Leader Bike LD 626S XC Full Suspension

4.33/5 (12 Reviews)


Product Description

LD 626S The 626S picks up where last years' 6000 series left off. This time the man is back and badder than ever, toting a sweeping aluminum seat tube to help beat down mountain bike thugs and restore peace to the mountain community. The package is lighter this year as well as stronger and more comfortable. This lets you climb as fast as any hardtail, and then outrun them on a nasty singletrack.
  • Example Size: 18" (c-t)
  • Top Tube: 55.1cm
  • Head Angle: 71.1
  • Chainstay length: 43cm
  • Wheelbase: 43"
  • Weight: to be determined
  • Travel: 5inches
  • Bottom Bracket: 68mm
  • Seatpost: 27.2mm
  • Front Derailleur: top pull 100% Shimano and Sram Compatible
  • Rear Shock: Cane Creek AD-12 2004
  • Bearings: Ball heavy duty


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Reviews 1 - 12 (12 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by nrallis a Cross Country Rider from windham,Maine, USA

Date Reviewed: June 20, 2008

Strengths:    light

Weaknesses:    doesn't stay together

Bottom Line:   
final review.
after breaking my first one on the seatpost i figured my problems were over because that was a design error. but in the middle of a 30 mile race disaster struck. about four inches behind the head tube, both the top and down tubes snapped clean through. then the owner of the company didn't seem to want to give me another one because this was the second one i broke. he told be that xc races should have downhills or logs you have to bounce over. don't know what he normally races but in the east all races are up and down and have many logs, roots and rocks in them. poor excuse for a poor bike. got the jamis which climbs better and decends better and i've used it on all the same xc coursed and started doing dual slolam and guess what. its stayed together for longer than either of the leaders. dont buy it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   bradbury mountain

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   jamis dakar xlt

Bike Setup:   manitou minute and a few other parts

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by SRW a Weekend Warrior from VA

Date Reviewed: November 23, 2006

Strengths:    Excellent frame/weld quality. Seat stays have brake bosses for those incrementaly upgrading (don't have to buy discs)- climbs great, relatively light- great value! Good customer service.

Weaknesses:    No major weaknesses for the price

Bottom Line:   
Been riding this bike for 3 months/~400 offroad miles. Great frame to upgrade to FS without breaking the bank. Frame Geo is between XC and Trail, probably leaning toward XC. Handling is good and predictable at speed. Disagree with review below, headtube is actually longer than comparable Turner 5-Spot (4.3 vs 4.0). Use a few spacers and you will be fine. The travel adjust feature of the Minute fork work great with frame, makes the ups alot more balanced. Leader customer service very helpful when derail hang bent when shipped, sent new one for free. Frame came with the AD-12, good shock once tuned. Picked up a 4-way for a good price (less than the upcharge when buying from Leader)- rides much better with the swinger and now I have a backup shock. Bob posts often on the boards, great source of info as well as Jared from Downshiftcycles. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a huge amount of value, solid bike that can be ridden hard!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $540.00

Purchased At:   Leader Bike USA

Bike Setup:   8 SPD Full XT, Thompson, XT hubs/rhinolite rims, Minute 3 with IT, Swinger 4-way

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by nevin rallis a Cross Country Rider from windham

Date Reviewed: September 9, 2006

Strengths:    What can't you use it for? The top tube is short but if you get a longer stem, than you get the turning radius of the shorter bike.

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
This is a follow up review after i have had time to ride this thing hard. I have only had one problem with it. One of the bushings on the rear triangle was mangled and I had to replace it. The good thing that came out of that was, Leader used the same size bushing as the Rocky Mountain Slayer. Now you can get part pretty much anywhere. When I first started racing this frame I had the same problem with the tight cockpit, but I got the 120 mm stem and have been in heaven ever since. I think I will get a riser bar next though for a more relaxed position. My bike flies up hills. The AD-12 is awesome. I recently did a race at surgarloaf USA and I climbed the 4.5 mile starting hill faster than anyone else in my category. On the way down I remembered why I had bought the five inches of travel. The bike performed amaizingly. I ended up winning on this baby. I even trust it enough to try a downhill race on it. It turns amaizing and can handle the fast stuff just as well. I don't think you could get a better five inch travel bike for this cheap. I can't give it anything other than five chilis.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   bradbury mountain

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Rocky mountain slayer

Bike Setup:   Manirou minute 3, Avid Juicy 5, XT cranks, Race face 120mm stem.

