want to steer first?

    • breezelow unknown
      breezelow unknown 23 days ago

      Language is a poor instructor, when learning to ride a bike, getting smacked by the asphalt a few times will make you learn to stop steering away from the fall, as with a trike (balancing).
      Same for TURNING, stop STEERING and start LEANING.

    • Todd Corson
      Todd Corson 24 days ago

      When my son was learning how to ride a bike, we told him to lean in the direction he wanted to turn. On the next attempt, he leaned his upper body over to the side he was steering toward and promptly fell over on the opposite side. We thought about it a little more and realized that what needs to lean in the direction of the turn is the seat - so basically your hips; in order to achieve that, you actually need your head and shoulders to move in the opposite direction. He tried it again with that in mind and was off and riding!

    • 姫佐倉
      姫佐倉 Month ago

      its doable but its almost inpossible when ur not on flat land^^

    • Nob ody
      Nob ody Month ago

      Counter steering is how you ride a motorcycle. Body positioning is a major part of it too. Upright, leaning, or counter balancing depending on the turn.

  • DoctorMotorcycle
    DoctorMotorcycle Month ago +5055

    I figured this out by accident when I did a (small) motorcycle build and wanted to see how tight I could make the steering stem to act as a ghetto "steering stabilizer". I tightened the steering stem to the point where it required a fair amount of force to turn the bars, and I almost fell off the bike when I let the clutch out. It was un-rideable. I had always thought gyroscopic procession was why the bike stayed stable, and immediately realized it was the abilty to constantly re-correct that keeps you from falling over. Would you consider doing a video on the mechanics of Trials bike riders?

    • Leif
      Leif 9 days ago

      Hiw can he say we don't know most of hiw a bike works?? We knkw the basics..that seems like more than a lot to me..jjst some details maybe we need to work out..isn't amyone else surprised?

    • Jayson Kenley
      Jayson Kenley 14 days ago

      @Erkle64 you are still making micro moves with your weight distribution, with locked steering you would fall immediately

    • Jayson Kenley
      Jayson Kenley 14 days ago +1

      @Andrew Aeterno yes!!! I too have this memory

    • Aaron Layes
      Aaron Layes 29 days ago

      Actually the bike by itself will recorrect if you didn't tighten it too much. Push a bike and then let go and watch what it does. It self corrects every time until it loses momentum. The problem is that to learn to properly ride a bike motorcycle or bicycle you have to let go a bit of control and let the machine do it's thing. Our natural correction is in part is, but in part the machine as well. If you try to man handle a car or bike or motorcycle it will respond negatively massive over correction this happens in planes as well. You have to let the machine do it's part and you learn to correct the minor failures the slight over corrections of the machine. You become one with the machine, it's this that makes people not like automatic cars and effortless flying planes. It's a measure of becoming one with the machine that we lose and for many it's a hard thing to let go of. It's in essence demanding we give up even more control and that is counter to human survival.

    • bryan bryan
      bryan bryan Month ago

      Yes, interesting video, but as a bike rider who has put more than 30,000 miles on bikes, I know that I can use my body to mildly turn the bike. Like one of the commenters, I have often ridden with no hands, sometimes to do crazy things like change my shirt. Don’t try that, even though it worked out. It takes a fairly long time and experience to really get a good feel at bike riding. You must keep your bike in good working order and make sure you are riding the right bike for you. Until you get really capable, don’t try anything really aggressive. Know your limitations and your equipment’s, as well. Expect things to go wrong and find an ‘out’ (a planned safe escape out of every situation), and you will have a fun time riding. Remember, that you are often riding as fast as some cars, but you have much less protection. So beware and be careful.

  • Zack the slayer
    Zack the slayer Month ago +152

    Only time I have ever steered without doing this, I defied gravity, shifted sideways at almost 60-70 degrees (I felt the grass on my knee by the sidewalk) and did a full 180 turn in under half a second. I dont know why, or how i did it, but I took a break from riding my bike that day... I was legit just amazed...

    • Aesthetic
      Aesthetic 11 days ago

      Hahaha same happened to me when I was a kid but scraped my knee cause it was concrete.

    • Door Toes
      Door Toes 21 day ago +1

      damn Zack, save some for the rest of us

    • Starfire Horizon
      Starfire Horizon 23 days ago +1

      @Bick Boose Best Reply Ever.

    • Zack the slayer
      Zack the slayer 27 days ago

      @Bick Boose mmmmmmmmpossibly O.o

    • Bick Boose
      Bick Boose 27 days ago +6

      @Zack the slayer Is that how you turned from your average mundane Zack to Zack the Slayer?

  • TheSavageProdigy
    TheSavageProdigy Month ago +45

    The more you know, learn something everyday, this is a real inspiration to some including myself to design stuff in such ways and understand how they work.

  • Gábor Kiss-Vámosi
    Gábor Kiss-Vámosi Month ago +12

    I've learned to ride an unicycle in 2-3 weeks. It was a great to experiment to learn it as an adult. Firstly, it was quite a bit of challenge even just to sit on it while holding to the wall with two hands. After some days my brain and body got automatically and intuitively better and better in a seemingly impossible task. I didn't know what I did differently in each try but my brain just learn behind the scenes. I only needed to fed in some input data to let the neural network do its job. It was amazing to feel what magic happen inside a how little we understand about our own mind and internal processes.

  • Brian Selmer
    Brian Selmer Month ago +23

    When riding on ice, this counter steer flies out the window. I have heard about the self stabilizing aspect of the rake on the forks, where you can ghostride the whip and it keeps going... gyroscopuc procession helps... but no one mentions the difference in radii between the center of the tire tread, and the side of the tire. Just like how a train with solid axles makes a turn, (the track underneath the train moves as the train keeps its original direction, and the camber of the train tires, which are conical, create 2 different size wheels.......the inside wheel has a smaller circumference, and the outside wheel has a larger circumference.... no need for a differential.) Instead of the contact patch being a cylinder, it becomes a CONE!!!!!!!!!!! Castor effect is cool, gyro stability is great, countersteer has been mentioned, but the contact patch is something most people do not think about.

    • 1BrundleFly1
      1BrundleFly1 12 days ago +1

      I was scanning the responses for a mention of this. This effect becomes more pronounced at higher speeds and lean angles. It's a primary factor in turning a motorcycle once full-lean is achieved by counter-steering. In a steady-state turn, the front wheel is very close to straight or even still slightly counter-steering to counter the righting moment due to lateral acceleration toward the center of the turn. It would be interesting to investigate at what speed this becomes the primary factor in turning a bicycle. As an aside, while I would probably agree that "most people" who ride bikes aren't consciously aware of counter-steering or the effects of rake and trail, I would guess that most really avid/competitive cyclists and motorcyclists *are* aware of these factors, especially if they're also technically inclined - i.e. the kind of people who attract to a channel like Veritasium.

    • Lord Koan
      Lord Koan 24 days ago

      i found this out the hard way

    • Gaurav Vaidya
      Gaurav Vaidya Month ago +2

      I did not know this is how trains turn without differentials! Thank you!

