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Freshly Fujified
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After two months of delays in waiting for the final components of this build to arrive (mumblessomethingaboutdamnedspacers), I finally got to ride the bike for the first time this weekend. I got a total of about three and one-half hours riding time over a three day period. The first ride (Friday afternoon) was cut short by some drive train issues I could not fix trailside. (Rookie mistake on the build-my fault). Saturday and Sunday were different stories, and I had two excellent rides that put the bike through its paces on my favorite singletrack runs. Here’s how they went.

Let me start by saying that I am by no means a finesse rider. I do my best to pick a line, but at times, my eyes wander, and we know what happens then-the bike follows. So you might say that I tend to just “plow” through many technical sections. This makes for an unforgiving experience at times, in that I go about 230 lbs + gear. Well, the bike performed admirably through all the sections I took it through and was a pleasant surprise in it’s handling, especially on climbs.

Saturday:

I took the bike through some fairly flat and non-technical sections first, just to get a comfort level for the bike itself. The first thing I noticed was an incredible difference in the weight as compared to the Warp I had ridden before. This made for an ease in handling that I wasn’t accustomed to, but that certainly didn’t take long to getting used to. Entering the trailhead, there were a few small logs to clear that I made it over with an ease that I had never experienced before. From there, the trail was mostly flat, but very twisty and tight, with small trees and the occasional vine close to each side of the trail, technical in the sense that you had but a few inches of clearance on each side of the handlebars in certain sections. Again, the handling here was superb. The bike was very responsive and I cleared sections that previously I’d end up banging my knuckles a few times. The next sections of the track were somewhat muddy, and had areas of exposed roots. I managed to plow right through these sections with ease and came out the other end with a newfound definition of “plush” (Thanks to a PUSH’d Vanilla R in back and a Marzocchi Marathon S 120 up front). Another log to go over, down a short hill and across a creek, and the first leg of the ride was complete.

To get to the second and more technical portion of the trail, I had to dismount and carry the bike over two fences. From there, it was on to more roots, rocks and logs to conquer. This time, I picked up the pace a bit, feeling more comfortable in knowing how the bike would handle things. Again, the suspension soaked up everything, and the responsiveness of the bike was outstanding. This section of the trail also included two short downhills that each dropped you into a creek at the bottom. Both times, I let the bike rip and let the bike do its job careening over the babyheads and roots that covered my line. I found a new sense of comfort and confidence as I made it down the inclines, and straight across the creeks. Both sections had hills on the other side. I managed to make it up one, but had to dismount and walk up the second.

Sunday:

This section of the ride was a loop that we typically do as a night ride. More typical east coast singletrack, with several hills. Again, the bike’s climbing ability proved to be impressive, and I made it up the first hill with surprisingly little effort. I’ve never cleared this incline until this weekend. The second incline was much more technical, with a ton of rocks. I made it halfway up this hill, which was twice as far as I’ve ever made it before. I cut to the right at the top of the hill and made a dogleg to the left, and walked up another 100 foot incline. Once I got to the top, I turned back around and bombed down the hill. This hill had a “step” effect to it, with small, 2-3 inch drops followed by flats of about 4-6 feet between the drops. Again, the bike handled these with ease, and at a speed faster that I’d previously attempted. The rest of this leg was much like a casual ride through the woods, with a few fields of babyheads, and the occasional rooty section. The rains from the day before made the low lying areas somewhat muddy (almost always muddy, as a matter of fact), but they were navigable. By now, I was welcoming the more relaxing pace, but also thinking about just how much a difference the bike has already made in my ability to clear technical sections. So what did I do? I turned the bike around and did the whole thing in reverse direction. The most impressive part of the ride was the ride back down the rocky hill I had only made it half way up on the front leg of the trail. Amazing what a difference it was coming back down. I’ve cleared this section many times before, but never with the confidence I had in riding this bike. It just goes to show how much your ability is affected by the bike you ride.

My overall impressions of this bike are so far outstanding. When I bought the frame and fork and set out on choosing the components and building it, my hope was that it would help me to continue to become a better rider. I don’t think I’ll ever become a finesse rider, but this bike gives me every indication that it will be able to handle the type of abuse I’ll be throwing at it. To describe it in a few words, I’d say nimble, responsive and fast are what immediately come to mind. This frame was a real find, and I would guess that for those of you who are looking at some of the $1000+ boutique bikes out there, that this frame should be given serious consideration. It will cost you half that amount, and will probably give you comparable performance.

Many thanks to Sal at Leader Bike USA, Jared at Downshift Cycles, and Jimmy at PUSH Industries for their help in getting this build together. I’m extremely happy with the end result, and look forward to continuing to test the bike’s (and my own) limits. I’ve enclosed a couple of pics of the bike, and the trail.

