Having had the opportunity to ride on the back of her dad’s Harley-Davidson when she was just 14 was all it took for Mercedes Raya to become a life-long biker herself. It was also all it took for her to become a life-long Harley-Davidson fan. Today, Mercedes has been motorcycling for over 20 years now, and has owned four different Harley-Davidsons in that time. Her latest bike, a custom 2016 Harley-Davidson Road Glide, is by far her favorite.
We ran into the self-described “Harley snob” and her custom bagger at the 2022 AIMExpo back in January this year, where Mercedes was kind enough to walk us through the different aspects of her sweet-looking bike.
“I’ve been riding since I was 17,” Raya told us. “My dad bought me my first bike, which was a Harley-Davidson Dyna. I actually rode it to high school graduation. Since then, I’ve completely immersed myself into the motorcycle world. Over the course of 20 years, I’ve done eight Sturgis Rally’s, ridden through countless states, and along with my dad, I’ve ridden hundreds of thousands of miles. This is my passion and my life.”
Her custom Road Glide was on display at AIME in the Brands That Shine booth. Mercedes told us that the bike started as just a stock, black 2016 Harley and over the course of the last four years it’s been upgraded almost everywhere with a lot of the work done by Mercedes herself and some help from others.
“This bike could not have been built without the help of so many different people,” Raya says. “I’ve upgraded basically everything on this bike. There’s not a stock part left on it. The front end is an Arlen Ness with brand new lowers. Santoro Fabworx did my front crash bar and IMZZ Elite did my rear crash bar. I’ve got a Klock Werks windshield and fairing, as well as Diamond Lane Cycles tubes, Baja Designs front lights, Legend suspension and Race Tech suspension in the front. I also have S&S fueling parts in the motor and a Saddlemen seat. I could go on and on.”
Mercedes also teamed up with Jessica Shine of Brands That Shine, which represents a number of industry brands. That partnership translated into Mercedes’ custom Harley also getting equipped with a Sawicki Speed Shop exhaust and a pair of INNOV cameras hidden nicely on the bike.
“I have a front and rear camera,” she says. “I installed them because, yes, you get cool video when you ride. I want the memories. However, most importantly, if you’re in a bad situation or in an accident or a policeman is behind you – it’s very helpful to have these cameras to help you be aware of your surroundings.”
To help make all the custom aspects of this bike really pop, Mercedes opted for an alluring red, black and white paint job with pinstripe cutouts and accents on the engine’s cylinder heads and piping. The paint really sets off what is already an attractive Road Glide.
“I got a few red accents because honestly red is my favorite color,” she says. “I have two painters. One is Hot Dog Kustoms, and he’s extremely well known in the industry and based in Temecula, CA. My other painter is in Vegas and her name is Amber Harrison and she’s an up-and-coming entrepreneur painter who runs Average Arts. She’s self-taught and has done an amazing job. She also painted my helmet.”
If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected].