Santa Cruz Announces Heckler EP8 & Mixed Wheel Size Version

Nov 12, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Santa Cruz's first-ever eMTB, the Heckler, was released in February this year as a 27.5", 150mm travel, all-mountain machine. Now, much like the V10 earlier in the year, a new MX version of the Heckler is available that has a 29" front wheel and 27.5" rear wheel.

Santa Cruz claims the new front wheel set up, "gives riders the confidence of a 29-inch wheel ... for traction and roll-over when you're caught off guard by technical features." However the smaller rear wheel means that Santa Cruz can keep the 445mm chainstays from the regular model and therefore ensure the bike remains, "snappy and easy-to-handle bike on tight, demanding trails".

SCB Heckler MX Rally of the Stone King Ash Smith Anka Martin
Photos: Sven Martin / Santa Cruz

The frame remains the same on the MX version but the travel has now been shortened by 10mm in the rear and 20mm on the fork to 140mm all round. This was designed to neutralize the changes in geometry that adding a bigger wheel and longer fork axle to crown would create. The shorter travel setup means the BB on the MX Heckler has only risen by 2mm and the wheelbase has only grown by 2-3mm so, Santa Cruz claims, the bike retains the feeling of the regular version despite the wheel change.

There are still some geometry changes that come with the larger front wheel including a 0.9° slacker head angle at 64.6°, a seat tube angle that is around 1° slacker (depending on size) and 9mm shorter reaches. The geometry of the two models can be compared below:

Santa Cruz Heckler MX geometry

Santa Cruz Heckler geometry

The MX Heckler will be available in the same five spec levels as the standard Heckler and at the same price points starting with the base CCR model $6,999 up to the CC XX01 RSV model at $10,999.

EP8 Upgrade

All models of the Santa Cruz Heckler except the 'R' spec have now been upgraded with the Shimano EP8 motor. It's an upgrade we've seen across a number of e-MTBs since the motor was released as it offers 85Nm of torque (vs 70 on the old motor) and a max power output of 500 Watts. More than that, it's also in a lighter and more compact package, which means the Heckler sheds around 300 grams and gets greater ground clearance too.

More info can be found, here.


  • 197 41
 Been hearing about Santa Cruz launching two new bikes for a while now and... well... my disappointment is immeasurable and my day has been ruined
  • 64 3
 Where’s the updated nomad, right?
  • 33 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: just put a 29" wheel on the front, it's a new bike!
  • 40 4
 Even if they launched a new one, how are you going to tell them apart ?
  • 5 1
 @artistformlyknowasdan: Loooooong overdue. But I hear there is more coming. So stay tuned!
  • 63 5
 Maybe we can give them a little slack as like 90% of their employees lost their homes and were displaced in the fires. I'm sure that had an impact on their go-live timelines.
  • 8 3
 @seraph: also the ep8 motor is significant. hope you read more than the first paragraph Smile
  • 9 8
 @airsoftesneeto: Same battery as the old model though, way behind most competitors with 500wh
  • 11 1
 @artistformlyknowasdan: at specialized HQ
  • 8 3
 @honourablegeorge: I'm a huge fan of the 500. Keeps the bike a bit lighter. I carry an extra for bigger rides.
  • 3 0
 Got to be a new Blur coming right? There is about a Montana wide gap between the Blur and Tallboy right now.
  • 7 1
 @Sam3897: lol - the enduro certainly looks like a SC
  • 13 50
flag Ryanrobinson1984 (Nov 12, 2020 at 11:55) (Below Threshold)
 Stop with all of the goddamn Ebikes!! The bike industry is hell bent on plugging their ears to the virtually unanimous sentiments.
  • 23 2
 @Ryanrobinson1984: the bike industry doesn’t really care that lots of people who already own MTB don’t like ebikes. It is a product/market segment with explosive growth from existing riders and first timers, business 101. FWIW I don’t personally own or ride an ebike, I have no stake in this game. Also, Pinkbike has filters so you don’t have to see these articles. Ride on!
  • 9 0
 @Ryanrobinson1984: Disagree massively. When we were in Germany ~4 years ago we spent some time in great mtb bike country in the German Alps...I kid you not ~75% of the mtn bikes we saw were e-bikes. Wild.
  • 3 0
 @jgreermalkin: oh man, when I saw “slack”, I thought it was going to be a bad pun. But good call, hope they are all doing well after the fires.
  • 1 1
 @artistformlyknowasdan: right behind the updated Driver 8
  • 1 0
 @2pi: wow such challenges you face
  • 5 0
 @mtbufu: wait a second.. selling things is a part of business? Advertising for those things is part of this???

