Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Scooter Comfort: 1958 Ariel Leader 250

left full

Areal was funded in 1870, building “penny farthing” bicycles and then a motorized tricycle in 1898 and in 1901, a motorized quadracycle! In 1902 they built their first motorcycle. Over the years Ariel built some wonderful motorcycles, including the “Square Four”. Then in 1958 they went to a two-stroke engine and produced this fully enclosed motorcycle, the Leader. It was designed to give the performance of a motorcycle with the comfort of a scooter. They did well in Europe, but didn’t sell many in the US. This one listed on eBay in Weston, Connecticut is an early example.


  1. Peter Rettig Member

    Wonder who told them two-cycle was a good idea… ?

    Like 0
  2. Ross W. Lovell

    . Greetings All

    It seemed like all the hallowed British makes attempted to cash in on the low buck bike phase by rebadging less expensive two strokes as their own as a source of income for their own dwindling sales.

    Some of them were of decent quality but some were not.

    Meanwhile, warranty claims started to add up and irritate their distributors who had not signed on to these but had to repair them.

    Two strokes, great idea for a while, dominated racing divisions for 25 years or more before technology final caught up and was able to make four strokes competitive.

    Like 0
  3. Howard A Member

    What a cool looking bike. Apparently, this bike has been around the block, and appears on several sites, one even calling it a ’57. Believe it or not, for a while, the 2 cycle engine was considered to be the engine of the future. And they were simple, probably reducing manufacturing costs. It’s why the Asians made so many, I’m sure. It also appears, the bottom engine guards and front fender and chain guard were white on all these models, no matter the color of the bike. Aside from the 2 cycle, I’d love to have this. I wonder how hard it would be to retro fit a real motor and conceal it under the covers? http://i0.wp.com/www.bike-urious.com/wp-content/uploads/Ariel-Leader-Left-Side.jpg

    Like 0
    • cyclemikey

      A real motor? Are you kidding? Any four-stroke that would fit in there would be a huge downgrade in performance. Two-strokes are far more powerful for the equivalent size and displacement than are four-strokes. What killed off street 2-strokes was emission laws. There’s not practical way to make them clean, or at least there wasn’t at the time. A few years ago, direct injection two-strokes looked promising, but time has moved on, and development money is all going to alternative power.

      Like 0
      • Howard A Member

        Hi cm, yeah, just teasing. I’ve had many 2 cycle powered things, and they are some spinin’ motors. It’s just a 4 cycle, which I kiddingly called a “real motor”, is more civilized. Had a lot of fun with 2 cycles, but they’re touchy.

        Like 0
    • Dan10

      Outboard motor manufacturers disagree. Lighter, cheaper and more powerful than the equivalent four stroke.



      Like 0
      • Mike H. Mike H.

        You left out “cleaner” and “quieter”. Oh wait, that’s 4-stroke again.

        I don’t disagree with you that the 2-strokes have many advantages in many applications, but as the outboard manufacturers ALSO make 4-stroke outboards it actually does suggest that outboard manufacturers DO agree with Howard.

        And as this isn’t my area of expertise. . . Aren’t 2-strokes banned in a number of places? California and Nevada come to my mind; I recall that my brother was turned away at Lake Havasu two years ago for showing up with a 2-stroke jet-ski (another advantageous use of 2-stroke motors over 4-stroke motors!).

        Like 0
      • Ross W. Lovell

        Greetings All,

        The two stroke no longer exists in USA road going cycles because of emissions.

        Not sure how those emission controls affect the boating industry. Eventually, the EPA will insist those comply.

        Being that this is a 250, it probably moves pretty well in spite of all the extra sheet metal fascia panels.

        Two-strokes, I own some great ones but until they were water-cooled, racing motor cross with them had issues. Once water-cooled tho use many of those issues went away.

        Two bikes, both mine and only anecdotal…….RM465, long travel suspension, took around the track felt incredibly fast, especially when getting all the shifting done in the sweet spot of the powerband for a timed lap.

