Our Small Project Posted on: 08/08/2018

The American Made Ripley LS

Our signature frame designs are the result of one extraordinary woman, Roxy Lo. With a career that’s taken her from Pottery Barn to designing every Ibis since 2005, she has become one of the most influential designers in the cycling industry.

Despite her impressive stature in the design world, Roxy is only 5’1. But she’s never let that number hold her back, so she works overtime to ensure that the bikes she designs for smaller riders (and herself) have all the same features as larger frame sizes - regardless of wheel size. That includes water bottle mounts, great standover, clearance for longer dropper posts, and (of course) great design.

We discontinued the original size small Ripley three years ago due to a lack of demand.

We’ve received enough phone calls and emails over the past few years to realize that was a mistake.

The new size small has a longer reach, steeper seat angle, and clearance for 2.6” tires.

When we first produced the original Ripley, Roxy made damn sure there was a size small frame. At the time, however, 29ers weren’t yet as widely accepted. Many riders felt they were only for tall people, so the demand wasn’t there. We sat on a number of size small frames and when the Ripley LS came around, it didn’t make sense financially for a small company like Ibis to bet against the trends.

Around four years ago, we made the decision to develop a carbon facility at our Santa Cruz headquarters. This would give us the ability to develop and prototype new concepts and techniques. For our first project, Roxy requested we build her a Ripley LS in a size small. We gave this frame a longer reach, a steeper 75 degree seat tube angle, and clearance for 2.6" tires. 

Our US made Ripley uses 1/3 of the pieces required by it’s overseas made counterpart. Here are some of the pre-cut shapes that will be used.

The pre-cut shapes are labelled and layed up step by step, in numerical order.

The backing paper is carefully removed before final pattern placement.

Since that first frame we built in-house, we’ve built over twenty-five prototypes. Each time, tweaking the process slightly in order to reduce weight and increase strength. And as we’ve worked through the process, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of time it takes. The end result is so good, the frames are close to perfect when they emerge from the mold. No need for a ton of bondo work or sanding like you see on some carbon fiber frames.

While our Carbon 831 Lab began as a way to experiment with new techniques, we realized it was also an opportunity to offer riders another option. Beginning today, we’ll be shipping size small Ripley LS frames that are made in California.

The Carbon 831 Ripley LS frames are unpainted, to highlight the incredible craftsmanship.

Roxy will be hand painting each of the serial numbers on the Carbon 831 Ripley LS frames.

The first batch of serial numbers done and dusted.

Roxy Lo and her Ripley LS.

The front triangles will be left raw, with only a Cerakote and wax over the decals. We’ll be offering two stock decal colors (Vitamin P and Ti-Ho Silver), which compliment our regular Ripley LS colors. Each of these California made frames will have their serial number hand painted under the bottom bracket by Roxy.

According to Ibis CEO Hans Heim, “the coolest thing has been WALKING over to check on production.”

Our favorite bit is when the team opens the mold!

When the frames emerge, they require only minimal finishing work, which helps cut down production costs.

This production run will serve as a testbed for Ibis to explore the viability of US based carbon production. We know first hand the benefits of doing things locally, as we spent the first twenty years of our existence building aluminum, steel, titanium and even carbon frames in Northern California. Some of those benefits include the ability to tweak designs faster, hold tighter tolerances, ramp up production, and be more environmentally friendly. As the pilot program develops, we hope to expand it and one day bring production of a future model entirely in-house.

This is the team behind the Carbon 831 Project. Between them, they have over hundred years of experience designing and manufacturing carbon. Pictured left to right is: Preston Sandusky, Travis McCart, Rueben Reyes, and Roxy Lo.

To learn more about what we do in the Carbon 831 Lab, check here.