Santa Cruz Heckler All Mountain Full Suspension

Santa Cruz's single pivot all-mountain bike carries a long history of nipping at the heels of XC racers and pushing long-travel freeride bikes to their limit. That continues with the latest incarnation of this highly capable design, the 27.5in-wheeled, 150mm-travel Heckler R AM Complete Bike....

User Reviews (297)

Showing 1-10 of 297  
Hank   Cross Country Rider [May 31, 2015]
Strength:

A workhorse

Weakness:

A bit heavy.

If you want a bike that you can ride everyday of the year, without worrying about breakdowns, this is the bike. It is a no-nonsense bike that just work. I've been riding mine on a weekly basis for almost 15 years and other than changing a rear shock that finally gave out, the bike require very little maintenance. It is testimony to a well designed bike that is not silly-light and stranded you out in the boonies due to stupid fragile light parts on the bike breaking.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Sarah   All Mountain Rider [May 05, 2015]
Strength:

6 inches of travel is really nice. The frame is Strong but light enough. This bike FLYS downhill. It looks good doing it. Mine is a small on 26" its quick to respond.

Weakness:

I got a 2012 when I bought it the brakes were AWFUL. The avid elixir 1 breaks were not cutting it. I upgraded to the SLX Shimano. Now the bike is ready to bomb hills.

Climbing is a pain. But Climbing is always a pain. I lock out my suspension and it's better but still this bike does 100 times better when going down.

I have been riding mountain bikes forever. Been riding on trails since I was kid. I have had a few bikes but nothing this high end. I have ridden a few bikes when looking for a bike. My Heckler is amazing at down hill I never have gone so fast on the trail. Who knew flying 30mph over dirt and rocks was so easy. This bike makes any down hill trail fast and fun.

Until I got this bike I had no idea a bike could ride so well and be so easy. I have even started to hit jumps. This bike really becomes a part of you as corny as it might sounds. I found this bike to be the right tool to improve my riding.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
JohnnyVV   [Mar 29, 2015]
Strength:

- Massive bang for the buck
- Impressive climbing platform
- Pike fork
- R component package is pretty solid
- Looks f'ing sweet!

Weakness:

- Stock build is fairly heavy
- Shock is pretty meh
- Slight falling rate suspension makes it tough to set shock for small bump compliance and big hit absorbtion

TLDR: Great bike, unbeatable for the money! R component package is very nice. Great pedaler! Some compromises with the suspension between small and big hit performance. Definitely worth upgrading over time.

I've just moved on from my Heckler and thought I'd post my thoughts on it. For starters, you're really not going to do much better for the money. The R build kit has very few holes in it. Deore brakes are fantastic performers even if they aren't terribly shiny, and the SLX shifters and derailleur have been solid too. (Both have made their way onto my new Ibis HD 3 frame, if that's any indication). The wheelset is heavy but bombproof and the Maxxis High Roller IIs are both grippy and durable.

The geometry is spot on. It's super reassuring on descents but not too slack for climbs. It does well on slow technical stuff, but can sometimes be trickier to bring around in tight, slow uphill turns than a less slack bike. It's very agile and playful in the air without feeling sketchy. It is a tremendous jumper; the single pivot absolutely launches you out of preload. At the trail closest to where I live there is a switchback rhythm section with a very tight berm that makes it just about impossible to carry enough speed to hit backside on the first of the second row of tabletops. This bike does it more often than not. Really, really fun bike going downhill!

The bike pedals great in the middle and small chain ring, so not much need for climb or trail mode on the shock going uphill. Seriously, the pivot placement makes for an excellent pedaling platform. The tradeoff is some kickback into the pedals, but it's not going to ruin your day like a bad climber will.

The thing to note with the suspension is that the leverage ratio is such that the deeper into your travel you get, the faster it eats up the travel. Combined with a progressive air shock, you still end with a progressive curve that can protect you from a hard bottom out. The stock Fox Float shock has this in mind and has a spacer to reduce the air volume to create a sharper ramp up at the end of travel. The trouble is that if you run enough pressure to stop yourself from bottoming out, you lose a decent amount of small bump compliance. You can similarly run trail mode on the shock and slow down the travel, but this also costs you some suppleness. None of this is fatal, and it's still a great ride, it's just a little less elegant than some of the more complex pivot designs (which also generally boast better shocks).

To mitigate this, you can either tune it for the trail by adding less PSI if there are no big hits you need to handle or more if there are, or rely on the shock's CTD platform to stiffen things up for bigger hits. I typically did the latter and it treated me fine. I suspect a $100 Vorsprung Corset Air Sleeve might go a long way towards improving the small bump compliance, and if I hadn't magically come up on the cash for the new Ibis Mojo frame, I would have tried one.

