ALL NEW | Santa Cruz Heckler CC eMTB Launch

Words by Tom Worsfold

on 11/02/2020 08:01:02


There is no denying it, eMTB's have taken the world of cycling by storm - and for good reason. The technology found on the latest electric mountain bikes means you can get more out of your riding than ever before, opening up possibility to ride twice as far in half the time, allowing you to get double the descending. With sleek, integrated battery designs and solid handling, modern eMTB's have changed many riders perceptions of what these bikes are capable of. The new Santa Cruz eMTB is no exception to this rule; queue the 2020 Heckler electric mountain bike.


Shop the new Heckler range now >

The Heckler entered the market in 1996 as an altogether different beast to the one you see here. It took the all-mountain cycling scene by storm, with an aggressive ride character that provided confidence in spades. The torch has now been passed on - we have no doubt that the new Heckler will ignite the same feelings.

Patience is a Virtue

It is safe to say that Santa Cruz have bided their time when it comes to producing an electric bike, with the Heckler being their first foray into the market. With a strong and well deserved following of loyal mountain bikers, Santa Cruz have been at the forefront of the gravity and trail market since their inception in the 90's. Their boutique bikes are prized by the MTB community, with the VPP suspension system being heralded as one of the top designs available when it comes to on-trail performance. Because of this it's no surprise that their fans were starting to ask the question of if and when Santa Cruz would enter the performance eMTB market.

As with any new product there is a lot to talk about, so where do we start?

Key features:

  • Lower link VPP suspension design, 150mm of travel
  • Full CC grade carbon frame, 27.5" wheels
  • Di2 specific Santa Cruz bar for superior cable management
  • 504wh battery capacity, Shimano E8000 250w motor
  • Built for the rigors of aggressive trail riding

We got the chance to ride the new Heckler before anyone else! Check out our first ride article here.

See the new Heckler range >

The Lowdown

The Heckler is based on Santa Cruz's ever popular Bronson, using the same lower-link VPP suspension setup and 27.5� wheels. 27.5� wheels? Yes, the Heckler uses the smaller of the two popular wheel sizes and for good reason. 27.5� wheels add an element of playfulness, allowing for the use of shorter, more nimble chainstays.


Much like with Whyte's E-150 RS eMTB, this is a welcome addition as it helps to offset the slow handling associated with added weight of the battery and motor. This extra weight ensures that the stability of a 29� wheel is unnecessary, with the bike tracking incredibly well over even the roughest terrain, all whilst retaining the award-winning performance that Santa Cruz's analog bikes are known for.

Shimano Motor & Battery Capacity

Santa Cruz have chosen to pair their MTB expertise with Shimano's E8000 e-Bike System, a motor known for its lightweight and powerful performance. Offering up to 70nm of torque and 250w of power this is a logical performance choice for the brands first electric model, with the minimalist E7000 and E8000 displays offering a purist cycling experience that mirrors the likes of Specialized's Turbo Levo. This leaves the usual three levels of assistance on offer, Eco, Trail and Boost, all designed with a focus on intuitive and natural power. The Shimano Steps E8000 motor is also one of the lightest available, weighing only 2.88kg for the unit. This allowed Santa Cruz to make the bike as light as possible ensuring improved handling over many heavier electric bikes.


The Heckler rolls with a sleek 504wh battery which is more than enough to keep you going for the duration. It is both removable and replaceable, as well as being totally integrated into the frame to keep it out of harm's way and retain the classic svelte lines that Santa Cruz bikes are known for. To remove the battery the process is simple, just undo the 4mm bolt which holds the CC carbon shield and battery in and boom - you have access.

The Shimano e-Bike Systems are a perfect pairing for performance MTB's, with unobtrusive displays and tidy controls that keep you immersed in the riding rather than distracted by screens. The E8000 controls also have excellent dropper post compatibility, allowing you to mix and match componentry worry-free.


