Like the 785r our 735r is also the best when it comes to racing geometry. Constructed from our new U.A.L. aluminum you get the extremely lively feel of aluminum with the body saving dampening system of our seat s-bend seat stays and bi-oval tubing.
Weaknesses: Weight, a tad heavy for aluminum. Paint quality, chipping. Could have more slope to top tube. I'm not a fan of the extended headtube. I think have full adjustability is nicer.
This bike is a steal. I was very skeptical picking up the scrap clearance frame off leaderbikestore's ebay store. The yellow and red fade paint looks nasty in the pictures. But for $100 dollars shipped to be it is a deal. It is stiff and has a comfortable geometry. I would opt for a more sloping top tube if it were my design. It would add some additional stiffness and a little more standover comfort. The color scheme really isn't that bad. The read and yellow are vibrant and not mcdonaldsy. The quality is a bit lacking. Chipping is going to occur no matter how careful you are. I would describe the paint as the outside of a large jawbreaker candy. The frame require little prep work, a little grease. My ultegra wheelset fit nicely in the rear dropouts, but my rol volant wheelset did not. There was excess thickness to the paint in the dropout. I just carefully filed it down.
My 10 year plus old steel colnago needed a back up. So, I opted for the frugal route this time. I compared sizing, geometry and the cost. This frame did not disappoint. It is light, stiff and fast. I was very impressed with the ride quality, handling and compliance. The price can not be beat is a BIG plus for me. I can not justify $1000 plus for a bicycle frame. The leader 735R will go just as fast and do everything a frame costing 10x more.
Similar Products Used: Colnago EL-OS steel frame with campy chorus grouppo.
Bike Setup: Mostly shimano 10 speed ultegra, my old 105 rear brakes and new 105 sti shifters, carbon seatpost, Mavic Aksium wheels, my old shimano 600 cranks. Most parts were won from ebay.
Date Reviewed: March 1, 2007
Strengths: weight, paint scheme (yellow and red), price, performance
Weaknesses: none so far
Wanted to build-up a new bike on my own, and hand pick all the components, this was the best option to get a brand new, light weight. With the low price I wasn't too confident that it would be an awesome frame, but the guys at Leader were extremely helpful at answering all my of questions about the frame. Boy
was I wrong, This frame rocks, very responsive to efforts out of the saddle, it just seems to jump with I throw the hammer down. Bi-oval shape at the down tube and bottom bracket is a well engineered design. The science/engineering behind this feature is decrease the twisting the drive train/bottom bracket goes through when hard efforts are applied. This means less of the force applied to the pedals is used to "twist" the drive train/bottom bracket and more power going to the wheels.
Strengths: This is a stiff, light frame great for climbing, racing, and even just recreational riding. You won't find a better deal without performing sexual favors.
Weaknesses: Sales Integrity
I purchased the Leader 735R as a 53cm frame and carbon fork (with carbon steering tube) about two years ago. My initial impression of the frame was both good and bad. First the frame tubes looked great, the welds looked very smooth. The paints finish looked excellent. But when I put it on the scale it was almost a half pound heavier than they said it would be (based on the frames size). Now I am not one of these guys that lives and dies by the weight of his bike, but how about some honesty. I contacted them about this and they told me I had to weight it on a balanced scale. That that is the only way to get an accurate measurement for a frame. So I measured it on 3 unbalanced scales and 2 balanced scales and they all agreed that the frame was about 2.95lbs. That is a very good light weight for a bike frame, but they had said the 53cm frame should be 2.5 pounds. The fork I bought from them was also about 25% heavier than they said it would be even after I cut it down to about as short as it would ever be cut. I am not upset about the weight of the frame or the fork. I just wish they would have a little more integrity on their numbers. They offered to give me a refund, but I agreed that I could not get a better frame anywhere for the money. And refused to return it. I built this bike up and really enjoy riding it. I still laugh at people who have more dollars in their frame than miles on it.
P.S. If you are looking at buying one I would not buy the one with the carbon seat stays because I have seen a 1 leader bike and several others with carbon seat stays on an aluminum frames that have cracked.
Strengths: fairly light (actual weight with pedals is sub 19 pounds, which is fine unless you are a feather-weight mountain TTer)
Stiff and responsive
excellent price for a sub-high end bike
but both of these are fine given the cost. the bontys are still true and durable, and the seatpost upgrade didn't revolutionize my ride.
I purchased the leader 735r package with full ultegra in April as a birthday present to myself. Initially, I bought this bike because the components package was so good, that it basically made the frame and fork free. My thinking was that I could alwasy upgrade frames and use the ultegra annd deda parts.
I have put over three thousand miles on this bike and I could not be happier with the performance of this frame. It is relatively light and super stiff. It can sprint as well as I need to, and it climbs better than any frame I have ever ridden or tested. It is also fairly comfortable for an aluminum bike. Before this bike I was ridind an old trek 1220 that was, to say the least, a bone shaker. I also tested a cervelo soloist with 105 and that bike had more buzz than a lawnmower.
The leader 735r is all about speed and performance without the high price tag that most brand names tack onto race worthy frames. i don't know why it should be necessarry to pay thousannds of dollars for a aluminum frame simply because the geometry is better, especially since virtually all the frames are made in taiwan with the same tubing. Sal at leader bike has really created something for the budget oriented cyclist who wants high performance. Its no-nonsense paint job is actually pretty nice and looks better than most graphic heavy brand name bikes.
the only draw backs i can think of this package (aside from the DIY involved if you are not handy with a wrench) are the wheelset and the seatpost. The carbon 1802 seatpost that came with the bike was a bit clunky and didn't dampen anything that I could notice. The velo carbon superlite does make a difference in ride quality, and I suppose it saved the weight equivalent to a handful of cheerios. The bontrager selects that come with this bike are fine for an entry level bike, but they do stand out as the one weak spot in an otherwise pro-sumer set up. I went ahead and built up some stiff mavic cxp30s with good hubs, and they made a difference, although they are every bit as heavy as the bontys, even with the sapim spokes.
i looked at a lot of bikes at LBSs, and I was always disapointed in the lack of ability to customize things like crank length, cassette ratio, and stem and bar dimensions without being upcharged. If you know how to self measure, you can get a perfect fit without any upgrades or swap outs.
If you are looking for a fast, responsive ride, with durable components, don't hesitate to buy this bike.
Sure, I still salivate over every new piece of carbon bling that comes out from the big companies, I just can't justify the enormous expense given the performance quality I have in this bike.
The only change i wish Sal would make would be to add the option of a wheel only upgrade. The upgrade options now consist of a pricey package that upgrades bars, stem and saddle as well as wheels. The fizik aliante and deda cockpit are great, no need to change those.
Similar Products Used: cervelo soloist 105
giant (forget the model, but it was around 1600 bucks and didnt compare to the leader)
Bike Setup: leader 735r with full ultegra, velocarbon superlite seatpost, and mavic cxp30s.
Also, I have to give credit to the aztec bar wrap, it may make the bars look like a doughboy, but man do they make a difference. I haven't even thought about gloves since putting the aztec on.