The 2021 Santa Cruz eBike Lineup + Our Take On Each Model
Santa Cruz Bicycles is a name that popped up in the middle of 1994 in Santa Cruz, California. Originally operating out of a small space the size of a standard garage, the first bike, the Tazmon, was a dual suspension, aggressive mountain bike that rattled the established norms of bike culture. And when you realize that it rattled Californian bike culture, that should tell you just how revolutionary the dual suspension bike was.
Santa Cruz Bicycles is now legendary in the worlds of both professional mountain bike competition, and serious hobbyists that take every opportunity they get to attack the mountain trails. This love of the outdoors has led Santa Cruz to develop some of the most rugged, extreme eBikes that are available on the market right now, as well as committing to ensuring that their eBikes are manufactured in carbon neutral, eco-friendly ways.
Of special note for Santa Cruz Bicycles eBikes: Each model presented is the base model of each type, the Bullit, the Heckler, and the Heckler MX. Each model is highly customizable to each client’s independent needs, so the only fair listing we could make is that of the base model.
The Santa Cruz Bullit is not designed to be anything but a mountain brawler. This is the eBike you get when you want to go off-trail, into V10 grade terrain where it’s just you, the mountain, and as many hours of daylight you can ride in. In base “R / Carbon CC / MX” spec, the Bullit sports full RockShox Zeb and Super Deluxe Select front and rear shocks, respectively, as well as full SRAM and Shimano gearing and cranksets.
The bike frame is constructed of carbon composite for non-stress areas, and full impregnated carbon fiber for the front and rear triangles. Santa Cruz is so sure that the frame will stand up to whatever you put it through that they offer a lifetime warranty on the frame and all stress bearing members of the bike.
The Bullit also has a MX base setup that adds only a few dollars to the base price, giving you a 27 inch rear wheel and a 29 inch front wheel. The wheels are made of aerospace aluminum by Sapim Race, and are fitted with Maxxis Assegai on the front and Maxxis Minion DHR on the rear.
It should also be noted that the battery and motor usage, especially on the Bullit, is meant to be almost entirely for pedal assist for the climb up the mountain. It powers off when you go downhill, so you can drop in on the slope and go full send off humps, whups, and around obstacles as an extreme mountain bike should do.
Due to the sheer amount of customization available, prospective buyers should head over to Santa Cruz’s website where their Build & Pricing Section has the breakdown of every possible aspect of their Bullit line of ebikes.
The Santa Cruz Heckler is what could be considered the entry-level eBike of the range. In its base “R / Carbon CC / 27.5” spec, it is meant to be used as an all around mountain bike, from riding the trails to occasionally hopping off of said trails to scramble down an embankment or climb a technical section.
While no range is listed by Santa Cruz, with the 504 Wh battery and 250W crank mounted motor, the pedal assist is estimated by most to be anywhere from 20 miles with heavy use, to 50 miles with light use. Assist levels can be dialed up or down using the Shimano STEPS EP-8 sensor control unit on the handlebars, and can even be turned completely off for a pure experience.
In the 27.5 R setup, both the front and rear wheel are aerospace-grade aluminum spoked Sapim Races, wrapped with Maxxis Minion DHR II’s. A RockShox Yari RC 160mm fork up front and a RockShox Super Deluxe Select out back give the bike a much more civilized ride than its Bullit brother, however it is expected that the rider will be sitting a lot more on the Heckler as a trail-endurance bike, than on the Bullit as an extreme mountain bike.
The battery and motor usage on the Heckler is definitely more active, assisting with both flat terrain traversal and both climbs and technical sections. The benefit of having a lightweight carbon frame and a very lightweight battery and motor is that even if the battery does run out, you still have one hell of a trail bike to ride!
Check out the Heckler product page for a full breakdown of their Build & Pricing.
The Santa Cruz Heckler MX is, by definition, almost the exact same bike as the Heckler, so not much time will be spent on the intended usage. What does need to be discussed, however, is the slightly modified suspension setup, the different wheels, the different tires used, and the slightly different drive unit used.
In “R / Carbon CC / MX” base spec, the suspension is modified to have a shorter travel RockShox Revelation RC 140mm unit up front to cope with the 29 inch front wheel. The rear suspension is replaced with a full FOX Float Performance DPS monoshock, giving a much stiffer, racier rear end feel.
The wheels are still Sapim Race full aluminum, however the front wheel gets a Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5 competition grip tire, with the 27.5 inch rear carrying over the Maxxis Minion DHR II.
The biggest change is the replacement of the Shimano DU-EP800 with the Shimano DU-E7000 as the crank mounted drive unit. The E7000 is still a 250W pedal assist unit, however it draws less power and, consequently, provides only an optimal 60 Nm of torque instead of the EP800’s 65 Nm optimum. The reasoning behind this is that since the front wheel will be facing providing slightly more gyroscopic stability and make it a little easier to get going, not as much torque is needed, and slightly more range can be enjoyed.
There are too many customization options to list, so be sure to head over to the Heckler MX product page for a full breakdown of their Build & Pricing.