2021 eMTB SHOOTOUT
SANTA CRUZ BULLIT REVIEW
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics
Back in November when we received our first Santa Cruz Bullit eMTB for a first ride and Dissected Series video, we fell in love. Our team spent some time riding it here in the PNW, sat down with Santa Cruz engineers and marketing folks and got intimately acquainted with that beautifully bronzed 170mm mullet eBike. We were lucky enough to keep that coil-sprung version for a couple of months, and then just before our 2021 eMTB Shootout, Santa Cruz sent us their Barney purple top of the line version to prep for our shootout down in St. George, Utah.
Let’s let the purple elephant out of the closet right here, Santa Cruz charges a premium for their eMTBs and whether or not you or we agree, the fact is market demand, product supply and a number of other factors have made it so. Santa Cruz’s eBikes are definitely on the higher end of the price spectrum and while we wouldn’t say they are the buy for the deal-savvy shopper, we’re happy to report that at least the performance of the Bullit is on point.
Santa Cruz Bullit pricing starts at $7,499 for the R CC build and features SRAM NX level components and then rockets into the stratosphere with the $11,499 X01 Coil CC build tested here. Our size large weighed in at 51.7 pounds and features a Fox Factory 38 fork with 170mm of buttery travel. Out back a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil rear shock performed wonderfully and offered a great ride. The rest of the drivetrain is all SRAM with their XO1 Eagle shifter and derailleur spinning the gears. A set of SRAM Code RSC brakes try their best to keep this beast under control, but we’d love to see a better, more reliable and longer lasting brake chosen for a bike over $11,000.
The rest of the build on the Santa Cruz Bullit is dialed with a Cane Creek 40 headset, Burgtec Enduro MK2 stem, Santa Cruz’s really neat Di2 integrated carbon bars and their awesome new grips. Our Bullit had the Reserve 30 carbon wheels with DT Swiss hubs, which performed well and lasted to some serious abuse of every kind. One thing we’ve noticed on multiple Reserve wheels however is that they make noise when you hit hard compressions aggressively. We also enjoyed the Maxxis Assegai (f) and Minion DHR II (r) tire spec, although we swapped them out for some Schwalbe Big Betty and Magic Mary rubbers as they were our official test tire for the shootout. A Fox Factory Transfer post and WTB Silverado round out the kit.
A Shimano EP8 drive unit with 630Wh battery helped get the Bullit up just about anything we pointed it at. With a maximum torque of 85Nm and a max assist ratio of 400%, taking the direct route back to the top of the mountain is not an issue, and we took advantage of it regularly. The new Shimano EP8 is quieter, has less drag, more efficiency and a smaller profile than its predecessor and although it took us a few rides to adapt to the more “natural” feel Shimano engineers were seeking to deliver, we’ve grown to like it more and more. Shimano’s E-Tube App is very intuitive and allows users to quickly change the power delivery and assistance level of their machine to maximize range, or give you the ride experience you want. We could give our Santa Cruz Bullit a hot rod tune for a quick sunset rip, or put it in a range-extending set up for long days on the trail.