Staff Bike Check: Janey’s Santa Cruz Heckler

Santa Cruz Heckler Custom

As Managing Director of Tweed Valley Bikes, Dirt School, Tweed Valley Guides and TVB-Tech, Janey’s work schedule is jam packed. To make the most of her bike time, Janey’s go to bike at the moment is her Santa Cruz Heckler. Versatile enough to tackle the wide variety of trails that she’ll take it down, Janey’s Heckler blends downhill confidence with rolling speed and efficiency on mellower terrain to give a well balanced ride whatever is under the tyres. 

This Heckler began life as a stock S build bike, but quickly evolved into the custom build we see here. With top end components from Reserve, Maxxis, Burgtec, OneUp and SRAM, Janey has left no stone unturned in creating an incredibly versatile e-bike that’s as ready to take on Tweed Valley classics as it is to head to the hills and munros around Scotland on big mountain road trips in the campervan.

Riding Wardell Way, Innerleithen Golfie

TVB: So Janey, how tall are you and what size frame do you ride?

Janey: I’m 158 cm tall, that puts me in size small on the Santa Cruz size chart, but a bit closer to the lower end, hence the 35mm stem. Having ridden Santa Cruz bikes for the last 8 years now, I know the size small is a perfect fit. 

TVB: What drew you to the Heckler specifically?

Janey: As I mentioned, I’ve ridden Santa Cruz bikes for the last 8 years now and one of my favourite bikes I ever owned was the dual 27.5” Roubion V3, just as Juliana switched over to the lower link driven suspension platform that is used today. The Heckler in a size small is also dual 27.5, and is designed around the Bronson/Roubion platform, making it a no brainer as I just loved that Roubion so much. With the support and back up from Santa Cruz, their no missed rides ethos and knowing that all e-bikes will have an issue at some point during a life in the wet weather of the UK, it all stacked up towards the heckler. 

Riding Innerleithen Golfie

TVB: You’ve made a pretty comprehensive set of changes to the bike with every major component being changed from stock. Let’s start with suspension, why did you choose the Zeb and how have you got it set up?

Janey: I went with the Zeb partially out of curiosity, I’d never ridden a 38mm stanchioned fork before and thought the extra stiffness would work well on the e-bike. It’s currently sitting at 170mm, 10mm up on stock, and just takes that little bit of extra sting out of the trails. I’ve got the Zeb inflated to 48psi with 1 token. High and Low speed compression are both open and the rebound is pretty fast to try and keep the wheel in contact with the ground as much as possible, 3 clicks from open. 

Rockshox Zeb

I’ve kept the Rockshox Super Deluxe Select+ that came fitted to the bike. With all the weight of the bike so central and low thanks to the motor and battery, the rear suspension feels perfect as it is. It’s pumped up to 135psi with the rebound fully open.

Rockshox Super Deluxe

TVB: So the bike reacts to trail features exactly how you like and keeps the tyres on the trail with a faster, lightly damped suspension setup. What tyres do you use?

Janey: I run an Assegai on the front and a DHRII on the rear, 18psi up front and 21psi in the back with no inserts. Balancing rolling speed with puncture protection and support is important to me, and I’m not the heaviest rider, so I’ve gone for EXO+ casings front and rear and don’t seem to puncture.

I tend to keep my tyres the same pretty much year round, although I’m curious to try a Shorty up front this winter. Typically, if it’s really sloppy I’ll decrease the pressures by 1-2psi and go up by the same amount if I’m heading for faster, more bike park style trails, but for the most part here in the Tweed Valley the trails are so hard packed that you can use ‘dry’ tyres all year round. 

Maxxis Assegai

TVB: Continuing the custom built theme of your bike, your wheelset is pretty special. Reserve 30|HD rims on Hope Pro 5 hubs. Talk us through how they ride. 

Janey: I’ve been riding Reserve’s carbon wheels for a few years now and have always found them faultless no matter how many miles I put on them, making them an obvious choice for the Heckler build. This year, I opted for a custom build on Hope’s new Pro5 hubs and I think they look incredible!

Reserve Carbon HD Rim

I’ve got the wheels built up with silver spokes to tie the whole silver theme together nicely, 108 points of engagement on the Pro 5 means the hubs pick up really quickly and a new freehub seal means they coast for noticeably longer than other hubs. As a smaller rider on an e-bike, using a lighter wheelset makes a huge difference to how the bike handles and the Reserve rims will stand up to anything I can put them through. Lifetime warranty is just a bonus!

Hope Pro5 Silver Hub

TVB: Moving on to your cockpit, how have you got that setup? Any changes for the Heckler over previous bikes?

Janey: I have a Burgtec Ride Wide Carbon handlebar which I’ve cut to 740mm. Slightly narrower bars mean I never feel overstretched and creates plenty of room to move, which is essential for riding technical trails. They’re a 35mm clamp with a 20mm rise. 

