Ibis Bicycles was founded by Scot Nicol, one of the earliest mountain bikers in northern California. It began in Nicol's garage in 1981, when a friend asked him to build a frame. Nicol sold the company to an investment group in 2000 and it went bankrupt within 20 months. Ibis returned to the industry at the 2005 Interbike tradeshow. Nicol has since partnered with Hans Heim, formerly of Specialized, Tom Morgan, and Roxy Lo.
Ibis frames are produced in Shenzhen, China. Other Ibis products are produced in Taiwan. Ibis frames are now made with carbon fiber exclusively, though a future return to steel, aluminum, and/or titanium has not been ruled out.
While many companies (Columbus has their famous "Genius" tubing), actually came up with sophisticated names for their steel bikes tubing, Nicol and Ibis called their tubing "Moron"- meaning it had more on the ends for strength and less in the middle to give the bikes light weight (a standard practice in cycling called "butted tubing")
They are also remembered for their sculpture-like "hand job" cable hanger, which resembled a fist reaching up and grabbing the rear brake cable. The Hand Job took an overlooked part of every other bike and made it a focal point for an Ibis, and as such symbolized the company.
The Bow-ti design was unique in being a full suspension frame that did not use pivots to separate the front and rear triangle. A complex system of flexible titanium tubes provided up to 5 inches (125mm) of travel. Designed by John Castellano, 269 frames were produced until the 2002 closure. Castellano now supports the design with his own company.
Ibis Cycles sponsors Brian Lopes. Lopes also collaborated with Ibis Cycles in developing the "Lopes Link", a suspension upgrade for the Mojo and Mojo SL giving more handling precision.
In 2011, it sponsored Anne Caroline Chausson.
In 2014 Brian Lopes amicably left Ibis cycles to pursue other efforts.
1981: Ibis founded in Mendocino, CA USA
1984-1998: Sebastopol, CA
1984: First Ibis road bike
1985: Ibis trials bikes
1986: Ibis tandem, utilizing the "Uptube" design borrowed from Rick Jorgensen's Tango Tandems.
1987: Ibis Avion, first complete bike, imported from Japan (S, X, XH and Custom models)
1987: Trials Comp, imported trials bike
1987: Mountain Trials, hybrid trials-mountain bike with 24in rear and 26in front wheel
1988: Trials Pro, trials bike with 20in rear wheel and 20 or 24in front wheel
1989: Avion SS, Sebastopol-made steel hardtail mountain frame
1989: Cousin It mountain tandem, uptube-free design
1990: SS, last pre-suspension hardtail (XS version was offered with semi-custom frame options and high-end component kits)
1990: Titanium production begins
1990: Scot Nicol (founder) inducted into Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
1991: Mojo steel hardtail mountain bike (XtraMojo or XTRMojo versions 1992-1994 with custom paint options and XT or XTR component kits)
1992?: Uncle Fester steel 26in tandem
1993: Scorcher fixed gear road bike, 100 made (25 small, 25 large and 50 medium), custom handlebars were made to replicate an old Torrington design.
1994: Moron (MORE ON the ends) tubing for the Mojo
1994 Mojo Ti, titanium version of the Mojo
1994: Ti Road, titanium road bike using a fully butted tubeset
1994: Touché road tandem (steel or Ti), Cousin It mountain tandem (steel or Ti), Cousin It Road tandem (steel)
1994: Prototype Szazbo full suspension in steel and Ti
1995: Szazbo full suspension (Sweet Spot) in aluminum
1995: Forte Road Tandem, Touché road tandem in steel and titanium
1995: EZ-Street road tandem
1996: prototype BowTi
1997: Ibis Alibi aluminum hardtail
1997: Hakkalugi steel cyclocross
1998: Spanky road bike with steel Moron tubing
1998: BowTi production
1998: limited run of single speed frames (one for each letter of the alphabet)
1999: move to Santa Rosa
1999: Mai Tai titanium mountain bike, lower-cost straight-gauge tubeset
1999: Sonoma titanium road bike using a straight-gauge Ancotech tubeset
1999: Heywood steel mountain single speed prototype; Single Malt steel mountain single-speed prototype with eccentric bottom bracket (EBB)
2000: Ibis Silk Ti pivotless full suspension
2000: Steel Spanky is renamed Sonoma, and titanium Sonoma is renamed Sonoma Ti
2001: Ibis partners with Strong Frames to move to Bozeman, Montana
2001: Silk Ti softtail titanium mountain bike
2001: Ripley aluminum mountain softtail (now the Castellano Fango)
2006: Ibis Mojo Carbon ; Ibis Silk Road
2007: Ibis Mojo SL (SuperLight); Ibis Tranny ; Ibis Silk SL
2010: Ibis Mojo HD (HeavyDuty)
2011: Ibis Mojo Sl-R; Ibis Ripley (29er)
2013: Ibis Mojo HDR and HDR 650B
- "High-Tech Bicycle Toys at Interbike" by Daniel Drew Turner, ExtremeTech, October 7, 2005
- "Pedal Pushers Bicycling Retrospective at Sonoma County Museum" by Chris Coursey, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, May 2, 1996 ("Scot Nicoll started Ibis Bicycles in his west-county garage 15 years ago. Today the company employs 16 people in its Sebastopol manufacturing facility, said Dave Halstead, one of those 16. Like Salsa, Ibis is known for its hand-crafted mountain bike frames.")
- "Ibis flies again; industry vets pull brand from the grave", Bicycle Retailer, October 1, 2005
- "Ibis Cycles Files Bankruptcy by Bob Norberg, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, March 1, 2002
- "Ibis Moves Manufacturing to Montana" Total Bike, April 13, 2001.
- "Ibis Singlemalt" Singletrack mountain bike magazine, December 5, 2000.
- "Lopes Link" Suspension upgrade picture.