Santa Cruz Heckler e-MTB goes 29er

Danny MacSkill riding the Santa Cruz Heckler e-MTB under some rocky outcrops
(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz has updated one of its best electric mountain bikes with a change in wheel size, tweaked geometry, and increased battery capacity.

Like some of its competitor brands, Santa Cruz chose the mullet wheel configuration for its first-generation enduro e-MTB, combining a 29er front wheel, with a smaller 27.5in rear. Although the mullet set-up remains an option with the updated Heckler, there is now a full 29er version too. That means riders can opt for either a more playful MX set-up or a calmer, more efficient 29er platform.

Unlike many brands, the MX and 29er bikes use completely different front triangles and rear linkages so it isn't possible to switch between wheel setups at a later date. MX and 29er bikes are available from medium to extra large sizing, while the small is only available in 27.7 front and rear. 

Suspension travel is ample with a 160mm fork at the front and 150mm of shock travel at the rear. The rear end now includes a flip-chip in the lower link too which allows riders to tailor the ride between a high and low setting, more on that later.

The Heckler’s frame angles are all about creating a stable and confident descending platform. With that in mind, the 29er Heckler has a very slack front end, with a 64.5-degree head angle – making it a full degree slacker than its predecessor. The reach numbers have also been stretched to around a 475 reach (size large) for both wheel options.

Danny MacSkill riding the Hekler up a narrow singletrack

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Many more miles of pedal-assistance

Beyond the more aggressive riding geometry and the additional traction of that larger rear wheel, another update with this 2022 Heckler is its battery capacity.

Feeding energy into Shimano’s EP8 mid-drive motor is a notably more potent third-party 720Wh battery pack that has been approved by Shimano. That’s a 30 percent increase in energy density over the previous Heckler’s 504Wh battery and should make Santa Cruz’s latest e-MTB an even better enduro self-shuttle bike.

Santa Cruz Heckler e-MTB 2022

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

The Heckler uses Santa Cruz's tried and tested VPP suspension format and the kinematics have been designed to match Santa Cruz's other bikes. The flip-chip alters the leverage curve meaning the bike can be tailored to work with both large-volume air in the high setting or coil shocks in the low position. 

All Hecklers are C-specification frames, apart from the range-topping RSV version, which uses Santa Cruz’s more expensive and lighter, CC carbon-fibre lay-up. Both versions get a lifetime warranty though, even better the suspension bearings also get the same coverage too.

The updated e-MTB range starts at $8,199 / £6,999 for the entry-level R model and peaks at $13,299 / £11,699, for a Santa Cruz Heckler XO1 AXS equipped RSV.

For more on e-MTBs, check out our guide to the best electric mountain bikes.

Danny MacAskill really likes the electric Heckler. Here's a video of him saying so (a lot)...

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.