Ariel - Leader
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Ariel D2-492-11-06
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 250
Model : Leader
Production : 1958 - 1964
Category : (R) Street Bike


250 Leader - 1959

A revolution before its time

After its classic 1000cc Square Four had ceased production in 1958, Ariel tried its hand at building a popular two-stroke deluxe with this revolutionary 250cc. The marque, which had blown its last resources on this project, stood no chance. No matter how luxurious it might have been, the motorcycle was finished by the start of the Sixties. Ariel tried to introduce new bikes, however, to reclaim its consumers, but it was too late.

The Last Project

The floundering Ariel company was snapped up by BSA, which closed the Ariel factory in 1964, killing off its final project of a 700cc four using the same frame.

Too Far Ahead of Its Time ...

Though the Ariel Leader certainly merited its name, and – modernized – would fit perfectly among the scooters and enclosed motorcycles that growing city traffic has made popular once more, it came at the wrong time. The Leader redefined motorcycle construction with logic and originality. Its twin-cylinder engine was hung from a pressed-steel monocoque frame, swinging fork rear suspension assured perfect comfort, while trailing-link front forks kept the wheelbase constant. The real gas tank was beneath the saddle, keeping the center of gravity low, while the dummy tank was actually a luggage locker. Standard equipment included integral leg-shields, a generous windshield, a clock, turn signal indicators (only recently made legal in Britain), and a pair of rear luggage panniers.


Engine: 249cc (51x54mm) air-cooled twin-cylinder

Power Rating: 16 hp

Valves: two-stroke

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 4-speed; final drive by enclosed chain

Suspension: bell crank and trailing link (front); swinging forks (rear)

Brakes: drum (from & rear)

Wheels: 3.25x16 inch

Weight: 300 lb

Maximum Speed: 75 mph

The ideal bike for the commuter, the Leader was luxuriously equipped.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

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