Santa Cruz have just announced their 2021 Heckler eMTB range, now equipped with Shimano’s EP8 motor. There is also a new-comer to the brand’s portfolio: enter the Heckler MX! With slightly less travel and mixed 29/27.5” wheels, Santa Cruz promise the new Heckler MX to be a fun-loving eMTB! Read on for a lowdown on the new model!

Santa Cruz Heckler MX | Shimano EP8/504 Wh | 140/140 mm | 20.13 kg (Medium) | € 11,199 | Manufacturer’s website

The Santa Cruz Heckler in detail

Santa Cruz have updated their Heckler eMTB range for 2021. As well as updating the existing models to Shimano’s EP8 motor, the Californian brand have added a new model to the Heckler range. The 2021 Heckler MX shares the same frame, motor and battery as its stablemates but gets slightly shorter travel – 140/140 mm compared to 160/150 mm on the ‘standard’ Heckler. This is made possible by the use of a rear shock with shorter stroke and a downsized 140 mm fork. As its name suggests, the Heckler MX rolls on mixed wheels, with a 29” wheel up front and a smaller 27.5” rear wheel.

A 29” wheel leads the charge at the front of the Heckler MX and is paired with a smaller 27.5” rear wheel
The frame itself is shared with the rest of the Heckler range
A new link, paired with a shorter stroke shock, reduces the Heckler MX’s rear travel to 140 mm
The reduced rear travel is matched with a downsized 140 mm fork up front
The ‘standard’ 27.5” Heckler, which we have tested previously, is now also powered by a Shimano EP8 motor and 504 Wh battery.

The spec of the Heckler MX

The Heckler MX is available in four different builds, all of which are based around the high-end CC carbon Heckler frame. The most affordable MX R build retails for € 7,099, and the flagship MX XO1 Reserve model costs an eye-watering € 11,199. Read on for a brief overview of each option.

The Shimano EP8 motor is specced on three of the four models – it’s also available on the 2021 27.5” Heckler
The suspension is a mix of FOX and RockShox across all models
The top-end Heckler MX is specced with the brilliant Reserve 30 carbon wheels

Heckler MX R

The Heckler MX R is the most affordable option in the range. The suspension is provided by entry-level options from FOX and RockShox. A basic SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain takes care of the shifting and SRAM’s workhorse Guide RE brakes provide the stopping power. The Heckler MX R is the only model in the range which relies on Shimano’s cheaper E7000 motor, which is slightly heavier, less powerful and bigger than the newer EP8 option.

Fork: RockShox Revelation RC 140 mm
Shock: FOX Float DPS Performance 140 mm
Brakes: SRAM Guide RE
Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle
Seatpost: SDG Tellis dropper
Wheels: WTB ST i30
Motor: Shimano E7000/504 Wh
Weight: 21.94 kg
Price: € 7,099

Heckler MX S

The € 8,599 Heckler MX S takes it up a notch, sporting a Shimano EP8 motor, a FOX Performance Elite DPS rear shock, a RockShox Pike Select+ fork and Race Face ARC wheels. SRAM take care of the gears and brakes with their GX Eagle and Code R offerings.

Fork: RockShox Pike Select+ 140 mm
Shock: FOX Performance Elite DPS 140 mm
Brakes: SRAM Code R
Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
Seatpost: SDG Tellis dropper
Wheels: Race Face ARC Offset
Motor: Shimano EP8/504 Wh
Weight: 20.53 kg
Price: € 8,599

Heckler MX XT

For an additional € 600, you get the Heckler MX XT. This build largely features the same spec as the S model – like the suspension, wheels and motor – but gets a Shimano XT groupset and a FOX Transfer Performance Elite dropper. Are these spec changes worth € 600? That depends on your personal preference!

Fork: RockShox Pike Select+ 140 mm
Shock: FOX Performance Elite DPS 140 mm
Brakes: Shimano XT
Drivetrain: Shimano XT
Seatpost: FOX Transfer Performance Elite
Wheels: Race Face ARC Offset
Motor: Shimano EP8/504 Wh
Weight: 20.11 kg
Price: € 9,199

Heckler MX XO1 Reserve

The flagship model in the Heckler MX lineup is the drool-inducing XO1 Reserve build. Costing an eye-watering € 11,199, this flagship model is specced with some top-end components. The rear shock gets upgraded to a Kashima-coated FOX DPS Factory and the forks are the top-of-the-line RockShox Pike Ultimate. The brakes and drivetrain are SRAM’s range-topping Code RSC and XO1 Eagle offerings and the bike rolls on highly-acclaimed Santa Cruz Reserve 30 carbon wheels.

Fork: RockShox Pike Ultimate 140 mm
Shock: FOX DPS Factory 140 mm
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 Eagle
Seatpost: FOX Transfer Factory
Wheels: Santa Cruz Reserve 30 carbon
Motor: Shimano EP8/504 Wh
Weight: 20.13 kg
Price: € 11,199

The geometry of the Heckler MX

While the frame on the Heckler MX is identical to the ‘standard’ 27.5” Heckler, the larger front wheel and 29er fork have tweaked its geometry. Due to the bigger front wheel and longer fork, the Heckler MX has a slightly slacker head angle than before, sitting at 64.6°. The reach has decreased slightly, now sitting at 456 mm in size Large and the 75.1° seat angle has slackened by 0.9°. The 445 mm chainstay length remains unchanged and stays constant between the five sizes.

Seat tube 390 mm 405 mm 430 mm 460 mm 500 mm
Top tube 574 mm 598 mm 623 mm 652 mm 685 mm
Head tube 110 mm 120 mm 135 mm 150 mm 175 mm
Head angle 64.6° 64.6° 64.6° 64.6° 64.6°
Seat angle 75.3° 75.2° 75.1° 75° 74.8°
Chainstay 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm
BB Height 348 mm 348 mm 348 mm 348 mm 348 mm
Wheelbase 1184 mm 1208 mm 1235 mm 1266 mm 1301 mm
Reach 416 mm 436 mm 456 mm 481 mm 505 mm
Stack 604 mm 613 mm 627 mm 641 mm 664 mm
The bigger front wheel has tweaked the geometry compared to the 27.5” Heckler

Our first thoughts on the Santa Cruz Heckler MX

When we first reviewed the Santa Cruz Heckler earlier this year, we weren’t blown away by its performance and were left shocked by the incredibly steep price tag. However, the new Heckler MX looks like an interesting option for fans of the Cali brand. The reduced travel, MX wheel size and new EP8 motor should make it a fun and versatile trail weapon for a wide range of applications. It’s good to see Santa Cruz offering more models at different price points, although overall the Heckler MX is still undoubtedly pricey. While the small 504 Wh battery should help to keep the bike agile due to its low weight, riders looking for maximum range are better suited elsewhere. We are excited to put the new Heckler MX to the test!

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Words: Photos: Christoph Bayer