Viral announced the latest iteration of their gearbox-driven Skeptic and Dérive mountain bikes. While similar in appearance, the Skeptic has enduro-focused geometry, whereas the Dérive is ready-made for bikepacking. If you pre-order now and put down 50%, you also receive a free set of Industry 9 wheels, valued at $1,355.

2020 Viral Skeptic & Dérive

Oregon-based Viral is continuing to grow their reach – and dedication to the Pinion gearbox system. Though the bikes themselves haven’t changed mechanically since we took a close look last year, the frame finish has – finally offering bare titanium, without paint for ti purists. Check out the press release below for full details on their 2020 offerings…


Bend, OR – Since Viral’s inception in 2016, they’ve laser focused their products producing only mountain bikes with Pinion gearboxes. Their first model was the Viral Skeptic, an all-mountain hardtail built around a 29” or 27.5+ wheel and a 150mm travel fork. The Skeptic was built for those hard charging days but it’s triple butted titanium frame and Pinion gearbox coupled with Gates CarbonDrive belt system meant the Skeptic was also a bomb proof, end of world, last bike you’d ever need to buy, endurance machine.

Naturally, the next best fit for such a bike would be to steer the geometry and spec’s towards bikepacking. Last year, Viral introduced the Dérive, their ‘bikepacking’ specific model. This bike really is the go-to, all out, do-everything bike and quickly became the most popular model in the small Viral line. The Dérive has taken it’s riders virtually around the world and has seen some of the most interesting builds, with forks ranging from rigid, to the super light Lauf carbon fork, to the new Trust Message linkage fork, the Dérive is simply the most versatile bike frame every built.

To date, all Viral Bikes have had the signature two-tone paint scheme, with raw titanium on the rear triangle and paint and color to liven things up on the front triangle. Viral has had a lot of success with their color options and every year the new paint schemes are an anticipated launch event.

For 2020, the Viral Dérive and Skeptic will be offered, for the first time, in raw titanium with bead blast logos. “We love our painted bikes,” says Viral’s founder Steve Domahidy, “but the number one request we’ve gotten over the last three years is ‘is it available in just raw ti?’ So, we decided 2020 was the year to make that happen.”

The new Viral Skeptic and Dérive frames are changing in appearance only, the remaining spec’s and geometry carry over from last year. Features such as routing for a stealth dropper post cable, low standover and short seat tube (for longer dropper post capability per size), to a direct mount 180mm rotor mount for the sliding drops are all features that carry through for 2020.

The pre-order special continues Viral’s tradition with customers putting 50% down now and receiving a free set of Industry 9 wheels of their choice (valued at $1,355). Price of the wheels includes an Industry 9 system wheelset in standard black anodized. Customers can upgrade to any wheelset they choose and just pay the difference in price. Frames and wheels will be delivered in mid-May.


        • toomanypuppies on

          Gucci parts add up, but agreed, $4500 is a tough sell for a hardtail these days – Pinon or not. To me, the Derive doesn’t scream bikepacking when you can buy a Trek 1120 for about half. With racks. Complete.

    • Shannon Trainer on

      The Pinion system cost more than a derailleur system, weighs more,than a derailleur system, and is it harder to shift-especially under load, and requires a special frame. Sounds like they create more problems than it solves.

      • Tim on

        Mostly true, except for the part about shifting under load. I cruised around a Pinion bike and tested it to see its ability to shift under load; it was actually fine. Granted, this was a parking lot test, but it was not awful by any means.
        There are pluses- less maintenance (like, nearly none), and a lower unsprung weight. Those things are important for some people.

  1. Sven on

    A fair point, and not Pinon’s (or Domahidy’s)fault: with the advent of e-bikes, everyone and their sister is going to see your very expensive gearbox bike and think you’re on an e-bike, call you lazy, cheater, whatever.

    Bad timing, but it is what it is. : /

  2. Kay on

    I’ve had my eye on these for a while. Dialed geo, minimal maintenance, Titani-YUM! But that price…Ouch. I’m seeing $1800-$2000 for the TI-wanese frame, maybe $1500 for the Pinion, another hundy for the belt and cog. All totaled, that’s a far cry from the asking price of $4500. Those i9s are simply part of the price, not an early buy-in promo IMHO. If the i9s had full carbon rims and choice of colors (why tease with the photo?!), or if was an ONYX hub (as pictured) laced to carbon hoops… Sorry Domahidy, will have to pass yet again this year again. Bummer.


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