Viral Bikes Launches New Skeptic & Dérive Pinion-Based Hardtails

Aug 29, 2018
by Steve Domahidy  


We've been busy over the past year. Since being founded in 2016 in Denver, Colorado, Viral Bikes has called Los Angeles and Portland home, and is now on the move again, this time to Bend, Oregon.

bigquotesPortland was a bit of an experiment to getting Viral closer to a really solid cycling community, and while Portland is an amazing city for bicycles, it’s not great for mountain bikes. We’ve settled on Bend as the perfect place to really put down roots.Steve Domahidy, Viral Bikes Founder and President

In addition to the move, we have been in full development mode on a new model while simultaneously updating the Skeptic and working on some brand new carbon bits including a bar/stem combo aimed at the Enduro crowd and new 27.5” and 29” carbon rims. We’ve got a lot going on and are really excited about the things to come.

• Triple butted titanium tubeset
• 27.5+ or 29” wheel compatible
• 600% gear range Pinion C1.12 gearbox
• Gates belt drive
• 130-150mm fork compatible
• 4.25 lbs for medium frame
• $4,495 USD frame and drivetrain kit

First up, the 2019 Viral Skeptic gets some updates from the original, including a more ‘Enduro’ appropriate geometry. The new Skeptic is lower, slacker, and longer, keeping the bike utterly stable at speeds and increasing the reach dramatically from the previous iteration. The new Skeptic is designed around a 130-150mm fork and works with 29” wheels or 27.5+. At 140mm of fork travel, the Skeptic has a 65.5 degree head tube angle and a 75.5 degree seat tube angle, allowing for total control on fast and gnarly terrain while putting the rider in an aggressive enough position to keep the front end tracking on steep, technical climbs. The main impetus for the updated Skeptic was compatibility with the brand new Pinion C1.12 gearbox, which drops nearly a half a pound from the original P1.12, and has a narrower Q factor and chainline from the original box.

Paralleling the development of the new Skeptic, Viral was also laying down the design for their first new model since launching the brand. While the new bike is more a ‘derivative’ of the Skeptic, it’s definitely unique enough to get it’s own model name, aptly called the Dérive, which is a bike-packing ready version of the Skeptic. We have had a LOT of interest from the bike-packing community on a more specific bike-packing version of the Skeptic, so we decided to make the leap and create a new model. The sealed Pinion gearbox and oil free Gates CarbonDrive belt are perfect for this application. We worked closely with a handful of prolific bike-packers to make sure he got the spec’s right. The Dérive is built from the same triple butted 3/2.5 titanium as the Skeptic, but it’s geometry is a departure from the ‘all-mountain’ category of it’s longer travel brother. The Dérive is designed around a 120mm travel fork, with a still slack and stable 66.5 degree head tube angle, slightly higher BB, and has a full assortment of mounting options, including fender mounts, rear rack mounts, three water bottle mounts, and a top tube direct attachment mount for a top tube bag. With the shorter fork travel design, this bike can also be used in conjunction with a rigid fork (480mm or longer crown to axle recommended). The Dérive is the same price as the Skeptic and comes with the same Lifetime Warranty on the frame and 5 Year Guarantee on the Pinion Drivetrain.

The Viral Skeptic and Viral Dérive frame kits both come with the Pinion C1.12 gearbox, CNC cranks, 12 speed shifter, alloy Gates cogs, and a Gates CarbonDrive belt.

Pre-order sales are available now and Viral is offering a limited time pre-order special. Order a Skeptic or Dérive between now and the end of August, and get a free set of Industry 9 wheels built to your specifications. You can choose either 29” or 27.5+ (we recommend the Backcountry 360) and Viral will cover the wheelset value of $1265, color options and upgrades could add additional costs. A 50% deposit is required to get in on the pre-order special.

We are also showing some new carbon wheels and a carbon handlebar/stem combined unit. Both are still in prototype stages but will be launched later this year. The prototype handlebar/stem is an 800mm wide handlebar with a 9 degree back sweep and 5 degree upsweep (based on a 65.5 degree head tube angle) with an effective stem length of 35mm and a handlebar rise of 15mm. The prototype bars have gone through full testing and are now going through ride evaluation. Weight is right at 270 grams and price for the bar/stem combo will retail for $300. Rims have also gone through testing and are in the same ride evaluation phase alongside the handlebars. They have a claimed weight of 470 grams for the 27.5” with a 38mm ID.

The rims will aim for a $500 price point and both will also come with Viral’s Lifetime Warranty in addition to a crash replacement policy that will be very aggressive. We realize with certain carbon products there is a very difficult line to evaluate between a defect in the product and rider error and we want to encourage an open and honest dialogue with our customers about what happened and what caused a failure. This is the only way to get proper feedback. Let’s face it, this sport is rough on gear and people want to have some level of comfort that even when things go pear shaped they can fall back on a really great crash replacement policy and not be out the full retail price of the product. While the details of the crash replacement policy are not 100% solidified, consumers can expect at least ½ off retail with a no questions asked return of a damaged Viral product.

bigquotesOf course, we’ll want to know what happened so we can learn from it, but if you drive your bike into the garage, we want to be there to help you too, that’s an expensive mistake and we want to do what we can to minimize the pain.Steve Domahidy

Please email for any further questions or if you’d like to get in on the pre-order special. Currently, the Viral Bikes web site does not take deposits, so you’ll need to reach out Viral to start your ordering process. Complete builds are possible and delivery will be late Fall.