  • Scrap & Pallet Man
    Scrap & Pallet Man Month ago +2517

    My subconscious knows, but my conscious mind doesn't - wild. This is true in so many areas of our lives.

    • Rodrigo Freitas
      Rodrigo Freitas Month ago

      Sometimes it's the other way around.

    • Niko Koro
      Niko Koro Month ago

      The subconscious is pseudoscience.

    • Robert Pruitt
      Robert Pruitt Month ago

      And now we know what young kids learn, when they stop falling off their bikes.

    • Individous
      Individous Month ago +1

      @Antreas Konstantinou this story reminds me of when i advised the same thing to mum last week when she was a little anxious about driving a manual-shift car again after years. Yesterday, she told me that my tipp, to just not think about and allow the cognitive network to be induced in a organic way, worked liked charm.
      I told her: „the neuronal structure is still in place after years of practice, so just relax and trust in the mechanics of your mind!“
      Loving it!

    • Artur B
      Artur B Month ago

      That's why you try to touch subconsciousness, thank you for reminding me that

  • Brian Driscoll
    Brian Driscoll Month ago +43

    If anyone is looking for an even deeper dive in the science of this the motorcycle Channel "Mike on Bikes" is fantastic. He even goes into the magical relationship of lean angle, speed, and turning radius and SOO much more. As a rider it's fantastic but I imagine it's good for anyone who geeks out over physics.

  • deebznutz100
    deebznutz100 Month ago +5

    This explains why when I'm riding my bike and find myself riding near the edge of a curb or sidewalk I find it difficult to turn away without falling off the edge.

  • Kristopher Adams
    Kristopher Adams Month ago +18

    A humans ability to adapt to something, even without knowing how, is amazing to me.

  • Allan Malloy
    Allan Malloy Month ago +9

    As an avid mountain-bike rider, I've learned how to ride in all sort of awkward and rough situations - the first time I tried to go slow over a narrow ramp, I learned the hard way that steering has more to do with your balance, then your balance. If you crawl at a snail's pace on any bicycle - you might notice that you readjust your steering more rapidly and frequently then you normally do at comfortable riding speeds. If you want to test this for yourself, ride a bicycle beside someone who is walking slow - and try to maintain the same speed on your bicycle as the person walking.

    • breezelow unknown
      breezelow unknown Month ago

      @Rick Cavallaro Zlatko KNOWS you MC's don't counter steer, he doesn't speak
      English very well and doesn't like arguing. You rest your claims on his imperfect English speech, whilst I rest my claims on his video PROOF. You likely didn't read much of his video's comments, because I posted lots of comments describing what his videos mean and he mostly agreed to them. You still have yet to even attempted to describe what his content shows, because it is opposite of your false claims counter steering for two-wheelers, instead of counte steering in 4 wheelers, which I have done many times.

    • Rick Cavallaro
      Rick Cavallaro Month ago

      @breezelow unknown The very guy you hold up as your hero explained in the comments under his video that you are wrong. The video you said I was too afraid to comment on. But I did comment. I agreed with your hero. And it turns out you were the one too afraid to comment with his testimony right there in black and white calling you wrong!

    • breezelow unknown
      breezelow unknown Month ago

      @Rick Cavallaro When rider or bike is steering for balance, at very low speeds, it is never COUNTER STEERING. The bike is always steering, for balance, whether vertical or leaning. The bike nor the rider, EVER steers to TURN, that requires lean.

    • Bad Cornflakes
      Bad Cornflakes Month ago

      Left right left right LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT!! falls over.

    • Rick Cavallaro
      Rick Cavallaro Month ago +3

      You are exactly right. But it's interesting that nearly everyone swears they never counter-steer at low speed. That's when you do it most. You just feel it least because it gives no back pressure.

  • Your Pal Kindred
    Your Pal Kindred Month ago +1516

    I never realised how intelligently built bikes were. It looks so simple but it's such a genius creation

    • Maa'Quchii
      Maa'Quchii Month ago

      thats not strange.. that makes complete sense...

      it makes as much sense as why rockets evolved faster then airplanes which evolved faster then cars.. whiched evolved faster then carrages etc etc..

      humans start with 0.. scratch.. each and every idea is tiny.. and any invention usually is a culmanation of other tiny things.. some things u'd think are completely irrelevent.. it just doesnt fall out of the void and hit u.. it takes generations..

      thats why it took so long for anything.. then later generation have the advantage of more.. ideas to spin new ideas.. then the gens later have even better advantage...

      example we have smart phones.. that are more powerful then the whole cpus used to put the first humans on the moon...

      we have more humans then ever.. more avalibity to share every last piece of detail known to us.. and whole population to pull for of individual that can piece things together..

      things improve and they improve faster and faster...

      whats strange would be if the modern bike was the way it is now 20 years after it was invented.. cause it requires knowledge of more things they just didnt have back then..

      lets imagine this from the start..
      u naked human with a modern brain.. u discover "fire" for the first time...
      now imagine u have no idea of what u can use it for outside of burning stuff..
      the notion that one could COOK meat.. thats simple to use today.. butt imagine humans pre cooking.. what makes u thing such an idea was obvious..?

      as indiviuals we are uttler ignorant.. all inventions and break thrus are a huge columination of generations of life an death of human adding tiny drops here and there that end up pieced together later..
      and the later it is.. the more peices u have to play with thus more more and more things happen and are discovered..

      i dont know if the way i explained it helps u understand that.. butt i tried my best.. lmao

      its all just trail and error..
      im sure in most case there are few ways that makes things actually function as intended.. mean theres way way way more chance to error in the process..
      which is probably another reason why things happen faster now...
      we have more reliable methods thus less and less chance of errors via "trail and error" to get things done...

      also its interesting that advancement is modes of communication seem to go hand in hand with it all... the accessiblity of knowledge from others MATTERS..
      no one person has nor can claim anything... every thing is built on something else and it borrows from all kinds of other things...

      the evolution of SOCIETY itself mad that possible.. because it allowed humans to actually divide labor and focus on different things.. and all of that works together..

      1000 years from now.. as advanced as u might think the bike is... people then will probably see even our bikes as primative..
      and someone then might comment something like u did.. "i cant believe bikes didnt change much from 2021 till 2666" 😂

    • Duckonatruck
      Duckonatruck Month ago

      nope, its easy

    • dacsus
      dacsus Month ago

      This is BS, because for 1) This is not intuitive, and for 2) If one is used to the way something works, of course one cannot immediately get used to a different system.

    • Bread and Water
      Bread and Water Month ago

      Its so astounding that we create such elaborate tools.. idk if they knew all that balancing stuff but the advent of the wheel was certainly a game changer.

    • Crimsons Critical Corner
      Crimsons Critical Corner Month ago

      As a motorcycle engineer, they are insanely simple, fully strip a shaft bike then say bicycles are intelligent

  • Harry Contreras
    Harry Contreras 21 day ago +5

    I'm astounded you made the concept of balance, momentum, and a center of gravity so intriguing. Much love for the knowledge, this confirmed it for me 😂

  • kolim jone
    kolim jone Month ago +1

    I wonder if the same concept can be applied to walking or standing. Can you walk/stand without minute corrections in your vector/center of gravity?

