Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500


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WingAdmin
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Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:43 pm



I've never been all that impressed with the slow-speed front-end handling of my GL1500. It's a big, heavy bike, and it is approaching the limits of what a standard telescoping fork suspension can handle. Riding diagonally over the curb up onto my driveway at home, you could feel flexion in the front end.

Inexplicably, Honda designed the GL1500 so that the inner fork tubes were held in place with the upper triple tree clamps, while the lower sliders were fastened together solely using the wheel axle. The entire stability of the front fork system is dependent on those three items, which means any free play with the sliders or bushings internally is amplified as a "wobbly" unstable feel - particularly at slow speed. The only resistance against fork tube torsional movement is the axle clamped in to the bottom of the fork legs.

The universal fix for this is a fork brace. One of the most common and best-selling fork braces is the Superbrace. I purchased and installed a Superbrace on my GL1500 a number of years ago:

GL1500 Superbrace
GL1500 Superbrace


This improved the perceived low-speed "wobble" vastly - particularly when hitting bumps in low speed turns. The wobble wasn't gone, but it was definitely diminished. I've been riding with this brace for years now. I also rebuilt my front forks, replacing the springs, sliders, bushings, seals and other wear items, to ensure the forks themselves were in top shape.

I had heard about a small company producing a different fork brace for the GL1500, called the Blackwing brace. It is a high-quality aluminum billet that has been CNC milled to exacting tolerances:

Top of the Blackwing Fork Brace
Top of the Blackwing Fork Brace


It differs from the Superbrace in a couple of important ways:

It fits between the forks, instead of on top. This means that the chrome cover that is lifted up a few mm due to the height of the Superbrace now sits down flush like it is intended to.

The Superbrace fits against the rounded portion of the forks and is bolted in place to prevent the inward flexion of the forks. It also holds the forks from rotating (torsional resistance) due to the bolts themselves. However, this torsional resistance is limited to the tolerances between the bolts and the brace itself. As it turns out, this small amount of tolerance still allows a slight amount of torsion in the fork lowers, which is the cause of the wobble I was feeling. This torsion occurs when one fork leg moves ahead of the other, which also causes the wheel to steer one way or the other - while the handlebars remain motionless.

Superbrace Installed
Superbrace Installed


On the other hand, the Blackwing brace is machined to fit exactly against the fork castings and prevent both lateral flexion as well as torsion of any kind. It does not depend on the bolt-to-brace interface to prevent torsion, instead it utilizes a very high-tolerance fit between the brace and the fork castings itself to do this:

Bottom of the Blackwing Fork Brace
Bottom of the Blackwing Fork Brace

Edge of the Blackwing Fork Brace
Edge of the Blackwing Fork Brace


Once installed, you can see how it both sits much lower than the Superbrace, and braces against the fork lower castings, to prevent torsional rotation:

Blackwing Brace Installed
Blackwing Brace Installed


In fact, the tolerances between the brace and the fork lowers is so close that the Blackwing brace needs to be put in the freezer beforehand to very slightly contract it before installation.

All of this is very nice, but how well does it work?

Well I am pleased to say that the improvement of the Blackwing brace over the Superbrace is significant. The wobble/instability of the front suspension on my GL1500 is now all but nonexistent. Handling at low speeds is solid and confidence-inspiring, and high-speed swerving feels much more solid. The tendency of my GL1500 to enter a hands-off speed wobble when decelerating through about 35 mph has been severely reduced - I have to REALLY diverge the front wheel (i.e. swerve hard) for it to do this, whereas before all it would take was a small bump on the road.

High speed handling when in a curve or turn is also significantly improved, particularly when encountering bumps or imperfections in the pavement. The somewhat loose feeling of the front end in these situations now feels tight and confidence-inspiring.

I can highly recommend the Blackwing brace. The Superbrace was a definite improvement over stock, but the Blackwing improves the front suspension even more.

The Blackwing brace can be found on eBay, where it is sold by the manufacturer: Blackwing Fork Brace



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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby Aussie81Interstate » Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:43 pm

Saw a video of this last weekend - it looks impressive and appears very easy to install.

Have to check this a bit further.

thanks for the write up. :)

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:18 am

I have to add one more comment to my review: Last night on my way home from work, I was on a high-speed ramp from one highway to another, a large, two-lane, sweeping, constant-radius curve that can be taken at fairly high speeds if there is no traffic. I was on that ramp doing 70-75 mph last night, when I realized something: the bike felt AMAZINGLY solid when I hit bumps in a high speed turn. What I thought was the normal way this bike handled, was in fact instability from unwanted fork movement. I had come to expect a bit of movement and instability every time the suspension was compressed when in a curve like this - but the bike was extremely solid.

