The Santa Cruz Heckler gets more versatile with mullet and 29in wheel options, a 720Wh battery and slacker geometry

The new Heckler is Santa Cruz's do-it-all eMTB

Santa Cruz Heckler X01 AXS RSV

Santa Cruz’s Heckler electric mountain bike has been redesigned to turn it into a do-it-all machine, with mixed wheel size options, a 720Wh battery and slacker geometry.

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It follows in the footsteps of the 2022 Santa Cruz Bronson we tested last year, with which the Heckler shares its DNA.

This means it’s built around a mullet bike design – referred to by Santa Cruz as ‘MX’ – where the front wheel is 29in, and the rear 27.5in, to maintain the Heckler’s cornering agility.

However, unlike the Bronson, the Heckler is also available in a full 29er guise for maximum roll-over ability and traction.

These aren’t the only changes made to the Heckler, as it also now boasts a larger 720Wh battery over the previous generation.

The suspension travel has increased as well, to 150mm for both the MX and 29in-wheel frames.

Both MTB wheel sizes get a few geometry tweaks compared to the outgoing bike, and there’s now an added flip-chip in the lower link to tailor the geometry to suit your riding style.

The MX Heckler will be available in five sizes, from small to extra-extra-large, and the 29er in four sizes, from medium to extra-extra-large. However, the size small bike runs on 27.5in wheels front and back.

The new Santa Cruz Heckler MX X01 AXS RSV
The new Santa Cruz Heckler MX X01 AXS RSV
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

There are five models to choose from, with prices starting at £6,999 / $8,199 / €7,999 and topping out at £11,699 / $13,299 / €12,999.

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler frame

Santa Cruz is using carbon for all the frames here, and all but the highest-spec Heckler X01 AXS Reserve use the brand’s C carbon layup.

That top-spec bike benefits from its CC carbon, which shares the same strength and stiffness properties as the C carbon, but for a lighter weight.

The top-spec Heckler get Santa Cruz's hihger spec CC carbon, while the other models use their C carbon.
The top-spec Heckler gets Santa Cruz’s higher-spec CC carbon, while the other models use its C carbon.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

Santa Cruz has forgone the lower-capacity 504Wh battery (used on the previous Heckler) to power the Shimano EP8 motor.

It’s now using a third-party 720Wh battery, which we’re told is still covered by Shimano’s warranty. The battery can be removed by a single 4mm Allen key or can be charged on the bike.

The rear brake mount supports a minimum 200mm rotor.
The rear-brake mount supports a minimum 200mm rotor.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

Santa Cruz has also added a flip-chip to the lower link that enables you to adjust the geometry.

However, this flip-clip isn’t designed to let a rider switch between 27.5in and 29in wheel sizes.

Instead, Santa Cruz has built specific frames for each wheel size and they are not cross-compatible.

As expecxted on hihg end bikes, the Heckler is fitted with descent chain stay protection.
As expected on high-end bikes, the Heckler is fitted with decent chainstay protection.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

Otherwise, details include boost rear-hub spacing, internal cable routing, hefty chainstay protection and room for a water bottle.

There’s also room for 2.6in tyres for both the MX and 29in frames, and a 200mm standard rear-post mount for brakes; all the features you’d expect to see on a modern eMTB.

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler suspension

The bike uses Santa Cruz’s VVP rear suspension platform and delivers 150mm of travel for both the MX and 29in-wheel frames. This is matched to a 160mm fork.

Santa Cruz has tweaked the kinematics, we’re told, to increase the bike’s progression.

The seat tube tunnel for the shock is now larger so you shoudl be able to fit a coil shock in the frame if you wish.
The seat-tube tunnel for the shock is now larger, so you should be able to fit a coil shock in the frame if you wish.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

Expect it to be very similar to the other Santa Cruz platforms out there, but it’s been tuned specifically for ebike use.

Also, the bike’s new ‘low’ setting has a more progressive leverage curve for potentially more aggressive riding in that geometry setting.

According to Santa Cruz’s leverage curve graphs, in the low setting, the Heckler is roughly 26 per cent progressive, similar to the Bronson.

That also means the kinematics should suit a coil shock, and space has been made for one thanks to a larger diameter and redesign of the seat-tube tunnel.

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler geometry

Geometry-wise, the reach numbers for the MX version of the bike have increased by 10mm over the previous model.

