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Grumpy, here is my $99 leader frame experience(4 posts)

Grumpy, here is my $99 leader frame experiencesievers11
Aug 27, 2003 1:14 PM
I said I would post a review of the build and here it is...

Leader 54cm 715R Yellow (3.8 lbs)

I got this on a whim to replace a fuji team 02 frame (2.6 lbs) with a cracked bottom bracket (after 5000+ hard miles). It is not as light or on par with the overall quality of the fuji team.

I race on it this weekend and got 1st in a Circuit Race and 2nd in a Crit. They were the 2nd and 3rd days of riding the frame. I am not even slightly giving this frame credit for my work...wheels and proper set up mean more than a frame any day.

I plan keep this bike as a trainer and use in the fall and spring and then set up as a TT bike during the season next year. I will get a new main race bike because of the 1.2 lbs extra weight. I am a light racer and I use that to my advantage in hills, I need a light bike to take full advantage.

Training is another thing, it just needs to work.

The set up took a while, I needed extra stuff. Down tube cable stops and reream the head tube and rethread the bottom brackets. There was paint in the head tub and bottom brackets, that is why I reamed and threaded them over. I also had to realign the dropouts and derailleur hanger. Sloppy welds, only effected the cable guide under BB. The welds were sloppy to the excess. (Note: Realigning the drop outs isn't a great idea on an aluminum frame, the leader was made of 6006 T6 Al and is beefy enough to take minor adjustments, plus I wasn't going to cry if I destroyed a $99 frame)

The Ride:
Solid and Smooth. Doesn't accelerate super well, but adequate. It is stiff enough to race on and its "neutral" qualities are its best characteristic. I would have expected a cheap frame to be drastic or even scarry, but it is not. The frame has a slightly larger wheel base than I am used to and a smaller top tube, by .5 cm. The end result is a better handling bike for me; the 54.5 top tube and 120 cm stem are better than my previous set up with 55 top tub and 110 cm stem. I really notice this on faster/longer rides and at tempo in a tight group. The smooth ride with make a for a great training/rain bike...but I would prefer light and stiff to race on, but I am not all that picky, meticulous, not picky.

Conclusion:
This is a very critical review, but for the price it is a steal and racing on it proves it can handle hard riding if set up correctly. For the $99 I would say it was worth it for me to deal with the set up. I also work at a shop and have infinate access to frame aligment tool and dies, you may not. Keep that in mind. All of the stuff I had to prep inorder to start the build would cost a small fortune at your LBS.

There might be no surprises here, there is no magic slipper of a deal. You get what you pay for, for most of us a more expensive al frame would be worth it because of easy of set up and overall quality.

Final note: I ordered a 56 red leader and got a 54 yellow, leader offered to take it back and get me the right frame, I told them not to bother with all of the sending back and forth and back and forth...at my request they sent me the matching headset instead.

I will post some detail images tomorrow if anyone is interested, if no one cares, well I won't.

jeremy sievers
Just got one too...txcross
Aug 27, 2003 1:44 PM
and am in the process of building it up, should be finished tonight. I got the black 54cm and have to agree that the welds are ugly, the black paint hides most of it. Everything else looks good though.

I have been riding a steel CX bike for the last year and wanted to give aluminum a go. I figured for $1100 total for frame, fork and build kit it looked like a good enough deal. Tomorrow should be my first ride so we'll see.
Have over 4700 miles on my $99.00 Leader no complaintsabicirider
Aug 27, 2003 1:57 PM
use it as a training bike backup to my back up bike no complaints bt me I checked my droupouts they were aligned I did however face, Tap BB and face head tube but again I have the tools havent had any problems matter of fact jusy got back from 5hr 25min ride on it today in this crap NC weather and place about 94 degrees and 70% humidity oh well at least I can ride.
Be safe out on the roads
Ray Still
Mooresville, NC
Soon to be back home in Southern CA yippie!!!!!!!!!
Not too bad.....MR_GRUMPY
Aug 27, 2003 4:29 PM
You could even throw a 130mm on it if you need more room.
What kind of components did you put on it? Did you use the stuff from the Fuji, or did you get less expensive stuff?
Another good use for the bike, is to use it for a winter wind trainer bike. Just cover everything with towels, and go to town.