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BRANDON KIRK IS NO HEKLER WHEN IT COMES TO HIS BIKE, READ HIS ONE YEAR APPRAISAL

 

Well, it's been one year since I first threw my leg over a shiny, new Santa Cruz Heckler. The bright orange steed replaced my wornout [dare I say vintage] Intense Uzzi SL, which I had bought second hand two years before. On the first ride, I immediately noticed how much laterally stiffer the ride was – I didn’t quite realize until then how sloppy the rear triangle of the old bike was.

I could definitely feel that more of my energy was going straight into the ground, and handling was greatly improved over the Uzzi or even the bike before it, a Yeti ASR. With six inches front and back, but a frame weight of only about one pound heavier than a cross country racing frame, it has been the ideal frame for riding Tai Mo Shan. Granted, climbing is a bit more difficult, but I put that down mainly to my choice of a long-travel fork [Maverick DUC32] and a very high riser bar. It also doesn’t help that I recently installed an e-13 singlering chainguide, but it sure does keep things running smooth over those rocks

"I’ve tried a Nomad, four-bars, and others,
but for me the single pivot works just fine"

I’ve tried a Nomad, four-bars, and others, but for me the single pivot works just fine with the platform on the Fox RP23 keeping things tight when you need to go fast or climb. Even without the platform on, I’ve found that the placement of the pivot is such that cranking hard up a hill doesn’t make you bob. I couldn’t ask for a better design really, and I’m glad I saved my hard-earned cash for better components – the VPP frames can cost nearly twice as much. After putting the frame through considerable abuse – wet, muddy rides, gritty slogs around the Tai Lam reservoir, multiple van rides to the top of the mountain every Saturday – I must say that I’m quite impressed at how new it looks.

SC powdercoats have got to be the most bombproof in the industry, and from what I’ve seen, their anodized frames hold up even better. There are a few places where cable rub has been a problem – such as the rear brake cable on the front of the swingarm – but even without using a chainstay guard or any other frame protection, the paint has stayed looking very good. No flaking away, like my Yeti did, and the clear decals have protected the sides of the frame pretty well.

The only two problems I’ve had have been water seeping in through the seat tube – probably unavoidable – and the need to tighten the axle, which I did about a month ago. But given that most other suspension designs require you to overhaul the bike with new bearings, bushings and so forth ever year, a careful twist of the wrench [or trip to the shop – mine charged me HKD $20] is pretty low maintenance.

In all, I would highly recommend the Heckler – or any frame from Santa Cruz for that matter given how well the bike rides and how durable it has been

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