The Santa Cruz Bullit is back! This time around, it comes with a powerful motor and a whopping 170 mm of travel – both front and rear. The second eMTB in the portfolio of the Californian brand was designed for all those riders who love to get rowdy when shredding their way down into the valley. We’ve already tested the Santa Cruz Bullit X01 Reserve 2021 extensively for you.
The Santa Cruz Bullit CC 2021 in detail
Just a week after presenting the Heckler MX, Santa Cruz are expanding their portfolio with a new long-travel eMTB, the new Bullit. It has a whopping 170 mm of travel, a brand-new Shimano EP8 motor and mullet wheel setup, with a 29″ front wheel and a smaller 27.5″ rear wheel. The motor draws its power from a removable 630 Wh Shimano battery integrated in the downtube. Apart from the drive unit and battery, Shimano also provide other electronic components such as the display, remote and the power switch. The standard parts are intended to ensure the best possible supply of spare parts.
Like most bikes of the fine Cali brand, the new Bullit has a full carbon frame and adopts the re-designed lower-link VPP system, where VPP stands for Virtual Pivot Point. In other words: by using two rocker arms, the engineers can finely adjust the characteristic curve of the rear-end to achieve the best possible compromise between climbing efficiency and downhill capability. Keep reading our review to find out whether it works or not. The shock is positioned low in the frame just above the motor, which allows them to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. All frame details of the Bullit are very high quality. A stretched and well-padded chainstay protector makes for a pleasantly quiet ride and prevents the paint chipping. Sleeved internal cable routing allows for easy routing and a small mud-flap prevents the shock from getting covered in muck. For the cleanest possible cockpit, Santa Cruz developed their own handlebar, which incorporates the cable of the remote. Particularly striking is the paint finish of the Bullit: in addition to the eye-catching lilac model in our test, there’s also a more discreet bronze version.
The geometry of the Bullit CC X01 in detail
The new Santa Cruz Bullit comes in four sizes, M to XL. Unfortunately, the huge amount of travel combined with the big 29” front wheel doesn’t make it the best choice for short riders. There’s no flip chip to change the geometry either, neither on the shock-mount nor on the dropout. The Medium frame has a reach of 450 mm, the Large 475 mm. The seat tube is pleasantly short and allows for long-travel dropper posts. At 64°, the head angle is on the slack side and the 77 ° seat angle is pleasantly steep. The overall harmonious numbers are rounded off by long 449 mm chainstays, which remain the same across all sizes.
|Seat tube||405 mm||430 mm||460 mm||500 mm|
|Top tube||591 mm||619 mm||645 mm||672 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm||110 mm||130 mm||155 mm|
|Chainstay||449 mm||449 mm||449 mm||449 mm|
|BB Height||348 mm||348 mm||348 mm||348 mm|
|Wheelbase||1239 mm||1268 mm||1297 mm||1328 mm|
|Reach||450 mm||475 mm||495 mm||515 mm|
|Stack||621 mm||630 mm||648 mm||670 mm|
Robust, well thought out and high quality – the features of the Bullit CC
Santa Cruz offer the new Bullit CC in four spec variants, with prices ranging from € 7,699 to 11,699. As you may have noticed, none of the options are cheap. The entry-level Bullit CC R is the only model with a heavier and slightly weaker Shimano E7000 motor. Its spec includes a RockShox ZEB RC fork and SRAM NX drivetrain. The first model with a Shimano EP8 is the Bullit S, which retails at € 9,099. In our opinion, the Bullit XT, which features a FOX 38 Performance Elite fork and Shimano XT groupset, is the most exciting option. It costs € 9,699. The flagship model of the Bullit lineup is the X01 Reserve, which comes with a high-end Fox Factory chassis, a SRAM X01 drivetrain and Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels. The rear-end of the new Bullit is also compatible with a coil shock, which Santa Cruz offer as an upgrade.
