The new Santa Cruz Heckler SL is out...

Fazua Ride 60
430 Wh
Fork Travel
160 mm
Rear Travel
150 mm
18.7-19.5 kg claimed, w/o pedals
U$ 7.299-12.999
...and I haven't had a chance to ride it. The Santa Cruz Heckler always was light for a full power emtb. The new Heckler SL takes the weight down another notch. But Santa Cruz isn’t taking part in the chase towards 15 kg bike weight. They resisted the temptation to fit the bike with a shorter travel Fox 34 or Rockshox Pike fork and flimsy tyres. The Heckler SL is between 18.7 and 19.5 kg.

Santa Cruz Heckler SL highlights

Specs and models​

All Heckler SLs get rugged Rockshox Lyric 160mm forks and proper mtb tyres. Fitted to the big 29er front wheel is the Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5″ MaxxGrip. The rear wheel is 27.5″ and fitted with Maxxis Minion DHR II 2,4″ MaxxTerra rubber. All 5 models have a carbon frame, the two most expensive ones get the lighter “carbon cc” frame.


Specs, click to enlarge

Fazua motor system​

The Heckler SL models all get the same motor and battery too. The Fazua Ride 60 and the 430 Wh Fazua battery hit the market barely a year ago. Now that Santa Cruz has gone Fazua, quite a few brands are using this system.

Fazua Ride 60

We tested the Ride 60 with the early firmware versions and things might have changed since late 2022. Our impression is the Ride 60 is the closest competitor to the TQ HPR50. They are both compact and silent. These are motors that require some rider effort to leash out all their power. Bikes using these motors both look and feel more like a non-assist bike while still offering good help when pedaling hard.

Fazua charge port

The 430 Wh battery is among the bigger “lightweight batteries”. We could easily cover 30 km and 800+ meters of elevation with frequent use of max assistance. One could easily go further by dropping the assistance. This battery is non-detachable, it’s fixed inside the downtube.

Fazua indicator panel for reading assistance mode and battery state-of-charge

Santa Cruz Heckler SL geometry​

I find the Heckler SL geometry table interesting to read. It confirms a few trends. The head tube angle is adjustable between 64-64.3*, that’s just where a capable trailbike is these days. And Santa Cruz has stretched the chainstays a tad. The smallest frame is about 443 mm while the biggest frame is 450 mm.

Santa Cruz Heckler SL geometry

Manufacturers used to constantly reduce chainstay length, but this has stopped. The last couple of years, we've seen a slight increase back up to ~445 mm. It’s also interesting to see the rear end length varies between frame sizes on the Heckler SL. This makes the handling more similar between frame sizes. The rest of the figures are looking good too, with about 1.260 mm wheelbase and 77.5* seat tube for size L. The geometry is adjustable with a chip on the shock.

Santa Cruz Heckler SL

Price and availability​

The Norwegian distributor expects bikes to be delivered by November. I assume markets closer to the factory will have the bikes earlier.
  • Heckler SL C R U$ 7.299
  • Heckler SL C S U$ 8.699
  • Heckler SL C GX axs U$ 9.699
  • Heckler SL CC X0 transmission axs RSV U$ 11.699
  • Heckler SL CC XX transmission axs RSV U$ 12.999

Santa Cruz VPP rear suspension

My take​

The Heckler SL joins the ranks of SL bikes that aren’t Super Light. And that’s how it has to be. A bike with nice and slack frame geometry and 160/150 mm suspension travel needs burly and solid components. Such bikes can be ridden hard and they require components that are up for the job. 18.5-19 kg is where these bikes should be, especially with a slightly bigger 430 Wh battery. This is light enough to offer a completely different riding experience compared to a full-fat emtb. If you want lighter, check out the shorter travel SL emtbs with flimsier tyres.
About author
Started mountainbiking in the 90s. Moved to emtbs in 2014 and have been reviewing them since 2016. Contact me here


No Fox suspension options and no "frame only" option = non starter for me. I like consistency between bikes and don't want RS stuff to deal with.
For me RS is a pretty significant advantage in terms of performance, that said, I sure wish these e-bikes all came in frame only options.

Spesh deserves a huge kudos for offering frame only e-bikes, even if the pricing is pretty absurd.
I would like to try the new Heckler SL but my gen2 Levo SL weighs 39lbs with a fox 36 and Kryptotal tires (no inserts). I’m 51 and 200 lbs. I ride my FF Levo 90% of the time. I don’t ride for the grind, I ride for the fun. That’s why I’ve abandoned my amish (regular pedal/acoustic) bike. Anywho, I like to try new stuff. I’m looking forward to to trying the Fazua motor and larger battery. The small battery on the new SL is too small.