The new Viral Skeptic is not your ordinarily hardtail. And before you get huffy about that weird looking black box nestled in the bottom bracket junction, it’s not an electric motor but a 12-speed internal gearbox made by German company Pinion.
The Taiwan-made frame is beautifully executed, with clean welds and a seat tube port to accept an internally routed dropper post. Add in some hot pink titanium tubing plus 27plus wheels (or the option of standard 29er hoops), a 140mm travel DVO Diamond fork, and a Gates CenterTrack belt drive and you get one tough (and unique) bike.
There are 12 tightly packed gears with a range of 600 percent. That’s a 100 percent increase in range over the new SRAM Eagle and wider than Shimano 2×11 XT and XTR. Gears are evenly spaced at 17.7 percent (standard drivetrains vary widely), and multi-gear shifts from the twist grip are as instantaneous as a single shift.
Front and rear cogs can be swapped to different sizes if the gearing is too high or too low for your riding conditions. Another advantage is that the gearbox is virtually maintenance free—all you have to do is change the oil (which is very easy) every 6,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first. There’s also a five-year warranty on the frame and Pinion box.
Price for a Skeptic is $4,995 for the frame with Pinion 12-speed P1.12 gearbox and shifter, Pinion aluminum cranks, Gates CenterTrack belt and cogs, tools and oil for the first oil change.
How does it perform? Look for a full, long term review in the next issue, Dirt Rag #196, on newsstands February 14th or in your mailbox at the end of this month.