The Viral Optimist 160 has become the new talk of the town, and rightly so. It has extraordinary features that set the bar quite high for all the competitors. Fasten your seat belts because this unveiling is going to be the ride of your life!
It’s no secret that Steve Domahidy is a huge admirer of the Pinion gearbox. His love is pretty visible in all his hardtail collections. The Optimist 160 is no exception to his love either, except that it blends the use of two materials.
The Viral 160 has combined the use of carbon and titanium, Yes! you heard it right. It is built using UD carbon fiber tubes and 3D-printed 6/4 titanium lugs. This is the first full-suspension bike by Viral that introduces a new Smart Shift shifting system.
In the words of the Founder and Vice President, Steve Domahidy:
A lot of people are playing around with this or similar combos, but we’re using some incredibly cutting-edge technology to achieve our 3D-printed parts at exceptionally low weights
While most 3D-printed metal parts are created using laser sintering, more commonly known as DMLS. Commonly, this process uses an Electronic Beam. It’s either a 500W EBM melting or a 1000W. But Viral went far and above and utilized a beam of 3000W. This is truly amazing. How you ask?
Well, The 3000W used beam allows the 3D-printed titanium to move magnetically. So it moves much faster because it is not dependent on belts and slides. It also simplifies the post-production process. Since most metal parts are 3D-printed, it makes it possible to customize the bike as per the customer’s request.
The Electronic Smart Shift System
Viral collaborated with Pionion to introduce the new exciting electronic smart shift system. This is truly a game-changer. This is an upgrade from the traditional dual-cable design with a twist shifter. The Smart Shift System uses electronic shifting in which a more trigger-style operation is utilized for smart shifting. This minimizes the need for the two mechanical cables that usually streamline the setup.
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This shift system is powered by a rechargeable battery. Even the wire arrangement is kept organized because it follows the brake hose to the handlebar. What’s great is that the D-printed BB/Gearbox junction can accommodate Pinion’s new e-bike motor-with-gearbox unit. So you can transform the Optimist into an electric mountain bike easily.
But the biggest advantage of having a Pinion system is that all the gears are inside so there will be only one cog and only chainring. So you get the same anti-squat in gears. You can easily optimize your bike without having to handle a huge cassette.
The Suspension System
The suspension system uses flex stays but this is not like the traditional design where the flex is dependent on the carbon seat stays. Instead, the titanium lugs that are near the axle are responsible for the flex. So this means that the flat section that is above the axle is specifically designed to flex.
It is a double-wall construction that hosts an open space of 2mm. Upon testing, it was found that the flexing movement was minimal. It flexed only 2º in the entire journey of 160mm.
Benefits Of 3D Printed Lugs
One advantage of 3D-printed lugs is that they can easily accommodate many kinds of shocks according to the preferences of the customer. You can opt to use coil shocks or air shocks. they just have to align with the stroke length. You can customize the lower section of the lugs accordingly.
There is also a snap-on cover plate positioned in front of the shock’s trunnion mount. You can easily adjust compression knobs and rebound.
The leverage ratio has a 15% progressivity. So when the suspension compresses, the ratio between the force you are applying and the wheel movement will slowly increase by 15%. This provides a well-balanced performance. Since there is only one chainring and one cog, it also reduces the weight of the cassette. This allows the suspension to work more efficiently.
So, you get a 12-speed bike with a 6–% gear range that is also very easy to maintain. It’s surely something to look forward to!
Geometry And Size
You get clearance of 2.5″ tires and you can even fit a 2.6″. There is a bottle holder on the downtube and you also get another mounting point right under the top tube. You can either fit a second cage or other accessories. The medium-sized bike has a 440mm chainstay length, 78º seat tube angle, 485mm reach, and 63.5º head tube angle along with a 170mm travel fork.
While the final geometry is yet to be revealed, the frame is expected to weigh around 5.5 lbs. The pricing for this amazing MTB is yet to be disclosed but it is expected to be ready to be delivered by 2024. Is this amazing bike going to be in your shopping cart?
Featured Image Via Instagram/Viral_bikes