Clyde
 

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my girl rides also
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What kind of frame is that? Pretty unique. And yeah....it really IS amazing when the bike you're on gives you a boost of confidence. I used to ride a Warp as well, and with the new ride (Banshee Chap) there is definately a sense of "Man....I sure do have more balls than I used to" kind of feeling. Got to love that. The coolest part is when you actually begin to act on that confidence and you can see noticeable increases in your ability.

Good to hear that all was well.....nice pics! Sure do miss that east coast riding.
 

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Freshly Fujified
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8,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The frame is a Leader 626S

VA2SLOride said:
What kind of frame is that? Pretty unique. And yeah....it really IS amazing when the bike you're on gives you a boost of confidence.

Good to hear that all was well.....nice pics! Sure do miss that east coast riding.
The frame is from a company called Leader Bike USA. They're probably better known for their road bikes, but have recently begun building hardtail and full suspension mountain bikes. They have a hardtail, a f/s downhill, and a f/s trail bike frame. The frame you're looking at is the 5" trail bike frame and it's called the "626 S". The bike was purchased online from Jared at Downshift Cycles (www.downshiftcycles.com).

As for the east coast singletrack, I'm loving it!

Clyde
 

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Map Maker
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1,244 Posts
what size frame? what is the geometry of the frame? what kind of components did you spec?

Looks good - I checked out down shift cycles why are leader frames Chris King headset uncompatable?
 

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Freshly Fujified
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8,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Next weekend works best

bigkeith said:
now get down to philly :).

this weekend is in the air because of the rain and a trip to hershey park( that i'm forced to do every year). but i'll be riding all this week i hope. i'll PM you
I have the kids this weekend, so next weekend works. Let's plan on belmomnt or Wiss.
 

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Freshly Fujified
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8,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Specs and frame geometry

cbchess said:
what size frame? what is the geometry of the frame? what kind of components did you spec?

Looks good - I checked out down shift cycles why are leader frames Chris King headset uncompatable?
The frame is the 17" frame. I bought the frame and fork from Downshift, and the remainder of the parts through various sources online.

Here's the specs on the build components:

Avid 185 mm mechanical discs and SD 7 levers
XT F/D
SRAM X.7 triggers and R/D
SRAM PC 970 Cassette, PC 99 Chain
Hand built 36 hole RhynoLites 3X laced to XT hubs
Panaracer Cinder 2.25 tires
Holzfeller Cranks (22,32,42) and gigapipe BB
Hussefelt Handlebars & stem
Titec Hell-Bent Seatpost
Marzocchi (Selle Italia) Karve saddle
PUSH'd Vanilla R rear shock
Marzocchi Marathon S 120 fork
FSA PIG DH Pro headset

Link to frame geometry specs:

http://www.leaderbikeusa.com/products/frames/frames.htm

I don't know why a King headset can't be used, but I'm sure Jared at Downshift would be able to explain. I hope this answers your questions.

Clyde
 

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There's no app for this.
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5,369 Posts
nice progession

nice to see you go from dept store to Warp to Leader, and improve and learn too. Enjoy your ride, and start saving for your next bike, I sense you're gonna need a pantload of loot for it. ;) Jim
 

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Freshly Fujified
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8,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Jim

JimC. said:
nice to see you go from dept store to Warp to Leader, and improve and learn too. Enjoy your ride, and start saving for your next bike, I sense you're gonna need a pantload of loot for it. ;) Jim
It's been a real learning experience and a lot of fun. Four years ago I'd have laughed if you'd have told me that I'd spend $1300 and build a mountain bike from scratch. As for the next bike, jeez, I can't think that far forward and just cringe at the thought of what it will do to my wallet.

For now, I'll concentrate on getting all I can out of this ride on the trails, and continue to do my Saturday afternoon spins through the bike paths with my kids on the Ibex in hopes that they get the same level of enjoyment that I do.

Clyde
 

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Freshly Fujified
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8,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Warp

Warp2003 said:
Awesome ride, bro!!!

And awesome trails too... I gotta save and get my Visa to ride some up there...

Kudos, Man!!
I'd be honored to host you, Mrs. Warp and lil' Warp. We have enough local trails that we could do a different ride every day. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind taking a solo trip south of the border.....

Bob
 

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Freshly Fujified
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8,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Will do frank

frankenbike said:
Post some pics over time to keep us updated on that sweet looking ride.
I'm waiting to get a nice filthy one of the setback seatpost and downtube you like so much! LOL. I'll try to get some group shots of me and my buds on the next group ride. Forgot to bring the camera today.

Bob
 

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"El Whatever"
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18,889 Posts
Call_me_Clyde said:
On the other hand, I wouldn't mind taking a solo trip south of the border.....

Bob
You're welcome anytime... my place it's even close to a Hilton by any stretch of imagination but you'll be treated like a king. :cool:
 
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