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2021 Santa Cruz Bullit MX X01 Coil Carbon CC E-Bike

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
2021 Santa Cruz Bullit MX X01 RSV Coil Carbon CC (Copper)
2021 Santa Cruz Bullit MX X01 Coil Carbon CC E-Bike 2021 Santa Cruz Bullit MX X01 Coil Carbon CC E-Bike
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The Santa Cruz Bullit is Back and Still Ready to Send...With a Motor

For 2021, Santa Cruz brought back the Bullit as an e-bike. Same name. Same mission. New execution.

Rating: Vital Review
The Santa Cruz Bullit is Back and Still Ready to Send...With a Motor

Last year, when Santa Cruz entered the e-bike market with its Heckler, there was a bit of tongue and cheek in the launch. The Heckler name was a revival of one of Santa Cruz's most beloved bikes, but it also alluded to the inevitable keyboard blowback the brand was anticipating. At the end of Vital's first-ever e-bike test session, the only laughter coming from us were fits of delight. Santa Cruz is resurrecting another name, one from an era of rooftop drops and skinnies: the Bullit.


  • E-Tube tuning options
  • Quieter Shimano EP8 motor
  • Endless confidence
  • Consistent cornering with plenty of front wheel grip
  • Tracks incredibly well in rough terrain
  • Stable, planted feel


  • A bit heavy
  • No coil option on lower builds
  • E7000 motor on entry build


  • Carbon, CC frame, lifetime warranty
  • Lifetime bearing replacement
  • 170mm (6.7-inches) VPP rear travel
  • Coil shock compatible
  • 170mm (6.7-inches) front travel
  • 29-inch front wheel // 27.5-inch rear wheel
  • 630Wh removable battery
  • Shimano EP8 motor (tested)
  • Maxxis MaxxGRIP Assegai DoubleDown 2.5-inch front tire
  • Maxxis MaxxTerra 3C DHR DoubleDown 2.4-inch rear tire
  • 220mm front // 200mm rear rotor (tested)
  • 12-speed drivetrain
  • Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels (tested)
  • Weight - 50-pounds
  • Prices start at $7,499 - $11,499 (tested)

Geometry and Wheel Size

In a nod to the Bullit/Heckler hierarchy of huck, Santa Cruz's new e-MTB is the larger, more brawling bike but still goes up the hill just fine. The 2021 Heckler just received a host of updates to shed a little weight, making room for the Bullit with its 170mm of travel and 29-inch/27.5inch wheel configuration. We tend to use the term, "mullet" to reference a 29-/27.5-inch wheel combination, but Santa Cruz calls it, "MX."

27.5-inch rear
29-inch front

Longer travel and a larger front wheel aren't the only distinguishing characteristics of the Bullit. A larger battery (630Wh) powering the new Shimano EP8 motor means more range and longer rides. Frame geometry on the Bullit also differs from the Heckler line. To start, there is no size small, only medium through double-extra-large. A size-to-size comparison has the Bullit running longer as well. Our size large test bike has a 475mm reach (Heckler is 465mm), 449mm chainstays (Heckler: 445mm) and a 64-degree head angle (Heckler: 65.5-degrees) for a total wheelbase of 1268mm (Heckler: 1237mm). The 77.1-degree seat angle puts riders more forward than the 76-degree angle of the Heckler.


2021 Santa Cruz Bullit Geometry

Builds, Options, and Pricing

When it comes to the parts spec, the Bullit is outfitted for getting rowdy. The 170mm-travel FOX Factory 38 fork lead the charge on our X01-CC RSV model. Our particular test bike came equipped with a RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock (standard builds have air shocks, coil is an option) and Maxxis Double Down tires, front and rear. SRAM's X01 Eagle drivetrain shifts the gears and CODE RSC Brakes stop the Bullit, albeit with help from a massive 220mm front rotor. Santa Cruz's carbon Reserve wheelset, carbon Di2 bar and Burgtec bits round out the $11,499 build.

Our Bullit X01 RSV Test Bike, coil option - $11,499

Those not wanting to drop five figures on an e-bike will quickly be checking out the other three builds in the Bullit line. Every e-bike in the Bullit line starts with the same CC carbon frame, a lifetime warranty and free, lifetime bearing replacement. All builds have the same 630Wh battery. Some universal components in the line are Maxxis Double Down tires (MaxxGRIP front, Maxx Terra rear) and 220 / 200mm brake rotors (except the XT build, with dual 203mm rotors) Beyond those bits, it is a matter of motor and parts to differentiate each model.

Double Down for all
220mm front rotor

Santa Cruz Bullit CC R - $7,499

The Santa Cruz Bullit CC R kicks things off with a Shimano E7000 motor, RockShox ZEB fork, RockShox Super Deluxe Select shock, and SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain for $7,499. Of note, because Shimano motors are backwards compatible, riders could snag the entry model and upgrade to the EP8 later.

Santa Cruz Bullit CC S - $8,899

Moving up the line is the CC S build which bumps to the Shimano EP8 motor. A FOX 38 Performance fork handles front suspension duties, but RockShox is present out back with a Super Deluxe Select+. The drivetrain jumps up to SRAM's GX Eagle line. MSRP is $8,899.