What is this, some sort of capitalism based economy?
  • 7 0
 @WhatToBuy: you know what? I made that raging outcry too prematurely and I apologize . I’m fairly twitchy today and after I saw only the picture, I stood up and turned my whole desk over. At any rate, I actually can see myself and my underpowered legs riding one of these one day when I’m older and it’s a safe bet I will be. I’ll probably even look at the bike, remember my post, and even have a slight chuckle.
  • 5 1
 @Ryanrobinson1984: Soooo... am I to assume this is the biggest problem in your life?
  • 1 0
 @deez-nucks: SC is apparently forming up a new XC race team. I suppose we'll see a new Blur soon. Must be, because right now, its just not competitive.
  • 1 1
 Even more. They paired it with Shimano engine. What a flop?!?!
  • 3 0
 @Ryanrobinson1984: Geezus!!! I'm not an E-bike fan (I think it kills the soul of cycling) but seeing an article like this caused you to flip you desk over? I think you have some other issues going on. And even admitting you acted that way on a public forum is not using the best judgment.
  • 1 0
 @Ryanrobinson1984:As I mentioned before, I'm not a fan of e-bikes but like it or not they are here (and their popularity is growing rapidly with no end in site) and they are not going away. I belive in some parts of Europe they are outselling non e-bikes. You and I and all others who dislike them can piss and moan all we want but that and a dime will get you a cup of coffee.
  • 1 0
 @CYCOlogist818: Dang, I thought I showed my age when I said that and fifty cents... But a dime? :-D
  • 64 1
 I'm getting a Mixed Wheel haircut tomorrow!
  • 8 34
flag youknowitsus (Nov 12, 2020 at 9:22) (Below Threshold)
 I don't get it
  • 7 1
 @youknowitsus: what is a mixed wheel bike called?
  • 6 2
 @youknowitsus: Lil slow on the uptake, but I’m sure the kind commenters of PinkBike will give u a pass this time...
  • 2 0
 @youknowitsus: I don’t think anyone caught your sarcasm towards the bad dad joke.
  • 2 0
 @DirtbagMatt: At least I'm honest and vulnerable, things society sorta needs. I don't have anything to lose by admitting I didn't get a joke. Funny how people downvoted for me saying "I don't get it." Almost like people are assuming the worst intent in all instances?
  • 43 1
 Where's the V5 Nomad!?
  • 5 0
 What’s wrong with the V4?
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: well years it wasn’t a banshee the st needs to be about 1-1.5° steeper and ht about .5° slacker. Still damn good bike tho
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: absolutely nothing. I have V3 tbh. Love it! Still want to see the V5.
  • 4 0
 Two days ago I was at a dealer because of a V4 crash replacement request (here in Austria). The dealer told me: the V5 will come in December. Shops ordered, but only very few will be available in Europe then. Medium has 10 mm more reach. Steeper seat angle. A little more end progression. He said my parts should fit on the V5 (if no V4 would be available any more). So I assume no mullet. He said it looks similar to the 5010 but with 170 mm.
  • 1 0
 @noox: insider info! Thanks friend. I figured it would be more of an evolution rather than a revolution, which is fine by me. I'm not all in with the longer, lower, slacker thing. Those huge DH oriented sleds don't work great on my home trails. That's why I like the Nomad. It can be a great trail bike as long as you're not concerned with climbing PR's. And it also is great when it's time to get rowdy and the trails get steep and sketchy. I hope they offer it in an MX version that's not compromised to just say here's a mullet bike. Take what we give you
  • 29 1
 Where is the 'E-10'?
  • 56 0
 Where is the Megapower!
  • 16 1
 I wanna see the ElectricBoy!
  • 33 0
 I'm interested in the Highballtage.
  • 1 0
 @stovechunin: all of these are gold. Missed opportunity.
  • 9 0
 Chamel-E-on ??
  • 2 1
 Where is the Terratower?
  • 1 0
 Turned on by the super lite bright
  • 1 0
 Where’s the Highwatt? The Megawatt?
  • 22 2
 Can we have a real Heckler. In 90s it was the dream.
How sweet would it be to have an updated version (without a battery) yellow with coil shocks obviously
  • 11 0
 Bright ass yellow and an overbuilt rear chain stay. I was swinging chair lifts at Vail, summer of ‘99 as a leftover snowboarder. I loaded that thing on the rack and thought... These MTB guys are on to something! The rest is history!
  • 3 1
 I wish they named it something else, as my Heckler frame hangs on my shop wall retired and wish I could get a new non e-bike verson. But (in Aluminium) the Bronson or Hightower probably fit the orginal spirit the Heckler embodied just depending on which wheelsize you like. The 5010 is closer to what the Heckler was, but most people thought the Heckler was a free ride bike not a trail bike. The E-Heckler, ignoring the carbon and having a motor, geometry wise does match what the orginal was about. The motor complexity and expense with the carbon is nothing the Heckler was about.
  • 15 2
 Seems like another santa cruz frankin-[insert half of name]

