Leader Bike LD-516H XC Hardtail

4.3/5 (20 Reviews)
MSRP : $124.98


Product Description

Last year's 515 frame benefited from Easton ultra light aluminum, but this year's 516H bears even more greatness with Leader's proprietary UAL aerospace wonder aluminum. No other MTB hardtail is so innovative in the way it handles the trail with its nearly independent hind legs ready to jump or sprint the ups and downs you feed it. This is the epitome of lightening the load while staying loaded.


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Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by FriscoFairlane a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: May 23, 2013

Strengths:    Light weight, overall stiffness, geometry, price, price, price. It's the ultimate low-buck thrashing machine.

Weaknesses:    There are still some quality issues (mine is a 2012). My headtube was out-of-round, probably from the build jig or excess heat in welding the tubes. I was able to straighten it out with a big socket and a hammer. Welds at the downtube encroached slightly into the BB face, not at all happy with that, but it never ended up squeaking or anything. Graphics look like they are painted on crooked.

Bottom Line:   
First thing's first: take into account that this is a freaking $250 frame. On the plus side, it's CHEAP. The design looks cool and the frame is really stiff, with the exception of some flex at the chainstays on hard standing climbs. The geometry is a little slack, and it works well with big forks, if you are into that sort of thing. I use a 140mm Epicon on mine, and it has a great stance and awesome responsiveness. This is my second season beating on this frame on some heavy-duty, rocky singletrack in the bay area, and so far, it has performed flawlessly. I built what I feel is the ultimate low-buck thrashing machine with it, and I love it.

Yes, it is a cheap frame and quality control seems to be loose. Some welds might be ugly, and the paint kinda sucks. But it's a mountain bike. The paint is going to get all effed up anyway, if you ride like a real mountain biker. It's a hardtail that takes a beating. In my experience, it has already been worth way more than $250 in fun.

Buy it. Ride the f out of it. Break it. Rinse and repeat.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Tamarancho

Duration Product Used:   1 year

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Rockhopper Pro

Bike Setup:   Leader 516h - Suntour Epicon TAD 140mm - SLX Cranks & shifty-shifts, BB7 stoppers, MTX33 hoops + some hubs

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Carl Anderson.. Hardtail fanatic

Date Reviewed: March 15, 2013

Strengths:    Good solid frame. Climbs so easily and is very quick. Geometry is great if you put a little extra travel on it. I ride 140mm and it just wigs out when i throw it in the air. I love this frame.

Weaknesses:    Really none. Price is right.

Bottom Line:   
This frame handles like a dream. I damaged on of my old faves crushing the frames top tube and went to bed very sad that night. The next morning I went online and saw this bike frame.. Price was right and after reading some reviews opted to buy it. Transfered everything from my old bike and upgraded a couple things. Wider handlebars and new stem. Parts were from 2002 and once I put them on this frame it was like a new bike. Rolled it hard and it handled everything I threw at it. The geometry is perfect. It climbs so easily and has some serious followthrough. Fast man super fast. If you are looking for a good hardtail frame, dont hesitate get this frame you will love it. Im 6 foot and bought the 17 inch frame and it fits perfect. Ride on nugs.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by stockegsix a Weekend Warrior from Houston

Date Reviewed: July 26, 2011

Strengths:    Frame feels solid and very well built. It is light weight, an extremely fast frame and an excellent climber as well. ZERO Complains. This is one good looking frame

Weaknesses:    Paint easily chips, but can easily be tolerable.

Bottom Line:   
This is my very first ever bike build and turned out to be the best MTB to date for me. I had a cannondale, K2, specialized, Giant and back to K2 and so far this Leader build beats all of them. I built this bike on a budget using some spare parts I had. Even though weight wasn't such a factor because of the components I was recycling, the bike still tip the scale at 27lbs. The wheels/tires/hub/rotors/cassette were 10lbs alone.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   all of them

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $90.00

Purchased At:   online

Similar Products Used:   Giant iguana

Bike Setup:   Leader ld-516, Manitou black comp fork, shimano deore Lx components, Avid brakes.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mattfromohio a Weekend Warrior from Crooked City, OH

Date Reviewed: May 22, 2011

Strengths:    Light. Stiff. Excellent geometry. Good climbing and acceleration. Very stable at high speeds. Looks good despite being white.

