Santa Cruz Heckler Electric Mountain Bike Review
Riding up a hill with a mountain bike is arguably one of the most enjoyable and intense outdoor activities out there. Furthermore, you get to be with nature, cross through rough terrain without the risk of spraining your ankles, and enjoy the trail on your way down without much effort.
The Santa Cruz Heckler is a beautiful electric MTB that’s both fun to ride and a joy to carry around. For starters, it’s one of the lighter e-MTBs in the market and has. For two, it also has one of the best company policies out there for warranties and repairs.
Although the company itself is late to the e-MTB party, the lack of punctuality is easily forgiven with the build quality of the Heckler. A class 1 e-MTB, Santa Cruz offers the Heckler in four different price points, all with their own perks and benefits.
For this article, we’ll go over the base model of the Santa Cruz Heckler, but with honorable mentions about the differences and quirks of the more expensive models. Now, put your helmet on cause it’s time to go for a ride.
- MSRP: $6,999 (up to $10,999)
- Class: Electric Mountain Bike
- Motor: E8000 (250W)
- Battery: 504wh
- Range: ~3,500 feet vertical range
Frameset and Geometry
Like most e-MTBs, the Heckler is built to handle a lot of vibrations that come with riding on rocky terrain.
Starting off with a premium-quality frame, Santa Cruz offers a lifetime warranty on a lot of the Heckler’s parts, primarily the frame. You’ve got a full-carbon frame that’s both durable and light, amounting to the Heckler’s total weight of only 45 lbs. This makes it a joy to ride up mountain trails, especially with the added motor-assist.
While most e-bikes generally prefer taking the route of looking futuristic, the Heckler sticks to a traditional frame, and we’re all for it. The design is heavily inspired by the classic mountain bike silhouettes, with minor adjustments like the frame angle and the seat. With the Heckler, you’ve got an e-MTB that looks like a regular mountain bike but with the power to get you up the mountain trail without breaking a sweat.
As expected from the hefty price tag, customers can choose between five sizings (S, M, L, XL, and XXL). We’ll go through the in-depth measurements of each size later on, but it’s safe to assume that the Heckler fits all shapes and sizes.
The wheels are smaller than your average MTB, coming in at only 27.5″. This helps boost versatility and agility, which adds to the fact that it’s a joy to ride on the mountain trail. Of course, the company does offer the standard 29’’ wheels if you opt for the mixed-wheel version.
For the negative aspects of the frame, there are a lot of comments about how the seat is arranged too far back from the handles. Unfortunately, this makes the riding position feel somewhat crude as you cycle upwards. Thankfully, that’s nothing that can’t be fixed by leaning forward. We think that Santa Cruz was aiming for the extra space between your butt and your chair with the pulled-back seat when you stand.
Motor and Battery
Moving on, the motor and the battery of the Heckler fall into the grey area. Now, some reviews think these components could have been better. As for the rest, they appreciate the reason behind why Santa Cruz chose these parts.
We’re looking at a 504wh battery on the Heckler, which gets you up to around 3,500 feet of vertical range. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with how e-MTB ranges are measured, they’re generally measured by how much they land they can cover going up a mountain trail. For the Heckler, it’s around 3,500 feet—which is enough for most mountain trails.
Sadly, the 504wh battery does fall short for long-distance rides, but you’ve got the flexibility and comfort of having a light battery pack. This means that you can simply carry a spare on your backpack and replace the battery of the Heckler later on.
As for the motor is a 250W and 70Nm torque Shimano E8000 model, which offers three modes for trail climbing: Dynamic mode, Explorer mode, and Custom mode. All three offer a different riding experience that’s catered to different types of terrain and the rider’s preference.
It’s not the fastest motor on the market, but it’s an intuitive piece of hardware that makes climbing up the mountain trail a smooth and streamlined experience.
Moving in a little closer, the components on the Santa Cruz Heckler can be summarized in one word: Standard.
There’s nothing wrong with something that works, but from the number on the price tag that comes with this e-MTB, we were looking for something more innovative. We’ll talk more about this in the next section, but for now, here’s a closer look at all the innards and organs of the Santa Cruz Heckler:
- Available in five different sizes with a variety of two colors.