Chop off the travel to accomodate smaller wheel? Slacken seat angle ever further. Pass.
  • 6 0
 Increased front wheel size for "when you're caught off guard by technical features" but then reduce travel by 20mm! Seems legit...
  • 3 2
 This shits me. Shortening the travel to fit 29" wheels sucks. Especially on bikes that choose your wheel size for you based on your bike size. If I want a 160mm bike, I want a 160mm travel bike. Not a 140mm travel bike because you are lazy but still want to claim the marketing of size specific wheel sizes.
  • 12 2
 Feel for all of their employees with the fire and know that's been tough on them, but they've been making me nervous for a couple of years with some of the bikes they've released and how long the small parts store was recently closed. Really hoping they'll get back on track. Over the past 5+ years of owning their bikes exclusively, I've gotten quite use to the build quality, common sense, outstanding pivot bolt system, and ease of service. I really hope that, after the acquisition, spreadsheets are not figuring too heavily into their decisions. I'm also fairly certain they've gone color blind. Fingers crossed for some better releases soon.
  • 7 1
 They still make superb bikes though. The Tallboy is the non plus ultra of aggressive short-travel 29ers.
  • 8 0
 As a seasoned bike shop goon, I can tell you that you that spreadsheet jockeys have only increased SCB's ability to crank out awesome product. Also, the demand for Santa Cruz continues to grow, suggesting they're definitely not color blind. I can also tell you that 'Rona-induced production delays and local health measures are the limiting factors to Santa Cruz getting back to full steam, not their staff or leadership.
  • 1 0
 Don't get me wrong, total fanboy and buying anything else would make me nervous. 5010 looked spot on, but still struggle with hightower that doesn't fit coils or x2, the short shock length and geo on megatower, etc. Geo on Bullitt is encouraging. They'll get back on track. Although, I fear we have permanently abandoned the implied agreement of one "just want to ride my bike" color and one "look at me" color.
  • 23 12
 Santa Cruz, still trying to polish a turd.
  • 3 10
flag MattP76 (Nov 12, 2020 at 11:42) (Below Threshold)
 Totally agree!!
  • 2 11
flag trillot (Nov 12, 2020 at 20:23) (Below Threshold)
 I can't imagine creating an uglier bike even if you tried.
  • 11 1
 Surely a Pike on this bike, is not adequate...
  • 8 0
 The bullit will make a comeback as the big hitting 29er ebike for Santa Cruz.
  • 6 0
  • 11 7
 Glad to see they're focusing on keeping chainstays short. IMO, that is gonna be the most interesting geometry number to watch on eMTBs for the years to come. They have to balance a snappy rear end, but also a front that doesn't want to come up on steep climbs. Will they reach an equilibrium in one chainstay length/wheel combo? Will it be like YT's lineup with a 29er rear, long chainstay, "all mountain" bike, and then a 27.5 rear, short chainstay, "enduro" bike? I think the latter. The novelty of doing steep analog-impossible climbs could wear off for some (did for me) and then you'll just want to zip up a fire road and get laps in. Sometimes, back up the trail you descended is the faster way, so I could see this going either way. (pun intended)
The only thing I'd change about my Sight VLT is shorten the chainstays (458mm looong), but up super steep stuff the front end is PLANTED. Much more than the other eMTB I've spent a ton of time on, the YT Decoy (442mm). Cheers to SC on the blacked out motor too!
  • 4 10
flag youknowitsus (Nov 12, 2020 at 9:21) (Below Threshold)
 You a engineer bro?
  • 5 1
 good insight and are definitely thoughts to ponder as you are on to something i think.

