Introduction by Francis Cebedo
Leopard is a bike company local to us as they are located in Half Moon Bay, CA just a few minutes away from the Roadbikereview headquarters. We’ve seen local riders and teams lead the packs here as riders in Leopard bikes charge and dominate many of the races and group rides. We got the opportunity to spend some time with the DC1 and we’d like to offer up some of our impressions. In the future we’ll arrange for a longer term test and get to know these cool cats even more.
We tested the DC1 model which is an aggressive frame that shaves off the grams but not the performance. At 870 grams, this one was very light while sporting big tubes. The build looked first rate as we couldn’t find any imperfections in construction at all. The frame as unpainted and the carbon weave was there for all to see.
We started pedaling and it was a hoot. Acceleration was dynamic and alive. This frame had some giddyup built in and one could mash, spin, sprint and energy translated to forward movement more efficiently than most bikes we’ve tried. We quickly brought it to to the closest 12% grade hill and climbing prowess confirmed the acceleration and efficiency as well. There was minimal BB flex as power was transmitted to the DT Swiss XR1450 wheels.
As we started taking some turns with this bike, it was aggressive. It turned in quick and it held its line well. Bumps would unsettle it a bit but when the road was smooth, carving was excellent. One had to be quick and alert as this was the bike’s nature. But when done well, this was a cornering beast. And on exit, getting on the power meant this bike could launch off corners well. It was a great experience to ride this bike down the big descents here in the Bay Area, CA called Montebello Road or Kings Mountain Road.
Comfort was ok. It dampened vibrations as carbon does but this was a fairly stiff ride. That shouldn’t be a surprise as this bike is an aggressive racing bike and century riders can look elsewhere in the Leopard line. But the frame delivered all the performance it needed too and we feel a little cushion can be had with lower air pressures and bigger tires.
There’s our short take on it. It’s a good bike from a small company as it pursues the vision of an aggressive race bike with vigor. The $3025 is a bit steep for a brand you may not know. But rest assured that it is a performance bike that delivers in spades.
The Leopard DC1 road bike. The former Canadian road champion called it a “cornering cannon”. The DC1 descends on rails and is a top race machine that does very well on rough roads and even dirt trails. Unique chain stay design offers exceptional dampening for such a stiff bike. Tube-to-tube construction Tapered head tube and steerer Frame weight: 870 gms (54cm top tube) 5 star stiffness and 4.5 star comfort 12K weave finish.
$3025 for frame only.