SANTA CRUZ BULLIT EMTB
170-MILLIMETER TRAIL EATER
Words by Drew Rohde
Photos & Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics
Hot on the heels of some freshly updated Heckler eMTB offerings, the Santa Cruz Bullit eMTB comes firing out of the barrel, ready to appease those e-bikers looking for more. More what? Everything of course! With 170mm of travel front and rear, slacker geo, the new Shimano Steps EP8 motor and a larger battery, the Santa Cruz Bullit is truly built to shred. In our latest Dissected Series episode we take an in-depth first look at this new e-enduro bike and what it has to offer riders in the market.
Built around the idea of “What goes up, loves coming down,” Santa Cruz Bicycles’ team wanted to make their biggest hitting eMTB that wasn’t just a one trick pony. While it is unapologetically aimed at taming the downs, it isn’t overly-built or overly slacked out to the point it’s not any fun when the trails aren’t vertical.
Santa Cruz Warranty & Rider Support Promise
Santa Cruz take pride in their carbon fiber technique and reputation. The Bullit continues pushing forward with their tradition of carbon application on this lifetime warrantied CC frame. Santa Cruz also offers lifetime bearing replacement support and a minimum of a 10-year small parts support, as well as a lifetime warranty on their Reserve carbon wheels and handlebars. Not many other bikes come to mind that have so many lifetime-warrantied parts.
During our conversations with Santa Cruz while creating this story it was readily apparent that they live by their “No ride missed” ethos. They’re as passionate about riding their bikes as they are building bikes that will stand the test of time.
Q & A WITH TODD FORD
Santa Cruz Bullit Product Manager
What were the major focuses or goals when creating the Bullit, knowing that the Heckler was already in your lineup?
The big goal was to make the most capable and hardest hitting e-bike we could. We wanted something that could be used in the big mountains, something that would climb well and have enough range to get to the top, and had plenty of travel to handle the steepest trails on the way down.
We think the geo is spot on, not too aggressive and not too conservative. How and who helped your team come up with such balanced geo numbers?
Awesome to hear! Geo is always something that the whole team discusses at the start of every project. We typically argue about it for a week or two, then we build an aluminum mule (or 2, or 5) in house to test our theories. With Bullit we really wanted to go as slack as we were comfortable with, but still put the rider in a good pedaling position for handling the climbs. Once we got the first few rides on our mule, we thought we had really nailed it.
The small bump sensitivity and square-edge hit absorption are greatly improved on the Bullit compared to the shorter travel Heckler. Is this just a by-product of more travel, the coil-sprung shock, or did engineers make changes to the suspension kinematics?
We basically tried to match the leverage curve to our other coil-friendly platforms, which certainly aided in that small bump and square edge sensitivity that you’re feeling. Also the longer stroke shock and the tunes that were chosen for this bike give that sensitivity while maintaining a supportive feel and not sucking you too deep into the travel.
While you still have the Heckler, and as of last week, even more Heckler options available, who did you design the Bullit for?
Heckler was mainly focused on a playful and agile ride characteristic, whereas Bullit is designed to handle anything you can throw at it, while still maintaining that playful spirit. We kept chainstay lengths in check, and notched everything else up to really give the rider the ability to stay confident and composed, but still throw it around a bit too. This rider is someone that really wants to take on the most aggressive trails they can find, but also make it back to the top to do it all again.
What is the one feature or part of the new Bullit you are most proud or excited about?
I think my favorite feature is the ability to run coils. Opening up the option for coils and larger volume shocks really gives the rider the ability to hone in on the performance they want. I also really like that we were able to maintain the removable battery system with this bike. Being able quickly and easily swap batteries means you can really take this bike on some huge rides. I’m super proud of our engineering and design team for finding a way to make it all work.
Who has sent their Bullit the biggest so far?
Unfortunately due to COVID I wasn’t able to ride with the Syndicate in Morzine, FR a couple of months ago when they received their bikes, but I can imagine those guys were absolutely crushing it! Based on the photos I’ve seen, Loris is really enjoying the airtime on his.