Barely out of the blocks, Santa Cruz's Heckler ebike gets mid-season update with mixed 'MX' wheel sizes and Shimano's new EP8 motor.

The Heckler – Santa Cruz’s first ebike – is just seven months old, but it’s already been given a fresh haircut and a new set of clothes. It’s now sporting a mullet set-up, with a 29in front wheel paired with the original 27.5in rear wheel, and Shimano’s smoother, lighter, more efficient EP8 motor.

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Santa Cruz is retaining the original 27.5in version (also updated with an EP8 motor) to sell alongside what it’s dubbed an ‘MX’ configuration, but we can see the new mullet bike being the clear favourite on the shop floor.

Santa Cruz Heckler MX

Same name, new motor and wheels

When we tested the Heckler earlier this year, one of our parting thoughts was that we’d love to try the Heckler with a 29in front wheel, and our wishes have now been granted. We found the original model didn’t settle mid-turn as well as we’d like, so the larger wheel should add stability during this phase of cornering.

There is a compromise to be made on travel though. Santa Cruz has dropped the MX version to 140mm front and rear, from 160/150mm in order to retain the BB height and stop the front end getting too tall.

Santa Cruz Heckler MX

Fully integrated frame protection comes as standard

While the down tube is not lacking in volume, it’s still not large enough to accomodate Shimano’s larger 630Wh battery either, so longer rides are still going to be a test of power management.

That motor upgrade brings a host of enhancements to the riding experience. Not only is it around 300g lighter than the E8000 unit, it’s much smaller, giving more ground clearance. There’s less friction internally, so you should be able to ride further on a single charge, and should you run out of battery, it will be slightly less soul destroying to pedal back to the car. It’s one of the quitest motors on the market in operation, but there’s more rattle from the internals when coasting. Shimano has bumped up the power to 85Nm, although it still doesn’t feel as punchy in use as the Bosch Performance CX or Brose S-Mag and you don’t get that useful overrun for boosting up technical climbs that currently gives Bosch a real edge on the competition.

While we’ll reserve judgement until we ride one, this MX version could be the configuration the Heckler was crying out for from the start. The Shimano EP8 unit also brings significant improvements, even if sticking with the smaller battery will limit your fun.

Range overview

Santa Cruz Heckler MX

Santa Cruz Heckler MX CC X01 RSV

At the top of the tree is the Heckler MX CC X01 RSV costing a cool £9,999. Spec includes carbon Reserve wheels, RockShox Pike Ultimate fork, Fox Float DPS shock and SRAM X01 drivetrain.

Santa Cruz Heckler MX

Santa Cruz Heckler MX CC XT

Next up is the MX CC XT at £8,299 with, you guessed it, Shimano XT drivetrain. The fork is a Pike Select + and wheels are Race Face Arc Offset.

Santa Cruz Heckler MX

Santa Cruz Heckler MX CC S

This is basically the same bike as above, but with a SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain.

Santa Cruz Heckler MX

Santa Cruz Heckler MX CC R

Entry level in the hierachy, if not in price, the R model gets the lower power Shimano E7000 motor, RockShox Revelation fork and weighty SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain.