Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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WingAdmin
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Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:57 am



I sent off a quick email to the technical guy at MCN after he told a Goldwing owner who had written in that fork braces "don't do much." I hadn't actually intended it for publication (otherwise I would have taken more time writing it) but...well, they did:

Motorcycle Consumer News letter
Motorcycle Consumer News letter

A PDF view: PDF version of page



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MikeB
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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by MikeB » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:08 pm

I'd really like to be able to read it. Guess I will have to re-subscribe to MCN.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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redbug
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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by redbug » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:43 pm

Stiff as a wet noodle? I liked that. Good job, and mcn is still published every month.
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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by joeincalif » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:26 pm

I know lots of riders use them but I have owned 7 Gold Wings from 1100's up to my last 2 1800's, never had a fork brace and never felt a need for one. I have rode wings with a brace and didn't really notice a difference. Just like the belly pan,. I bought one of those to try it and took it off after a couple thousand miles and sold it, the only thing it did was make it harder to change the oil.
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WingAdmin
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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:50 am

MikeB wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:08 pm
I'd really like to be able to read it. Guess I will have to re-subscribe to MCN.
That's a good idea to re-subscribe, but in the meantime, here's a a PDF view: PDF version of page

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WingAdmin
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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:04 am

joeincalif wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:26 pm
I know lots of riders use them but I have owned 7 Gold Wings from 1100's up to my last 2 1800's, never had a fork brace and never felt a need for one. I have rode wings with a brace and didn't really notice a difference. Just like the belly pan,. I bought one of those to try it and took it off after a couple thousand miles and sold it, the only thing it did was make it harder to change the oil.
I would have said the exact same thing. I figured my 1500 just "rode that way" because that was the limitation of the suspension and frame. I had done everything I could to tighten things up, I'd replaced rear shocks, replaced all bearings, replaced front springs, rebuilt front shocks & bushings, there was nothing else to change. I already had a Superbrace on the forks which helped with the low speed "wobble" (i.e. at parking lot speeds) but not much else. I just gave in and figured that's how it rode.

Then I had the opportunity to try the Blackwing brace. I had read glowing reviews from other GL1500 owners who tried it, I honestly didn't expect it to do much, after all, I already had a Superbrace on there.

But...it truly was like night and day. The mushy/wobblyness that I had come to take for granted simply disappeared, and the front end turned solid, particularly in high speed sweepers with bumps.

Far too many other GL1500 owners have reported the exact same experience here on this site after having installed the Blackwing brace for it to be coincidence. You can read some of them here: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=28654

Now that said...this is extremely poor timing for this article, because looking today at the Blackwing Facebook page today I saw this notice:

Blackwing Fork Brace Notice
Blackwing Fork Brace Notice

So unless someone else decides to buy the design and start making it, it looks like we're left with used units on eBay only - and they definitely don't come up for sale very often.

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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by MikeB » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:34 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:50 am
MikeB wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:08 pm
I'd really like to be able to read it. Guess I will have to re-subscribe to MCN.
That's a good idea to re-subscribe, but in the meantime, here's a a PDF view: PDF version of page
Thanks Scott.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by RockportDave » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:13 pm

After the great advice from Goldwingdocs, I purchased a Blackwing fork brace and after installing it, driving down my limestone driveway was a big difference. Before the brace the handlebars would try to leave my hands when hitting the larger rocks. After, I can feel the rocks, but the bike stays straight and very steady.
At higher speeds, the bike became more responsive when counter steering and feels steadier in curves.
It did cause my forks to bind when installed, so I used my Dremel to fine tune the fit and the binding went away.
I am a firm believer in the Blackwing.
Dave
1999 GL1500SE 5th Goldwing through the years

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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by Sadanorakman » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:07 am

Having just read the MCN article, it seems to me that the technical expert should be a little more 'open-minded' to what experienced GL1500 owners/riders say.

OK he admits his experiences are on bikes weighing less than half of the 1500, yet he also writes twice as many column inches as Scott in trying to justify technically where most flex occurs (upper forks), and why therefore a brace fitted to the lower forks achieves very little. I guess this is just another example in life where physical experience counters engineering physics/logic.

All I can say is well done Wingadmin for your letter. I have no experience of the Blackwing brace, but only hope I will be able to pick one up at some point second-hand. If only these were still in production!
There are two types of people in this world, those that can extrapolate from incomplete data,

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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by AZgl1800 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:50 am

All of engineering facts can be ignored.

I have installed fork braces on two 1500s, and the difference is immediately noticeable.
especially if you ride on gravel, or soft soils....
I have 6 acres of grass here, and my habit is to roll out of the shop, run off the edge of the concrete pad to the south, and go around the back side of the shop to the gravel driveway.

before, that was a very iffy thing to do. now it is just rock solid steering.

then I got my 1800 and it came with a fork brace... same thing, I back out and roll onto the grass and go riding.
~John

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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by Rednaxs60 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:40 pm

Just read the article and response in MCN. Interesting response. Tried to find the original article you mention, could not, not an issue. I have found that the 1200 and 1800 suffer from a twisting set of front forks as well. A better bracing system, or fork brace upgrade is a good idea when this is encountered. My 1500 came with a Superbrace installed so I have no experience without it. Looked for the Blackwing brace but as noted, not available.

It is necessary to separate the twisting of the front forks from a weak/soft/worn out suspension. A fork brace will not remedy the latter, but a suspension upgrade can help reduce fork twist by returning the suspension back to as close as possible to when the bike rolled off the assembly line. If there was fork twist at the onset, it will be there after a suspension upgrade.

Just a few more thoughts, and MHO.

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Re: Letter in Motorcycle Consumer News on fork braces

Post by Alesco » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:38 am

Hi there all and greetings from the Antipodes - yes that far flunf corner of the world known as "Godzone" aka New Zealand. :D
Now that I have ypur geographical attention - wondering please if some kind soul may be in a position to help me.
Recently I purchased a beautifully tidy and near unmarked GL1500 ( that awesome metalic red) to keep my Sweetheart on the back riding with me. ( she loves the colour and that comfy armchair she sits in !)
I've researched the low speed wobble these bikes have been known for and also that bit of a "wallow" under cornering - and have read up on the "Blackwing" fork brace and it seems to be the bees' knees in helping tidy up the front end flex.
However - it seems these braces are currently made of "unobtainium" and I'd love to fit one to my Wing.
Is there any body that would be in the position to tell me where I can get hold of one of these braces please?
I don't mind if it is a used item as long as it is in good order.
Any help would be much appreciated.
Regards to all
Alesco



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