When looking through my old Easyriders I bumped into this early advert of a Softail design named ‘Sub-Shock’ and designed by Bill Davis. This advert was placed in Easyriders magazine number 96, from June 1981.
When diving deeper into this design I ended up on the Wikipedia webpage and there the following text can be found:
“Bill Davis, an avid Harley rider and engineer from St. Louis, Missouri, designed the softail in the mid-1970s. His first design, which he worked on in 1974 and 1975, had a cantilever swingarm pivoted at the bottom and sprung at the top with the springs and shock absorber hidden under the seat. Davis then built a prototype based on his 1972 Super Glide. He patented the design and arranged to meet Willie G. Davidson August 1976. Davidson was impressed, but made no commitments, and six months later, said Harley-Davidson was interested but would not use the design at that time.
Davis continued to develop the design, switching the pivot and the springing points around so that the springs and shock absorber were under the frame and the pivot point was at the top of the triangular swingarm. This allowed the traditional Harley-Davidson oil tank to be placed under the seat. Davis attempted to produce the new design independently as the Road Worx Sub-Shock, but the partnership he had put together for this purpose collapsed. Harley-Davidson executive Jeffrey Bleustein contacted Davis shortly afterward and began negotiations to buy Davis’s design. Davis sold his patents, prototype, and tooling to Harley-Davidson in January 1982. After further testing and development, Davis’s design was introduced in June 1983 as the 1984 Harley-Davidson FXST Softail.”