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Nick a Cross Country Rider from Fort Collins, CO, USA

Date Reviewed: August 20, 2006

Strengths:    strong build, weight is comparable to other 5" bikes out there.

Weaknesses:    Cane Creek AD-10 is a pogo stick. Short Top tube. Short head tube. Specific type of front derailer required.

Bottom Line:   
I'll start with the bad then move on to the good for this bike frame.

Been having a hell of a time with the geometry on this bike. The top tube is somewhat shorter than I am used too. When I first got on it it felt cramped. When going downhill I get one of those constant going over the bars feelings. I've been trying different stem combos but that is just a bandaid solution. Compare this to the bikes in this size and you will see what I mean. 1-2" difference in the top tube length makes a bike difference for me.

The Cane creek AD-10 is cushy. It does its job well when going over rocks. Its a fairly simple air shock. The compression and rebound knobs are a little hard to get to but not impossible. For the most part I don't even use them. I just set the air and go. Only bad part is the the lack of a stable platform. When going up hill this shock really sucks the energy out of your legs. When I bought the frame and shock on ebay it was the only shock available. Leader now has an online shop that gives you the option of buying the AD-10 or the Manitou swinger air 3 or 4 way shocks. I definitly would have shelled out the extra money for the SPV. You should too.

The head tube is shorter than on most other bikes too. This will be a concern when you cut the steerer tube on your fork. Make sure you put some spacers in between your stem and headset or this bike will be the only one you will use your fork on.

As far as build quality goes I think Leader did a good job. The welds look good and strong. So far the bike has held up pretty well to some very heavy riding.

As far as weight goes I built this up to exactly 29 lbs. Not a rocket but not a pig on wheels either. You could loose 1-2 lbs from this without too much more of an expenditure. If you think your going to get it under 25 lbs your going to spend a lot of dough and then have a bike that will be to take the abuse that a 5" travel bike was made for.

One more thing about the geometry. I tried running the fork in 4" mode and it made the "going over the bars feeling" that much worse. Use a 5" shock with a lockout. The bike climbs just fine set at 5" up front.

This bike gets 5 chillis for value. You can't find a frame and shock at this price that holds up this well.

As far as overall rating I can only give it a two. After three months I am already shopping for a new frame. The geometry on The 626s is the deal breaker for me. I can deal with the AD-10 but I can't deal with how the bike handles. The short top tube is too much for me.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $560.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   This is my first Full suspension XC bike

Bike Setup:   Marzocchi Marathon XC for, XT drivetrain, custom wheels, maxxis advantage 2.1 tires

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bob a Cross Country Rider from Norristwon

Date Reviewed: January 28, 2006

Strengths:    Lightweight, strong frame. Value for the dollar. Overall quality of the product.

Weaknesses:    I'd like to see an additional size smaller than the 2 options currently offered

Bottom Line:   
This bike is an absolute hidden treasure. It's lightweight, strong and cheap. (How often can you say that about any bike part??). The ride is just incredible. It climbs very well, handles all the technical terrain you can throw at it, and is great in the descents. If you're an XC or All Mountain rider, this is an excellent option for a full suspension rig.
I was 250 lbs when I bought the bike and it has nary a complaint about my weight or the fact that I am not a graceful rider. It just takes what you dish out. The bike has been compared to "boutique bikes" such as the Turner 5 Spot. While I've never ridden a Turner, I'd find it hard for me to buy a frame at twice the price given what I KNOW the Leader 626 is all about.
As for customer service, I can say that Jared at Downshift (www.downshiftcycles.com) was more than accommodating. He cut me an excellent deal on the frame (sans shock), fork and headset. When I called him with concerns I had over a dent in my top tube as result of a crash, a replacement front triangle (an '06 with the reinforced seat tube) was sent to replace my '05. That alone speaks volumes about how they stand behind their product.
I have reccommended this bike to many people and continue to say that this is the absolute best frame value under $500, and probably worth every bit of twice as much.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   Downshift Cycles

Similar Products Used:   '04 Giant Warp DS 2, Early '90s Giant Yukon

Bike Setup:   '04 Marathon S, PUSH'd Vanilla R, Holzfeller cranks, SRAM X.7 Shifters & r/d, XT/Rhynolites/Pana Cinder 2.25, Hussefelt stem and bars, Pig DH Pro headset

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Nevin Rallis a Cross Country Rider from Windham, Maine

Date Reviewed: January 7, 2006

Strengths:    Climbs like a shorter travle bike. Handles very smoothly and effortlessly on downhills. Pretty light for the travle too. Absorbs bumps very well.