  • Mert Şahin
    Mert Şahin Month ago +8

    That was actually so cool! Crazy how we don't even realize how we do these complicated things.

  • Lokim23
    Lokim23 Month ago +18

    As a bicyclist and rider of nearly 30 years. When you start learning as a mere child, this is a passive thing you come to learn. As you become more experienced you can make a turn with barely any effort. You can ride without hands on handlebars as well, atleast for periods of time. Your body becomes in sync with the bicycle, the bicycle doesn't become syncd with you :) - Or as bruce lee said. Put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You are becoming fluid with the bicycle. Once you learn this, you'll become a great rider in literally no time at all. - And I find thats also what keeps alot of people off bicycles, their fear of crashing, falling, no balance. Maybe if we revamped the 80 yr old science classes in school, people might better understand science and how to bicycle :)

  • Ray Mak
    Ray Mak Month ago +2541

    This is the best rigged bike to deter bike thieves

    • Starfire Horizon
      Starfire Horizon 23 days ago +1

      @EmissaryGW2 It's Not A Race Thing, That's What Uneducated People Just Can't Seem To Articulate. It's A Mentality Thing. We Have Tons Of Refugees From Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pssh Everywhere Basically. The Only Problem We Have Is With People Who Bring The Same Old "War & Poverty" Mentality. They Want To Live Like They Did In Their Villages, But In This Country, If You Don't Work Like A Slave -You're Not Getting Anywhere. I Almost Feel Bad For Immigrants Coming Across The Border, The American Dream They Seek Is Dead Now. It's Dead For Us, Dead For Them. And Believe This, It Brings Me No Joy To Say This... We Offer Free Things Based On A Blanket Rule, And When Those Who Need It Can't Get It That's Because Someone Is Taking Advantage Of It... Food Stamps For Example, Often Sold To Others For The Recipient To Buy Expensive Clothes, Purses Or Drugs... The Unemployment Income Most Recieved This Last 18-20 Months Some Have Spent On Luxury Cars & Loft Apartments. Unemployment Doesn't Pay That Well, They Already Had Money. Some Gent Bought Himself A Land Rover, And Since People Didn't Have To Pay Rent For Over A Year, They Didn't, And Continued To Accrue The Government Checks As Well As Their Own Incomes... Abuse And Hatred Are Mentality Problems... Not Race Problems. I Know Some Refugees That Are More Civil & Kind Than Americans. But I Also Understand Why People Feel Like They Do About People Coming Here And Being Given Everything, When It's A Struggle To Make Anything Of Yourself If You Were Born Here, Not To Mention The Drug Problems That Pervade Every Aspect If American Life & Even Sadder Only Trump & His Wife Were Interested In Ending Opiate Abuse In This Nation... What Does That Tell You. To Be Honest, Most People Blame Muslims Because Of A Small Percentage Of The Muslim Population Who Live Like Animals & Treat Their Wives Worse, But Last Time I Checked It's American Men Beating Their Wives To Death Just As Easily. That Is Why -Whether You Believe In God/Jesus Or Not, The Basic Rule Always Applies -Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged. We Are All Capable Of Great Compassion, Or Great Evil, We Each Decide That Path, Every Day. And We All Know How Easy It Is To Verbally Defile Someone, Maybe An Entire Race Safely Behind A Keyboard... But As Long As You Have Compassion For The Sick & Injured, And As Long As You Can Ride A Bike You're Alright With Me. 😅🥰👌🎄⭐🕍🕌⛪

    • Rayres
      Rayres Month ago

      @Libor Supcik Two locks is the way to go. It's not about having a foolproof lock, it's about having locks so annoying to destroy thieves would rather steal someone else's. Removing the seat also works.

    • John
      John Month ago

      @Libor Supcik I used to have a very plain bike that I had to park in the stairwell, locked to the railing. That did not stop someone from chomping through the cable, although they tried to get the padlocks first. I really liked that bike. :-(

    • EmissaryGW2
      EmissaryGW2 Month ago

      @Based Redpill boycott coke products We get along fine in Canada. People don't distrust each other based on race.

    • King Speechless
      King Speechless Month ago

      I remember bikes that had headset/fork locks so that you you could not turn the handlebars.

  • Flannel
    Flannel 17 days ago +1

    This is nice, thanks.. I think it would be fun for your viewers to see that they (and most other creatures that aren't worms or ants or spiders etc.) use exactly the same countersteering principles to walk and run - some slo-mo footage or a horse, human, dog or cat cornering would show a step or two out from under our centre of gravity to initiate a turn..

    Learning to walk/run is like learning to ride a bike.

  • Sylvester Ashcroft
    Sylvester Ashcroft 27 days ago +2

    This makes sense as your maintaining forward momentum in that direction, so if you make a harsh turn to the left for example, you need to first counter balance your weight, to prevent the bike from toppling over.

  • Stephen
    Stephen Month ago +1

    I remember taking a class on single track vehicle design in college. Blew my mind.

  • yasio bolo
    yasio bolo Month ago

    I wonder if the same concept can be applied to walking or standing. Can you walk/stand without minute corrections in your vector/center of gravity?

  • LyricWulf
    LyricWulf Month ago +17853

    "Turn right to go left... Hm..." -Lightning McQueen, moments before disaster

    • Alan Christiansen
      Alan Christiansen Month ago

      it is actually... turn right to initiate the lean left, once leaning left you can steer that way to be balanced.

    • ben Gatewood
      ben Gatewood Month ago

      Walnuts and spiders

    • TheSavageProdigy
      TheSavageProdigy Month ago +1

      Doc Hudson Originally said that actually.

    • meow
      meow Month ago +1

      Lightning McQueen isn’t as hot as Mater

    • wilson chan
      wilson chan Month ago


  • Emmanuel smiju
    Emmanuel smiju 27 days ago +2

    I thought that counter steering is well known already. Experienced riders know that you must counter steer (Turn left to go right in Speed > 30kmph)
    Also, this can be seen in a motogp race (motercycle race) where the riders will lean so close to the ground when they turn and their front wheels will be pointed to the opposite direction

    • Rick Cavallaro
      Rick Cavallaro 27 days ago +2

      >> Turn left to go right in Speed > 30kmph

      Turn left to go right at ALL speeds

  • David Hibberd
    David Hibberd Month ago +7

    Every cyclist avoids riding too close to the kerb for the same reason, we always need to be able to steer a small way either side to stay balanced, if we end up with the wheels against the kerb, same as the one-side-locked bike steering in the video, we can end up falling off to the locked-side, onto the pavement, even though we don't intend to turn to that side.

    • David Heath
      David Heath 4 days ago

      @Dusty McTits Curb is also the American spelling of the noun kerb

    • Dusty McTits
      Dusty McTits 27 days ago

      The word is curb.

