All photos by Connor Stevens
Dave Paterson has formed quite the reputation the past few years with his website, The Merged. The ability to combine his knowledge of BMX product design and his advantage of the industry insider as a purchaser for Evans Cycles, there’s no denying that he has been on his game to introduce riders from around the world to the latest and greatest products in BMX. You would think that would mean he would have a completely dialed bike with all of the latest and greatest parts… Which thanks to a little help from his friends at BSD, Social Bike Co. and Fit, Dave was able to piece together a hell of a dialed new setup. We figured it would be a good time to take a closer look at his bike along with find out what else is new with him, so let’s take a closer look at this super clean unit and see what he had to say!
Name: Dave Paterson
Location: Brighton, UK
Years riding: 8
Frame: BSD The Raider 21″
Bars: WeThePeople Wham 9.2″
Fork: WeThePeople Patron 35
Stem: Social Freeloader Top Load
Grips: Zen by ODI with Odyssey Parends
Headset: Eclat Dual
Cranks: Fit 24mm Indent 165s
Pedals: Odyssey JCPC
Sprocket: Odyssey MDS 25t
Chain: BSD Forever
Seat / post / clamp: Social Shotgun Fat Seat, WeThePeople Post, Integrated clamp
Front Wheel / Tire: Eclat Dynamic Hub laced to an Eclat Jaw Rim with BSD Spokes and a 2.3″ Fit FAF Tire
Rear Wheel / Tire: Federal Freecoaster with magic insides laced to a Primo Balance Rim with Primo Spokes and another Fit FAF 2.3″ Tire
Pegs? Left them on the washing line.
Hub Guards? Nope
Brakes? Vans Halfcabs
Modifications: I used to have to modify my bike a heap but these days I only have to mess around with it a small amount to get it how I like it. I guess the main things would be the Bars which I cut down a tad to 28″ and trimmed the Fork steerer a wee bit as I just switched back to a tooload Stem and it was crazy high with 9.2″ Bars all the spacers underneath. I take the pins out of one side of my JCPC’s and run my Sprocket Guard on the inside, I do both of these things to help me out with pedal grinds and crankarm grinds. I’ve modded my freecoaster with a thrust bearing to eliminate some of the drag and milled the axle down a bit to give me more slack as I like that thing super loose. I also trimmed the axle on the back to keep it nice and tidy.
What’s the newest part on your bike?
To be honest the majority of it other than the back wheel is pretty new and within a month old. The frame and front wheel are probably the newest.
What’s the oldest part on your bike?
Oddly enough the Pedals are like 4 Years old. I’ve had to replace the halves on one side twice in all that time, but other than that they have outlasted everything else on my bike. Odyssey JCPC’s are the best pedals going, I can never really see my self riding anything else under my feet.
What do you go through the most?
Grips and Tires.
So you recently had the chance to build up this brand new bike. What would you say your top 3 favourite parts on it are?
Hard to say but probably the frame, cranks and freecoaster.
How are things going with it so far? Any opinions on some of the things you’re testing out?
I’ve been real fortunate enough to build up a fresh new ride recently. I’m riding the new David Grant signature Raider Frame from BSD. it’s actually the largest Frame I’ve ever ridden at 21″ and I couldn’t be happier with it. It has spot on angles, a nice tall standover and beefy tubing. I smashed it up pretty good trying to get a photo for this bike check and it just shook it off, it’s a proper bicycle Frame, not any of this scooter bullshit ha ha!
The homie Ben Ward at Fit hooked me up with a pair of the new 24mm Indent Cranks. These things are legit. They were super easy to install and are much stronger than anything else I’ve ridden so far. The large 24mm spindle makes them super stiff and with it being hollow they actually weigh less than many 19mm Cranks whilst being way more durable. I used to twist 19mm cranks, these I have complete faith in. I run them in the shorter 165mm size which works perfect for me. It could just be me but I think the shorter arms make hops and spins that bit easier, I’m really surprised more riders haven’t made the jump, especially for the dudes who ride street or ride more tech stuff.
I know you have changed your setup a fair amount to help keep things fresh. How is the pegless free coaster thing treating you?
I’ve been ridding a coaster for a few years now but I guess the main change was taking my pegs off. I grew up watching all the old Animal videos and always rode 4 pegs, I never thought I would take them off but as of late it all got a bit stale for me. I spent a month of last year living in Cali and it was my buddy Matt Nietschke who I was staying with that opened my eyes to the whole pegless grinding thing. That dude can do pretty much any peg trick going without the need for them, so in January I decided to mix it up and took them all off. It was weird at first but its been super fun relearning all the grinds I used to do but without pegs. I think there is so much potential for pegless tricks and your bike feels so much nicer without pegs or brakes. Less is more.
What do you think about all of the new free coasters that have been popping up lately? Any in particular you really are excited about?
It’s rad that a whole load more people are riding Freecoasters now, and that it’s pushing brands to improve on the design. The concept of a Freecoaster is pretty crazy, the axial loads of the clutch moving in and out in the modern coaster puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the bearings, way more than a regular cassette hub. It’s taken years for Hubs to be able to even come close to withstanding what riders are putting them through and I still don’t think there is a clear winner yet. The Ezra Coaster is neat but I think still needs some work on the durability of the pawls and the amount of slack you can run, but there is potential there for sure. In my opinion the coaster Im most excited about is the new Cult Freecoaster. It uses the classic KHE design that brands like Federal, Colony, Stranger, Alienation and a whole bunch of others use, but it has a tapered needle bearing in hub and needle bearing driver much like a Primo Mix Cassette, which drastically improves the durability of the bearings. The guys at Cult let me have a go on the prototype and took it apart for me to have a look inside. I really think it’s going to be the best one out for a good while and can’t wait to lace up a production version when it comes out later this year.