They now start at 430mm in the stock ‘high’ setting and climb to 455mm in medium, 475mm in large, 495mm in extra-large and 520mm in extra-extra-large. In the low setting, these all shrink by 3mm.

The new addition of a flip-chip lets you tailor the Hecklers geometry.
The new addition of a flip-chip lets you tailor the Heckler’s geometry.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

In the stock high setting, the MX bikes have a 64.8-degree head tube angle, which slackens to 64.5 degrees in the low setting.

MX geometry in high setting

SizeS (27.5in)MLXLXXL
Stack (mm)607616629648666
Reach (mm)430455475495520
Head tube length (mm)130100115135155
Head tube angle (degrees)64.664.864.864.864.8
BB drop (mm)8 8/26 8/26 8/26 8/26
Front centre (mm)761781807836869
Chainstay (mm)445445445445445
Wheelbase (mm)1,2061,2261,2521,2811,314
Standover (mm)720745743741741
Seat tube length (mm)390405430460500
Seat tube angle (degrees)76.976.876.77777

MX geometry in low setting

SizeS (27.5in)MLXLXXL
Stack (mm)609618632650668
Reach (mm)427452472492517
Head tube length (mm)130100115135155
Head tube angle (degrees)64.564.564.564.564.5
BB drop (mm)12 12/30 12/30 12/30 12/30
Front centre (mm)761781807836869
Chainstay (mm)446446446446446
Wheelbase (mm)1,2071,2271,2531,2821,315
Standover (mm)716741740737738
Seat tube length (mm)390405430460500
Seat tube angle (degrees)76.776.676.476.776.7

For added complication, only the extra-large and extra-extra-large have identical effective seat tube angles at 77 degrees in the high setting. The large frame has a 76.7-degree effective seat tube angle, and there’s a 76.8-degree and 76.9-degree effective seat tube angle respectively for the medium and small frames.

Putting the bike in the low setting, these figures slacken out by around 0.3 degrees, the same as the head tube angle. Seat tube lengths range from 390mm to 405mm to 430mm, 460mm and 500mm from the small to extra-extra-large frames respectively.

29 geometry in high setting

SizeMLXLXXL
Stack (mm)616629648666
Reach (mm)455475495520
Head tube length (mm)100115135155
Head tube angle (degrees)64.864.864.864.8
BB drop (mm)26262626
Front centre (mm)781807836869
Chainstay (mm)460460460460
Wheelbase (mm)1,2411,2671,2961,329
Standover (mm)745743741741
Seat tube length (mm)405430460500
Seat tube angle (degrees)76.876.77777

29 geometry in low setting

SizeMLXLXXL
Stack (mm)618632650668
Reach (mm)452472492517
Head tube length (mm)100115135155
Head tube angle (degrees)64.564.564.564.5
BB drop (mm)30303030
Front centre (mm)781807836869
Chainstay (mm)461461461461
Wheelbase (mm)1,2421,2681,2971,330
Standover (mm)741740737737
Seat tube length (mm)405430460500
Seat tube angle (degrees)76.676.476.776.8

The frames all share the same 445mm chainstay length in the high setting, and 446mm in the low. Santa Cruz’s geometry charts show a bottom bracket height of 446mm in the high setting, and this drops 4mm when setting the flip-chip to low.

The geometry for the 29in version is built around the same figures, with the only significant difference being the 460mm rear centre lengths.

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler range and prices

The Heckler MX and 29 bikes share the same spec lists and price points across the range.

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler C R

The range starts with the R model, which comes in at £6,999 / $8,199 / €7,999. This model comes with a RockShox Super Deluxe Select shock and RockShox Lyrik Select fork. It runs a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain and is powered by Shimano’s EP8 motor.

It rolls on WTB ST i3030 rims with SRAM Mountain hubs. For traction, there’s a 29×2.5 Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ tyre up-front and 29 or 27.5in Maxxis Minion DHR2  3C MaxxTerra EXO+ on the back. These tyres are used across the full range of bikes.

The base model Heckler MX R comes in at £6,999.
The base model Heckler MX R comes in at £6,999.
Santa Cruz

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler C S

Next up is the S model.

For £7,999 / $9,699 / €8,999, you upgrade to a RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock and Fox 36 Performance fork.

You get SRAM GX Eagle gears with the same Shimano EP8 motor, and RaceFace ARC 30 HD rims with DT Swiss 350 hubs.

