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Santa Cruz’s Heckler eMTB gets Shimano EP8 motor upgrade, now offers mullet builds!

Sanat Cruz Heckler MX XO1 RSV, Fog
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It wasn’t long ago that Santa Cruz announced the return of the Heckler as an electric mountain bike, and they’ve already come back to the plate with updated models of the 27.5” bikes, and four new mixed wheel size builds for fans of the ‘mullet’ setup.

Most models of the updated Heckler V8 or MX now feature Shimano’s latest EP8 drive unit, which is smaller, lighter and more powerful than their E8000 motor. The new Heckler MX offers consumers a mullet option, and they come in two unique frame colors. All updated V8 and MX models come with carbon frames only. Let’s check out the key updates and complete build specs for each…


Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, Shimano EP8 motor

The big news for the 27.5” Heckler is the update to include Shimano’s new EP8 drive unit. The new EP8 motor produces less drag, is more heat resistant, and at 380g is lighter than the E8000. It’s also more efficient and more powerful, now putting out up to 85nm and offering more assistance in Trail mode. While increasing the output Shimano has made the new motor roughly 10% smaller too, allowing for better ground clearance on the bike.

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, Shimano display unit

A quick note on electronics up and down the model line: The lowest spec Heckler R models (27.5” or MX mixed wheel) do not get the new EP8 motor, but rather stick with Shimano’s E7000 drive unit. The top two models include Shimano’s SC-EM800 display, but the two lesser models step down to a SC-E7000 display. All new 27.5” and MX Hecklers run Shimano’s 504Wh battery.

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, XO1 RSV, side
*The Heckler XO1 RSV

Aside from accommodating the new motor, nothing about the Heckler’s frame has changed since it resurfaced as an eMTB not long ago. Suspension travel remains at 150mm (mated to 160mm forks), and Santa Cruz did not alter the V8 version’s frame geometry.

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, 27.5" geo chart

Heckler models and pricing:

While many key specs remain the same, some components have changed since the initial release of the Heckler eMTBs. Here are the complete build specs for each new model:

Heckler CC XT- $8999 / Heckler CC X01 RSV- $10,999

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, 27.5" XT and XO1 RSV specs

Heckler CC R- $6999 / Heckler CC S- $8399

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, 27.5" R and S specs

Frame color options for the Heckler are ‘Yellowjacket’ or ‘Blackout’.

Heckler MX:

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, corneringSince Santa Cruz finally accepted e-bikes, I guess they figured they’d go with the flow on mullets too! As opposed to creating a different rocker link or completely redesigning the frame geometry, Santa Cruz took a different approach to making the Heckler MX work with its mixed wheel setup. They reduced the bike’s front and rear travel to 140mm, which apparently allowed them to keep the frame geometry and ride characteristics very close to the 27.5” Hecklers.

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, MX rear end

The geometry figures do wind up a little different on the MX models, so check the chart below for comparison to the 27.5” bikes. One thing that remains the same is the rear triangle, which has a chainstay length of 445mm (on all frame sizes). Santa Cruz says their chosen length makes the Hecklers snappy and agile on tight trails.

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, MX geometry

Heckler MX models and pricing:

While the Heckler MX builds feature the same drivetrain options as the Hecklers, they do run some different components, most notably their front and rear suspension.  Check out the full specs for all MX models below:

Heckler CC MX XT- $8999 / Heckler CC MX X01 RSV- $10,999

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, MX XT and XO1 RSV specs

Heckler CC MX R- $6999 / Heckler CC MX S- $8399

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, MX R and S specs

The Heckler MX is available in ‘Gloss Carbon’ or ‘Fog’ colors.

Santa Cruz Heckler eMTB, rider in alpine
*Photos c. Santa Cruz Bicycles


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3 years ago

Sorry Santa Cruz, these bikes are just under-speced and under-batteried. $7000 for a two generation old E7000 motor and 500 watt hour battery??? Really??? A slightly lighter carbon frame is basically meaningless in an ebike. I loved my 2019 Santa Cruz Bronson until recently, when I sold it bought a new bike. I even tried the Heckler after selling the Bronson, but was nothing special, with an obnoxiously loud motor whine, with a ridiculous price tag attached. Now take that formula, and make it even worse with a cheaper motor. HARD!! PASS!!

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