Ibis Cycles’ new Ripley 29er didn’t make its official production debut at this year’s Sea Otter Classic but the company stole the show with something entirely different that no one expected to see. It was big, heavy, fit no one and had a highly questionable suspension quality – and yet it was all we heard about walking the aisles of the Laguna Seca raceway.
In fact, the “Ibis Maximus” wasn’t even built by Ibis. Intended as a sign for the Mendocino Coast Fat Tire Festival, creator Nick Taylor fabricated the giant steel replica with heavily manipulated 4in-diameter steel pipe and flat plate, which all rotates on humungous 59in-diameter tractor wheels. The bars are 64in wide, the tires are 12in across and there’s roughly 13in of travel front and rear.
Weighing in at about 1,000lb, the Ibis Maximus made its way to Sea Otter by way of two forklifts and a generously sized flatbed truck. For added effect, it was put on display with a matching hitch to tow the company’s trademark Airstream trailer.
Perhaps even more impressive than the sheer scale of the project is the accuracy of the build. The frame isn’t just a cursory scale reproduction of an Ibis Mojo SL; it could almost pass as a scale model. The suspension links and their mounting points are accurately placed, the rear triangle includes the single non-driveside reinforcement strut and asymmetrical chainstays, the fork lowers have bulged tops where the bushings and seals would normally go, and some parts like the ProPedal lever on the FOX rear shock, the headset and the wheels actually move appropriately.
Sorry, Ibis fans, you still don’t have your 29er but in the meantime, this 59er will have to do. Oh, and according to the bike’s accompanying sign, “You must be at least 10ft tall to ride this bike”. And who exactly is this Nick Taylor guy? Perhaps you haven’t heard of him or the Performance Structures, Inc company he used to work for but you may have seen some of his other handiwork. These days, Taylor now operates full-time out of his home studio in Fort Bragg, California so if you need something – anything, apparently – built, feel free to give him a ring.