Santa Cruz has announced the Heckler SL, a mid-power eMTB supported by the Fazua Ride 60 motor. It is the Californian brand’s very first lightweight eBike, with the “average bike weight” quoted as 18.5 kg.
In designing the Heckler SL, Santa Cruz were looking to produce the Goldilocks of eBikes. What’s that? One that is lightweight, handles like a regular mountain bike, is subtle in its looks and quiet in its function. The result is 150mm/160mm MX eBike packing a 60 Nm motor and a 430 Wh battery. Couple that with a modern, enduro-ready geometry, and Santa Cruz may well have hit the nail on the head.
Down for the details.
Santa Cruz Heckler SL
While the full-powered Santa Cruz Heckler can switch between a 29″ or MX configuration, the SL is dedicated to the latter. The immediately recognizable VPP linkage delivers 150mm of rear wheel travel, paired with a 160mm fork.
Santa Cruz is offering five complete build models, and all run a full carbon frame. The less expensive Heckler SL R, Heckler SL S and Heckler SL GX AXS models run a slightly heavier carbon layup, designated “C”. Meanwhile the higher-end Heckler SL X0 AXS RSV and Heckler SL XX AXS RSV models benefit from a lighter, but equally stiff carbon layup, designated “CC”.
The Engine Room
Stealthily packed into all models is the Ride 60 motor, produced by Fazua – a Porsche-owned company. Examples of other eMTBs that sport the Ride 60 include the Pivot Shuttle SL, and the Ghost Path Riot. Santa Cruz themselves also employ it on the new Skitch eBike.
In the world of lightweight mid-powered eBike motors, the TQ HPR-50 motor that debuted on the Trek Fuel EXe has been the subject of much acclaim. In comparison, the Fazua Ride 60 has a higher maximum torque of 60 Nm. And, it is more neatly integrated into the frame. Indeed, the Heckler SL gives little indication that it’s home to a motor – either on the drive or non-drive side.
There are three ride modes, all customizable from within the Fazua App. They are: Breeze, River and Rocket. A Boost function can take the motor’s maximum power up to 450 watts, very briefly.
The motor itself weighs a claimed 1.96 kg, with the 430 Wh battery weighing a claimed 2.2 kg. It is not easily removed, with the motor itself needing to be removed prior to sliding out the battery. The intention is that it is charged on the bike, anyway, with a port provided on the downtube. A full recharge requires 3.5 hours. We are told Fazua is also working on a range extender, due in Q2 of 2024.
Integrated into the top tube is an LED display indicating battery life and ride mode. The system as a whole – including motor, battery, ring controller and display – weighs a claimed 4.2 kg.
Heckler SL Geometry
Catering to a wide range of rider heights is a frame size range from SM to XXL. Reach figures are generous, spanning a 432mm to 523mm range. On the Large, reach comes in at 478mm – 6mm longer than the full-powered Heckler in the same size.
Like its more powerful, heavier sibling, the SL boasts fairly aggressive geometry numbers, appropriate to the bike’s intentions. A head angle of 64° is paired with an effective seat tube angle of 76.6-77.5°, frame size-dependent.
The SM, MD and LG frames run a 443mm rear-center length. In a bid to maintain good front-to-rear balance on the largest frame sizes, Santa Cruz take the rear-center length to 446mm on the XL, and 450mm on the XXL. The BB drop comes in at 13mm from the rear axle.
As is to be expected from Santa Cruz, the Heckler SL boasts two possible geometry settings. These are denoted Hi and Lo. A flip-chip at the lower shock mount (at the rocker) switches the bike between the two settings. Numbers quoted above pertain to the Lo position; switching to the Hi position raises the BB by 3mm, steepens the head angle to 64.3°, and steepens the effective seat tube angle by around 0.3°.
Happily, the Heckler SL frames see a relatively short seat tube across the size range, at 430mm on the LG. That means relatively long travel dropper seat posts for all, and the handling benefits that come with that increased bum-to-seat clearance.
What about the weight?
While Santa Cruz gave an “average bike weight” of 18.5 kg (40.8 lbs), they have since given a bike-specific weight. The Heckler SL XX AXS RSV build in a size LG weighs in at 19 kg (42 lbs). That’s sans tire sealant or pedals.
Pricing & Availability
Santa Cruz is offering the Heckler SL in five build models; pricing starts at $7,299 USD, and tops out at $12,999 USD. With the sale of every Heckler SL, $20 is committed to the Pay Dirt fund – the charitable arm of the business that helps finance trail maintenance and building projects around the world. At the same time, another $20 is poured into their eBike battery recycling programme.
The above table gives a brief overview of the Heckler SL build specs. Full details and international pricing can be found on the Santa Cruz website.
As with all of their mountain bikes, the Heckler SL is sold with a lifetime warranty on the frame, its bearings, and the Reserve carbon rims that feature on the X0 AXS RSV and XX AXS RSV models.