Weaknesses:    My seat tube snaped but Leader bike usa got me another frame really quickly.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is good enough for cross country racing but you can also go on fun weekend rides too. If you are looking to get into cross country racing, of downhill racing and don't want to spend a lot, this is the bike for you. Just get a better fork.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bradbury Mountain

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Rocky mountain Slayer

Bike Setup:   Rock shock pilot

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Phill Lucas a Cross Country Rider from Madrid ES / Leiden NL

Date Reviewed: October 4, 2005

Strengths:    This bike is unbelievably cheap for the quality and ride. Nice geometry, stability at high speeds and manoevrability without twitchyness at low speeds.

Weaknesses:    None really, especially at this proce point. Made in the same factories as all the big boys, except Leader bikes pass the great pricing down to the consumer.

Bottom Line:   
This was a well babalnced bike for a very attractive price. Good components, nice shock and fork, great geometry. A true all-rounder that can handle anything you will throw at it.

A low price doesnt always mean low quality. This bike is a competitor to bikes 3 to 4 times its (framekit) value.

A highly reccomended bike!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anything round Frejus / St agulf

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   ML8, Canyon all mountain, A few other all mountains.


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jherich Silas a Cross Country Rider from The Colony, TX

Date Reviewed: August 30, 2005

Strengths:    This review is for the 2006 Leader 626S, not the previous year model. Handling, comfort Stiffness are both exceptional with this new frame. The frame rock, the 2005 Bike was great, but with the additional bracing, and semi gloss black paint, it is not only a great bike, it looks The Business. This things descends like a missile, then carves up berm like you were on ski's.

Weaknesses:    Limited Sizes available. We need a 14" for my wife

Bottom Line:   
If you want a high end Full Suspension All Mountain, or XC/XC race bike, you cannot go wrong with the bike. If you use lightweight components, you can build a 5” travel race bike below 25lbs. easily, and with a frame less than $500.00. However, if you want to build an all around XC bike that just about dose it all excellently, there is nothing better than this frame as your base.

Any rider needing a top of the line XC, or XC Racing frame, and wanting best frame his money can buy dollar for dollar cannot pass this frame up. I love it.

BTW, if more you smaller riders keep inquiring about a smaller size, then they will have to build a smaller version on this bike. :)

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Zboaz Benbrook, TX and Erwin, McKinney, TX

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Downshiftcycles.com

Similar Products Used:   05 Leader 626S, K2 4000, and Haro EX2 afew other D/S bikes

Bike Setup:   06 Leader with a Cane Creek AD-12 Shock Mrazochchi Marathon XC Fork, SRAM X.9 Shifters and Rear Derauiler SRAM 9.0 Brake Levers with Avid Disc Brakes. XT front Draiiler. Mavic Wheels, with Panracer Fire XC tires.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jherich a Cross Country Rider from The Colony, TX

Date Reviewed: July 15, 2005

Strengths:    I really don’t know were to start, I know why so few owners of this bike review it here. They want to keep this amazing bike to themselves. It’s a wonderful thing to be on the trail, and have something different than anything else around. This bike standout, no one knows what it is, and in my opinion, that’s a good thing. This is the Best Bike I have ever owned hands down. My current setup climbs like male mountain goat who sees the only female mountain goat on the mountain, and want to get to her before his 10 buddy mountain goats do. The Leader 626 descends like a rocket on rails. It will allow you to ride fines if you have the skill, or plow down the hill like a freight train cleaning everything in your path. This bike is a blessing for those of us who don’t have the budget to build a Custom Turner or Santa Cruz.

Weaknesses:    I can't use the current SRAM X.Gen Front Derailleur, I would prefer to not use any Shimano components at all on any of my bikes. ( Not a weakness, just a peeve)

Bottom Line:   
If you need an All Mountain XC, Aggro XC, or maybe even an XC Dual Suspension Race bike, this is the base you need. With this frame, you are ready to build a trail bike capable of anything short of Free ride and Down hill riding, but if that’s your passion check out Leaders 636. Great company, great products, and great Service.

I wish Leader Bikes USA, and Downshift Cycles were here in Texas.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Rockledge Grapevine Lake and Erwin

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $499.00

Purchased At:   http://www.downshiftcycles.com

Similar Products Used:   Several Specialized bikes, Several K2 dual suspension bike, Haro EX2, and a few Schwin bikes.