Learn more at

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  • 50 1
 I don't get the massive amount of money. sell their headbanger / pinion frame for around 1,500 British pounds.
And their Wulfbaron Titanium/ pinion frame for around 2,500 British pounds.
  • 4 0
 Forgot about Sick Bike Co. Thanks for the reminder! Their frames look... sick!
  • 11 0
 Woah! Thought 5k was for the complete build. Had to scroll back up and read that again.
  • 8 0
 Agreed , $4500 for a hardtail frame and drivetrain is absurd, doesn't matter if it's handmade in the hometown or not, its still ridiculously priced
  • 6 5
 I don't care, that bike makes me Horrrnyy
  • 1 0
 Where is this made? That could be the only real reason in the big cash difference, could it not? Gear box's are interesting but I would never consider one (regardless of weight) until they got rid of the grip shift set up.
  • 1 0
 $4,495 USD frame and drivetrain kit, best joke of the year so far.
  • 1 0
 @endurocat I went back to their website today and a bunch of products are MIA. I was going to order their titanium handlebar, but now the product page is 404 :-/
  • 28 0
 You hear that Portland???

"......while Portland is an amazing city for bicycles, it’s not great for mountain bikes."

Organize and change this!
  • 7 1
 No thanks. Even though there are thousands of acres of forest land butting up the city, we prefer to drive an hour for trails. Actually, thanks for the reminder. . . I need to make a donation.
  • 8 0
 @tauren58 Portland: All the good trails are in Washington
  • 17 0
 I assure you, lots of people are working very hard on this. Political inertia, outright hostility, and well-organized misinformation from Portland's old money are formidable opponents. Our team of wildlife experts, foresters, professional engineers, and geologists are doing their best.
  • 4 0
 @pmhobson: Keep fighting the good fight.
  • 1 0
 i just visited portland for the first time last week. i 100% WILL go back to the PNW with a bike next time. but im suppppper curious - can someone explain what "Portland is an amazing city for bicycles, it’s not great for mountain bikes" refers to from a locals perspective?

as i always do when visiting new cities, i went to a bunch of bike shops. i got trail recommendations from the most reputable and down home looking MTB shop. the guy i spoke with was gushing...
  • 4 1
 @ccolagio: I'm no local but I went to college in Portland and lived there for 5 years after. I still have family that lives in SE Portland and Sauvie Island so I'm there often. There is great mountain biking outside of Portland (Hood River, Syncline, Sandy Ridge, Cold Creek, Black Rock, etc) but not much within arm's reach of it. Or nothing "legal" I should say... Makes it tough to do an after-worker without making a trip out of it. The reason for that statement you've heard is due to, what seems like, a refusal to build trails near the city. A ton of money and resources have been spent to make it a great place to ride a road/commuter bike within the city, but it always felt like none of those resources were or would ever be directed towards mountain bike trails. God forbid anyone ride a bike in Forest Park.
  • 1 17
flag Zuman (Aug 29, 2018 at 16:23) (Below Threshold)
 I thought that Portland is where all the neo nazi are based from. Didn't realized they make great but expensive bike to.
  • 8 4
 @Zuman: No neo nazi's, only neo liberals.
  • 3 2
 @dualsuspensiondave: here i thought patriot party = neo nazi
  • 5 3
 @Zuman: Nah, that's only what the news likes to portray.
  • 1 0
 @joepax: There are MTB accessible trails in Forest Park with more being planned and built as I type this. There is also Gateway Green out by the i205/84/30 Interchange. - There are more areas being planned and developed as well. There really are changes underfoot and underway in Portland.
  • 1 0
 @Zhehan: A more accurate term would be there are natural surface riding areas in Forest Park, with numerous proposals for legitimate single track trail opportunities.

That said, fingers crossed as well that the tide is turning. Single track in Portland would enhance the quality of life greatly, especially considering all the outdoor brands and industry that make their home here.
  • 16 0
 Why would you paint a titanium frame??
  • 1 0
 Let me just say that I am.......skeptic.
  • 11 1
 Should tick a few boxes for a handful of riders: gearbox and 2, or 3!!! bottle mounts. us now and we will promise for later? That and moving the biz 4 times in 2 years doesn't inspire much confidence. Although- the guy behind Viral does seem to have some cred.
  • 14 3
 Zerode is almost $1k cheaper, carbon, and full suspension.
  • 8 1
 Being grumpy my first response is jeese, current system works great, what's the point of pinion? But it's a hardtail, ill click...

BELT!! F?! Gah!

