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Heckler R Am Complete Mountain Bike

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Heckle the trail.

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.

Frame Material
Rear Shock
Rear Travel
150 mm
FOX 34 FLOAT 27.5 CTD Evolution
Front Travel
150 mm
Cane Creek 10 Mixed Tapered
Shimano SLX M670
Front Derailleur
Shimano Deore M611/610
Rear Derailleur
Shimano SLX M675 Shadow+
24/32/42 t Shimano Deore M610
Bottom Bracket
not included
11-36 t Shimano HG62
Shimano HG-75
Brake Set
Shimano Deore M615
[front] 180 mm, [rear] 160 mm
Race Face Ride
Handlebar Width
710 mm
Handlebar Rise
Lizard Skin "494"
Race Face Ride
WTB Volt
Race Face Ride
Seat Collar
Santa Cruz QR
[front] SRAM MTH 716, [rear] SRAM MTH 746
DT Swiss (14g)
[front] 15mm thru-axle, [rear] 12x142mm thru-axle
Maxxis High Roller 2 EXO Tubeless
Tire Size
27.5 x 2.3 in
Recommended Use
all-mountain and enduro mountain biking
Manufacturer Warranty
5 years on frame