I'm SO pleased with this fork brace. I should have made this modification ages ago.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:01 pm

I sent an email to the creator/manufacturer of this brace, and he said my assumption about limiting rotational torsion via the brace-to-fork-casting interface is responsible for the majority of the stability augmentation provided by the brace. He did however say that there is one other reason for the stability - and this also accounts for its superior performance over the Superbrace - if you look at the top of the Blackwing brace, all the holes for the machine screws are countersunk:

Top holes
Top holes


The machine screws used to fasten the brace to the internal fender bracket are flathead screws, and self-center, holding the brace in place and preventing rotation:



A simple design, but it works very well.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby dingdong » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:38 am

Thank you! Nice to know. I have been aware if this brace for sometime now but had no clue if it was really better or just hype. I currently have the Super Brace and have the same bad handling that you speak of. Have to start saving my pennies.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby wingman12 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:57 am

Good morning everyone. I Thought I would put my 2 cents into this subject. Just after I purched my new out of the box, I noticed it had a front end wobble from time to time and did feel comfortable with this condition. While I was nosing around a goldwing parts site ( chrome world) I stumbled upon this fork brace, I did eventually buy it, ( i do remember what it was called back then). To make a short story long :lol: , I have had this set up for about 14 years and have been very satisfied and never had a front wobble since. I Did put in progress fork springs last winter and even made the bike more stable and very little if any diving in fast hard cornering. In my opinion the fork is well worth the investment. :D :D

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby raven41951 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:52 pm

OK, Based on these raves, I purchased a Blackwing Fork Brace and it arrived last weekend when I was leaving for the race. When starting to remove the fork cover, it appears to have 10mm hex bolts and not the 6mm Allen (socket) bolts described in the instructions and shown on the video. Anyone else have these? I tried every socket I have and nothing fits. There was a nice hand written note on the BOL, but that and two bucks...

I ran into this problem on my shadow ACE with the sparkplugs. You need a very thin wall deep socket to get the plug/bolt out. As half my tools are at the store and as always the half I need are at home, this will have to be continued after I grind one of the sockets down to fit. Now I move one grinder to the store. More needless space taken up. I think I could make a living supplying the specialty tools needed for a Wing.

I can't believe no mention of this has been made as this item has been available for so long. Sorry for being .itchy but I have surgery coming up and I hoped to have the bike ready when I was healed so I could go for a nice long ride. Maybe even 100 miles would help but I have a 1,000 mile trip in mind.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby wingman12 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:26 pm

good evening Raven, I have a 99 1500SE, I will take a look when I get home where I have some tools, but looking the only (2) allen screws I have are for the plastic decretive cover that sets on top of the blackwing brace. If my memory is not failing me, the brace is actually 2 pcs and held together with 4 10mm hex bolts and a standard deep well worked fine for me. I will double check tho because it has been a couple of months since I had to take it off when I redid the front forks. I did find it a little easier to loosen the pinch bolts and the axle bolt to give a little extra room for placing the brace in loosely, then torque the axle bolt and the pinch bolts and then tighten down the brace. :D :D

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby wingman12 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:18 pm

Me again Raven, I have the exact same one, the two differences are, mine is about 15 years old and it is called " super brace". The 4 hex bolts that hold everything together are 11mm, I used my small 1/8 ratchet and socket and it was a pic of cake. If you use the 1/4 drive socket it will not fit in the bolt hole. Good luck and I hope this will releave some of the "raveing " :D :D

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:01 am

raven41951 wrote:OK, Based on these raves, I purchased a Blackwing Fork Brace and it arrived last weekend when I was leaving for the race. When starting to remove the fork cover, it appears to have 10mm hex bolts and not the 6mm Allen (socket) bolts described in the instructions and shown on the video. Anyone else have these? I tried every socket I have and nothing fits. There was a nice hand written note on the BOL, but that and two bucks...

I ran into this problem on my shadow ACE with the sparkplugs. You need a very thin wall deep socket to get the plug/bolt out. As half my tools are at the store and as always the half I need are at home, this will have to be continued after I grind one of the sockets down to fit. Now I move one grinder to the store. More needless space taken up. I think I could make a living supplying the specialty tools needed for a Wing.

