Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
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 Â– modernized Â– 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
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.