A full 29” eMTB option from one of our favorite brands. Santa Cruz just dropped the Heckler 9.
Santa Cruz Heckler 9
Any day Santa Cruz launches a new bike is a good day—Feb. 1 was no exception. The Santa Cruz Heckler name goes way back, but the modern, electric version isn’t all that old. I remember writing the first look for the original 27.5” Heckler eMTB what seems like yesterday. Since then, they’ve added an MX version and now with the Heckler 9, they’ve added a full 29 platform. Don’t worry, the bike still comes in the MX (mullet) flavor for those so inclined. Let’s dive into what makes the new Heckler so exciting.
Two-wheel size options
Let’s cover the obvious stuff first. The Heckler 9 comes with 29’ wheels or in a mullet configuration. If we are covering all our bases, it also comes in a full 27.5” version in size small. We’ve been begging for a 29” eMTB from Santa Cruz ever since the original Heckler launched. We finally have it. Combined with the updated geometry, this bike should be a ripper.
Santa Cruz Heckler 9 Geometry
With a few minor exceptions, the Heckler 9’s geometry very closely matches the new Bronson. Let’s start with the most important numbers. Like the Bronson, it has 150/160mm of travel. The head tube angle comes in at 64.5/64.8 degrees with a 76.8/77 degree seat tube angle. The reach is a lengthy 492/495mm in an extra-large. The wheelbase is much longer than the Bronson however at 1330mm for the 29” version and 1315mm for the MX. The extra length comes from the longer rear center. eMTBs generally have longer chainstays than their analog counterparts—the motor takes up quite a bit of space near the BB. In the Heckler’s case, the chainstay is 461mm/446mm. The extra wheelbase should add quite a bit of stability in high-speed sections and rough bits of trail.
Santa Cruz Heckler Battery & Motor
The Heckler 9 uses the tried and true Shimano EP8 drive system with 85Nm of peak torque. Unlike previous models, the new Heckler runs a 720Wh battery that can quickly be swapped out for another. Not only does this battery have more juice to begin with, if you wanted to do some really long missions, or didn’t have a way to charge between rides, you could swap in a new one to keep the ride going. It also allows for off-the-bike charging.
Builds and Prices
The Heckler 9 comes in five different builds across the C and CC frames. All the builds minus the top tier XO1 AXS option ($13299) come in the C frame. Only the top dog gets the CC frame. The difference between the two frame materials should be fairly negligible considering it’s completely down to saving a few grams. On an eMTB you’ll likely never notice the weight difference. Both materials are built to the same quality, stiffness, and durability standards. Builds start at $8199 for the C R kit and top out at $13299 for the XO1 AXS with RSV carbon wheels.
We’ve already been fielding some commonly asked questions.
- “Can you swap between the 29” and MX versions?” That’s a big no. We’ve asked the source directly and they’ve confirmed there are no plans to make the two options interchangeable.
- “Can I run a different shock on the Heckler 9?” Yes. Just make sure you’re running the same overall and stroke lengths. The Heckler 9 is coil compatible. The shock tunnel on this thing is huge.
- “Can I run a longer fork on the Heckler 9?” Yes, but keep in mind it will change the bike’s geometry. Want to learn more about how that affects your bike’s handling? Head to our Is Slacker Always Better Article and Video. The Heckler isn’t dual crown compatible.
That should about sum it up. We have Hecklers at the shop currently with more arriving any day. Swing by to check them out.
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