Shop the new Heckler >

On the S-level models and above Santa Cruz have specced the Heckler with their house brand Di2-specific handlebar. This 800mm wide bar uses an oversized 35mm clamp for extra stiffness, and allows the bike to be setup clutter-free by hiding the wires through a pair of internal routing holes. This product will be available aftermarket too for those looking to upgrade their entry level models.

The Frameset

Santa Cruz's lower link driven VPP suspension system is known for it's downhill performance, with the linkage first being seen on the flagship V10 DH bike. For the Heckler, Santa Cruz have packaged this into a trail friendly package with the perfect amount of mid and bottom-out support to help deal with the extra weight of battery. On top of this, it has been tuned to have improved anti-squat characteristics over their analog models, allowing for improved grip on technical climbs. It is no secret that eMTB's make climbing nearly as fun as descending, and the improved climbing performance will be a welcome one on steeper singletrack climbs.


Taking distinct queues from the Bronson, the Heckler is a burly descender too. A slack 65.5 degree head angle combined with 445mm chainstays provide a confidence inspiring, yet engaging ride that feels nimble on descents and has bags of traction in the corners. There is no doubt this bike is made for one thing and one thing only - outright fun. All models in the lineup use Santa Cruz's top spec CC grade carbon, giving the perfect blend of compliance, stiffness and low weight.

The Models

Available in two radically different colourways of �blackout� and �yellowjacket�, the Heckler is available in four different build kits to suit all preferences and budgets. Each comes with 200mm rotors as standard for improved braking performance, as well as 4 piston brakes - a welcome addition with the bikes extra motor and battery weight.

Every build kit in the lineup also features an eMTB specific fork, E-bike rated Sram Eagle drivetrain and top performing Rockshox Super Deluxe shock. There are no compromises when it comes to performance on any build, with each having a solid parts spec that matches the Heckler's rowdy nature.


Overall - An Aggressive Trail Performer

The Heckler is without a doubt an eMTB that will turn a few heads on the trail and is a Santa Cruz through and through, blending an aesthetically stunning frame and top technology with the top performance we've come to know from the brand. Stock is limited and these bikes are available on a first come first served basis, so if you are looking to get your hands on your very own Heckler get in touch with your local Rutland Cycling store today.

Don't just take our word for it though, staff rider Luke was lucky enough to get to ride the Heckler - check out his first ride review here!

The Heckler 2020 eMTB Range


Santa Cruz Heckler CC R 2020

The Heckler is the most agile and playful electric bike on the market, delivering top class performance pairing a legendary Santa Cruz CC frame with the proven Shimano electric drive system to grow the adventure and fun in your riding.

  • Frame - Carbon CC 27.5 150mm Travel VPP�
  • Fork - RockShox Yari RC, 160mm, 27.5"
  • Drivetrain - SRAM NX Eagle 12 speed
  • Brakes - SRAM Guide RE hydraulic disc
See the Santa Cruz Heckler range Shop now >

Santa Cruz Heckler CC S 2020

Taking renowned thrill-seeker, the 27.5" wheel Bronson, as a starting point, Santa Cruz have finely tuned the VPP suspension and integrated the drive unit to create a bike that capably rides the wave between agility and stability.

  • Frame - Carbon CC 27.5 150mm Travel VPP�
  • Fork - FOX 36-E Float Performance, 160mm, 27.5"
  • Drivetrain - SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed
  • Brakes - SRAM Code R hydraulic disc
See the Santa Cruz Heckler range Shop now >

Santa Cruz Heckler CC X01 2020

The Heckler is one of the lightest e-MTBs in it's class, with a 500wh battery integrated into Santa Cruz's lightest CC carbon chassis keeping the weight down.

  • Frame - Carbon CC 27.5 150mm Travel VPP�
  • Fork - FOX 36-E Float Performance Elite, 160mm, 27.5"
  • Drivetrain - SRAM X01 Eagle 12 speed
  • Brakes - SRAM Code RSC hydraulic disc
See the Santa Cruz Heckler range Shop now >

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