  • Michael Kork
    Michael Kork Month ago

    I first learned of counter steering when I got my motorcycle license. It all made sense, it’s just something no one tells you when you learn to ride a bike

  • TheQuickChef
    TheQuickChef Month ago

    Great video! I've been kind of testing this on a normal bike but this video really clears it up

  • Quint BUILDs
    Quint BUILDs Month ago +986

    First learned about "countersteer" in my Team Oregon motorcycle training class. But by the time I bought a motorcycle I'd forgotten and almost wrecked!

    • NeonNick24
      NeonNick24 Month ago +1

      The Team Oregon classes are fantastic. I want to take their intermediate classes next year.

    • Mallchad
      Mallchad Month ago

      countersteering is really non-intuitive, leaning is the mechanism you steer with, steering changes your lean angle,
      except if you get the exact right steer angle, which is hard to learn...

      When you lean the bike will find the optional steer angle for stability on its own.

    • dieseljo2
      dieseljo2 Month ago

      @j.oz spoken like a true down hill mountain bike racer... Also don't forget to weight the outside peg. 😉🏁

    • Don Beckham
      Don Beckham Month ago +2

      @SlayerofFiction I disagree. This works at any speed. It just requires less pressure. At 5+mph, you can steer with just one finger and the slightest touch.

    • SlayerofFiction
      SlayerofFiction Month ago +2

      @SuperJlonergan Oh I dono, I reckon most people know nothing of counter stealing and fight a bike for years and years.
      I rode for about 30 years before I learned what it was, when I started track riding.
      What a difference.
      I want to point out that unlike this video, you have to be doing faster than say 30mph to simply push on the handle in which direction you want to go.
      Lee Parks book "Total Control" is amazing.

  • Adam Carter
    Adam Carter Month ago +1

    I can say that there are techniques that can be used that would prevent you from having to counter steer. I always throw my foot off and pre lean, so I just have to go to whichever direction

  • Rizky Wahyu Ramadhan
    Rizky Wahyu Ramadhan Month ago +1

    As a rider, countersteering is basic knowledge that I learned long after I started riding. Even though I previously do it subconsciously

  • RaydanZ
    RaydanZ 20 days ago +1

    I've felt this issue before and tried expermenting while riding my motorbike at low to medium speed.
    When you turn the handlebar slightly left, you can feel the bike tilting towards the right and vice versa.

  • Pablo Briones
    Pablo Briones Month ago +3

    Has a bike lock that prevents the forks from moving been invented? Seems like it would be effective.

  • Daan Odinot
    Daan Odinot Month ago +1170

    Always fascinated by the fact that there was a period of 50 years in human history were you could go from city to city by train, but there was no bicycle yet.

    • Daan Odinot
      Daan Odinot Month ago

      @King Speechless Roughly 1840 to 1890.

    • Brendan Hunt
      Brendan Hunt Month ago

      @stray hoo-man on youtube That's actually incredibly true. Even as humans developed, language comes like thousands of years before a depictive system could be created and then we had to also invent movable type/ printing press tech to make such a thing as a societal education in language and how to depict it alphabetically. I think we get ahead of ourselves in thinking we're such a genius organism for how we can make a language to communicate out of symbols, rather than the complete opposite. Our organism's talents for communication through expression, non-verbal, as well as sound pitch, volume, ALL before anything like worded definitions even start playing in.

    • King Speechless
      King Speechless Month ago

      I'm curious as what years your 50-year period covers.

    • IvanGoldBit
      IvanGoldBit Month ago

      Why would people imagine or make a vehicle thats more exhausting on our body we like the path of least resistance more work for the same outcome I can see why bikes were made though less cost $_$ for transport. Citizen: I'll take train good sir! Train operator: Sir I recommend this vehicle with 2 wheels and use your leg strength to the next city.... Citizen: but I have money to spend pass

    • MrBolaextra
      MrBolaextra Month ago

      True, the bike is not such an obvious invention.

  • Joseph Mouer
    Joseph Mouer 9 days ago +1

    This is an awesome video .. counter-steering is something I learned from my engineer dad when learning how to ride a motorcycle as a kid.. i never forgot it.

  • Rodrigo
    Rodrigo 8 days ago +1

    Hello! Maybe in some video some day you can explain how longboards work, to advance by swinging from side to side. I don't understand how it works. Thanks as always for these contents!

  • Arsalan. AFG
    Arsalan. AFG Month ago

    It would've been interesting to see how the bike bike reacted when pushed off the little hill with the front wheels locked straights.

  • Alex Pettit
    Alex Pettit 6 days ago +1

    I never though about counter steering on a bicycle until I started riding motorcycles. Steering on most motorcycles takes very intentional counter steering, especially for.swerving.

  • z beeblebrox
    z beeblebrox Month ago +3051

    You know a design is perfect when a hundred or so years after it's invented, researchers are still studying how it works so well

    • Jonathan Taufer
      Jonathan Taufer 22 days ago

      *Isn't countersteering not only incredibly well understood, but also taught in literally every motorcycle class?*

    • Starfire Horizon
      Starfire Horizon 23 days ago +1

      @Bravo Mike The Only Worthwhile Comment In This Whole Thread, Sorry I Can't Answer It For You... Unlike Everyone Else... I'm Not An Armchair Physicist 😅 Good Luck On An Answer.

    • Isopod
      Isopod 26 days ago +2

      Even more amazing is is how long it took to invent bicycles. 50 years later we already had the first automobiles.

    • LiL NiBBa
      LiL NiBBa 26 days ago +1

      @Bill now that just sounds awesome

    • Bill
      Bill 27 days ago +1

      @LiL NiBBa The buttmobile.

  • Lauryn Howell
    Lauryn Howell 13 days ago +1

    I just learned how to ride a bike recently at 19 years old, and I definitely had to figure this out by myself bc nobody explained it or understood why I was falling every time I tried to turn😭

  • noah galouchko
    noah galouchko Month ago +2

    this is so good.

    i love real science, not mainstream media "science".

  • Steve Overstreet
    Steve Overstreet 17 days ago

    Great video!. I think, however, there is an overriding force that must be remembered as well. There are three components to a bike’s movement: up/down (gravity), right/left (the “wild card” force the rider “provides” by maintaining balance, and forward/(backward) which the force provided by powering the bike. In fact, the question really becomes, “what use is the front wheel?” And the answer (as anyone who has tried and failed to ride a unicycle knows) is to balance the bike, which, depending on some simple calculations means provide a path for the for the forces needed to correct the two of the three components of the principal force. A bike steers just like a unicycle when the front wheel is not touching the ground, and that’s one reason why wheelies take a little practice. What I feel like this video demonstrates is exactly what is required to manage a bike when up/down and right/left become significant components of the bicycles motion relative to the force supplied by the power to the rear wheel. Motorcycle people get all excited about the speed at which counter steering matters and then claim bicycles behave differently than motorcycles because of the ratio of the riders weight to the bike weight. This video demonstrates how stupid that idea is.

