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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 Mountain Bike.

Taking cues from its VPP, 27.5-inch stable mate, the Bronson, this completely new Heckler has a 67 degree head tube, stubby chainstays, and a low bottom bracket to reward riders with a lively experience that allows experts to push limits and novices to hone skills. So, in order to ensure that this bike stays true to its goal of low-cost fun, Santa Cruz opted for hydroformed aluminum. Due to this, the Heckler provides the ride quality of rival bikes that cost twice as much -- all with the reliability to keep it out of the shop and on the trail. The light, yet strong, hydroformed aluminum front and rear triangles are shaped and butted to place more material where it's needed. This ensures strength and stiffness for confident descending.

But that strength isn't going to hamper a climb to the top. Instead, because of the hydroforming, any excess weight is eliminated to keep the Heckler feathery. With larger, 27.5in wheels, stiffness is paramount -- that's why you'll find that the rear triangle has an asymmetric shape and 142 x 12mm thru-axle. This prevents flex, and it ensures that suspension motion is directed to the rear shock and not into flexing the frame. Not to mention, asymmetric chainstays also helps avoid annoying chain slap.

The Heckler relies on Santa Cruz's proven suspension pivot location that places it slightly above and forward of the middle chainring. This provides responsive pedaling when seated, and a plush feel when descending. One drawback of single pivot designs has always been out-of-the-saddle sprinting, because the suspension will compress under rider loads -- losing energy to moving parts. Luckily, shock technology has mitigated that drawback. The FOX FLOAT CTD on this Heckler has three distinct damping settings, and one of them is designed to counter those stand-up pedaling forces. The front end of the Heckler complements that shock with a 150mm travel Evolution Series FOX FLOAT 34.

This fork features a CTD damper. It's equipped with a 15mm quick release thru axle, along with adjustable rebound, and a three-position compression adjustment. The wheels are comprised of SRAM 716 and 746 hubs laced to WTB ST i23 TCS tubeless rims, and they've been cased with 2.3-inch wide Maxxis High Roller 2 EXO Tubeless tires. Turning the rear wheel is a Shimano Deore triple crankset, an HG62 11-36t cassette, and a 10-speed HG-74 chain. For gear selection, there's a SLX Shadow plus rear derailleur and a M611front derailleur that are controlled by Shimano SLX shifters. These shifters share handlebar real estate with Avid's powerful Elixir 1 hydraulic disk brakes, which have been spec'd with a 180mm front and a 160mm rear rotor. The handlebar, stem, and seatpost are Race Face Ride componets, while a WTB Volt Race tops out this build.

The Heckler has guides for a seat dropper and ISCG05 tabs, just in case you want to make future upgrades.

The Santa Cruz Heckler R AM Complete Mountain Bike is available in four sizes from Small to X-Large and in the colors Gloss Blue/green and Gloss Black/orange.

  • Reviews
  • Q & A

What do you think about this product?

Have questions about this product?

Heckler Party!

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer

As a newbie, I was looking for a cost effective, go everywhere / do everything ride to improve skills, but not grow out of in the first six months.

I found just that in the Heckler. A bike that will carry me thru the hundreds of XC trails surrounding SLC or be just as easily loaded on a chairlift at a local resort for some rowdy DH. I liked the simplicity of the single pivot point and the option to add a dropper post.

Climbs fast. Versatile. Great build.

Hi Five!

I rode the Heckler on Moab's Brand trail

  • Familiarity:I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I rode the Heckler on Moab's Brand trails at Outerbike this year. I have also ridden Santa Cruz's Bronson, which shares the same wheel size, travel, and geometry but has the more sophisticated and expensive VPP suspension. The two bikes share the same rowdy rider position, light-and-easy steering response, and overall solid feel. The Heckler rear end does not have the same suppleness and glued-down tire feeling as the Bronson, especially at moderate speed and over square-edged bumps. When it is time to ascend, the climb mode on the shock will come into play more often on the Heckler than the Bronson. The Heckler 's single pivot does do some things very well, including fast rough descents, g-outs and hard landings. Consider the Heckler instead of spending the extra $399 for the Aluminum Bronson R AM if you like the simplicity and easy maintenance of one pivot instead of several, or if you want to spend that money on a dropper post instead.

Do you recommend a dropper post for the...

Do you recommend a dropper post for the 2014 Heckler that is compatible with the guides? I currently have a Reverb on my 2007 Heckler. The post works well but I'm not particularly pleased with the actuator location (right side between brake and shifter). Thanks

Best Answer

Hey Phil,

I would recommend the KS 2014 LEV Dropper post in a 125mm drop. The lever is one that is ambidextrous and has the ability to be installed between the grip and shift/brake lever to get close to you. Get in contact with me at and we can get a quote set up for you.

Are you going to stock this in the Club...

Are you going to stock this in the Club Tropicana (blue) color?

Hi Steve,

We don't have any of the Club Tropicana/Blue Hecklers on order right now. We'll likely get some in later in the spring or summer. I just called Santa Cruz, and they have all sizes in stock. So if you would like one, give me a call! I can get one for you pretty quickly. Ask for Mike Nelson at extension 4076

What is the front shock on this bike? ...

What is the front shock on this bike? Tech specs on left list Fox Float 27.5 CTD Evolution. Last line in 4th paragraph under description says: "The front end of the Heckler complements that shock with a 150mm travel RockShox Sektor Gold RL."