Actually, speaking of products in general, things with The Merged have been going real good lately, right? Care to drop some hints of projects you have cooking for the site? It sounds like you have way more than just being the first one to drop the latest products going.
The site is going really well, its grown an insane amount in the past year. We’re pretty much the go-to place for new products in BMX now, and I’m trying to build on that with much more original product content and stuff that people will actually be interested in reading. The site is updated multiple times daily, but were also working on a whole bunch of new stuff including a series of product reviews and exclusive product releases. We have an interview with David Grant about his new signature frame from BSD dropping soon which will be worth checking out, as well as a whole bunch of giveaways on our Facebook page where we’ve teamed up with a load of brands and we’re giving our readers a chance to win some of the new parts featured on the site. Be sure to hit us up on Facebook.com/TheMerged and be on the look out for all that and more.
Have you been filming or shooting anything lately?
Not for anything specific. Winter has been pretty harsh here and made it hard to go out and work on anything. Summer is on its way and Brighton has a a crazy new concrete park which is almost finished, so maybe I’ll get something together soon. I tried to get some new riding photos for this bike check, but I ended up eating it pretty bad on a pedal grind and smashed my ankle up good n’ proper. Bit of a bummer as I was looking forward to trying some new stuff for the camera but a few weeks off and ill be all good.
It sounds like you have some travel plans for 2013. Where are you hoping to get to?
After an epic time in Cali last year I can’t wait to get back there this year. I’ll be making the trip across the pond for Interbike again for sure, so hopefully I can survive that madness a second time round and fit a trip to Cali on the back of it. Trying to get a trip to Malaga sorted with my crew back home for the end of the year that would be sick.
A lot of people don’t know that you’ve been making some moves at your real job, Evans Cycles. How’s things going with that these days?
Things are going great at Evans. I’ve been working there for going on five years now, but as of recently I just got the job of BMX Buyer. Everyone has to have a day job to fund what they love and do, I’m one of the really lucky ones who gets to combine the two. I never thought I would ever end up working in the Bike Industry, let alone in BMX so I really do feel blessed to be doing what I’m doing. Evans is one of the largest cycling retailers in Europe and despite not being your local rider owned store, they have always has had a very strong BMX presence and supported the industry. The company is real cool, and are 100% stoked on BMX and let us riders in the company push it in the right direction. I get the opportunity to work with some really good people, and ride my Bike a hell of a lot. I couldn’t be more happy with how things and going and am looking forward to what else this year brings.
What have you been up to when you aren’t riding, working or starting up new BMX brands?
I guess as I spend most of my day around BMX its always good to take a break. I’m lucky enough to have a real decent group of friends in Brighton, whether we’re out riding together or getting loose in town they’re always a laugh to be around. I try to stay away from my computer as much as I can at the weekend, so I’m usually hanging with those dudes or chilling with my girlfriend.
Actually, let’s go back since I have a feeling a few people might not get that… What’s the story behind The Merged Bike Co.. How did people react to it when you pulled that prank?
Ha ha I knew this was coming. I decided to do an April fools joke up on The Merged claiming I was starting up my own parts brand and releasing 4 inch wide Tires. I googled Motorcycle Tire and put up a photo of a supposed prototype and long with a mock back story. My mate Mark at Bike Biz even put together a fake press release and everything, it was a bit of fun and a nice change of pace for the site. Most people found it funny and put two and two together but I did actually have a whole bunch of confused kids hitting me up and asking me for prices and a release date, few of them were actually pretty bummed when I told them it was a joke! Saying that, at this rate tires are increasing in size each year, 4 inch Tires are probably not too far around the corner…
Do you think you would ever be into actually running a brand some day or not so much?
I would be lying if I said I had never thought or toyed with the idea, but to be quite honest the market is flooded with new brands that have cropped up out of nowhere, and to succeed you’ve got to be 100% on it. I have so much on my plate right now that there really isn’t any time for me to even begin to start doing my own stuff. For the time being I think I’m gonna leave it up to the guys that are doing it best and doing it well. But never say never…
How can people keep up with you these days? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other social media?
Yeah you can subscribe to The Merged on Facebook to keep up to date with the very latest new product realises and info, we’re also on Twitter and Instagram @TheMerged.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Yeah, there is a whole load of good people who have helped me out this past year and deserve a massive thank you. Firstly shout out to everybody who visits and supports The Merged and what we do. Grant at BSD, Ben at Fit Bike Co and Rob & Adam at Social for all their help in keeping my bike dialled. Cheers to Matt Nietschke, Waldo, Kenny, Ethan, PJ, Dave Escobar and all the Goodfeelin homies in Cali for taking me in, putting up with my creepy british accent and showing me the craziest month of my life. Potter, Cooper, Luke, Lee and all the Brighton crew, Stu Read and all the guys at Evans Cycles, Yakob Swyer, Kurt for all his help and anyone else I’ve forgotten!
Anything else you want to say?
Rest in peace to my good friend Chris Isted.