Bike Setup:   Leader 626S with a Marzocchi Marathon XC Front Fork, and Cane Creek AD-12 Rear Shock. SRAM X.9 Trigger Shifters, and Rear Derailleur, with Sram Chain and Cassette. Shimano Front Derailleur, FSA Head Set, and V Drive Cranks, and Mavic Wheels.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Todd Marvosh a Cross Country Rider from Henderson,NV,USA

Date Reviewed: March 5, 2005

Strengths:    Great price high quality

Weaknesses:    will not fit Chris King head set

Bottom Line:   
Great bike! took it to bootleg canyon in nevada it handled like a dream. climed well and smoked on the down hills took bumps and jumps as well as any bike I've ridden or seen on the trails. The Cane Creak shock is a bit difficult to get tuned in but once it is, what a wonderful ride. If your looking for a 5" atb to build up check it out.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bootleg Canyon

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $499.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale

Bike Setup:   mavic 517 wheels, marzocchi fork, xt cranks, xt rear derailure, tompson seat post,the hole bike is just under 30 pounds

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Warren Brown a Weekend Warrior from Tustin

Date Reviewed: February 2, 2005

Strengths:    Hand welds look GREAT, climbs EXTREMELY well & is pretty darn light for a 5" travel full suspension, 80-150mm fork acceptability makes it versatile, bearing pivot points, thought out design -- is there anything it can't do?

Weaknesses:    Nobody knows this bike yet, so they assume it's just another bike

Bottom Line:   
Talk about VALUE!! Some bikes are good, some are bad, but this is a surprise. I knew LEADER made good road bikes, but no one seems to be talking about their mountain bikes.
I can't be only one of two guys who know about the 626S.

More and more people are building up their own bikes because it makes it custom to your sepcific needs and wants, but also because this is how you get to know it. Find a build kit somewhere (they're everywhere now) or take your existing parts, then have your LEADER dealer build it for you or take it to a bike shop you know and have them build it for you if you can't.

I ride better as the bike gets better, but I also lose my edge with a crappy bike. On this, I've never been better, especially with my new Marzocchi 150mm fork (that's another review) which helps. My Giant VT was an awesome climber, but the Giant guys said I couldn't do more travel in the front than 125mm. This climbs so close to the VT but it offers more travel in the front so my bike can do anything I can do and lots more. Forget the big guys and get a better bike for a lot less. Way to go LEADER, this is a real winner!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Stair Steps

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   www.downshiftcycles.com

Similar Products Used:   Jamis XLT 3.0, Giant VT 2, Santa Cruz Superlight

Bike Setup:   2005 Marzocchi All Mountain 1 (130-150mm), FSA XC-300 disc wheelset, FSA Afterburner crank, LEADER Rizer carbon carn & SP3 seatpost, SRAM X.0 shifters / X-9 rear derailleur, Marzocchi tires Fizik Plateau saddle, Hayes HFX-9 carbon

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jesse from Nashville, TN

Date Reviewed: January 22, 2005

Strengths:    Descending, Climbing, over all geometry. customer service and support

Weaknesses:    Bushings on pivot points tend to squeed sometime.

Bottom Line:   
The bike climbs suprisingly well for a 5in travel frame. I do plan on upgrading the AD-12 to an SPV. Only ridden a few times on the new frame but I am truly pleased. I bought this to help my aging back handle all the fast rough downhills. I did not expect it to be such a good climber.

I run about 190 lbs pressure in the AD-12. Anything less is just too squishy.

Total bike weight 25 lbs.

To sum it up, don't make the $1000. name brand mistake. This bike rides every bit as good as a Turner.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Canal Loop in LBL

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   The Better Path

Similar Products Used:   None - Ridden hard tails to this point, this is my first Full Suspension.

Bike Setup:   XT Drive Train
Carbon Fiber Seat Post
King Hubs
Mavic Rims
Rock Shock Sid Race Air Fork
Thompson Stem
Avid Single Digit Mag V-Brakes

Reviews 1 - 12 (12 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


LeaderBike LD 626S

Looking at this frame any feedback from owners or anybody that had tested it out.... Not a bad price tag to be used on my build. Its like a Turner knock off. And with a decent rear shock. Is this an AM or XC? I guess I can contact the manufacturer since Im local in San Diego. Any thoughts ... Read More »

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