In an increasingly competitive market, usually we hear about companies that only used to make products in the USA. That’s why it’s quite surprising to see that Ibis has a new addition to their line up – and the front triangle is made in the USA.

Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831
Ibis employees Preston and Ruben take a new fame out of the mold. Apparently there is 65+ years of carbon manufacturing experience between the two of them. – all photos c. Ibis.

Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831 Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831 Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831 Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831

Carbon 831 Lab

As the story goes, about four years ago, Ibis started their own carbon fiber lab in their Santa Cruz headquarters. The goal was initially to allow them to experiment with prototyping and product development. They didn’t create Carbon 831 with the goal of in house manufacturing, but the development process led them to consider what was possible. In order to make the operation feasible, the frames would have to be made using cutting edge techniques and processes to eliminate as much of the finishing time as possible. Ibis contends that it’s the sheer man hours needed to build and finish carbon frames that makes U.S. production so much more expensive. More expensive employees = more expensive bikes. But if you were able to cut down the amount of time that goes into each bike for things like sanding, putty, primer, etc, you might be able to make it work.

Through the use of improved frame layup and build procedure, that’s exactly what they’ve done. According to Ibis, their U.S. made front triangles use only around 100 pieces of machine cut carbon pieces, while the Asian made frames use over 350. The smaller scale allows for more precision and the result is a California-made frame that is 150g lighter and takes about 40% less time to produce. To get the full picture on Carbon 831, check out the Ibis post here.

Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831

Ripley LS Size Small

So what is the first product to emerge from Carbon 831? That would be the new Ripley LS in a size small. For unfamiliar, above is a photo of Ibis designer and co-owner Roxy Lo. Roxy has designed every Ibis since 2005. Standing tall at 5’1″ though, Roxy needs a small bike – something Ibis didn’t offer when it came time for the new Ripley LS. The bike was introduced at a time where shorter riders were still unsure of the bigger wheels, and after poor sales of the size small Ripley, Ibis decided they couldn’t risk sitting on a bunch of small Ripley LS frames that didn’t sell. However as usually happens, the customer has spoken and enough people have asked for a small Ripley LS that they wanted to make it happen.

Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831 Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831 Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831

One thing Roxy has always made sure of on her designs is that the small bikes get the same great performance as the larger bikes. This time though, it looks like the smallest Ripley LS will get the highest performance thanks to the lighter U.S. made frame! It should be noted however, that only the front triangle is made in the USA. The rear swingarm is still produced in Asia.

The small Ripley LS includes all the features of the bigger bikes like 120mm of rear travel, water bottle mounts inside the front triangle, great standover with plenty of room for a dropper post, and modern geometry. The frame features a longer reach, 75° seat tube angle, 67.5° head tube angle, and clearance for 29 x 2.6″ tires.

Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831 Ibis Cycles starts USA production w/ small Ripley LS from Carbon 831

To keep all that U.S. made carbon visible, the front triangles are left raw with a protective Cerakote over the decals.

Maybe most impressive is the fact that Ibis is offering the small sizes for the same price as any other size in their range. That means you’re getting a lighter, made in the U.S. front triangle for the same amount of money. Like the M-XL sizes, the Small Ripley LS starts at $2833 for the frame only with a Fox Float Performance shock, or $2999 for the frame with a Fox Float Factory shock, and complete builds starting at $4,099 with a SRAM NX Eagle build up to $9,399 for a complete SRAM XX1 Eagle build. All Ripley LS bikes including the new small size are available now.

ibiscycles.com

28 COMMENTS

  1. Very cool. The fact that Ibis has managed to do this at the same price as their Asian made frames is impressive.

    Doing things domestically, especially with California’s wages and labor/environmental protections is difficult. But apparently not impossible if you work smarter vs. harder. If you value any of those things then this could be a great differentiator in a segment full of very good options.

    Fingers crossed for something soon in my size.

  2. Nice job Ibis! I can confirm that by FAR the most irritating, dirty, and TIME CONSUMING aspect of my present carbon construction process is the sanding and finishing. The solution is plausible but not simple. Good job Ibis on figuring out the very fine details necessary.

