Sunday, January 1, 2006 12.00am
By Guy Kesteven
The single pivot Heckler has been a backbone of Santa Cruz's tough guy suspension line up for years. It's still definitely a player now too, even if the limelight has switched to its VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) linkage models.
The big 6069 mainframe pipes and externally butted head tube are reinforced with a top, bottom and side plate gussets and larger frames are kinked down for extra standover clearance. The Swingarm is equally chunky, with the big front upright tube linking asymmetric, gussetted chainstays between the massive CNC main pivot and shock mount and seatstay sections. Bolted clamps make bearings easy to replace too and there are twin bottle mounts for drink and bottle battery duty.
The big brake line bosses aren't the neatest looking pieces but they do mean you can run either an open cable setup or closed cable/hydraulic line. The offside dropout also gets a bottle opener built into the disc mount, while the big replaceable driveside dropout's attached with no less than four bolts. There's plenty of mud room too and while unlacquered stickers can scuff and lift they are easy to replace. A quick release collar is also included to make full use of the unimpeded seat post height too.
The 200mm shock gives plenty of upgrade options (Cruz offers Fox DHX air or DHX 5 Coil for £200 and £150 extra respectively) and the frame will take up to a 6in travel fork. The latest generation Heckler also has a lower main pivot point for a more neutral action, with noticeably less pronounced 'stiffening' under pedalling. Chain growth ensures workable rear wheel bite though, and helps lift the slightly low bottom bracket when you're pedalling which is exactly when it's needed. Constant brake/power influence makes it a very involving ride too, with plenty of stiffness adding precise accuracy. Relatively relaxed angles (69 degree head, 71.5 degree seat tube) combine with a relatively long top tube and wheelbase to make it an easy all day ride that's not afraid of speed or loose surfaces. While weight is higher than similar travel bikes, its toughness means you can really push the limits with confidence time and time again.
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