Santa Cruz Bullit CC XO1 Reserve
Battery 630 Wh Wh
Fork FOX 38 Factory 170 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate 170 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 175 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 220/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle 1x12
Stem Burgtec Enduro 35 mm
Handlebar Santa Cruz 800 mm
Wheelset Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon 29/27.5
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI DD 2.5"
Size M L XL XXL
Weight 21.8 kg
Perm. total weight 150 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 136 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no
Lifetime warranty on frame, bearings and wheels
Riding fun in almost every situation – the Santa Cruz Bullit CC in review
We’ve already spent a great deal of time with the new Santa Cruz Bullit. Not only did we spend two days at the press launch in Tuscany, where the Ridgeline team showed us around some of the finest trails of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, but also had the opportunity to ride and compare the bike against the most exciting eMTBs of the coming season in our latest E-MOUNTAINBIKE group test.
Setting up the new Bullit is straight forward. Both the fork and shock are easy to set up and can be adapted to the rider’s weight in a few simple steps. That being said, reading the SAG is a bit tricky because the shock is well hidden in the frame. A pressure table on the fork lowers helps you figure out your base setup – a great starting point in our opinion. As soon as you swing your leg over the saddle, the riding position is pleasantly comfortable and totally suited for long rides, with the rider positioned very centrally and upright on the bike. The position makes it easy to cruise along on flat trails and doesn’t place you too far back over the rear wheel on climbs. Here the suspension plays a major role in this because it always provides lots of support without sinking in its travel. On the other hand, this comes at the expense of comfort and traction: while the Bullit is by no means uncomfortable, it’s more like a sporty BMW 5er Series than a super plush Rolls Royce.
On technical climbs, however, the supportive rear-end translates in a lack of traction. There are definitely bikes that do a better job at bringing the power of the motor to the trail. The narrow 2.4” tire is partly responsible for this. On top of that, the front wheel of the Bullit tends to lift off on steep technical climbs and needs to be actively controlled. If you like to tackle technical climbs on your rides, you’ll need some good riding skills with the Bullit. While the new Shimano EP8 motor always provides powerful assistance, it’s also very sensitive and easy to modulate. And with the big 630 Wh battery even long rides are not a problem.
But it’s only when gravity takes over and the trail points downhill that the Santa Cruz Bullit really comes to life. Tucked away behind the big front wheel and high front-end, the rider is nicely integrated into the bike – the Bullit inspires tons of confidence and takes the edge off the steepest trails and nastiest sections. Just like on the climbs, the suspension is defined and works efficiently. The Bullit filters out small bumps and offers lots of reserves when things get rough. At the same time, the bike never sinks into its travel and always offers lots of support. All of this makes for a very lively character despite the huge amount of travel.
Cornering, the Bullit wants to be guided actively. The centred riding position distributes the weight evenly between the front and rear wheel, generating good traction on both ends. If you dare to push the Bullit through corners, you’ll be rewarded with very lively handling. The bike implements changes of direction quickly and allows you to keep your momentum out of fast berms. While many bikes in this category tend to sink into their travel on flowy trails, the Santa Cruz leaves you with a massive grin on your face. The faster and steeper the trail, the more the Bullit feels in its element. The reserves seem endless and the supportive rear-end doesn’t get impressed as easily, not even with the hardest blows. The spec are just as solid and show how much thought Santa Cruz have put into choosing crucial components like the suspension, tires and brakes. Unfortunately, a background noise casts a dark shadow on the overall positive impression: both the motor and the cables make an annoying rattling noise on rough descents.
Work hard, play hard! If you ride it with the right attitude, the Bullit CC is a very rewarding bike.
New Santa Cruz Bullit CC X01 Reserve – our conclusions
The new Santa Cruz Bullit is a bike for all those riders who want to have fun on demanding descents. When things get rough, the bike inspires with a very lively and rewarding character and bottomless reserves. At the same time, it will get you to any trailhead in a comfortable and relaxed fashion, without wanting to win races uphill. Only the eye-watering price and annoying clunking noise cast a dark shadow over the overall great impression.
- Fast and fun on any descent
- Well-chosen spec
- Good integration of the Shimano system
- Climbs are only a means to an end
- Background noise downhill
For more info, visit the Santa Cruz website.
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Words: Photos: Christoph Bayer, Max Schumann