Santa Cruz CC XT, shown with coil option - $9,499

Want Shimano? The Bullit CC XT comes with a Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain to activate the EP8 motor. The fork makes a bump to FOX's Performance Elite 38 and the rear shock stays with the RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ but a coil shock is now an option (with no price change) at this build level. The XT build will keep things under the five-figure mark at $9,499.

SCB Bulllit MX Loris Vergier San Remo / Molini, Italy.

On the Trail

Our tester, Sean McClendon, spent heaps of time aboard the Santa Cruz Heckler e-MTB outside of our Test Sessions. He chose that particular e-bike as his top pick of the group, but was able to note a few shortcomings. When the opportunity came to test the Bullit, knowing what was in store, Vital knew who the right person for the job was.

During the reveal, Sean was enthusiastic about the mixed-wheel configuration of the Bullit, citing experience aboard his own Specialized Demo 8. With a larger battery and more efficient motor to address some woes from the Heckler, Sean was ready for the trails.

Shimano's new EP8 motor

Straight out of the gate, Sean (and anybody riding with him) noticed just how quiet the new Shimano EP8 motor is. Where the prior iteration had a steady whirring sound, the new EP8 motor is considerably quieter and not a nuisance to other riders. When traveling downhill or coasting, the Shimano motor rattle was still present but to a lesser degree than on other e-bikes we've tested.

After a few Vital staffers had taken the Bullit out for test rides, the e-bike was handed over to Sean for proper testing. Those early iterations had the stock motor settings on Profile 2 (the higher-power setting in Shimano's eTube) and performance was not such a stand out. Neither of our early testers were impressed by battery life and the power delivery seemed lack-luster. With knowledge gleaned from tuning other motors, Sean set to work dialing in the Bullit. While the Trail profile performed well, Sean bumped motor engagement and torque delivery in the Eco mode, and took them all the way up in Boost mode. In a case of sometimes-more-is-better, the Bullit came to life with stronger power and much more consistent battery life.

The RockShox Super Deluxe coil was a solid performer

With the powerplant sorted, Sean's attention was solely on handling and trail manners. Sean took an immediate shining to the Bullit but could not give enough praise to the Bullit's cornering ability. Looking back to riding traits of other e-bikes tested, Sean often noted how much earlier a rider must brake on an e-bike to accomplish high-speed turns. Any mid-corner braking (something we shouldn't do anyway) and the typical e-bike will stand right up. Because of the Bullit's larger front wheel and improved control in braking, Sean could brake later and manage speed better. In all, the Bullit gave confidence for days when laying it down. Comparing it specifically to the Heckler, Sean felt like he was driving the Heckler into turns and would have to over-brake to keep it in check. This issue is very much addressed by the Bullit's design and spec.

SCB Bulllit MX Loris Vergier San Remo / Molini, Italy.

Getting the Bullit up the hill was a simple affair, even when compared to other e-bikes. As always, a higher cadence is key on an e-bike but Vital is finding more and more this rings true with the Shimano EP8 motor. Sean kept the cranks turning quickly and the Bullit kept pace. With his particular tune, Sean found that on Eco mode, slow cadence at lower speeds delivered plenty of torque but it was easily managed. The joy of Shimano's E-Tube app is the ability to make such changes. In Sean's hands, he got a motor that behaved just how he wanted. Recent storms moved in and another Vital tester took out the Bullit, noting the technical climbing ability, it was "chug, chug all the way to the top."

Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon hoops

With 170mm of travel and a spec like this, we were not surprised in the least at how well the Bullit rockets down hills. Rock gardens mean nothing. Technical bits are but visual distractions. The Bullit is an auto-pilot machine. Sean noted the Bullit is so easy to ride, so confident, that he became lazy and lose track of speed. Finding the bottom of the Bullit's suspension was a quiet affair with no harsh bottom-out. When terrain got brutal, Sean heralded the Bullit as the most-planted and stable bike he had ever ridden.

In all, Sean summed up the Bullit in one word: easy. The Bullit is easy to get along with and easy to ride. With a friendly user interface in Shimano's E-Tube app, riders can tap into more of the Bullit's power. The parts spec that Santa Cruz has gone with plays nicely into the overall mission of the bike. With slack angles and big travel comes the need to control it with hearty tires and strong brakes, all are present in the Bullit line.


Sean noted a few areas of improvement for the Bullit. First, is the weight. Despite having a lighter motor and many common parts, the Bullit is a couple of pounds heavier than even the prior iteration of the Heckler. No doubt a larger battery is to blame, as are Double Down tires and a coil shock. Even still, it would be nice if the Bullit could shed some weight. Other areas were more subjective, with a saddle on the small side and grips that felt nice in their pattern but a bit thin. These are small details that many riders choose to customize anyway.

Who is This Bike For?