    I lived the mention of the “inverted pendulum.” walking itself involves managing such a pendulum. I think that’s why managing a bike seems so natural to people. Watching toddlers really shows off how much skill and small muscle control it takes to manage the “simple” act of walking. When the man balanced the pole in the palm of his hand he was demonstrating a concatenation of inverted pendulums - an intriguing problem in its own right.

    Finally, there is the question of exactly how the balancing skill is acquired. There is a weird axiom about steering bikes that might explain it. The bike “goes where your head goes.” You go “wherever you look.” It takes concentration to overcome that axiom. I think the first thing babies learn is how to manage standing upright. In effect the develop the muscles they need in order to keep looking at the thing they actually want. And eventually and paradoxically standing soon leads to walking, probably to overcome falling down by unconsciously moving a keg to cat their balance.

  • Andrew Williams
    Andrew Williams 16 days ago

    I remember reading a book about the history of the bicycle and it suggested that although for centuries we had carts, wagons etc the reason that bikes were so late in development was that it took a leap of imagination to realise that two wheels in the same plane could be stable.

  • AnImage
    AnImage Month ago +1913

    It's actually fascinating how our body learns something intuitively yet our mind stays blissfully unaware.

    • CoolerSloth 5822
      CoolerSloth 5822 22 days ago

      i already knew this because i move so slowly uphill i constantly turn my bike a little to avoid falling

    • Kenji Kalei
      Kenji Kalei Month ago +1

      @LFWK nope, lateral forces on tire don’t change - it’s those lateral forces that bring you through the turn. What it changes is the angle the bike and wheels makes with the road. You need to keep the tire in contact with the road, and not drag the pegs. But keep center of mass way to the inside. Opposite of skiing where you angulate to get your skis on edge.

    • LFWK
      LFWK Month ago +1

      @SternLX not exactly, leaning does not lead to steering. It may seem so because you're automatically putting more pressure on the side of the handlebar when you're leaning. The point of leaning or hang-off is to lower the center of mass, so the motorcyle can stay more upright which reduces the lateral forces on the tire.

    • Seraphina
      Seraphina Month ago +1

      ​@Mawsh'n Not quite as you are confusing the mind with the brain here and the two are not synonymous with each other. The mind refers specifically to the conscious part, but the conscious mind is just one of many different things the brain is busy processing. In fact the mind does very little of the actual controlling even for actions made consciously, when was the last time you thought about any of the hundreds of individual muscle movements needed to type a short sentence for example let alone all of them. Other parts of the brain take care of that for you for the most part the conscious mind just decides what words to type and other parts of the brain convert that into a list of buttons to press in what order and directs your fingers to make it happen.

    • Zahid Ahmed
      Zahid Ahmed Month ago +1

      Praise to the creator

  • Micky Kannalles
    Micky Kannalles Month ago

    That's actually what you learn when getting into motorcycles. Introduce the curve through actively counter steering gives you a much better and sharper angle. Pushing on the side of the handlebar in wich direction you want to go makes you drive in that direction. Seems counterintuitive but works. You also learn that the gyroscopic effects keeping you stable only appear at higher speeds than the top speed of a bicycle.

  • Herr Unsinn
    Herr Unsinn Month ago

    I accidentally discovered this years ago when I thought it would be fun to ride with only one hand on the handle bars (just as a test). First I tried using my right hand on the left handle bar.... Disaster soon followed. Then I tried using my left hand on the right handle bar... with the same predictable results. The reason neither of these techniques works is that if you try steering with "the wrong hand", your logic takes over rather than your sense of balance. Give it a try sometime (very carefully, of course.)

  • Ed Dunne
    Ed Dunne 11 days ago

    As a motorcycle rider, this was very understood. At least for all riders I know.
    Neat to see the video from the front to see folks doing it intuitively.

  • John Długosz
    John Długosz Month ago +1

    When I was a kid I delivered newspapers on a bicycle. I used both hands to throw papers and steered using balance only, never touching the handlebars.
    Later, when I got a different bike, I found it was not so easy to ride hands-free. So, the specific geometry of the bike makes a difference.
    Likewise, I don't see the big deal about balancing while not moving. It's literally the same as standing normally! Were you doing it badly on purpose? I notice your pedals were at the quarter rotation position, exactly half way between what you would really do: have one pedal _down_ and put your weight on that foot, and just stand up. If you ever used toe clips you would quickly see the need to do this.

  • Nadroj
    Nadroj Month ago +3387

    To me, science often shows how incredible our intuition is. There is so much that we do "naturally" without understanding the mechanics. Sometimes we get it wrong, but I like the example of shooting a basketball. The physics involved are incredible, but people can train to put a ball in a hoop at a weird angle from incredible distance, under duress, and with remarkable consistency without a deep understanding of the mechanics.

    • king kong
      king kong Month ago

      @Jacob Berry he was complimenting ballers bro. Alot of things we do does happen naturally. There's plenty of people who play for hours ,but can never reach the skill of others that are more naturally skilled and gifted. You could just say we are sharpening our craft

    • Cale Denney
      Cale Denney Month ago +1

      @Bright- Vision lol my thoughts exactly

    • Bright- Vision
      Bright- Vision Month ago

      @Andries van Tonder evolution literally takes millions of years bro. Good lucks trying to replicate that in a lab. How about you do it the scientific way and prove to me the existence of god without relying on a 2000 year old dusty ass book that's, because you love the word so much, LITERALLY filled with fairy tales.

    • Hectic Hive
      Hectic Hive Month ago +1

      @Jacob Berry You seem insecure about it homie. No one was discrediting it or said anything about "dumb jocks"

    • Andries van Tonder
      Andries van Tonder Month ago

      @Darkstar No, 1) by telling just-so stories of how life could perhaps come from non-life without any scientific basis is not science, it's a fairytale. How about evolutionary "scientists" do it the scientific way by experimentation and show how it can happen. Surely highly intelligent scientists should have been able by now to show (and produce) even the most rudimentary first step of how life could come from non-life. For you to claim that precision designed molecular machines (much more sophisticated than man has ever designed) just happen by chance is simply dishonest. 2) The more we understand of science, the more it becomes clear that it has been designed. In Darwin's day they still thought of the cell as just a blob of protoplasm. That's why he could have such a wild imagination that evolution could occur. He had the idea that the cell is a very simple structure and it's easy to change. And even his scientific observations simply confirmed the Bible, birds changing into birds. By adding imagination and millions of years and telling just-so stories of how one kind of animal can change into a completely different kind of animal is not science. It's not scientifically possible. It's only possible if you have a wild imagination and that we call a fairytale. Get real and do some real science.

  • Spencer Calvert
    Spencer Calvert 3 days ago +1

    Thanks! I now appreciate the people that designed the bicycle and makes me put more thought into everything build by “man” in my environment.

  • PeloMR2
    PeloMR2 Month ago +1

    Brilliant! I teach adults to ride mountain bikes, and there are a number of people that have real trouble figuring out this concept. So they wibble wobble and overcorrect then fall over at walking pace.
    "Push left to go left, push right to go right" is motorcycling 101 and applies to any single track vehicle!
    Kids get it naturally, my 3 year old is stable and fast on a balance bike.
    Also if gyroscopic precession had a major effect when cycling, it would be impossible to make agile turns. I wonder if anyone has built a bike with cast iron wheels to test this out?

