Based on the Bronson, the Heckler SL does everything you'd expect, only better.


When Santa Cruz launched the Heckler SL back in September 2023, my first thought was “wow, that’s one good looking bike”. Yes, even the bike test editor at MBR is easily swayed by a head turning design. Taking a closer look at the numbers I quickly realised that the Heckler SL could be the mid-powered e-bike that I’d been waiting for, and possibly, the best bike Santa Cruz currently makes.

Santa Cruz Heckler SL

Santa Cruz’s Heckler SL is a force to be reckoned with

With 150mm rear travel, MX wheels and geometry formatted around a 160mm fork, this bike has clearly been designed for shredding. The Heckler SL comes in five frame sizes, S to XXL, all wrapped up in a two-tier carbon shell. Where the C level carbon is slightly heavier but also more affordable.

Santa Cruz Heckler SL

Plug and play: The Fazua Ride 60 motor and 430Wh battery

There’s a tricky-to-reach flip chip in the lower link that offers two geometry settings and Santa Cruz has dipped its toe in the proportional geometry game, the three smallest sizes getting 443mm chainstays that grow to 445mm on the size XL and 450mm on the XXL. So not exactly proportional, but a step in the right direction.

Santa Cruz Heckler SL

Forget, breeze, river and rocket, it’s green for go on Fazua’s traffic light system

Powering the Heckler SL is the Fazua Ride 60 motor which basically makes it a motorised version of the Bronson. And the thing that excited me most about this bike was that having already tested a bunch of the best lightweight e-bikes, I knew that the 430Wh battery on the Santa Cruz would offer best-in-class range.  You can learn about our range test with the Fazua Ride 60 equipped Haibike Lyke CF 11 here.

In fact, the Heckler SL is such a hot ticket right now that we haven’t actually been able to get one for review. So when Toby Pantling from The Forge at Ace Bicycles in Gomshall said he had a demo bike in size L, I jumped at the chance to ride it.

Initial Ride Impressions

Let’s get something clear at the very beginning, I only had one day on the Heckler SL, so this is not a full review. With that caveat, I hit enough corners on the Heckler SL to dizzy myself as this bike simply rails turns. And because I could crank it over so much further when cornering, it made me feel like I was starring in a Josh Bryceland edit, even though he doesn’t ride for Santa Cruz any more.

The bike is also really quiet. There’s no distracting chain slap or cable rattle, just the sound of the Maxxis tyres tracing the terrain beneath me. The rear suspension is really reactive but it retains enough support to help keep that Maxx Grip front tyre fully loaded. The Fazua Ride 60 motor is also really efficient when pedalling above the assistance level of the motor.

Santa Cruz Heckler SL

Don’t fancy magenta? How about matte silver?

I was riding a size L Heckler SL S Carbon C which costs £7,599 but it had a RockShox AXS Reverb post fitted, not the stock One Up post, as it was a demo bike. As such, we weighed a XL size S Carbon C build that Toby also had in the shop and it came in at 19.56kg, so the size L should be pretty close to the claimed weight of 19.3kg.

Santa Cruz Heckler SL

Hiding in plain sight. The Heckler SL doesn’t look like an e-bike

Overall the specification is on the money, and the Heckler SL is competitively priced, at least for the SL e-bike category. That said, if you’re riding rocky terrain you’ll want to up the tyre casings from EXO/EXO+ to EXO+/DD, or similar, as this bike really encourages to get loose, ride fast and take chances. So after just one ride I think the Heckler SL lives up to the hype. Now we just need to get our hands on one for a full review.