Burgtec Cockpit

I’m using a 35mm length stem, the shortest I’ve used. On previous bikes I’d always opted for a 42.5mm stem, but chose the 35mm option for the Heckler to bring the front end length in a touch. On the e-bike I’m finding I much prefer the shorter stem as it livens up the steering and makes it feel easier to move the bike around. 

Burgtec Enduro Stem 35mm Silver

TVB: You’ve fitted a OneUp dropper to this bike. What size have you gone for?

Janey: I changed out from the stock post to this 150mm OneUp post almost immediately. The overall length of these posts is shorter than any other dropper post, so you can get them further into the frame which gives me way more standover clearance over the bike, great on the steeper and more technical trails I find myself on.

OneUp Dropper Post

I also fitted their V3 Dropper Post Remote. It’s got a really light lever throw which I love and the rubber thumb pad makes it really comfortable to use.

Sram Code RSC Brake

TVB: SRAM Code RSC brakes are a Staff favourite here. What pads are you using and rotor sizes?

Janey: Yep, I’ve been using Code RSCs for a few years now, I like a brake with lots of modulation that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance and this seems to fit the bill. Plenty of stopping power, especially with the 200mm rotors front and rear - that’s a step up for me moving from last year’s pedal bike where I ran 180mm front and back comfortably. This year I opted for slightly bigger rotors to compensate for the extra weight of the ebike. Pads are sintered, they last longer, especially on the Heckler. 

Sram Code RSC Brake Caliper

TVB: On to the drivetrain, what made you choose SRAM AXS?

Janey: It’s a SRAM X01 AXS drivetrain on the Heckler. One less cable at the cockpit declutters things a bit. I have the same parts on my Wilder XC bike and liked it on that so it was an easy decision here. It shifts nicely, lasts plenty of rides between charges and is just generally tough. I’m using a 34t Burgtec steel e-bike chainring, which with the 10-52t cassette gives me more than enough gear range for my riding.

 Sram XO AXS Drivetrain

A build balanced between downhill stability and rolling efficiency makes Janey’s Heckler her go to bike for the majority of her riding and makes the perfect stablemate to her more distance and speed focussed Juliana Wilder XC bike. 

Riding Wardell Way Innerleithen Golfie

Janey’s Heckler Full Specification:

Frame: Santa Cruz Heckler, size: Small

Motor: Shimano EP8

Battery: Darfon 720Wh

Fork: Rockshox Zeb Ultimate, Charger 2.1 Damper, 48psi, 1 tokens, LSC: 0, HSC: 0, Rebound: 3 from open

Shock: Rockshox Super Deluxe Select+, 135psi, Rebound:0

Wheelset: Reserve 30|HD rims, Hope Pro 5 hubs, silver DT Swiss spokes

Tyres: Front: Maxxis Assegai, 18psi, EXO+, MaxxGrip, no insert Rear: Maxxis DHRII, 21psi, EXO+, MaxxTerra, no insert

Handlebar: Burgtec Ride Wide Carbon, 740mm wide, 20mm rise, 35mm clamp

Stem: Burgtec Enduro mk3 stem, 35mm reach, 35mm clamp

Grips: Santa Cruz House grips

Brakes: SRAM Code RSC, SRAM Centreline rotors, 200mm front and rear, sintered pads

Drivetrain: SRAM X01 AXS, 10-52t cassette, 34t Burgtec steel e-bike chainring

Seatpost: OneUp dropper post v2, 150mm drop, OneUp dropper lever v3

Saddle: WTB Volt

For more information on our Heckler stock, or to try out one of our demo bikes, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. 

01896 831 429


  • Janey Kennedy

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for the comment, pleased to hear the article was helpful. I’ve ridden a fair few full power e-bikes over the last couple years (borrowing from friends until my Heckler arrived) and the Heckler is definitely the best full power bike I’ve ridden, by quite some distance. It’s just that little bit lighter than some of the others on the market and that seems to make a big difference for me, along with the fit. I like the dual 27.5" wheels too, reminds me of an old Juliana Roubion (Bronson) that I had which was one of my favourite bikes to date. It was always going to be Santa Cruz for me, but it’s always good to see how it compares to others out there. Very happy with it, and I hope you like yours too when the time comes. Cheers, Janey

  • Karen Gill

    Thank you Janey so much for posting a very helpful and interesting review of yourHeckler. I’ve trawled the internet to find a review of the small frame with dual 27.5 wheels from a female perspective and this is the only one out there. Thank you again

    I wanted to say thank you to Neil for being so helpful re my queries about a small Heckler. Also thank you to Janey for giving a female perspective on the small (dual 27.5 wheels)Heckler. I have trawled the internet to find a review about this bike and yours is the only one out there. Thank you, you’ve both helped me decide which bike I will go for…. yes, a small Heckler !

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