When Santa Cruz launched the original Heckler e-MTB (not the OG Heckler), the bike wasn’t quite what many were expecting. We loved the light-hearted attitude, playful ride quality and unflappable suspension, but some noted the bike was equipped with a four-year-old (at the time) Shimano E8000 motor, and the low capacity 504Wh battery and 27.5in wheels, that felt out of place in a field of 29iners with big batteries. Not even a year later, Santa Cruz released the Heckler MX, with a mullet wheel setup and Shimano’s EP8 motor. The brand also updated the 27.5in Heckler with Shimano’s EP8 drive system.
For 2022, Santa Cruz has updated the Heckler again with a bigger battery and offers the choice of 29in or mullet wheels.
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Bigger battery more squish
In his own words, Santa Cruz’s Danny MacAskill says of riding e-MTBs, ” It’s better than anything I can imagine really. It’s more fun than if they’d built a hoverboard.”
Anecdotally we’ve heard that MacAskill goes through three e-MTB batteries per day, and while we can’t confirm this figure, when the Scotsman is seen on an e-MTB it’s usually the Heckler, which up until now has been handcuffed to Shimano’s 504Wh battery — the Bullit gets the bigger 630Wh. Either way, the 2022 Heckler bumps up to Shimano’s biggest 720Wh battery, still with the EP8 Motor.
When Santa Cruz launched the Heckler MX, the brand cut 10mm of travel off both ends so it could utilise the same chassis without radically altering the ride characteristics. The third generation Heckler, both the 29er and MX configurations have returned to the original’s 150mm/160mm combo.
Geometry and wheel size options
The update to the Santa Cruz Heckler’s geometry is an evolution, not a revolution. In the 29in configuration, the head angle is 0.7-degrees slacker than its small-wheeled predecessor; the seat angle changes by less than a degree — depending on the size — and the chainstays grow by 15mm. The reach increases by as much as 10mm depending on the size, and the stack jumps by about 12mm.
Based around the brand’s VPP suspension platform, a flip-chip in the linkage drops the BB by 6mm. This slackens the head and seat angles by less than half a degree.
Santa Cruz hasn’t confirmed whether the mullet configuration uses a different swing arm or relies on a rejig of the pivot points to accommodate the smaller wheel, but the result is a shorter rear centre length and, in turn, a shorter wheelbase.
Santa Cruz is offering the Heckler in the full gamut of sizing, the caveat being that the small-sized frame rolls on 27.5in wheels at both ends. From size M to XXL, both 29in and MX frames are available.
Santa Cruz is making the Heckler in both its C and CC carbon, however, all but the most expensive build kits coming to Oz will be made from the former.
Santa Cruz hasn’t confirmed the spec list however, the local distributor Lusty Industries has said it will be bringing in five models, which should appear in shops this May, with the first shipment being exclusively 29ers. Pricing starts at $14,649 AUD for the Heckler 9 C R-Kit and tops out at $22,749 AUD for the ultra-Gucci Heckler 9 CC X01 AXS RSV.
Lusty has also let us know that the Shimano XT and SRAM GX AXS builds won’t be available from the get-go due to supply constraints.
Santa Cruz Heckler 9 Pricing
Heckler 9 C R-KIT $14,649
Heckler 9 C S-KIT $16,099
Heckler 9 C XT-KIT $17,399
Heckler 9 C GX AXS $18,499