Sean drew an interesting line on who may be interested in this e-bike. First, the aggressive rider that wants an e-bike to help them get up the hill and then rip down in short order. Fast riders looking for a stable rig to conquer descents need to give the Bullit a serious look. The other side? Sean called out your mom or dad. Well, maybe not YOURS, but Sean did mention his own father among others. Riders that want a confident-feeling bike that will deliver comfortable, easy-riding, and all-day power for adventuring. Riders in-between may find the Bullit's heft and spec a bit much and may be interested in the revised Heckler models.

What's the Bottom Line?

When Santa Cruz entered the e-bike market last year, groans from the internet were audible. The Bullit shows just how seriously and aggressively the brand is taking eMTB, undeterred by naysayers. Bikes like the Bullit push the envelope of speed and confidence on descents, unapologetic in its mission because there's a motor to get riders back up the hill. As we noted in our eMTB Test Session, these bikes are fast and rowdy. We're only left wondering how things would have played out if the Bullit had been present...

Learn more about the all-new Santa Cruz Bullit.

Watch Loris Vergier lay down his soundtrack of send.

About the Tester

Sean McClendon - Age: 35 // Years Riding: 21 // Height: 5'10" (1.78m) // Weight: 190-pounds (86.2kg)

"Griz" is a battered veteran of MTB gravity racing. Following a major crash during the 2010 USA National Championship Pro downhill race, he put in the hours and fought his way back to health and the fun that is two wheels. Griz has ridden for a number of the USA's top teams throughout his racing career, testing prototype frames and components along the way. Currently managing US Dealer sales and the Fresh Blood amateur development team at DEITY Components, he remains motivated by the mantra "whips don't lie." You'll often find him perfecting his high-flying sideways aerial maneuvers while living the #pinelife in Idaho.


Product Santa Cruz Bullit MX X01 Coil Carbon CC E-Bike
Model Year 2021
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
M, L, XL, XXL View Geometry
Top Tube Length 591.3mm 619.2mm 644.9mm 672.1mm
Head Tube Angle 64° 64° 64° 64°
Head Tube Length 100mm 110mm 130mm 155mm
Seat Tube Angle 77.2° 77.1° 77.0° 76.8°
Seat Tube Length 405mm 430mm 460mm 500mm
Bottom Bracket Height 348mm (6.5mm drop) 348mm (6.5mm drop) 348mm (6.5mm drop) 348mm (6.5mm drop)
Chainstay Length 449mm 449mm 449mm 449mm
Wheelbase 1238.5mm 1267.9mm 1296.7mm 1327.7mm
Standover 748mm 747mm 745mm 745mm
Reach 450mm 475mm 495mm 515mm
Stack 621.0mm 630.0mm 648.0mm 670.4mm
* Additional Info Mixed ("Mullet") wheels: 29" front, 27.5" rear
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29", Other (Mullet)
E-Bike Class Class 1: Pedal Assist (Pedelecs)
Motor Shimano STEPS DU-EP800, 85Nm max torque
Battery Shimano STEPS, integrated, removable
Battery Capacity 630 Wh
Display/Remote Shimano STEPS SC-EM800
Modes Boost, Trail, Eco, Walk Assist
Max Speed with Assist 20 mph (32 km/h)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Carbon CC front triangle and swingarm, molded chainstay and down tube protection
Rear Travel 170mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, 230mm x 62.5mm
Fork FOX FLOAT 38 Factory, E-Tune
Fork Travel 170mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Cane Creek 40 Integrated (IS 41/28.6 upper, IS 52/40 lower)
Handlebar Santa Cruz Carbon Di2 Riser
Stem Burgtec Enduro MK2, 40mm length
Grips Santa Cruz House
Brakes SRAM Code RSC, 4-piston, Avid CenterLine rotors (220mm front, 200mm rear)
Brake Levers SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed, single click
Front Derailleur None
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Chainguide e*thirteen E-Spec+ AL upper slider
Cranks Shimano EM900, HOLLOWTECH, 165mm length
Chainrings Shimano EM900
Pedals None
Chain SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette SRAM X01 Eagle XG-1295, 12-speed, 10-52 tooth
Rims Santa Cruz Reserve 30 Carbon, 28 hole front, 32 hole rear
Hubs DT Swiss 350, 15x110mm Boost front, 12x148mm Boost rear with XD driver
Spokes Sapim D-Light
Tires Front: Maxxis Assegai 29"x2.5", 3C, MaxxGrip, Double Down, TR
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5"x2.4", 3C, MaxxTerra, Double Down, TR
Saddle WTB Silverado Team
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt, 36.4mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 12x148 Boost
Max. Tire Size 27.5" x 2.6"
Bottle Cage Mounts One inside front triangle
Colors Matte Copper/Black, Gloss Lavender/Yellow
Warranty Lifetime for frame, linkages, Reserve wheels, handlebars, and bearings
Weight 50 lb 0 oz (22,680 g)
Miscellaneous • Weight listed is for a size large, as tested with pedals
• Lower-link VPP suspension system
• Mixed ("Mullet") wheels: 29" front, 27.5" rear
• Internal cable routing
• Shimano E-Tube app connects to STEPS system via Bluetooth-enabled smartphone
• SRAM UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger)
Price $11,499
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