Santa Cruz Heckler SL Spec Review

Santa Cruz Heckler SL Review: Specs & Features

Santa Cruz Heckler SL Specs

Frame and fork

Santa Cruz made its name in part by being an early adopter of the VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) suspension design. VPP is lauded for being a design that allows a rider to pedal efficiently—and not bob up and down—while also giving terrific response on the descents, once the rider has stopped pedaling.

The Heckler SL comes in two different versions of the frame as we mentioned before. Their standard C build offers plenty of stiffness, so what buyers get with the CC is simply a more sophisticated selection of materials (and layup schedule—which is how the sheets of carbon fiber fit together) which reduces how much material is used, and in using less material, the frame loses weight, without giving up any performance.

The R, S and GX AXS versions all get the C frame while the X0 AXS RSV and XX AXS RSV get the CC treatment.

All five versions of the Heckler SL have been spec’d with one of three versions of the Rock Shox Lyrik (base, select+ or ultimate), which is a fork known for terrific small-bump absorption but and ability to take big hits with casual grace.

Motor and battery

Lending the rider the equivalent of an extra leg, or two, is Fazua’s Ride60 motor, which produces a nominal wattage of 250, max wattage of 450 and gives the rider 60Nm of torque. No getting bogged down on steep climbs with this baby. The motor weighs 4.3 lbs. (1.96Kg).

Let’s compare this to the Shimano EP8 battery in the standard Heckler. It is a 250W motor that produces 85Nm of torque. Practically, what this means is that the Heckler SL gives up a little bit of acceleration and climbing power as the EP8 motor gives riders a 25 percent increase in torque. Such a difference won’t be noticeable in most conditions, but in those situations of great effort where you find yourself thinking, “Ugh, I need just a little more,” well, that’s where the Heckler will give that little bit extra.

The fully enclosed battery has a capacity of 430Wh and weighs 5 lbs. (2.3Kg). Yes, the battery is removable, but few home mechanics would be able to perform that operation on their own. The total system has a weight of just 9.2-lb. (4.2kg).


The cockpit parts are a mix of high quality alloy and carbon fiber parts, depending on which of the five different builds the buyer purchases. All of them come with a dropper post, which is considered standard issue on eMTBs.

Drivetrain, brakes and wheels

All five builds are spec’d with SRAM drivetrains and brakes. The R and S versions come with SRAM mechanical drivetrains, while the GX AXS, X0 AXS RSV and XX AXS RSV all come with SRAM’s AXS electronic shifting and all of the drivetrains feature a 10-52t, 12-speed cassette, for one of the widest gearing ranges on the market (520 percent).

Most of the bikes feature some flavor of SRAM’s excellent Code brakes, though the least price option is spec’d with SRAM’s DB8.

The wheels vary depending on which build someone has selected, but all of the versions are high quality. What is rather comical is how every single version of the Heckler SL is shod with Maxxis Minion tires, which makes a definitive statement about just how respected those tires are.

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