I hope you aren't climbing trails people are likely to be descending on, thats not fun for anyone :/
  • 4 2
 Agree 'uphill flow' is a myth and most ebike chainstays are way too long. The only short ones come with Shimano motors.
  • 1 1
 Not so sure about that. I'd love 458mm chainstays on the XL & particularly the XXL frame size. The 445mm cs is pretty short once you get a reach above say 480. I'd look at a Norco VLT but Norco don't made bikes for giants.

Maybe they should have used their V10/Megatower chainstay flip chips or put on a modular dropout to give the option to change CS length. That's what ill be looking for in my next bike.
  • 1 0
 To keep the front down why not some sort of traction control that reduced torque when it senses the front end lifting!
  • 3 0
 Definitely like the small motor and the moderate 44 lb weight. Thought I’d like the moto look of the mixer but I don’t. The seat post looks too slack. The BB is 2mm higher, and the suspension is 15mm less on the average, which will result in less sag/set-in going into corners compared to the regular 27.5 and therefore less of a railing experience. So I remain thinking that a purpose-built bike is best. I do see how SCB tried to make it all work out together as best as possible. But I can’t help but think the management took shortcuts on the MX. The regular 27.5 Bronson/Heckler is another story and totally dialed.
  • 1 0
 @Mtbcow: haaaa ya 2mm is massive. Youre probably going to die
  • 2 1
 @ozhuck2flat: well there are Ebikes out there which sport a reach shorter than their chainstays. Guess how they ride!
  • 1 0
 Good thoughts @Mtbcow:
  • 11 5
 For anyone interested in the MX I have a 150te Husqvarna for sale... it really is a moto, its mullet too... and it's half the price it goes 70 miles one charge.
  • 3 3
 My Tesla goes 400 miles on one charge. My Spesh enduro did 2500 miles this year so far. And the charge/stoke is still alive!
  • 4 2
 @Jvisscher: your Tesla doesn’t go 400 miles.
  • 3 2
 @Howieday91: model S goes 402 miles, priced under $70k, and does 0-60 in 3.7sec
  • 4 5
 @vanillarice19: you obviously don’t own one if you think it does 403 miles haha. Maybe if you were behind a semi , going down hill with no heat or a/c on.
  • 4 2
 @Howieday91: dude it's literally an official EPA-rating. Chill out bro, electric things aren't that scary
  • 3 2
 @vanillarice19: Tesla has by far the worst production quality / highest failure rate in its class. No thanks.
  • 2 1
 @BenTheSwabian: True and still they're more sought-after than any S-Class or 7-Series. That should tell us something...
  • 1 5
flag Jvisscher (Nov 13, 2020 at 5:26) (Below Threshold)
 @colincolin: three years and 100,000 km later and i have yet to spend anything on maintenance or fuel besides a set of tires and windshield wiper blades/fluid. Ive spent more on my bike. Payments on it are less than what i spent on gas monthly before. Tows better than my Tundra and handles in snow way better than my subaru. The haters can hate all they want. No comparison to any other vehicle. Better than the previous Jag and Masariati for performance too. Holds it value- just had an offer to buy it and had I sold, my total cost of ownership would have been half that of my Toyota over the same number of km.
  • 2 0
 @Johnsterfer: i know, I own M3LR.” And It’s awesome. But definitely does the epa rating of 323 like advertised. Leaving right and I charged it a 100% for my day trip, 293 estimated miles . That’ll drop significantly if I turn the heat on, go 80mph. The rating is cool but ask anyone the owns a Tesla the rating is a joke .
  • 1 1
 @Jvisscher: Well if you bought a Model s three years ago, it had the 325epa ratings in the 100D. Which if you had the 100d you'd have a faster 0-60. 0-60 in 3.7 is the 75d, therefore your milage is like 285 EPA rating. Let's say you weren't full up .... and you had a 100d. Your Degradation is probably 5-10% with 100k km. I bet you have a range of 285 fully charged... which you never so your 80% daily is at 250. Longways off your 400 no matter how
  • 1 1
 @Howieday91: our family has an X, S and 3.
  • 2 1
 @Jvisscher: Cool, so how much do you charge to fix my cavaties?
  • 1 0
 @Howieday91: fee guide
  • 10 3
 Just one of those days when new Vitus looks better than new Santa Cruz..
  • 7 2
 New vitus look better than most, and have proper reach, seat tubes, and nice paint!
  • 4 2
 Took the words out of my mouth!
  • 7 1
