Steve Domahidy has been busy since we last caught up with him. Not only has he and Viral been living a bit of the nomadic lifestyle in search of a permanent place to call home, but Steve’s been hard at work with updates, new components, and even their first new model since launching the company. Now calling Bend, Oregon their home, the unique brand is doubling down on their gearbox design with two bikes now that make use of the new Pinion C1.12 gearbox.
For gearbox hold outs, the move to a C1.12 is a pretty important distinction. The new version of the Pinion internal gear box is lighter thanks to a magnesium body (nearly half a pound), but it also has a narrower q-factor (166mm) and chainline (50mm). Equipped with 12 gears, you have a 600% gear range with 17.7% gear steps.
You’ll find that new gearbox on both of the Viral bikes including the reworked Skeptic. As Viral’s original model, the new Skeptic moves to a more Enduro focused geometry that is longer, lower, slacker, and more stable. Built around a 130-150mm fork with 29″ or 27.5+ wheels and tires, the Skeptic runs a 65.5° head tube angle and 75.5° seat tube angle with a 140mm fork. Coupled with the narrower q-factor, the new Skeptic should be a welcome improvement.
Along with the reworked Skeptic, the new Dérive is the result of many requests for a bikepacking specific version of the Skeptic. On the surface, it looks just like the Skeptic, but you’ll find a completely different geometry that is designed around a 120mm travel fork with a 66.5° head tube angle and a slightly higher BB. You’ll also find a full complement of mounts with fender mounts, rear rack mounts, three water bottle mounts, and a top tube gas tank style mount. Since it’s built around the 120mm fork, you should also be able to find rigid forks to swap in if you’d rather ditch the suspension.
Like the Skeptic, the Dérive is made from triple butted titanium, and runs Boost 148mm spacing, a 30.9 dropper compatible seat tube, and internal tapered head tube. Tire clearance is 27.5 x 3.0″ or you can also run 29″ wheels and tires. Frame weight it said to be 4.25lbs for the medium which includes the gearbox. Priced at $4,495 for the frame and drivetrain kit, the Dérive is the same price as the Skeptic and includes the Pinion C1.12 gearbox, CNC cranks, 12 speed shifter, alloy gates cogs, and a Gates CarbonDrive belt.
Free Industry 9 Wheels!
As an added bonus, if you pre-order your Skeptic or Dérive between now and the end of August, Viral will comp you a set of Industry 9 wheels built to your specifications. Not just a plain black set. Instead, they’ll cover up to $1265 worth of i9 goodness in either 29 or 27.5+, built to your specifications including custom colors, etc. It’s possible that your choice of upgrades may exceed the $1265 cap, at which case you’d have to cover the difference. In order to qualify, you have to pre-order the frame kit with a 50% deposit.
In other Viral news, the brand is working on their own line of carbon components including one piece bar/stems and carbon rims in 27.5 and 29″. Still in the prototype phase, the bars will likely be 800mm wide with a 9° back sweep and 5° up sweep (with a 65.5° headtube angle), and a 35mm stem length with 15mm rise. Claimed weight is 270g and these should sell for $300 once available.
The carbon rims are listed as having a 38mm internal width and 470g weight for the 27.5″ version, and likely a $500 retail. Viral points out that their crash replacement policy will be very aggressive to give customers the confidence to run carbon rims without the worry of a huge price penalty should they run the bike into the garage or come up short on that double.
If you don’t get in on the preorder, bikes should be available this fall, with complete builds a possibility.