2022 Emtb Shootout – Santa Cruz Heckler CC X01 AXS RSV Review

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When Santa Cruz re-released the Heckler as an eMTB, it was to mimic their Bronson’s all-mountain capabilities, with the added juice of a Shimano EP8 electric motor. After a short stint, Santa Cruz updated the Heckler quite a bit, which we showcased in a recent Dissected feature video a couple month before heading out to our 4th Annual eMTB Shootout. We were lucky enough to get to know the new Santa Cruz Heckler eBike well on our home trails before bringing it to Knoxville, Tennessee to let the rest of the crew test it head to head against some of the best eBikes on the market.

If you want to see our detail-oriented Dissected feature showcasing all the updates of the new 2022 Santa Cruz Heckler, hit the link here. And, if you’re curious where this bike stacks up, be sure to watch our full length eMTB Shootout video.

THE DIRT
As we’ve come to expect from Shimano EP8-equipped eMTB’s, pedaling performance is solid on Santa Cruz’s Heckler. Assistive power is delivered in a controlled manner and has enough grunt to get up just about anything so long as you keep that front tire down and your body weight centered. That said, in its stock tune, the Heckler was not as punchy as some of the Bosch-equipped competition, requiring a bit more rider input when climbing up mid-steepness terrain or on technical trail features. The flip side to Shimano’s EP8 drive unit is that it feels a lot more natural in its assistance, which can result in less accidental wheelies or surges of power that take you off-line. The VPP configuration on the Heckler eMTB provides a firm pedaling platform which makes the bike feel faster and more efficient, especially when pedaling across traversing terrain.

The relatively compact geometry doesn’t produce a great deal of natural front wheel weighting when seated, meaning the Heckler requires a more engaged rider when trying to climb up steep and technical terrain. Shifting body weight, standing forward over the bars are two techniques we readily employed to get the Heckler up some of the more challenging climbs. The crank and pedal clearance is pretty good in the high position, thanks in part to the firm pedaling platform and the combination of mid-height BB and 165mm cranks, keeping one less thing on your mind as you ride.

Unfortunately when it came to rough terrain – especially washboard rocks and roots – the noise of the Heckler began to ring louder and louder. We stopped to check and ensure the battery and battery latch hardware was still tight at least a handful of times. The rattle of the EP8 motor when disengaged is present on near enough every Shimano-equipped bike, but the volume at which it emits varies based on the frame construction and sound deadening. We believe the noise on our Heckler may have come more from the battery than the clutch, but it’s tough to really isolate how much was from each culprit. Either way, our new, but hard-ridden Heckler, was a very loud bike and the clacking began to detract from the ride a touch on the highest frequency bumps. If you can tune it out, which is no easy task, the noise doesn’t produce any other negative ride characteristics, but it’s worth mentioning as a problem with no simple solution that you may have to deal with.

At over $13k, the top-spec Heckler CC XO1 AXS RSV MX’s price tag is as painful to read as the number of acronyms in its name, but…

[ This is just a short snippet of our written review. For the full write-up, visit the site. ]

Review: https://theloamwolf.com/2022/05/18/santa-cruz-heckler-cc-x01-axs-rsv-2022-emtb-shootout/
Visit Santa Cruz’s Website to get yours: https://bit.ly/3Mgz1Mu
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