‘83 GL1100 Fork Brace Stiffener (GL1200's too!)


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bruce swaybill
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:26 pm
Location: farmington, ct
Motorcycle: 1983 gl1100i interstate

‘83 GL1100 Fork Brace Stiffener (GL1200's too!)

Postby bruce swaybill » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:21 pm



‘83 GL1100 Fork Brace Stiffener

After reading the review of the Blackwing Fork Brace for the GL1500 that WingAdmin graciously shared with us last fall, I was curious if there was something available to improve my ’83 GL1100. Having an endless supply of money and time (LOL), I searched on eBay and found something: A stiffener to augment the original fork brace from Pleasant Grove Power Sports for, I think, $27. I installed it last fall, but only now (3/3/16) have gotten around to writing about it.

It consists of a 0.1 inch thick stainless steel plate, cut to fit within the original aluminum brace and is secured by the supplied longer set of screws in the original screw holes of the slider. Installation is quick and visually difficult to see.

The improvement is quite noticeable and worth doing.

Some History:

In the early ‘80’s, during my summers between semesters of college, I worked at the Honda dealer in Newburgh, NY. I rode / tested / went AWOL on all kinds of bikes that the dealer serviced, sold and took in trade, including Gold Wings which I enjoyed to ride but was put off buy their price tag. One of my favs from the trades was a two-tone green ’75 Kawasaki KH750 H2, a two stroke triple with tuned pipes. It was the quintessential color for an H2 and it was loud a hell and rode like the nastiest bike I had ever sat on – at 20 years old I was in love (yeh, yeh, I know, I fell in love easily back then, but the ’78 Honda Hawk and ’79 Triumph Bonneville in my garage never learned of my affair with the Kaw…).

It was great fun, but like most great loves, it had a dark side … One, it got lousy millage, about 20mpg, which I learned hard way when its 4 gallon tank went dry while climbing Storm King Mountain on US 9W just north of West Point. Great road, awesome views of the Hudson Valley, but miles from any help…. All this happened while I was still “on the clock” back at the Dealer… Fortunately, I had enough speed going uphill to coast to a scenic overlook parking area. As I began to walk south towards Highland for help, a biker saw me with my helmet and stopped to share some gas with me. I never told anyone about that incident … until now…

Two, it had a nice wobble in high speed curves. You could fiddle with the silly steering damper all day, but it didn’t help. The fork didn’t shake and shimmy as some people report with their Gold Wings. With the H2, this shake was known to become very unstable quite easily, which is what the damper was meant to prevent. Instead, it just felt soft hitting bumps while leaned over. Many people added fork braces to help this feeling, but that bike didn’t have one….

Fast forward to Today:

So, after 26 years away from the hobby, in 2013 I buy a ’83 Interstate found on eBay just 12 miles away. When I first sat on it, I got that warm feeling you get when you shake the hand of a good friend you lost touch with long ago.

My ’83 Wing has a similar wobble in some cases. Now I live in central CT. Any rider familiar with I84 West in the Plainville area where Rt 72 West merges for a mile or so, then peels off to the right, while I84 peels to the left, can appreciate the feeling from the bridge joints on the curve as I84 passes over Rt 72 East. There seems to be rubber covers over the joints that smooth out the road surface. Sounds great, except they are slippery when hot! As you cross these leaned over at 70mph (I know the posted speed is 50…) your tires slip a little, first the front then then the rear. As they regain their grip the whole bike shakes. After each joint my Wing bounces a little vertically and laterally and the handle bars would oscillate left and right a few cycles. After four of them it is quite uncomfortable but it disappears once I straighten up.

Once installed, I really did not notice the effect of the brace stiffener … until I hit that curve! The softness that caused the lateral bounce seemed much better. The handle bars didn’t do anything. Yes, I still feel the joints but they don’t concern me anymore. The Wing seems as rock solid leaned over as it does straight up. The cost of this product is easily justifiable.

Some pix:

The Package:





On to Part 2...


Last edited by bruce swaybill on Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Have a nice day! :)

User avatar
bruce swaybill
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:26 pm
Location: farmington, ct
Motorcycle: 1983 gl1100i interstate

Re: ‘83 GL1100 Fork Brace Stiffener

Postby bruce swaybill » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:26 pm

In the drive way ...

The old and new screws



The fit of the stiffener








On to Part 3 ....
Last edited by bruce swaybill on Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Have a nice day! :)

User avatar
bruce swaybill
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:26 pm
Location: farmington, ct
Motorcycle: 1983 gl1100i interstate

Re: ‘83 GL1100 Fork Brace Stiffener

Postby bruce swaybill » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:34 pm

On the bike ...

Before and After...




Close- ups ...






Applying the "Five Foot Rule", can't see a thing !




This is too easy, too inexpensive, and works too well to pass up!

I'll see ya out there...
Have a nice day! :)


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