Richard Merwin’s Rolling Neon Sign
Glow sticks, Hyper Color shirts, hunting, all night diner signs, and bad 80s fashion; what do all these things have in common? Neon. Colors may come and go with the times, but there’s no denying the impact that neon has had on pop culture. Love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny the impact these magical colors have. Richard Merwin has seen bikes come and go in all shapes and sizes from working at the frontlines of a Harley-Davidson dealer. When it came time to build the bike of his dreams, it was either go loud or go home.
What was your inspiration for building the bike?
RM: The bike is painted with a tattoo flash style theme and was inspired by my love for tattoo artwork. I powdercoated the entire motor gloss black with the neon yellow highlights as well as the majority of all the parts to match the rest of the bike. This bike is definitely one of a kind. From the color to the overall appearance, it is very recognizable. I can’t go anywhere without someone stopping me to talk about it.
HB: Why did you build a bike so different from the usual black and chrome?
RM: I work for Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson. I mainly had the bike built to show off what can be done in our new Skips Customs Department. I wanted to show that you can take a bike from stock and turn it into your dream bike. All it takes is a little imagination and time, and the possibilities are virtually endless. I wanted to be totally different from the norm. When you think Harley-Davidson, you think of some old burly biker dude that has a cut-off T-shirt, farmer’s tan, and a bar and shield tattoo. I’m not bashing on the old dudes, I always wanted to be a “bad ass biker” when I was a kid, but I’m young. I want to show that us young folk can come into the game to and keep things fresh. I mean who paints a Harley neon yellow? I do!
HB: How did you find the bike and what kind of shape was it in?
RM: The bike was actually a clapped-out trade-in at our dealership. It was a FXDB in need of some serious love. Someone went out of their way to put every chrome accessory in the book on it, and huge nasty 18-inch ape hangers. The motor was roached out and had multiple internal problems. So bad in fact, that the bike was on its way out for auction when I said, “Wait! I can bring this thing back to life!”
HB: What was the most challenging part of the build?
RM: Not letting everyone’s opinions get in the way of my original goal and vision. When I would tell people what I envisioned for the finished product, they all doubted me and said that it wouldn’t look good and I should reconsider. So brushing off those comments was definitely tough because it had me second-guessing myself. Thankfully, I stuck with my original plan and did everything the way I wanted from the start, and when it was all said and done, everyone gave their praises saying how good it turned out and how surprised they were when they saw it. That alone, knowing that I shocked everybody, made it all worth it.
Bike Owner Richard Merwin
Shop Name Skip Fordyce Harley Davidson
Shop Website skipfordyce.com
Year/Make/Model 2006/H-D/Dyna Street Bob FXDBi
Fabrication Alvie Medlin
Assembly Alvie Medlin/Richard Merwin
Build Time 24 days
Year Manufacturer 2006 H-D
Type/Size 88 ci Twin Cam
Builder Alvie Medlin
Cylinders H-D powdercoated
Heads H-D Ported/Polished & powdercoated
Rocker Boxes H-D powdercoated
Air Cleaner Arlen Ness Big Sucker w/ Performance Machine cover powdercoated
Exhaust Modified Thunder Header (Shortened 6” and then Jet Coated Semi-Gloss Black)
Clutch Screamin’ Eagle Clutch Kit
Year/Manufacturer 2006 H-D w/ Storz Performance Steering Stabilizer
Manufacturer Front Progressive Suspension
Triple Trees Powdercoated
Manufacturer Rear Progressive Suspension powdercoated
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Front/Type OEM Mag Wheel powdercoated & pinstriped
Manufacturer Rear OEM mag wheel powdercoated & pinstriped
Color Neon Fluorescent Yellow
Painter David Gonzalez of Inland Customs in San Bernardino, CA
Graphics Tattoo Enthused Airbrushing done by Matt Hutcheson in Riverside, CA; Pinstriped by Wild Bill
Fender Struts Dyna Switchback Strut Covers (no holes)
Gas Tank & Cap H-D Flush Mount Gas Cap and Gauge
Handlebars Todd’s Cycle 8-inch Risers w/ 2-inch riser extensions, LA Choppers MX Bars, Renthal MX Bar Pad
Hand Controls All powdercoated, Renthal MX Grips
Footpegs Joker Machine MX Footpegs/Shifter Peg
Headlight OEM Headlight Bucket, w/ HID Internals
Taillight Küryakyn Panacea taillight painted black
License Mount Drag Specialties flush fender mount
Seat OEM Dyna FXDB Seat, Custom Reupholstered with perforated leather, and neon yellow double cross stitching by Henry Rodriguez Upholstery in Riverside, CA