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Ariel Leader

Ariel Leader

Ariel motorcycles

The Ariel Leader was announced in July 1958 and was a major sensation a the time. There was no other British-built motorcycle that was as up-to-the-minute as the new Ariel and since the demise of the Vincent Black Prince there had been no machine designed to be sold with complete rider weather protection and engine enclosures as standard. The Leader was a radical piece of concept and design from an industry that was all too often locked in tradition, and because of this deserves a place in the history of the British motorcycle industry.

Viewed from this point of view of the modern rider, the Ariel is in many ways an attractive proposition - especially for someone who does not wish to ride very fast. The reason for this is simple; the Leader is pretty slow for today's road conditions. The 247cc two-stroke twin engine with its 16bhp may have been ok for the road's of the late 1950s but on today's congested roads it struggles to keep up. It is comfortable cruising at speeds of 45-55mph. The brakes and lighting are adequate for the engine's performance.

The Ariel Leader boats a host of extras, including wind-up clock, via styled panniers, indicators and mirrors, to bumper bars. Modern-day problems with the bikes are restricted due to a shortage of original spares, particularly of the steel pressings, that were used to great affect in their construction. The main box section chassis of the bike is very strong but the supporting brackets can suffer from corrosion if the bike has been left standing for some time.