Santa Cruz has finally built a 29er e-bike

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Santa Cruz is one of mountain biking’s most desirable brands. And it’s e-bikes, are made for hardcore trail riding. (Photo: Santa Cruz)
Santa Cruz is one of mountain biking’s most desirable brands. And it’s e-bikes, are made for hardcore trail riding. (Photo: Santa Cruz)
  • This is the e-bike, that Greg Minnaar rides. When he wants to mix-up his trail irding and training.
  • Santa Cruz has improved the Heckler, with a much bigger battery option.
  • And for those e-biker riders who prefer a full 29er rig, the Heckler now rolls a bigger wheel at the back.

When Santa Cruz revived the Heckler in 2020, it signalled the Californian brand’s foray into e-bikes. 

Although Santa Cruz was a late entrant to the enduro e-bike market, much as it resisted 29ers before introducing the all-conquering Tallboy, the company is now fully committed to e-bikes. And it has updated the Heckler, for 2022. Among these updates is a new rear triangle, capable of rolling a 29er wheel. 

Shimano’s EP8 has become the default standard for e-bikes and Santa Cruz has now integrated the latest version of this mid-drive motor with its latest Heckler. The EP8 motor is good for 85Nm of torque output and is now energized by a larger-capacity battery, adding 30% more riding range. 

The new battery offering is a 720Wh unit. That’s a significant improvement over the 504Wh battery, which has powered Santa Cruz’s Heckler e-bike, since it launched in 2019. 

santa cruz
The Heckler has retained its handlebar mounted info screen, which can be vulnerable in a crash. (Photo: Santa Cruz)

Ride further - rolling smoother

A larger battery pack and more range will be most welcome for those e-bike riders intending to use their Heckler to conquer as much climbing and trail as possible.

The battery status indicator remains handlebar mounted. Specialized and Giant have integrated their battery status indicators as part of the top tube, where these functions are less at risk of damage during a crash. 

Beyond the more potent battery pack, there has been a significant configuration change with the new Heckler. If you aren’t too keen on mullet bikes (featuring a 29er front wheel adn 27.5" rear), you’ll be thrilled that the Heckler is now available as a dual-wheel 29er. 

mountain bike
The rear brake is a big 200mm rotor. (Photo: Santa Cruz)

You can make it change shape - a bity

Santa Cruz will retain the mullet option but expect demand for the 29er Heckler to be strong. Suspension numbers remain unchanged, with a 160mm fork and 150mm shock, but there’s a flip-chip to alter frame angles if you prefer slacker geometry.

The Heckler’s standard head angle is 65.5-degrees, which slackens to 64.8, if you engage the flip chip’s ‘low’ setting. Reach numbers aren’t ultra-long, but a size large Heckler measures to 472mm in the low-setting and 475mm, if you run the bike at a 65.5-degree head angle. 

If you are a hardcore descender or larger rider, the Heckler’s frame accepts both large-volume air shocks or coil dampers – without any fit issues. Like Santa Cruz’s 2022 model year Bronson, which shares a design platform with the Heckler, the suspension is 26% more progressive when riding in the ‘low’ flip-chip setting. 

mountain bike
You can easily access the battery by using a 4mm Allen key. (Photo: Santa Cruz)

There is a 'dream bike' build kit

All Hecklers are constructed using Santa Cruz’s ‘C’ standard carbon-fibre frame technology, but for the range-topping AXS build, which is the sole ‘CC’ frame on offer. 

What do you get for as part of the range-topping Heckler e-bike? Aside from the SRAM X01 AXS wireless drivetrain, there’s a Fox 36 Factory fork up front and RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock at the rear. Wheels are Santa Cruz’s best: a Reserve carbon 30-series front rim and DH-specification rear, both laced to Industry Nine1/1 hubs.

The presence of that more robust rear wheel, proven on the most testing terrain by Santa Cruz’s Syndicate riders, should give Heckler riders all the technical line choice confidence they desire.

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