      • No expert here, but I think the issue with “unfinished” carbon, unlike a metal bike straight off the welding jig, is that the few remaining sharp/frayed edges can do you serious harm – carbon fiber fragments are bad news for skin, and worse for lungs. Perhaps the IBIS process produces a part devoid of all that, but I imagine there’s still SOME stuff that needs handwork.

        Agreed that the raw aesthetic is cool though – I’ve always been a big fan of Appleman.

  3. I might be a bit controversial and off topic about a subject I am not fully educated in.

    I am not a big Trump fan nor a Brexit one. But there is a potential that all this mess in the political world could force manufacturing and other jobs back to the country’s that used to import a lot of goods.
    That can only be good for people in general and the environment.
    So well done to Ibis for getting ahead of the game and showing that it could be possible if a future trade tariff show down starts.

    • On the SEAT TUBE? I’ve had my Ripley for a year and never experienced this. If anything there’s room too spare. Some rub on the swing arm when my tires get full of mud, but that’s typical of any MTB.

  4. Generally speaking, a carbon layup is a derivative of two things – desired strength/stiffness and the geometry that needs to be created. What compromises were made that would enable a layup schedule to be cut in half? There’s either something terribly inefficient happening over seas or something scary happening domestically or they seriously upped the materials budget…

    • Necessity is the mother of invention. They needed cheaper labor and found a way to use less U.S. expensive man hours and improved the technology/process it seems. All frames over seas or domestically are tested third party to a specific test. A test machine will abuse the frames till they break. They have to meet the minimum requirement which is more then enough for real world use. Most companies however increase the their own requirements to exceed the minimum break test.

  5. A nice idea, but it’s no accident that they started with the size small frame – low production numbers. Scaling up to build a full range of sizes requires better tooling, and exponentially higher expense. I’d be very surprised if this frame was the beginning of an effort to build all their top end frames in the USA.

  6. This seems like a marketing stunt. First off, as other point out they start with the size that is the smallest production size so being able to hand build them in a small factory is even possible. If they can build these in California with American workers and wages then they are seriously bending over everyone that buys an Asian made frame. Or they are loosing money on every US built frame but since they picked the smallest production number size they know they wont go broke but can wave the made in America flag. Why don’t they make the rear triangle in the US?

    When all their frame sizes are made here then it will be news worthy. Until then it is just marketing $$ well spent.

    • Take it FWIW. Once saw where the president of some bicycle manufacturing association or something similar was quoted as say the typical carbon bike frame cost the brand $40-$50 to finished ready to sue frame. Sorry don’t have a reference. So yes, you are being seriously bent over with carbon frames.

  7. Thought crosses that they say the frame is 150 grams lighter. But then they have no other “small” frame in production, and so no small to compare it to. Therefore, is the frame 150 grams lighter because it’s a small frame? Also since there is so little finishing (i.e. paint), how much does that contribute to reduced weight.

    Got to be careful of marketing and PR implying a point of view that may not be reality. And as others have suggested, and actual cost saving techniques, will simply be moved to low labor cost areas to reduce costs to Ibis and increase profits,

  8. One of Ibis’ IG post today ends the post with the slogan “do you care where your frame is made?”. I don’t get why they’d throw their manufacturing partner under the bus like this? Has there been significant quality issue with their contracting factories? if not, then what is it? Is the Asian frame quality sub-par? if so who is the quality control person? Why didn’t they reject the goods when it reach US shore? They made money selling these Asian carbon frame the last several years and frankly they ride great. Onto the reduction in carbon pieces, the factory does what it is told, so the 300+ piece obviously came at the directive of Ibis engineers, why worded in such manner which seems to suggest this is the fault of the factory? what is up with this industry when it is convenient they’d throw their manufacturing partners under the bus when the political climate suits them? They all made loads of money when carbon frame technology became mature and available.

  9. I wish these companies would come out and shoot everything straight, and not have their pr person and give consumers the proverbial fluff job

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