Weaknesses:    Not a product weakness, but a dealer weakness. People at BlueSky were not helpful. I ordered the black frame and 3 days later got an email that there was a "minor issue" with my order. I called them and they said they only had the white frames in stock. No discount offered, no free shipping, not even an apology. Even worse, they offered no information on the headset spec so I ended up with the wrong one, then the jerk on the phone blamed me. Went to the LBS and got what I needed- sent the other one back 3rd class mail.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great frame. Too bad you can only get it from BlueSky Cycling, and maybe only in white. Overall rating 5 for the frame 1 for the service- averages out to a 3.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Findley SP

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $89.00

Purchased At:   BlueSky

Similar Products Used:   Giant XTC, GT XCR, some crappy K2

Bike Setup:   Leader 516H, old Judy SL 115, Sram X7, BB5s, Sun Ringle Equalizers, Panaracer Fire XC Pros

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by sharpe351 a Weekend Warrior from Apopka, FL

Date Reviewed: August 12, 2008

Strengths:    Well built, flexes just a little. I love the rigidity of the frame and the light weight for offroad. Good starter for someone getting into it without alot of dough.

Weaknesses:    Some weird flexing on blacktop going fast. Odd landing characteristics for a rigid.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike, frame actually fits me (6'4"+ and 270 lbs). Durability is certainly a factor I consider when purchasing things like this, but I took a chance just seeing the price. The bike assembles easy, and noone seemed to mention that Leader gives you fresh "el cheapo" cables with their new frame. After I purchased the frame I had to order the FSA headset from them too, mainly 'cause I didn't have one laying around. I'm a big guy, and I abuse bikes by shear force alone. Heavy guys aren't supposed to jump bikes, but so far so good. I do like the semi-flat black. Graphics are ok too. GREAT price considering the used crap on ebay for $500. Bike is kinda like an old timex, take a licking and keeps on ticking. I'd like to ride alot more than I do, but weekends will have to do for now.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   anything available, and relatively local

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Leader ebay store (c

Similar Products Used:   ancient G.F. hardtail abused and broken repeatedly, Specialized Rockhopper, and a few cheapies here and there

Bike Setup:   7spd, husselfelt crankset 22/32, RockShox J4 w/ lockout. front cable-op disc. rear brakes are canti's scavenged from old parts, but work great.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by JesseHell a Cross Country Rider from Buffalo,NY

Date Reviewed: August 4, 2008

Strengths:    Light and cheap

Weaknesses:    Frame strength, paint

Bottom Line:   
Broke downtube at base of headtube gusset weld after 2 seasons of xc riding. Paint chips rather easily

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   leader bike store

Similar Products Used:   trek 8500, fisher mt.tam

Bike Setup:   marzochi,truvativ, race face, hayes, azonic, wtb, maxxis

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Derick a Cross Country Rider from Austin, Tx

Date Reviewed: July 15, 2008

Strengths:    Very light and strong frame. It is easier to handle and and makes it easier to climb hills.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great frame for the cost and you can not go wrong with it. With the light weight of the frame, it is easier to handle and climb hills. Great for cross country riding and you will have a all around great ride.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Walnut Creek

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Bluesky Cycling

Similar Products Used:   Ironhorse warrior comp and K2

Bike Setup:   M760 XT front der., M761 XT rear der., M760 hollowtech crankset, M760 XT cassette 11-32, M760 XT shifters 2 way release shifting, crankbrothers eggbeater peddals, J1 rockshox 100m forks, fsa carbon fiber handle bars, ditch witch sun rims with oem specialized hubs and dt swiss spokes, set of panaracer fire xc pro 2.1 tires and avid juicy 5 hydraulic disc brakes.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sarcos a Cross Country Rider from Oregon