The Heckler S costs £7,999, which gets you upgraded suspension anb drivetrain over the R model.
The Heckler S costs £7,999, which gets you upgraded suspension and drivetrain over the R model.
Santa Cruz

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler C XT

For £1,000 more, or £8,999 / $10,399 / €9,999, you get the XT model.

This comes with the same RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock, but now you get a Fox 36 Performance Elite fork.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a Shimano XT drivetrain to go along with the EP8 motor, and it shares the same RaceFace ARC30 HD rims and DT Swiss 350 hubs as the S model.

The Heckler XT with its Shimano Deore XT spec build Fox 36 Performance Elite forks costs £8,999
The Heckler XT, with Shimano Deore XT spec and Fox 36 Performance Elite fork, costs £8,999.
Santa Cruz

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler C GX AXS

Coming in at £9,999 / $10,999USD / €10,999 is the GX AXS model.

This boasts the same suspension forks and shock as the XT model, but the significant changes are the electronic SRAM GX Eagle AXS drivetrain and upgraded Industry Nine 1/1 hubs.

For £9,999 the Heckler GX AXS get an electronic gears upgrade and better Industry Nine hubs.
For £9,999, the Heckler GX AXS get an electronic gears upgrade and better Industry Nine hubs.
Santa Cruz

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler CC X01 AXS RSV

Finally, for £11,699 / $13,299USD / €12,999 you get the top-spec X01 AXS RSV model.

Not only do you get the higher-spec CC carbon frame, but for your money, you get a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock and Fox 36 Factory forks, SRAM X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain and Reserve Carbon 30 front rim and DH rear rim built onto Industry Nine 1/1 hubs.

My medium test bike, without pedals, weighed in at 21.8kg.

The top-flight Santa Cruz Heckler X01 AXS RSV features all the bells and whistles for a whooping £11,699.
The top-flight Santa Cruz Heckler X01 AXS RSV features all the bells and whistles for a whooping £11,699.
Santa Cruz

2022 Santa Cruz Heckler initial ride impressions

The well balanced geometry, low bottom bracked and refined VPP suspension all make the Heckler an easy bike to get to with, allowing you to concentrate on and enjoy the trail.
The well-balanced geometry, low bottom bracket and refined VPP suspension all make the Heckler an easy bike to get on with, allowing you to concentrate on and enjoy the trail.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

I managed to get a few short rides in on the new Heckler MX X01 AXS RSV before the launch date. This was around my local trails in the Forest of Dean and south Wales. These are my initial impressions of that bike, but expect a full review of the new Heckler 29 soon.

Bar a few outliers, mountain bike geometry has settled on some very familiar numbers, and the new Heckler falls into this band of bikes comfortably.

It has a head tube angle just slacker than 65 degrees, a now-common and appreciated 77-ish-degree seat tube angle, and moderate reach and seat tube lengths that should allow you to size up or down depending on your preference.

Its geometry makes it a very easy bike to ride from the get-go.

The seated pedalling position is comfortable and sits you in a central position that makes it easy to maintain traction on the rear wheel when needed, yet keep weight over the front to help the front wheel track when the climbs get steep or technical.

The powerful Shimano motor and rear suspension did a fine job of taking the sting out of rough, bumpy climbs without the bike sinking into the travel too far.

Whether seated or stnading, the Heckler managed the climbs well, and keeps you in a good position for finding traction.
Whether seated or standing, the Heckler managed the climbs well and keeps you in a good position for finding traction.
Andy Lloyd / Our Media

I did notice the low-ish bottom bracket height making the Heckler feel as though it hunkered down to the ground through turns and helping improve traction.

The MX version keeps a playful spirit on the trail and is happy to be dropped quickly into tight turns.

Although the large 720Wh battery means there’s a lot of bike to muscle around, the Heckler’s geometry helps you, rather than hinders.

Suspension-wise, the rear end is very supple.

Set up with a hair over 30 per cent sag at the shock, the rear end was very smooth and forgiving. Its ability to smooth out trail chatter and its braking traction was good, and while I did bottom out when I expected to, I never felt the Heckler wallowed or didn’t have enough progression or support.

This might seem a back-handed compliment, but riding the bike was uneventful.

The Heckler did what it needed to do and did it well. There was no fuss, odd quirks, or strange behaviour from the bike, and it lets you concentrate on the trail and enjoy the ride.

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I look forward to spending more time on the 29in version to see how it compares to the MX bike.