    • Rick Cavallaro
      Rick Cavallaro Month ago

      You are in the extreme minority since you understand this. I'd say more than 90% of the thousands of comments here suggest that, not only don't others understand; they also don't believe.

  • Prince David Bentabal
    Prince David Bentabal 14 days ago +2

    I laughed when I heard that the bicycle can steer themselves to remain upright.

    I am laughing at myself, because a bicycle is better at controlling itself than me who can't ride a bicycle at all.

  • Aji Kumar A
    Aji Kumar A Month ago

    I always steer the opposite side to get move curve, also gives us more enjoy during riding 🙂

  • Keleigh Shepherd
    Keleigh Shepherd Month ago +1342

    I'm a radiotherapy engineer. At my job interview for my current position, I was asked to explain in layman's terms how a bicycle works. I explained how the pedals make motion through the gears, and then rapidly dissembled with "as to how a bike stays upright in motion? I have no idea, I'm not a bicycle physicist" AND I STILL GOT THE JOB

    • John Rain
      John Rain Month ago +1

      admitting not knowing how bicycles work instead of trying to explain how it works tells them that you are not a person who assume theories and idea and say it as facts.

    • LES
      LES Month ago

      Sometimes it actually pays to be honest. 😇

    • Dream Wolf
      Dream Wolf Month ago

      @yvrelna You'd be surprised how many people will try to BS through a topic they know nothing about.

      Ran into someone on youtube claiming to be a WHO Virologist while i was on my throw away account (for when i'm not in the mood to be flooded with the replies after i call someone out) and i ripped them a new one, because i finished my virology doctorate program this year, and this individual was just...mental.

      They had just enough medical knowledge to make me think they had education or maybe training, but nothing they were saying in regards to virology was true.

      Example: they called Bubonic plague a virus, its a bacteria.

      My guess would be CNA or volunteer Fire/Rescue with first aid training.

      but ive seen doctors pull this kind of thing when talking to patients. Nothing gets under my skin faster, than a professional who tries to act like they know than they do.

    • yvrelna
      yvrelna Month ago

      @Dream Wolf not quite sure this would be a good way to test that.

      I'd happily acknowledge that I don't know anything about topics that are outside my fields of expertise, but the closer the topic gets to my field of expertise, that's going to be much harder. That's despite it being impossible to know everything there is to know about just within a single field of expertise.

      I'm sure many people would feel similar.

    • Se7enPr1me
      Se7enPr1me Month ago

      @Apeksha Maheshwari thats centrifugal force my good sir

  • viiont eooiy
    viiont eooiy 29 days ago +1

    This explains why when I'm riding my bike and find myself riding near the edge of a curb or sidewalk I find it difficult to turn away without falling off the edge.

  • Carl Sagan
    Carl Sagan Month ago

    My very first thought was how dangerous it was to have those bolts facing the rider in the middle of the handlebars. Some foam rubber to cover them would have been smart on a bike that is designed specifically for you to fall from.

  • Adrian Shum
    Adrian Shum Month ago

    I am even more interested to know how the first bike was made. How could a person even tried to start building something that looks intuitively not working

  • Joao Carlos
    Joao Carlos Month ago +1

    You should make a bike that has the handlebars disconnected from the front wheel, like a modern airplanes Fly-By-Wire. The handlebar will input turn action into an on-board computer and the bike will have a steering motor that will give it those commands but then augment them with stability enhancing algorithms. That would be cool to watch.

  • Andrew Stein
    Andrew Stein Month ago +1

    Veritasium pumping out straight knowledge as per usual.

  • Cristen Edmundson
    Cristen Edmundson 20 days ago +2

    This is the best explanation of counter steering for motorcyclists I've seen

  • ovtroll
    ovtroll Month ago

    This reminds me of them stabiliser when i was younger. I used to have issues balancing with 2 wheels. So my dad took a stabiliser off and cycle like that for something like a month or 2 until i can do intuitively turn both ways while keeping balance. and then repeat it all on the other side and then try without. This video kinda sums the things i went through.

  • Igor Brown
    Igor Brown Month ago

    Amazing video! The last experiment, the one the handlebars are locked both ways, one might be able to ride it if they don't use hands are all. Here in Brazil we're used to doing that for fun. I'd love to try that and the bik

    • Rick Cavallaro
      Rick Cavallaro Month ago +1

      I would very happily put you on the bike if you end up in the S.F. bay area. But I'll warn you... riding without hands won't help on the bike with locked steering. You're actually still steering and counter-steering, but you're doing it by leaning the bike side-to-side with your hips.

  • Yakbreeder
    Yakbreeder Month ago +1801

    We were taught counter steering in our motorcycle rider safety course years ago. Several in the class just could NOT comprehend it. One guy almost got tossed from the class for being argumentative about it. The instructor told him that anyone who has ridden a bicycle, counter steers without knowing they are. He finally accepted that he was wrong and passed the course.

    • rcgldr
      rcgldr Month ago

      @Samuel Aditya it's not really a proper turn, it's just steering the tires around the pothole and leaning the bike over the pothole without the center of mass moving much. A rider will need to recover from the lean after passing the pothole. If the front wheel is turned too much, the bike will fall over before the rider can recover, well before turning enough to cause the front tire to skid.

    • Samuel Aditya
      Samuel Aditya Month ago

      @rcgldr I mean to avoid pothole, you need to turn fast. turning too fast the front wheel may lose grip same as on the car.

    • rcgldr
      rcgldr Month ago

      @Samuel Aditya a rider just uses enough counter-steering force to initiate or change lean angle. As speed increases, the amount of force to change lean angle at some rate also increases.

    • Samuel Aditya
      Samuel Aditya Month ago

      @rcgldr yeah, but that need some practice since you need right force on the steering, if it's too much the front tire may lose grip and you fall.

    • rcgldr
      rcgldr Month ago

      @David Fourman - push forward on left handlebar to change the lean angle towards the left, from vertical to left lean, or from a left lean to increase left lean, or from right lean to decrease right lean. If in a turn, the wheel is always steered inwards, but steered less inwards to increase lean angle, or more inwards to decrease lean angle. For a rider, it's easier to think about forces applied to handlebars rather than thinking about the actual direction of the front wheel. Since a bike tends to straighten up without any rider inputs due to self-correcting steering geometry, a rider needs to apply some opposing force to counter the self-correcting response to hold a lean angle, except at high speed (100+mph), where a bike tends to hold a lean angle rather than straighten up.

  • PinoyBoy 35
    PinoyBoy 35 Month ago +1

    This video blew my mind, no wonder it was so difficult to learn how to ride a bike

  • Carlos Nieve
    Carlos Nieve 21 day ago

    This is one of the only ones that I knew before the experiment.