I can't believe no mention of this has been made as this item has been available for so long. Sorry for being .itchy but I have surgery coming up and I hoped to have the bike ready when I was healed so I could go for a nice long ride. Maybe even 100 miles would help but I have a 1,000 mile trip in mind.


My Superbrace used the 10mm hex head bolts, as shown in the very top picture of the first message - and you do need a somewhat thin-walled socket to access them. Is this what you were referring to?

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby raven41951 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:52 pm

Now I am wondering if a PO had installed a superbrace. I'll have to get it apart to check but that is going to have to wait. After I have healed enough from surgery I will do some surgery of my own and let you all know what happened. I don't expect it will be until very late August. Thanks for the feedback.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby DarthJ » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:04 pm

Took a look at my 1500 to see if the PO had a brace installed. Nope, so I shall be ordering one of these and changing the springs as well. One irritation that I noticed: the cover had apparently been held on with silicone as the places where the 10mm hex bolts would hold it down were broken. Only thing I hate worse than re-doing a good job is having to re-do a **** job in the same **** manner. I'd leave the cover off for now, but my school parking pass is on it.
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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby Kactus59 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:04 am

I hadn't noticed that there is or was any wobble or tough handling with my 98 1500SE. I always feel that my bike has responsive handling in and out of the corners. My previous bike 1986 vt1100c shadow took corners beautifully and I remember when I switched over to the wing I had to really be more aggressive when going into corners. I guess I will look closely as to what is bolted there now and pay a bit more attention to the feel of the handling to see if I have just got used to " substandard" handling. Is there tell tale markings anywhere that will let me know if there is a stock brace installed or that I already have an aftermarket product. I appreciate all the help and insights that this site brings to the motorcycling comunity, thanks for being here!

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby FM-USA » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:34 am

I did a GOOG-Search on this blackwing fork brace and found nothing. Are they discontinued?
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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby wingman12 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:28 am

google for "superbrace) lots of information. :D :D

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby wingman12 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:34 am

here is information from the first thread from wingadmin concerning the blackwing brace. The Blackwing brace can be found on eBay, where it is sold by the manufacturer: Blackwing Fork Brace

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Blackwing Brace

Postby Ray Aube » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:47 am

I agree with WingAdmin re his comments about the blackwing brace. I ordered one on Ebay and installed it two years ago and it's been great.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby Firea100 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:09 pm

Can't seem to find any info on the Blackwing Fork Brace on eBay or by Googling it.
Can anyone provide a website or other info on them?
Thanks,
Larry in East China Mi.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby FM-USA » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:37 pm

OOOOOooooh I was in Ebay "Motorcycle parts" searching, nothing there.
Did whole site search all and found it.
$55.00

Do understand the reason why Honda made there OEM brace a little flexible.
I found out and it saved me the cost of new forks.
"OIL CHANGE?" _FM 07-2009
Know its new taste and be loyal, you'll know when to change that oil.
Taste testing as the miles flow, souring as that acid grows.
And don't flirt with dirt or darkened oil, all the faster your engine will spoil.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby wingman12 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:39 pm

go to the top of this thread and click on the highlighted link that wingadmin created and it will take you right to ebay and you can do the same thing I just did and order up one for $55. :D :D

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby Firea100 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:54 pm

Thank You,
I tried earlier and it wouldn't come up. Tried it just now and got it! Thank you for the help!
Larry in East China Mi.

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Re: Blackwing Brace

Postby Firea100 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:39 pm

Ordered mine a few minutes ago. Putting it on my 1988 GL1500 Motor Trike. Can't wait to get it and try it out!

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Re: Blackwing Brace

Postby Ray Aube » Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:19 pm

Recommend you chill it prior to installation as per the instructions. I didn't put mine in the freezer and it was tight to install; I believe that had I chilled it, it would have dropped in place. I'm sure you'll be very happy with it.

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Re: Blackwing Brace

Postby Firea100 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:00 pm

Thanks for the heads up on the chilling of the part. Noted.

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Re: Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500

Postby blackwing lady » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:35 pm

Hi All;
We were so happy to see the Review of our Blackwing Fork Brace for GL1500 1988 TO 2000, for all models. We are very proud of our product.
I understand some had trouble finding us today. There are the 2 ways to buy it.


1. $50.00 on face book at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blackwin ... 0646503007 leave me your phone number and I will send you a bill from paypal

2. $55.00 on Ebay and search for Honda Goldwing GL 1500 FOR YEARS 1988 -2000 Fork Stabilizer Brace

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