The Santa Cruz Heckler SL Joins The Ultralight eMtb Category

The Santa Cruz Heckler SL Joins The Ultralight eMtb Category

Written by Contender Bicycles, on September 13, 2023

The folks at Santa Cruz are generally not ones to miss the boat on what’s hip in the cycling world, and the rise of the ultra-light eMtb has of course not gone unnoticed in NorCal.  Santa Cruz has unveiled the latest addition to their e-lineup, the bantamweight Heckler SL. The Heckler SL joins an already impressive lineup of eMtb’s within the Santa Cruz brand and makes a solid contribution to the new crop of lighter weight, mid-travel eMtb’s on the market. The Orbea Rise and SCOTT Lumen got the party started, and the Heckler SL comes in as another great option for riders looking for some extra range and speed, but who don’t want to opt for a full-power, bigger travel e-trail rig. 

For many of us, the first question that comes to mind when an eMtb is introduced is “What does it compare to?”, or in other words, what non-assisted bike in the lineup is it most likely to emulate? The Heckler SL is modeled very closely after the Bronson, their 160/150mm, mixed-wheel trail machine. The Heckler SL features the same amount of font and rear travel, progressive geometry, with a little more reach and a little less stack than the Bronson. The VPP rear suspension and 29”/27.5” (f/r) wheel setup will provide the familiar handling and ride characteristics of the Bronson and other Santa Cruz MTB’s. Using a smaller battery and lower torque motor than their full-power Heckler and Bullit, the Heckler SL comes in much lighter, at around 41lbs. The smooth-output Fazua 60 drive system, combined with the relatively low weight combines to give the bike a ride experience that is intended to feel natural and predictable. Santa Cruz describes it as “Like riding a Bronson, only easier”.  The Fazua 60 drive system uses a 430wh battery that while significantly less powerful than its older siblings (the Heckler and Bullit use a 720wh system), delivers similar range and assist thanks to the overall low weight of the bike. Three power modes offer a variety of assist profiles and are easily toggled via the ring controller on the handle bar, and also via the Fazua app. So who is the Heckler SL for? Much like the Orbea Rise and SCOTT Lumen, the Heckler SL takes aim at the MTB rider that is looking for some extra range on their rides, but doesn’t want to opt for the “full power experience”. These bikes offer up a more subtle electrified experience and the lower weight makes things more manageable on and off the bike (like loading them on the rack, etc). For riders that are new to the eMtb world, or even the Mtb world in general, an ultralight eMtb like the Heckler SL, Rise or Lumen can be a great introduction. These bikes are also great options for smaller riders, or primarily “analog” riders that want a similar feel to their standard bikes but want to occasionally go further and maybe a little faster. The Heckler SL and its cohorts in the ultralight eMtb class also feature the sneaky attributes of svelte physiques and motors so quiet, that your trailmates might not even know you’re on an e-bike! The Heckler SL is available in both the C and lighter weight CC carbon, multiple build configurations and sizes from small through xxl. Like all Santa Cruz frames the Heckler SL frame and pivot bearings are covered by their lifetime warranty. If you’re considering an eMtb, or even if you’ve been a bit skeptical of the whole idea up until now, it’s a great time to look into ultralight eMtb’s like the Heckler SL, Orbea Rise and SCOTT Lumen. All three of these bikes use the same lower power/lower weight e-bike philosophy to deliver as natural of an electrified riding experience as possible. Check out some of the in-stock options and give us a call to discuss your perfect ultralight eMtb!


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