Once upon a time there was a bike company called Ibis. They made some rather lovely bikes. Amongst their number where several pivotless suspension designs (aka soft-tails), including the Bow-Ti, Silk-Ti and aluminium Ripley. They were all designed by John Castellano (he was also responsible for the Sweet Spot high-pivot unified rear triangle design as seen in the Ibis Szazbo). The Silk-Ti and Ripley both used unique flat-plate chainstays designed to flex vertically but not laterally, giving extra travel and better lateral stiffness compared to most soft-tails.
Ibis ceased trading a while back, but Castellano has been granted a patent on the flat-plate chainstay design – it’s US Patent #6,406,048 should you wish to look it up – and has launched a new brand, Castellano Designs, to sell bikes built around it. The first bike is essentially the Ibis Ripley, now called the Castellano Fango. It’s an aluminium soft-tail frame, weighing in at 4.4lb. The notion of a bike that relies on flexing aluminium is perhaps a slightly alarming one, but Castellano’s done his sums and it should last at least as well as an aluminium hardtail. At $995 it’s a fair bit cheaper than a titanium soft-tail, too.
There’s also good news for any owners of Ibis-built Castellano-designed suspension bikes – Castellano Designs will be offering various hard-to-get spares including replacement shock parts and derailleur hangers for the Ibis bikes.