- RockShox Yari RC Fork (160mm)
- LCD Display
- SRAM Guide RE Brakes
- Maxxis Minion DHR II tires
- Customized bar to hide the wires on the cockpit
The Heckler is a solid bike overall, with standard parts that pack a lot of value for your buck. Unfortunately, at the price it’s currently asking for, we expected a little more oomph to the party.
It does have its redeeming qualities as an e-MTB, but those deserve a spot of their own.
The Price for Convenience
It’s no secret that MTBs are prone to a lot more maintenance, especially in the future. The continuous use of climbing up and down trails will take its toll on any MTB. Thankfully, this is where Santa Cruz’ component choice comes in. For the company, it was important to have parts that were easy to repair.
It’s an economical choice. Santa Cruz picked out components from the engine and battery that were staples of Shimano. This makes the repairs, parts, and all that gritty work much cheaper on the customer. Additionally, since Shimano offers an almost worldwide availability for repairs that boosts the convenience factor.
As you can imagine, mountain bikes go through a lot of stress climbing up and down mountain trails. A small accident, broken gear, or even a shattered chain can go a long way in transit when your repair center is halfway across the continent.
Fortunately, the Heckler’s parts are standard and easy to repair. Furthermore, the lifetime warranty on the frame, handlebars, bearing, bottle cages, and reserve carbon wheels? The icing on the cake.
Style and Aesthetic
Now, the Heckler is modeled after a classic mountain bike, which isn’t a bad thing. When you’re out there climbing up hills and going over trails, having a frame and design that’s been working for years is crucial.
Santa Cruz offers the heckler in two different color combinations: Blackout and Copper & Yellowjacket and Black. The beauty of the Heckler is in the money spent to make it a complete carbon frame. The bike is lighter compared to most e-MTBs on the market, making it an absolute joy to ride up and down.
All in all, the smaller battery saves up the weight. Additionally, the small yet strong E8000 motor saves space while carrying itself up with pedal assist. In short, it’s an agile bike that was made to be fun to ride.
Ride Feel and Suggested Use
The Santa Cruz Heckler doesn’t get everything right, but the fun factor gets two checks from us. It’s a lightweight e-MTB that’s easy to cycle up on and ride down after a day-long trail.
As far as online reviews go, the Heckler comes pre-assembled to your doorstep. You might want to check on the air in the tires first, though, but that’s pretty much it.
You Might Also Ask
How much does a Santa Cruz Heckler weigh?
The Heckler weighs around 45 pounds, positioning it as one of the lighter e-MTBs on the market.
Does Santa Cruz make good bikes?
When the e-MTB market came into the scene, a lot of new companies that wanted a part of the pie got into the industry as well. For Santa Cruz, they’ve been in this industry for more than three decades. The company is a staple for excellent quality mountain bikes.
How much is a Santa Cruz mountain bike?
Of course, the price is very dependent on the model and type of model you get. All in all, you can expect a price range between $3,499 to $10,499 for a Santa Cruz e-MTB.
Does Santa Cruz make an e-bike?
It took them a long time to get into the e-MTB industry, almost two years in fact. As of 2021, Santa Cruz does make e-bikes.
Are Santa Cruz bikes overpriced?
Santa Cruz has a long line of experience in the mountain bike industry. We’re looking at more than three decades of manufacturing well-built, strong, and robust mountain bikes. That said, there’s a reason why Santa Cruz bikes are expensive. But, we wouldn’t say they’re overpriced.
Are Santa Cruz bikes made in USA?
The frame is built and fabricated in Cz, California, USA.
Santa Cruz Heckler Size Recommendations
Now, attached above are the specific sizes present on Santa Cruz’s website. You can refer to their official post about the Heckler to take a closer look at the specific measurements and parts.
For the height requirement? Well, you’re pretty much covered. We’ve taken the liberty of taking the official measurements for the Heckler. So, here are the cm and inch frame sizing tables from Santa Cruz’s official website. From the pictures below, your height corresponds to the frame size of your Heckler.
Ride or Pass?
The Heckler gets a “Ride” from us. We’d easily recommend this bike to individuals who have no problems with the hefty price tag. If you can get behind the initial jerk you get when you see the price, then you’re up for a lifetime of service and quality riding with the Santa Cruz Heckler.