 We out here gettin rowdy. What ya'll mf'ers doin?
  • 8 1
 Eh, you know, motorin around?
  • 11 2
 Putting my e-bike on the chairlift lol
  • 3 1
 170/160 travel, all 29 with modest chainstay, steaper seat tube, and then maybe catch my interest. Echo “ Megapower” from above. Love SC bikes and have been rolling their FS bikes for past 7 years since first Bronson. This Mx is step in right direction for ebike, but still not quite there. A 140 traveled, +40 lb ebike bike makes no sense to me. Brings out the guns SC!
  • 1 0
 Was already thinking about turning mine into a Franken bike with a 150 Pike and a 29er wheel...have not done the math yet. Already running a 170mm Lyric. As for me 2 unsuccessful torn labrum hip surgeries, on top of another 5 orthopedic surgeries. Only way currently to get out and get my ride on!. Dr. has me classified as an in between. Cannot get anymore scopes, and too young for hip replacement. And bought mine second hand with only 155 miles and at a 58% discount. Less expensive than my frame build of my '13 TB LT (RIP).
  • 2 1
 Definitely like the small motor and the moderate 44 lb weight. Thought I’d like the moto look of the mixer but I don’t. The seat post looks too slack. The BB is 2mm higher, and the suspension is 15mm less on the average, which will result in less sag/set-in going into corners compared to the regular 27.5 and therefore less of a railing experience. While Mixers are known for that “carving” feeling, this MX would actually be riding higher than the regular 27.5 So I remain thinking that a purpose-built bike is best. I do see how real SCB factory people tried to make it all work out together as best as possible. But I can’t help but think the upper management took shortcuts on the MX. The regular 27.5 Bronson/Heckler is another story and totally dialed. Pink Bike really must do a Shootout of the MX against the Heckler.
  • 3 0
 So, is this a new frame or did they just mullet the old one with a new link? Confused.
  • 4 1
 It is the same frame. That is why the mx-ed with a 140mm travel fork, not to ruin some of that already old geometry numbers.
  • 3 0
 @eugenux: Thought so. Seems like an odd move from a brand like SC, but hey its 2020. :-)
  • 8 0
 @noplacelikeloam: it makes that e-vitus look like an awesome design...which is actually sad for a brand like SC.
  • 5 0
 @noplacelikeloam: people have been asking for it and some doing it on their own. This is Santa Cruz just offering options. Why is that bad? They have more in the works. This just starts to fill out the line.
  • 1 3
 @onemanarmy: Im not saying its necessarily bad. As a SC fanboy I would say that usually SC would bring a bike to market a little more thought through than just repurposing an existing frame. At least update its geo a little maybe. STA and reach are not exactly groundbreaking here compared with other more modern ebikes.
  • 3 0
 @noplacelikeloam: carbon molds cost a shiteload and, if they didn't plan it since inception then, there would have been zero chance to change it now. Adapting the existing frame was probably the best they could do.
  • 4 0
 Why aren't they all the "MX version"?
  • 2 0
 I'm just waiting for them to make the V10 with the lower link pivot design as seen on all the other full suspension bikes (other then the blur)!
  • 3 2
 Should have went with 28.25 inch rear wheel instead. Would look a little more normal and it's probably better to try out new weird standards on eMTB's since people dislike them already. Smile
  • 3 0
 I been having so much fun with my foes mixer big time I believe in the two wheels size together....
  • 3 3
 Not sure what is up with Santa Cruz, they seem to continue to focused on selling bikes at price points far above their direct competition: Specialized, Trek and Orbea. I can seem to find anything special about this bikes other than high price. Saving weight so we won’t include 630wh - WTF??? Do you mean saving $$$.
  • 4 0
 I have mixed wheelings about this.
  • 6 3
 Snappy? Omg how much does it weight?
  • 4 1
 Doubling down on a donkey.
  • 3 1
 Another bike from Santa Cruz we wont be able to order for six months, sick move Santa Cruz.
  • 2 0
 Some shops will have them within a week or so. I know we'll have a couple in my shop kicking around next week sometime.
  • 3 0
 Wake me when they make an E-V10
  • 2 0
 Shimano E8=Yep. Mullet Config=Yep. Same good looks=Yep. Removable battery=Fail Less travel=Epic Fail
  • 10 9
 Two e-bike posts in an hour?