Date Reviewed: January 17, 2008

Strengths:    +lightweight
+cool graphics
+race-inspired geometry
+laterally stiff for uphills


Weaknesses:    -zero stack headset limits your choices
-comes only in black (would like to see Red & White like the 510H)
-paint wears/chips very easily
-cable routing is poor for front and rear der.
-can collect water inside the tubing pretty easily
-the threads for BB and waterbottles can be poorly aligned


Bottom Line:   
I understand that overbuilt headtubes are for rigidity but the zerostack headset really limits your options when it come to buying a headset. I guess this wouldn't be such a bad thing if the gusset welds at the head tube were more even and cleaner...you get what you pay for though.

Bottom line, buy this frame because you can't go wrong. It's priced so reasonably you be dumb not to throw one together, especially for SS riding and racing.

It climbs like a champ and has plenty of size options. Descending can be teeth-chattering as the low weight can really toss you around. I'd definitely go with beefier wheels and tires if you're gonna go SS to keep you on the right line and reduce how often you get deflected off obstacles. This bike really excels with a fork no longer than 105mm.

I just wish it was more durable as a frame. It gets rubbed and scratched pretty dang easily. I find myself having to baby it like it was a $1500 carbon frame. Whatever though, go kill it, it's a mtb.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $89.00

Purchased At:   Blue Sky Cycling

Similar Products Used:   This is my 2nd LD-516H, Access, Mongoose, Trek, GT, Haro, Jamis, Novarra

Bike Setup:   been set up for: XC racing, SS XC racing, 'cross racing

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Derek a Racer from Portland

Date Reviewed: December 22, 2007

Strengths:    Super light, and fast! Perfect for a single speed race bike! Amazing feel and incredibly fast as a single speed!

Weaknesses:    NONE!!!

Bottom Line:   
The best handling bike i have ever had specially for the price!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything fast and technical

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   Leader bike store

Similar Products Used:   Kona, specialized, norco, and azonic

Bike Setup:   Mavic 223 rims laced to a woodman front hub and a forumla rear hub with '04 marzocchi bomber with ETA. Carbon flat bars with carbon bar tape as grips, ea70 stem, SDG seat post with carbon I-Fly saddle

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jim a Cross Country Rider from Saint James, NY, USA

Date Reviewed: November 15, 2007

Strengths:    Strong, stiff, responsive

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
I built this bike up from parts I had. With the Kona P2 added as an experiment this bike is light and fast. It climbs better than my cannondales ever did. Best bike I ever had.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $30.00

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   cannondale CAAD2, cannondale Furio-X

Bike Setup:   Rigid Kona P2, SRAM 3.0 front, X-9 rear, SX5 shifters, Truvativ Firex (32x22), Sram 850 cassette (12x23), Hayes MX1 V6 Disc, Cane Creek Terros Disc.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Derek Batchelder a Racer from Beaverton, Oregon

Date Reviewed: July 7, 2007

Strengths:    lite and flexable for great fast cornering

Weaknesses:    Not one at all

Bottom Line:   
Best bike i ever owned

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   All Oakridge trails

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $170.00

Purchased At:   Blue sky cycling

Similar Products Used:   Specialized stumpjumper fsr

Bike Setup:   XT front and rear deralliuor, 07 marzocchi xc bomber, weirwolfe tires, xtr cassette, act carbon handlebars, and sdg seat and seatpost

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by John B a Cross Country Rider from Bellingham

Date Reviewed: July 3, 2007

Strengths:    great response, comfortable ride and good overall climber

Weaknesses:    getting product info on exact spec for future upgrades is a bit of a chore, just need some patience.

