Santa Cruz Gives the Heckler a Lighter Motor and a Mixed Wheel Option

The 9-month-old Santa Cruz Heckler gets a newer, lighter motor and the MX edition has a 29er front end.
The SCB Heckler MX. Ash Smith / Anka Martin

Now that Shimano’s new EP8 motor is out, brands who were using the older E8000 motor can replace it with the lighter version and make their electric builds even lighter. Santa Cruz wasted no time moving to the updated motor, just nine months after releasing the Heckler with a Shimano E8000.

The Shimano EP8 is lighter than the previous motor by over 300g (about 10.5oz), and has a smaller volume by about 10%. The EP8 has better heat resistance and less drag, with 15Nm of additional torque, for a total of 85Nm. So basically, it’s lighter, more powerful, and slimmer. This appears to be the direction that eMTBs are going in general.

Aside from that, the Heckler doesn’t change much – which should be expected since it’s less than a year old; except for one thing. Santa Cruz gave the Heckler 27.5″ wheels to keep it as “playful” as possible. Now, they have an MX edition, giving the Heckler a 29″ wheel up front.

“A mixed-wheel bike gives the confidence of a 29-inch wheel up front for traction and roll-over when you’re caught off guard by technical features. The 27.5 rear wheel allowed us to keep the moderate chainstay length of the Heckler (445mm), which provides a snappy and easy-to-handle bike on tight, demanding trails. We did this without compromising on the standard Heckler’s geometry, so the bike’s character is still very light and accurate.”

The Heckler MX comes with 140mm of rear travel and 140mm of fork travel, instead of the 150/160mm travel of the normal Heckler. The MX comes in five sizes, S-XL as does the normal Heckler. Both have four different build levels, starting at $7,000 and topping out at $11,000. For more information, see the Santa Cruz website.