    It’s that old trick where you ride the bike without touching the handlebars. It practically drives itself

  • frank
    frank 25 days ago +1

    This channel is fantastic and never ceases to amaze me

  • Gary Jaurique
    Gary Jaurique Month ago +1

    Being a motorcycle rider for last 30 years I already knew this . Great video

  • TimeBucks
    TimeBucks Month ago +161

    This is so cool.

  • Roberts Rožkalns
    Roberts Rožkalns Month ago +1

    I already read that there are thousands of "counter-steering" comments on motorcycle. But interesting fact that I also experimented on the motorcycle - it is impossible to ride and steer the motorcycle on higher speeds without countersteering. Eventhou, some bikers say they don't know nothing about counter-steering, because they never heard such a term, but it is just happens by default brain behaviour.

  • programmerdemon
    programmerdemon Month ago +1

    One of my fav vids.. learned about counter steering on my first motorcycle

  • Zenna mok
    Zenna mok Month ago +3

    So apparently... Whoever invented the bicycle was a genius

  • samter
    samter 26 days ago +2

    Most people don’t know? More like “For knowledge it’s to these videos I go.” Thanks for another incredible ride!

  • Dax Quimm
    Dax Quimm Month ago +1270

    Maintaining balance on a stationary bike is referred to as a “track stand” in the cycling world. Just a fun fact from an avid cyclist!

    • filiaaut
      filiaaut Month ago

      @robert mayes You do not.

    • robert mayes
      robert mayes Month ago

      @The Last Knights ov Winterborne idk try everyone on the george carlin bicycle comments

    • divvy1400yam600
      divvy1400yam600 Month ago

      At school many years ago a teacher who hated me disqualified me from a slow bicycle race because I rocked forward then BACKWARDS.
      Come to think it of that same teacher called me 'caught out' by the wicket keeper in a cricket match when my bat never touched the ball. hehehehe

      On steering Im sure turning involves leaning AND steering though I could not apply the correct physics.
      Watching poor bike riders maintaining unsteady progress is because they constantly adjust the steering alone AND lean the wrong way !

      Sorry to introduce cricket which is as boring to watch as baseball or even American football for that matter !

    • The Last Knights ov Winterborne
      The Last Knights ov Winterborne Month ago +1

      @robert mayes who do you associate yourself with that actually allow you to think like that? I wonder..

    • Eduard Peeter Lemming
      Eduard Peeter Lemming Month ago

      You could just subtle turn it left or right to turn that way or are american roads that bad?

  • Andrew N
    Andrew N Month ago

    I remember when I learned how to ride a bike. I was 7 and was so jealous of my best friend that had a bike with no training-wheels. He taught me how to ride a bike less than an hour. Now it's natural to ride a bike.

  • Ed Nicolai
    Ed Nicolai Month ago

    This is something I would always crash-teach my passengers before hopping on my motorcycle. Some inexperienced passengers would out of fear of falling want to counterbalance whenever we turned. I would always tell them not to do it, because they would make us shift our gravity centre and probably crash.

  • Faisal Alghosan
    Faisal Alghosan Month ago

    Now can you please make a second video of how people can drive it naturally with just practice ;)

  • Rayres
    Rayres Month ago +1

    However, why is it a lot easier to maintain a bike upright/steer it when faster than slower? Maybe the gyroscopic effect has some influence on how easy or hard it is to steer?

  • Arkios
    Arkios Month ago +755

    Tom Scott: "I have just now finally learned how to ride a bike"
    Meanwhile, Derek, just a few days later: "Here's the reason why most people learning to ride a bike have problems at the beginning"

    • 斎藤一
      斎藤一 Month ago

      Not a few days, 1 day

    • Hoàng Minh Nguyễn
      Hoàng Minh Nguyễn Month ago +1

      @Arshad on the tom scott plus channel, he learned to ride a bike from mike boyd whose channel is about him learning new skills

    • Dark Warrior
      Dark Warrior Month ago +1

      He would have learned how to ride it in 30 minutes.

    • Yakoto
      Yakoto Month ago

      exactly what I thought LOL

    • Morgan Harris
      Morgan Harris Month ago +14

      Dereked again!

  • Arthera
    Arthera Month ago

    we have an amazing balancing system to keep our body from falling over when in motion or not. a bike seems child's play at that point

  • Michael Kübel
    Michael Kübel 13 days ago +1

    I learned how to ride a motorcycle in India. A guy saw me struggling with the bike and told me that if there is ever a really dangerous situation and I need to immediately turn to the left I have to push the left handle forward essentially steer right and lean in. Saved my life many times riding around down there on an old Royal Enfield.

  • IcIwatch
    IcIwatch Month ago

    I would be very interested to see footage of someone steering at high speeds. You lean before similar to motorcycles. The handlebars typically turn themselves and you jus told them semi stable

  • Pratik Dhende
    Pratik Dhende Month ago +2

    Never have I ever been more amazed by a bicycle

  • Captain Cardboard
    Captain Cardboard Month ago +3090

    You need to get Tom Scott to try this; he's the expert!

    • B3rnard
      B3rnard Month ago

      @Roy Kale what video?

    • Vigilant Cosmic Penguin
      Vigilant Cosmic Penguin Month ago +3

      Imagine if Tom actually tried this. Like, he just learned how to ride a bike and now this entirely new thing springs up on him.

    • Brightsun Singh
      Brightsun Singh Month ago +4

      @Adam I don't wanna start a war but I think it's made for certain audiences which doesn't include you. That doesn't mean it's boring. Sorry I am genuinely offended

    • Brightsun Singh
      Brightsun Singh Month ago +3

      @Adam just cuz your stupid attention span is low doesn't mean he is boring.

    • Brightsun Singh
      Brightsun Singh Month ago +3

      @Adam do you even watch him

  • Alan John
    Alan John 21 day ago +1

    I love these creative videos from you sir, that's why this video has a lot of views.
    I suggest you to make videos on creative topics like this video of bicycle 🚲..

  • Daniel Andreas Moe
    Daniel Andreas Moe 21 day ago +1

    I feel like I’ve done this experiment before where i felt like I was able to lean before turning the handle so as not to countersteer first but I obviously wasn’t filming it so I can’t say for sure.

  • Mocorn
    Mocorn Month ago

    Interestingly this is also how you steer expensive high level radio controlled bikes. Most people think you steer them like a regular RC car but that's not the case. To turn right you must first steer left so that the RC bike starts falling towards the right side, then you can actually steer right. It is very difficult and many RC bike models even have built in gyros to help stabilize the process.

  • Steven Buytaert
    Steven Buytaert 17 days ago

    On a motorbike, at least when I ride mine, I use counter-steering, i.e. when I want to go to the right, I push the handle bar right forward slightly, so the bike starts leaning to the right (due too the gyroscopic effect) and will make the turn. You use the weight of the bike to make the turn on a motor bike and not the weight of your own body, like on a bicycle.