Bottom Line:   
using this frame for an evolving cyclocross rig, it is a great frame for it, with the right rims, carbon fork, and gear set up it does great on the pavement and it responsiveness and handling come through on the dirt

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   craigslist

Similar Products Used:   specialized allez,redline conquest

Bike Setup:   using this frame for an evolving cyclocross rig, it is a great frame for it, with the right rims, carbon fork, and gear set up it does great on the pavement and it responsiveness and handling come through on the dirt

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jared a Cross Country Rider from Nipomo CA

Date Reviewed: May 5, 2007

Strengths:    Light, sturdy, and flexible rear fork that allows you to flex your way through trails

Weaknesses:    Have yet to find one

Bottom Line:   
This bike is not only light but is very maneuverable. Tracks well, and allows you to put together an extremely nice bike for an extremely good price. But the frame in the picture on mtbr isn't the current 516-H, the new one looks even better.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Irish Hills

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Blue Sky Cycling

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher Hookooekoo

Bike Setup:   xt derailleur, SRAM attack trigger shifters, truvativ hussefelt cranks, Manitou Black (the nicer one), Hayes HFX-9.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steven a Weekend Warrior from So Cal

Date Reviewed: November 4, 2006

Strengths:    Light, stiff, great price, excellent customer support, came with cables for v-brakes

Weaknesses:    I would prefer cable stops for the rear brakes since I had to buy bulk cable housing to run the rear disk brake.

Bottom Line:   
Great frame at a great price

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $139.00

Purchased At:   Leaderbike on Ebay

Bike Setup:   XT/LX, Avid BB7 disks, Magura Asgard, Leader riser bar and FSA headset, IRC Mythos tires

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Greg a Cross Country Rider from Maine

Date Reviewed: October 20, 2006

Strengths:    Strong, stiff, light frame. Price! Well crafted. Like the geometry.

Weaknesses:    This is a 2006 frame. Jet black. Haven't found any yet.

Bottom Line:   
I "settled" for this frame after going through some serious FS lusting. Just couldn't spring for the Titus MotoLite frame and afford components, too. The price on this frame conviced me to built my own bike and still come under price for most of the good HTs from Trek, Kona, Gary Fisher, etc. The reviews here on MTBR gave me the confidence to proceed.

Now I've ridden it hard from July-Oct. We have some very technical XC here in York, ME on Mt Aggy and water district lands. I need to tweak the bike after every ride, which would be the case no matter what is underneath me - the trails are that rocky, muddy. The Leader frame takes it all in stride. I would put this HT up against any other out there. I cannot comment on service because I haven't had to use it and doubt I ever will. This is one tough frame.

I got the 19". I'm 6 foot, 170 lbs. It fits me like a glove. I had some initial concerns about how twitchy the steering was. The 120mm fork is a bit longer than what it's designed to take. The epiphany came after I switched from a 120mm stem to the 105mm FSA - it's a whole new bike now. The twitchyness is gone, replaced by really quick steering and excellent carving at speed.

It does bounce around a lot in the rock gardens, but wouldn't any HT? The great thing about the Leader is I can completely control the back end as it's deflected and get traction back. It's very light, nimble, and can be flicked around. I weigh in at about 27.5 lbs, but could definitely shave a few pounds from lighter tires, XTR cluster, lighter fork.

I completely recommend this frame, especially based on the value, but would suggest you also strongly consider Leader's 626 FS frame, based on your suspension needs. It is also a GREAT value. While I have not ridden it, it's geometry is nearly identical to the 516, so I believe it would have the same wonderful characteristics and 4 inches travel in the back to boot.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Mt. Aggie trails

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $139.00

Purchased At:   blueskycycles.com

Similar Products Used:   Yokota Yosemite Pro (an old bike with nice Columbus frame upgraded components, but couldn't run disks )-:)

Bike Setup:   XT cranks, X9 and X-Gen derailleurs, Avid BB7 160mm disks, carbon post, WTB Laser V saddle, FSA XC115 stem (105mm), Hellbent bar, Marzocchi MX Pro 120mm fork, Deore hubs, SPD pedals, Rhyno Lite rims, WTB MotoRaptor 2.4 treads

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