MTB Purist Santa Cruz Turns Electric

SANTA CRUZ, USA - It says everything about the rapidly increasing popularity (and worldwide sales) of e-MTBs; the fact that even Santa Cruz now sells this type of Mountainbikes. When Bike Europe visited the company in California in 2016, after it was added by Pon Bike to its series of bicycle companies, just asking about this latest MTB trend was regarded by MD Joe Graney as a profanity.
Santa Cruz’ Heckler e-MTB. – Photo Santa Cruz

Back in 2016 the company firmly sticked to the position that its purist mountainbike image and positioning of the brand ruled out that there ever would be e-MTBs included in the Santa Cruz range. They were a no-fit; next to the fact that electric mountain bikes had to tackle a lot of issues in the U.S. like MTB trail accessibility. However, that problem is increasingly being solved.

3-Class legislation on e-bikes

It’s expected that by the end of this year 39 of the 51 States in the U.S. will have implemented the 3-Class legislation on e-bikes. This stands for three quarters of the U.S. that would have by then clear legislation in place.

Santa Cruz’ Heckler e-MTB retails between USD 7,399 (6,800 euro) to USD 12,599 (11,600 euro)

Having such regulations implemented is considered to be of vital importance for the (sales) success of e-MTBs. In particular as it defines what’s to happen with their access to trails in National, State, Provincial and other parks. Currently, in States that do not have implemented the e-bike regulations such access is prohibited which puts brakes on e-MTB sales. It’s expected that e-MTBs will eventually make up about 50 percent of total bicycle sales in the U.S.

New era

Santa Cruz’ ultra-high-end character is reflected in its first e-MTB. It’s named ‘Heckler’ after the brand’s 1996 first full-suspension bike. Santa Cruz says “Today’s Heckler carries all that attitude forward into a new era. A full carbon frame, VPP suspension and pedal-assist technology have merged to create something light and agile that amplifies the fun. Like all Santa Cruz bikes, the Heckler pedals well regardless of watts involved. The lower link VPP approach is tweaked to deliver slightly lower anti-squat versus a Bronson. This adds a touch more support and traction over rough stuff when pedalling seated – a major advantage of having a Shimano motor on your side.”

Santa Cruz’ Heckler e-MTB has a Shimano E8000 drive powered by a 504Wh In-Tube battery. Retail prices range from USD 7,399 (6,800 euro) to USD 12,599 (11,600 euro).