The stock build is fairly heavy, but for a 140lb rider, it never felt burdensome on climbs. If you're so inclined, there are plenty of places to drop weight. The place to start is converting the drive train to a 1x10. All you'll need is a Race Face NW chainring to slap on the stock crank arms, so that's a cheap one. At 2100g, the wheelset is another place you can drop some serious calories. I went with a set of AC Wide Lightnings, but there are plenty of wheelsets that cost less and can still knock a pound off. I also changed handlebars, stem, etc... I did this over a period of months and eventually got it down to 27.5 lbs. You don't need to do any of this; the stock build is great. Just want to make the point that if you want to get down in the weight range of carbon AM bikes, the aluminum frame won't hold you back.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Heck'lore   [Nov 15, 2014]
Strength:

solid, never needs anything done to it.. mine is a 2004 frame and I ride it all the time in the roughest muddy stuff and have never done a thing to it, just clean the chain every few rides.. set up with z-150 light through axle fork, and a fox coil shock in the rear. It weighs in at about 33lbs, but I consistently out ride my friend on his SC Tallboy carbon 29er.. ( he's a good 15+ years my junior too, I'm pushing 50) He can maybe take me on long straight uphill, but the heckler always shines on any rough technical stuff.. It rides better (faster) in a serpentine fashion than in a straight line, where you can feel your weight shifts whipping the front around tight turns up hill or down.. It sometimes feels like downhill skiing through steep tree runs or steep moguls as it weaves in and out of tight turns adding momentum.. It flies well too, and no worries about breakage on landings.. I've broken both Rocky mountain slayer, and Tomac frames with the type of riding I do in less than a years time.. The heckler has outlived them all !! I've ridden this frame 10 years (so far) hard and fast by my count, and not a single issue with frame.. never changed bearings or anything.. It seems to only get better with age..

Weakness:

can't bring myself to upgrade to new bike, this one is just too good, and I've been mislead before with trying to get something "lighter, better peddling" The stuff wears out and breaks..

Heckler to me is the mother goddess of mountain biking.. The true mountain bike spirit incarnate here on earth.. And I still like the bottle opener, even though I gave up drinking !!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
GPT   [Oct 29, 2014]
Strength:

Pike Fork, Ease of setup, descending.

Weakness:

Heavy? maybe for weight weenies who skip leg day

Review for 2015. Traded in my Solo for this as I ride a lot in Pisgah. The extra travel is worth it and climbs just as well as my Solo. Descending on rooty/rocky singletrack is a blast on this thing. Dropper post and 1x10 and it really is one of the better deals out there. I was weary at first about getting the single pivot due to pedal bob with climbing and "brake jack" on descents, but it climbs and descends like a beast. Best part of my week is loading it up and heading to the mountains. Get one, you'll have no regrets.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Grant Rogers   All Mountain Rider [Mar 15, 2014]
Strength:

Another happy heckler owner.
It climbs superbly, especially with coil shock(most traction)
I put a lyrik uturn on and wow is this bike the definition of all mountain with that fork. It is unbelievable. KOM on strava :-)on the ups and downs. I recomend coil rear and 160 adjustable fork but i am no weight weenie. Btw I have a 2003 gold one and with blue parts looks like a sexy beast. I pretty much love my bike more than life, how my bike is feeling is how I am feeling. Great single pivot layout. U should buy thos if u like to get to the top quick to get down fasterNo bob very compliant on downs great bike picked mine up for only 600.

Weakness:

Needs a coil shock to really be heavenly.
that is truly all I can think of

I got this for 600. I love all the looks xc weenies with their 7000$ handrails give me when I blow past them on the ups and downs. Have taken everything from 6 foot drops to 500mile all mountain rides on this thing. It seems like there is some magic to the geometry that makes the bike pedal like its 28lbs when it is really 32. Great job santa cruz .

Similar Products Used: Specialized enduro. Trek top fuel 8. Giant trance x1
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
HENCHMAN1   Weekend Warrior [Jan 20, 2014]
Strength:

Climbing/descending ability, build feels strong, suspension feels great (lockout is also solid), looks, travel, grips

Weakness:

I love it too much

This review is for a 2013 26' model. Enjoy this bike much better than my ex8. The ex 'felt' flimsy and didn't pedal as well as the Heckler. Was able to climb spots I previously was unable to. Feel much more confident on this to be honest. I'm not sure who wouldn't like this bike. Conclusion: Just get one.

