Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Wikipedia on Motorcycles
Wikipedia, the free-content, user supported, online encyclopedia, has a great entry on motorcycles that's worth a read. Included is a decent, if not akwardly technical, explanation of countersteering.
Gyroscopic precession of the front wheel is one of the phenomena that cause both counter-steer, and steering by leaning. The turning wheel rotates the effect of a force applied to the wheel by ninety degrees. So, counter-steer happens because pressing on the left handlebar applies a rightward force on the front of the wheel, and a leftward force on the back of the wheel. The wheel's motion is rotated ninety degrees: the top of the wheel (ninety degrees from the back) moves left, leaning the bike. Leaning the bike left causes the front of the wheel (ninety degrees from the top) to steer to the left.
In the same entry, I found the brief commentary on the Harley-Davidson model naming convention to be downright funny.
Harley Davidson has a unique naming scheme that has evolved over the company's existence. It's incredibly complex, convoluted, and confusing to anyone who isn't steeped in "Harley" lore. In their defense HD as a company has come quite long way in simplifying this even while their motorcycles retain the same basic design they utilized in the 1950s.
(Emphasis added.) Disagree with anything in the entry? Sign up to edit it yourself!

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