        Four-stroke example, a Clews 608, approximately the same era. Did the same circuit and it didn’t feel like I was going as fast, yet had the faster lap.

        Not having to be “on the pipe” meant I could concentrate on other things and was faster.

        This repeated with two other people, though we seemed to be in agreement that the Suzuli two stroke gave us more of a rush to ride.

        Not exactly an exhaust note worthy of a British bike though.

        Like 0
  4. Ross W. Lovell

    . Greetings All,

    Howard, not sure these could take much more than a Honda 100/125?

    Like 0
  5. scooter8

    the smell/sound of 2strokes! yeah! wheelies!smoke! like cyclemikey said. EPA!

    Like 0
  6. Texas Tea

    Okay! I know nothing about bikes, but this is cool looking. However what caught my attention was the painting in the back ground of this dude. Is that Gerry Rafferty? Right down the line……………………


    Like 0
  7. DrinkinGasoline

    A very cool Deco Scooter….And I would sport it with pride, as I did My ’69 Rabbit. My question is : When did combustion engines become referred to as “motors”? Petrol/Fuel driven devices are “combustion engines”, and electrical powered devices are “motors”. Did I miss some sort of cross breeding training? (sans Hybrids).
    Unless I fell asleep in class….

    Gasoline = Engine
    Electric = Motor

    Still applies

    Like 0
    • Mike H. Mike H.

      That argument has been beaten to death here. Per a simple dictionary Google search:

      1. a comparatively small and powerful engine, especially an internal-combustion engine in an automobile, motorboat, or the like.
      2. any self-powered vehicle.
      3. a person or thing that imparts motion, especially a contrivance, as a steam engine, that receives and modifies energy from some natural source in order to utilize it in driving machinery.
      4. Also called electric motor. Electricity. a machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, as an induction motor.
      5. motors, stocks or bonds in automobile companies.

      [en-juh n]
      1. a machine for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy or power to produce force and motion.
      2. a railroad locomotive.
      3. a fire engine.
      4. any mechanical contrivance.
      5. a machine or instrument used in warfare, as a battering ram, catapult, or piece of artillery.
      6. Obsolete. an instrument of torture, especially the rack.

      In essence, the words are interchangeable. If you’d like to be pedantic then please do a little research before lipping off.

      Yes, you probably fell asleep during class.

      Like 0
      • MSG Bob

        And of course, here in Indiana we have the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (The cars all have engines.) Come to think of it, the track is located in the town of Speedway, not Indianapolis, they have Carb Day although all the engines (or motors) are fuel-injected, and the cars are kept in Gasoline Alley though they run on methanol.

        Oh well, this is Indiana after all — where South Bend is in the North, North Vernon is in the South and French Lick isn’t what it sounds like either!

        Like 0
  8. Woodie Man

    Jeez fellas relax……….you’ll make this thread sound like it belongs on BAT. Pedantics and semantics aside, I fall on both sides of the argument.Hows that for splitting hairs?

    Like 0
  9. Dave

    All the 2 stroke/4 stroke arguments aside, this is a cool bike and I’d love to own it, when my dad was in England in the ’50s he was in the military police, part of the RAF. He bought himself a ’55 or ’56 Ariel 650, he married my mum and moved back to Canada, bringing the bike. The bike was sold before I was born, so all I have are pictures. Nice bike

    Like 0
  10. Roy Crader

    Hey fellas, just wanted to pass on someinfo on a little ” scooter” i got from a junk pile at VC8 plane parts while stationed in PR……..I finally got it running and found out it was a Harley Davidson Sprint. One big cylinder and tear drop fuel tank . I have been looking for some pics i had of it but cant find. I have often felt of ordering one of those self manipulated a** kicking machines as Wieldly Coyote got from Acme Co. for kicking himself for not being able to catch the road Runner. I left it in Puerto Rico when i left. The only excuse i have is ,I was young…have a great day.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.