Got a question for Doc Robinson, our Technical Editor? Email Doc at

We know all our readers enjoy our Tech Torq section in HEAVY DUTY every issue. So to make sure you've always got plenty of Tech Torq at your fingertips we've provided last issue's Q&A's right here.

And if you just can't get enough why not purchase our Tech Torq Handbook which is totally devoted to Tech Tips and covers just about every Harley technical issue you can think of. Click here to order yours! 

Enjoy our tips!


Doc, I hope you can settle an argument between three mates. Jonno reckons Willie G designed the Softail from the ground up, but Mike reckons some private guy did and Harley copied it. I reckon I saw it in one of the old man’s bike mags way back in the ’70s, though it was much different. We agreed to let you make the call. I get a slab if I’m right!

– Lumpy

Well Lumpy, depending on how the situation is viewed, both Mike and you are right. Well, sort of. Bill Davis, an avid Harley rider and engineer from St. Louis, Missouri, designed a ‘Softail’ in the early 1970s and sold the rights to what he called his ‘Sub Shock Wide-Glide prototype’ to Harley-Davidson in 1982. And, as we all know, in 1984 Harley-Davidson began to manufacture its revised version of the Davis Softail. So Mike is right to a degree. But you are also right in that a company in the early 1970s produced a frame it called the ‘Softail’ but which ran plunger rear suspension, a system that originated prior to WWII. This set-up used small sprung, shock-
absorbing devices between the rear wheel and the rigid rear section. It was not a very good system. The image here is from a 1970 issue of Choppers magazine that I dug out of my magazine archives. It took so long to find I reckon we should split that slab three ways!

< Back
Klockwerks Jan 13 2 Mustang web 147 DNA 21214 IBBikeLift300x250 QBE 300x500p
© HEAVY DUTY MAGAZINE is solely owned by Bonza Media Pty Ltd. Proudly printed in Australia.
The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. All statements made, although based on information believed to be reliable and accurate, cannot be guaranteed and no fault or liability can be accepted for any error or omission. All material published in this magazine is copyright and cannot be reproduced, in part or whole, without the written permission of the Publisher. All rights reserved. Lawyers and other litigants smelling an easy earn should note: the staff and publishers of Heavy Duty can plead insanity very convincingly.
Website design by Craig Fryers (HEAVY DUTY magazine) and constructed by