Bike industry veteran Steve Domahidy hopes his new brand will go viral. Domahidy, one of the founders of Niner, has launched Viral Bikes. His first Viral model is the “Skeptic,” a titanium all-mountain hardtail frame featuring a drivetrain kit with a Pinion gearbox and Gates Carbon Drive system. Popular in Europe, the Pinion-Gates combination produces an incredibly low-maintenance drive. The Pinion P1.12 has a gear range of 600 percent and can be shifted while coasting or stopped. The Skeptic frame features 148mm Boost rear hub spacing for tire widths of up to three inches. “This bike is going to appeal to the rider who is not very good with maintaining a full suspension bike, someone who wants to shred and not worry about derailleurs and chain slap and chain maintenance,” says Domahidy, whose resume includes design work for multiple brands including Faraday and Budnitz.
Outside Magazine writer Aaron Gulley called it “one of the most forward-looking bikes we’ve ridden in a while.” Buyers who pre-order the Skeptic will get a free set of Backcountry 27.5+ or 29-inch Trail wheels from Industry Nine, with an option to choose spoke and hub colors. Every Viral frame purchase will also come with a one-year membership to IMBA, the International Mountain Biking Association. www.viral.bike
All photos: Christian Habel
Located in Chile’s arid Atacama Desert, the Ojos del Salado is the second tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 6,893 meters (22,615 feet). It’s a cold, barren and unforgiving landscape. Earlier this year, German adventurer Guido Kunze came here on a quest to set a new world record for the highest altitude bike ride. His successful quest is featured in the German documentary, “Die Chile Challenge.”
A national hero in Germany, Guido set the record at 6:02 p.m. on October 16, 2014, when his Garmin Edge showed him topping out at 6,233 meters (20,449 feet). Guido had ridden for 37 hours, 11 minutes and 12 seconds, pedaling 342 kilometers (212 miles) from the warm Pacific coast to the thin air of Ojos del Salado. High winds, soft sand and a lack of oxygen pressed Guido to the limit, requiring him to push his bike the final meters, but fitness and fortitude allowed him to beat the previous record of 6,085 meters (19,964 feet).
The Ojos del Salado is the latest crazy athletic feat for Guido, an ultra runner and ultra cyclist whose adventure resume includes riding the Tour de France course in nine and a half days, crossing Australia by bike in seven days, mountain biking the Great Wall of China, completing the Race Across America, and more.
Guido completed the adventure on a Ghost fat bike with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system and a Pinion gearbox. The bike and components were chosen to give Guido superior traction on the steep sand, and to provide low gearing, surefire shifting, and no chain maintenance during the ride. Read more about the adventure and bike at Ghost Bikes. Thanks to photographer Christian Habel for all the images in this post.
Guido with support crew after breaking the record.
The Sea Otter Classic bike show this week (April 16-19 in Monterey, California) will offer bike lovers the chance to see a range of new bicycles featuring the Gates Carbon Drive system including the STEPS Child from Ti Cycles, above. This high-concept pedal-assist eBike features the Shimano STEPS mid-drive for fast touring and commuting.
California-based eBike brand Tempo Bikes is launching its new Carmel hybrid electric bike at Sea Otter.
Tempo will also show its Santa Barbara step-through model, below. tempobicycles.com
Breezer will show the Beltway Elite, a fully equipped and award-winning commuter bike. Read Bicycling Magazine’s review, in which the editor wishes her commute to work was actually longer. breezerbikes.com
Touring cyclists and readers of Adventure Cyclist magazine will want to check out the Siskiyou Rohloff, the new 27.5 wheel trekking bike from Co-Motion.
Marin will have its Fairfax SC6 DLX at the Otter. Read Outside Magazine’s review, in which writer Aaron Gulley says: “Out of the box, this is one of the cleanest, best functioning, and seductive utility bikes I’ve come across.”
Legendary mountain bike brand Ibis will display it Tranny Unchained, a full-carbon race rig for singlespeeders who want fast and light performance. Read the reviews about the bike and belt on MTBR.com and Bike Magazine and Dirt Rag.
See you in Monterey!
The X1 from Schiller Sports blurs the line between boats and bikes. The frame is made of rust-free anodized aluminum, with stainless steel components and inflatable pontoons. The propulsion system features a Gates Carbon Drive belt and sprockets because a chain would corrode. The X1 may be the most advanced water bike ever created, a vehicle that allows bicyclists to “experience the thrill and freedom of biking across a spectacular blue planet,” says company founder and CEO Judah Schiller.
Riders steer the X1 via two oscillating props connected to the handlebars. It weighs about 45 pounds, can be disassembled to fit into the trunk of a car or home closet and can hit speeds of 8 knots (10 miles per hour) depending on rider ability. Schiller worked with engineer Marcus Hays, founder of Gates belt drive eBike brand Pi Cycle, on the design. “If you can ride a bike, you can ride the Schiller X1 anywhere there’s water,” Schiller told USA Today in an article about the invention. “I had the X1 out at the beach locally, about a mile offshore, and ended up biking with dolphins.”
The X1 costs $6,495, with a special Founder’s Edition for $8,775. The company is based in the Bay Area and all X1s are manufactured in Northern California. Learn more at www.schillerbikes.com. Just watch out for sharks.
Judah Schiller chilling on the X1 off the coast of Northern California, above, and pedaling near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Gates Carbon Drive has partnered with London-based urban bike specialists Velorution to oversee distribution and service of Gates Carbon Drive in the United Kingdom. Velorution will lead the charge to grow the UK market and increase consumer awareness of the clean, quiet and low-maintenance benefits of the Gates belt drive.
“Velorution is the perfect partner for Gates because they are urban cycling experts and have worked with belt drive bike brands including Schindelhauer and Van Nicholas for many years,” said Chris Harris, sales manager for Gates in the UK. “With Velorution on our team we expect that many more British consumers will discover how the grease-free Gates belt drive simplifies cycling.”
Velorution specializes in urban cycling and offers a large selection of transportation bikes and components. “My team at Velorution are experts in the latest bike technologies, which makes this a great partnership,” said Gretta Cole, co-owner of Velorution. “Bikes with the Gates Carbon Drive System are clean, quiet, reliable and require less maintenance than bikes with chains, which makes them ideal for our weather and a favorite with our clientele.” Live in the UK? Visit Velorution here.
In Spain, Gates has signed a deal with BikeZeNter to be that country’s official distributor of Carbon Drive. BikeZeNter specializes in drivetrain technologies and is the Spanish distributor for belt drive bike brand Nicolai, as well as being the Spanish distributor for the Pinion gearbox, which pairs well with Gates Carbon Drive. Read the full news release here.