    But when you go slow, when there's no gyro effect yet, this counter steering doesn't work and you need to push the left side, to make a right turn. Luckily, you don't need to consciously and continuously need to calculate when to switch between the 2 methods :-)

  • AndyPanda9
    AndyPanda9 Month ago +961

    Motorcycle enthusiasts hashed this all out 25 years ago in an internet group I belonged to (and I'm sure it was hashed out many times before that - I bet the Wright Brothers knew exactly how it works). The subject came up in the Motorcycle group because getting your motorcycle license had a question about how to turn - and to pass the test their answer was turn left by leaning left. We did similar experiments back then trying to lean a motorcycle that was modified so you couldn't counter-steer and it couldn't be done. Excellent job explaining it in this video - now a whole new generation can be amazed to learn about counter steering.

    • Alex McLeod
      Alex McLeod Month ago

      ​@flashpeter625 yes, you're right - but the rider has to counter-steer before the bike will lean at all, so yes, they're complementary effects.

      Once you're in a lean, the tyres are indeed tracing out a curved path, at ground level - but you have the combined momentum of bike & rider that still wants to go in a straight line, and the centre of mass is well above ground level. So your straight-line momentum pushes against the cornering lean, and if you're doing it right, you come out of the corner upright.

      Hypothetically, razor-thin tyres would still trace out a curved path as they leaned over (`cos if they leaned *all the way* over, they'd be on their side, only tracing out a circle), and the effects listed in the video would still apply - but they wouldn't be as good for motorcycle racing as fatter tyres. Fatter tyres allow tighter turns at greater speeds, for the reasons you mentioned: leaning them over decreases the radius of the turn by effectively decreasing the radius of the wheel. You'll also notice that most motorbikes have different tyre profiles for front & rear.

    • Brad Landers
      Brad Landers Month ago

      @flashpeter625 the profile of the tire affects cornering, but not quite in the way you describe. While it is true that tire diameter combined with RPM determines speed, that's not a factor that must be compensated for in a turn. For example, older motorcycles used a throttle lock (literally a device that held the throttle open) as a means of cruise control. You could ride around corners with the throttle locked, no problem.

    • John Collins
      John Collins Month ago

      @Jacob Zadnik Yep. Learned about this 20 years ago with a motorcycle lol

    • Arx_ca
      Arx_ca Month ago

      @Jacob Zadnik I think most people don't understand it much at all. They know it exists, but too many people seem to think it doesn't happen at low speeds, and most don't seem to know how it works, even if they know that it does.

    • Arx_ca
      Arx_ca Month ago +1

      @Dany F This is just a difference in perception. Even at very low speeds you're counter-steering to initiate the turn, but then you're easing up on the counter-steering force and letting bars turn further to cause the bike to self-correct through the curve.
      Next time you're in the middle of a corner at low speed, don't think about your handlebar angle, and instead notice where you're applying force. You'll still be pushing on the bar on the side that you're turning towards, exactly the same as when steering at higher speeds.

  • Rob Low
    Rob Low Month ago +1

    This is old news to motorcyclists but still amazing to have explained

  • Karma
    Karma Month ago

    Have y'all tried leaning first then steering? It works at most speeds.

    Also, if you stand on your legs as opposed to sitting on your butt, you can steer without losing balance as the bicycle moves away from you because your center of gravity on the bicycle is placed lower where the pedals are at instead of on the top where the seat is at.

    Great video. I guess I'm just surprised to find there's apparently the number of people who don't know how to ride a bike is higher than I thought.

    • XtreeM FaiL
      XtreeM FaiL Month ago +1

      You can't steer unstreerable bike.
      You can't move center of mass when you are on a bike unless you steer it.

    RTSRAZORBACK Month ago

    As a motorcyclist, I already knew about countersteering - but it's good to see it being made more aware! Because I remember when I was first told that you turn left to go right and right to go left and I basically said "well that's stupid and makes no sense" 😄

  • Adamzen
    Adamzen Month ago

    That is engineering for you. You don't need to know how it works, just that it works

  • Gus Martin
    Gus Martin Month ago +653

    This explains why I feel like I get stuck riding close to the edge of a sidewalk. I need to steer towards it first before I can steer away from it. I always thought this was some psychological barrier but it's just physics.

    • orsted 2k
      orsted 2k Month ago

      @XtreeM FaiL you ever let your bike rust so much that it can't naturally turn/steer to one side (right in my case), due to it needing extra strength? Well I have and I certainly did turn left a lot without counter steering to the right, which couldn't be done subconsciously anymore, same for turning right, only steering if I wanted a closer turn or wasn't going fast, due to steering right being a pain, and actually more dangerous.

    • orsted 2k
      orsted 2k Month ago

      @XtreeM FaiL idk if depends on the tires (got thick tires for mountain bikes) but it does make it turn, just like a skateboard whose wheels are locked facing one way.

    • XtreeM FaiL
      XtreeM FaiL Month ago

      @orsted 2k You can stand completely one side of a bike and lean bike at stupid angles, but that does not make bike to turn. You need to steer it.

    • sqwwrrwl
      sqwwrrwl Month ago

      What I'm denying is that from a perfectly balanced starting position is that you can shift your centre of mass horizontally. Once the bicycle is angled, then sure, you can.

    • interestedparty
      interestedparty Month ago

      @Litego, THAT is my entire point. I bet people would have been able to turn the bike more successfully if they had been riding without hands on the bars! They simply would have leaned in the direction of the desired turn. You don't need to turn the bars to the right in order to turn left. That simply expedites the lean. You can lean without turning the bars. Again, if you have ever steered a bike without hands on the bars, then you would know this.

  • William Simmons
    William Simmons Month ago

    I learned that back in the 80s while riding a street bike (motorcycle). To turn right, one turns the handlebars to the left (just a little) and vice versa.

  • Gray Ghost
    Gray Ghost 9 days ago +1

    Counter steering. It would throw me off at such a low speed too but it's so ingrained in me from riding 2 wheels my whole life. Bikes. Motorcycles... They told us in a safety class to practice counter steering at higher speeds to be able to dodge debris.

  • 80greaty
    80greaty Month ago +1

    I always noticed how i would turn the bike left to turn right when i was younger. Now it all makes sense

  • Abinash Pal
    Abinash Pal 13 days ago +1

    So in two wheelers, turning is a two step process, 1st you have to lean in that direction by rotating handel in opposit durection(countersteering) which taks the vehicle to opposit direction transiently & in 2nd step because of the shift in center of mass to turning side the vehicle turns in that direction.

  • Ross Petersen
    Ross Petersen Month ago +1661

    Now you and Destin can go on bike rides together

    • TheSnowman
      TheSnowman Month ago

      @Pratyaksh its different. destins had revers steering. dereks has one way steering. they wwere also trying to figure out different things and taught different concepts.

    • Jonathan S
      Jonathan S Month ago

      I tried Destin's bike once years ago at a talk in Australia. Very Very Tricky... Wonder if he still has the skill?

    • roboslug
      roboslug Month ago

      New reverse steer lockout bike. Nice

    • kc freeman
      kc freeman Month ago

      Love that I was thinking this and it was the first comment 🤣

    • David Jamerson
      David Jamerson Month ago

      This comment wins the video! I remember the video referenced and thought it was also awesome!