I normally ride a singlespeed but the belt guys... They're a different breed. Constantly adjusting, bringing tools and space belts, it's been years now and the system isn't getting better, but some fire drives them onward. Like 80s Lancia owners.
  • 3 0
 Isn't it normally fire that makes the 80s Lancias stop? Rather quickly.
  • 8 2
 Very cool bike indeed. Outside the box thinking in an attractive package. It's not the super bomber Enduro bike. However, it's a bike most could ride daily and have a blast on with classic style, all while using the newest gearbox tech.
  • 8 0
 Let’s get a steel option for us working class schmucks, thanks
  • 6 1
 My first impressions, "pretty average, probably wouldn't buy it because I don't particularly like the frame, pretty much just like the colors, and that's about it".............."$4495USD"..............."WTF!!!?"
  • 3 0
 "Order a Skeptic or Dérive between now and the end of August, and get a free set of Industry 9 wheels built to your specifications" -- This in a press release put out on August 30th? Might want to change that to September.
  • 4 1
 More and more Pinion! After replacing yet another derailleur recently, I hopping on board the gearbox soon! Gripshift or not!
  • 3 0
 I like the design based on the box..... not liking the bars though. Sweet colour choices.
  • 3 0
 Amazing looking bike. Classic lines and chrome!!! I would rip on it no questions.
  • 1 0
 I love the chrome!
  • 3 0
 Not to be nit picky, but that is polished titanium, not chrome. It will never peel or rust. And, yes, it does look very nice.
  • 3 0
 If you do a handlebar/stem combined unit make sense of it and build some with 10mm or 20mm "stem" length!
  • 2 0
 IMO Viral should partner with that DoucheBag brand I see advertised recently, and create a mountain bike travel/tour company to "exotic" destination.
  • 6 2
 That price is absolutely out of control
  • 6 0
 Well it's a low volume, boutique titanium frame with a Pinion drive. So yes, it will be expensive. They are not marketing to the folks buying $500 department store bikes or the the Deore equipped crowd
  • 2 0
 The whole bike is out of control.
  • 4 0
 Can you get the bikes w acera?
  • 1 0
 I’d love to rock one of these on my next bike packing adventure. Then again, with plus tires, I feel that aluminum is the best budget frame material. With the bigger tires the stiff aluminum doesn’t beat me up.
  • 1 0
 " a bar/stem combo aimed at the Enduro crowd" - yeah because if theres one group of riders that doesnt care about bike fit and just wants a one-size-fits-all solution, its Enduro racers.
  • 1 0
 I would rather spend my money on a normal hardtail and put a rohloff hub on the rear end. At least it's still a normal bike if I change my mind on the whole.gearbox thing. And it would be half the price.
  • 2 1
 But if you don't like the Pinion, you can set it up as an E-bike.
  • 1 0
 @bsedola: do e-bike motors share the same interface as a pinion gearbox?
  • 7 6
 Funny. The one and only time I rode in Bend, OR I realized that a plus tire hardtail was all that was needed for their local trails. Yawn
  • 2 0
 I saw SEPTIC at first, but that's a pretty good looking bike. Really want to try out a gearbox one day.
  • 3 0
 Anyone know what those chunky looking Maxxis tan walls are?
  • 1 0
 Yes please!
  • 1 0
 Recon 275+
  • 1 0
 Good looking bikes! Reminds me that I need a hardtail especially when I fret over taking too long to get my suspension set up just right.
  • 2 0
 Still waiting for pinion DH bikes everywhere... is by far where it makes to most sense! Why is not spreading yet??..
  • 5 5
 Is it weird that I can get behind a $4k hardtail with a gearbox, liberal warranty, and carbon belt drive... but not get behind a $3k electric
  • 5 1
 Whats a liberal warranty? It screams at you that your racist?
  • 1 0
  • 2 4
 Can't wait for the ten grand fully frame.... what a joke!!! Titanium is like diamonds we are all lead to believe its something more special then it really is. I learned this when I bought a titanium hammer for work for $300 then to it to a scrap metal place for shits and giggles and they told me they buy it for like 5 bucks a pound lol
  • 1 0
 Titanium is not an inherently expensive material. It's the machining that makes it more expensive. It's a hard material to weld (something about it being prone to oxidation near or at it's melting point)
  • 2 0
 @pikebait2013: sure maybe 20 years ago titanium was hard to work with but with todays technology its no more difficult for manufacturers to weld ti then it is al.
  • 1 0
 @pikebait2013: it also wears out tools
  • 1 0
 4K for what lol going to get me the brand new Yeti SB150 for way less !!!!
  • 2 0
 Looks like these bikes are not going to go VIRAL..........
  • 2 1
 Beautiful but you can get high end complete hard-tails for that...bonkers!
  • 1 0
 Yet another reason I live in bend
  • 1 0
 Here's a complete for 5200 :
  • 1 0
 That's almost more than an Unno...
  • 1 0
 Are any of these solutions for actual problems?
  • 2 4
 If this bike was about ~20mm longer in the reach department I would be seriously considering getting in on the pre-order. Other than that looks to be a great bike.
  • 1 1
 Finally, future has begun.
  • 2 3
 I want one if these, a Pole Machine and a Yeti SB150.


Do you even dentist bro?
  • 7 9
 Fuck that 4grand for a fucking drivetrain good fucking luck.
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