Looks like these companies want to tell us something about their superiority.
  • 7 4
 Such a letdown.
  • 12 11
 This is super boring news.
  • 3 1
 Holy doo doo pricepoint.
  • 1 0
 MX? Awesome, been waiting for a non-gender-specific Heckler.
  • 8 6
 504wh battery = fail
  • 8 4
 Win! Less weight...
  • 1 0
 Is that Ash of Trans Provence fame in the photo? Scouting trails huh....
  • 1 0
 Deleted photo>
  • 4 4
 2nd ugliest bike in the market... Looking at you Rocky Mountain.
  • 2 0
 have you seen orange's ebikes? i beg to differ
  • 6 7
 It looks absolutely horrific. Santa Cruz are well behind the times with ebike design. Caught with their pants down.
  • 1 11
flag casman86 (Nov 12, 2020 at 15:40) (Below Threshold)
 All ebikes are shit no matter how bad they look.
  • 2 3
 @casman86: I've ridden a few and they ride amazing. However, I would not buy one. Two reasons, 1. I don't care what people say they are cheating! 2. They are still in early stages of development and they have a long way to go yet.
Still it gives me great pleasure keeping up/over taking ebikers on my hardtail.
  • 1 1
 wowwwww 65,5 ° Ha !!! what year are we ? 2016 ????? SOOOO NICEEEEEE
  • 1 2
 Santa Cruz has lost its soul since Rob sold the company. Now just a bunch of suits and ties driving numbers.
  • 9 9
 thanks. i hate it
  • 4 5
 Shes pregnant!
  • 3 6
 Expecting an abortion...
  • 2 3
 This still hurts.
  • 2 4
 Coming to a circus near you.
  • 2 5
 Also visit for more information on this motorbike
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