Posted by Logan Watts
- Quick Highlights
- Angles (LG): 66.5° Head tube, 75.5° Seat tube
- Chainstay: 435mm (LG)
- Dropout (rear): BOOST 148mm
- Seatpost Diameter: 30.9mm
- Max tire size: 27.5 x 3.0″ / 29 x 2.5″*
- Weight: 4.25 lbs (1.93kg) Medium
- Price: $4,495 frame /drivetrain kit
If you’ve spent much time on this site, you may have noticed my penchant for naming and etymology. The name behind the new Viral Dérive certainly perked my interest. Fortunately, it has a nice little backstory. According to Viral, the name came from a 1956 work by Guy Debord called “Theory of the Dérive”. In it, Debord describes Dérive as “an unplanned journey through a landscape in which participants drop their everyday relations and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.” To add its meaning, the Dérive bike is definitely a derivative of the Skeptic, Viral’s flagship all-mountain hardtail. All that said, the Dérive is Viral’s first new model since launching the brand and definitely unique enough to get it’s own model name.
With a relatively maintenance free Pinion Gearbox, 600% gear range, Gates CarbonDrive belt system, and titanium frame, the Skeptic was already ripe for bikepacking and exploration, which is why we sought it out for this review last year. “We have had a LOT of interest from the bikepacking community on a more specific bikepacking 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,” states Viral founder, Steve Domahidy.
The Dérive is built from the same triple butted 3/2.5 titanium as the Skeptic, but it’s geometry is a slight departure from it’s “all-mountain” long-travel brother. The Dérive is designed around a 120mm travel fork, with a still slack 66.5 degree head tube angle and slightly higher BB. According to Domahidy, Viral worked closely with a handful of bikepackers to make sure all the specs were just right. From the looks of it, it certainly plays up a few features becoming popular these days—a steep seat tube and slack front-end. With a geometry designed around a shorter suspension fork, the Viral Dérive can also be used with a rigid fork, such as Niner’s RDO Carbon fork, or the new Salsa Firestarter. Viral recommends a 480mm or longer axle to crown height.
Another thing that sets the Dérive apart is that it has a full cadre of mounts and bosses. These include fender mounts, rear rack mounts, three water bottle mounts, and a set of bosses on the top tube for a direct mount top tube bag. As for tire clearance, the Viral Dérive was designed around 27.5 x 3.0″ tires, but it’s also capable of taking on 29er wheels and tires as well. *According to Viral, it will likely fit 2.6″ wide trail tires, but the intended BB height might be affected too much. For that reason, they claim a max tire size of 29 x 2.5″.
According to Viral, the Dérive was designed to “take you away to far off places, see new things, have new adventures, and interact with new people.” Based on my experience with the Skeptic, I don’t doubt that it’s going to be a solid option for long form dirt-oriented adventure. Unfortunately, we haven’t tried one yet, and there aren’t any complete photos of the Dérive, but hopefully we’ll get to test one soon. The Viral Dérive frame comes in either gray with yellow graphics, or blue with pink. Each frame and drivetrain kit will retail for $4,495 with the Pinion C1.12 gearbox, CNC cranks, a 12-speed shifter, alloy Gates cogs, and a Gates CarbonDrive belt. The Dérive also comes with a Lifetime Warranty on the frame and 5 Year Guarantee on the Pinion Drivetrain.
If you’d like to get in on the pre-order special, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently, the Viral Bikes web site does not take deposits, so you’ll need to reach out Viral to start the order process. Complete builds are possible and delivery will be late Fall. Learn more about the Dérive here.