Similar Products Used: Trek Fuel EX8
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MSAVAGE10299   All Mountain Rider [Oct 15, 2013]
Strength:

IT BECOMES A PART OF YOU. YOU THINK IT AND IT CAN DO IT. THIS BIKE BOMBS DOWNHILLS AND CLIMBS LIKE A GOAT WITH THE PROPER TIRES. GO TUBELESS AND 2X10, OR 1X10 DRIVETRAIN AND YOU ARE A HECKLER 6.2...FORCE TO BE RECOND WITH AT THE TRAILS, BIKE PARK, AND LONG HAULS. I LOVE THIS BIKE. IF HAD TOMACS, GIANTS, AND INTENSES. I WOULD HAVE TO SAY IT IS UP THERE WITH MY INTENSE AS FAR AS LOVE.

Weakness:

PAINT CHIPS FAIRLY EASY. I PLACE HELICOPTER TAPE AND IT ROCKS NOW. THATS ALL. SCRATCH PROOF THE SCRATCH PRONE LOCATIONS ON THE FRAME AND I WOULD HAVE TO SAY NO WEAKNESS NOW.

FUN, FUN, FUN, FEELS KIND OF LIKE A HARDTAIL, BUT WHEN YOU GO OVER THE ROUGH STUFF SHE SAYS GIVE ME SOME MORE! AS FAR AS DROPS NONE OVER 6 FEET YET.. SHE IS HOLDING UP. GOT A 2014 FOX FORK 34 160 CTD, FOX DHX COIL IN THE REAR, CHRIS KING HEADSET AND XT DRIVETRAIN. NO PROBLEMS. SOLID!

Similar Products Used: TOMACS, GIANTS, AND INTENSES
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Misha   All Mountain Rider [Oct 03, 2013]
Strength:

I would have to start with the build quality. You can tell by just looking at the frame that it can take a beating. With 150mm of travel front and back, the bike can handles its self on even the roughest terrain. Granted I have only owned the bike for about 3 months, nothing has started squeaking, creaking or bugging the hell out of me.

Weakness:

The only problem I have is, the frame is really tight. This might be due to the fact of running a small frame; none the less mounting the bike on a bike rack is a pain. The back of the bike is supported by the end of the rear shock. This might be normal, but it bothers me. I don’t have enough clearance between the rear shock and the frame, for the bike to be supported by the frame while on a rack.

Overall I am really happy with my Heckler 6.2. When I was purchasing the bike, I could not get my hands on a new frame, so had to go with a built bike. After changing to a; single chain ring, Zee derailleur, 2.5 DH tires, shorter stem and wider bars, the bike feels like its bomb proof. I now see why people don't want to sell their Hecklers.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bill   All Mountain Rider [Sep 28, 2013]
Strength:

Stiffer
Lighter
Faster
...than previous model years.

Weakness:

no bottle opener

Buy this bike. This review reflects the performance of the R AM build with the Fox Float 34 as speced by SC. I owned a 2008. Loved it every pedal stroke. Rode it for 5 years, handed it off to a youngster with wide eyes, like it was the coolest thing he'd ever seen. Then I found myself without a bike and so, during the winter,began my hunt for the upcoming riding season. When I saw that SC used the Bronson geo, 142x12 rear end, tapered head tube, and Fox's CTD on the new HeckIer, I went for it again. And I'm a wrench. The shop I work for sells one of the big three that build great bikes. Great bikes i could have pro-dealed and gotten more for my money. But, i had a hunch. And i turned out to be right. The 2014 version is miles past the previous 26 inch models. I wasn't totally sold on 650b and I can't give the wheel size change all the credit, but SC took a hard gander at the few weaknesses of the Heckler and fixed 'em. This sucker flyyyyy's down hill. My die hard 26 inch riders are pissed that the 650b fad might actually have trail cred. The 29er riders can hang if it is long and straight but get into the nasties and the timid index fingers hit the brakes. The Heckler however, she's all point and shoot. The Fox CTD 34 Float and Float shock are huge players in the efficiency of the bike. Climbing is 2 fold what it was. The redesigned geo is awesome. A little longer, a little slacker. I straddle the size break at medium and large. I went with the medium to keep things flickable and flickable they are. The maxxis highrollor II's cling to the trail like you wish Jennifer Aniston would cling to you, in the rain, on the bow of the Titanic. For $2999.99, you get everything you need in a great trail bike. The fork and shock are great. The Shimano Deore brakes are better than most if not all of the Avids I've owned (owned too many). The WTB/Sram wheels are solid. SC did not sacrifice what really matters for a well-rounded reliable build. SLX drivetrain is fine enough. This bike lets Jack be nimble and quick!

Bottom line... She is a Brutte. Not the lightest, or carbon but an aweasome classic mtb with a modern twist. Makes me thankful to ride... every ride.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 297  

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