...I am not much one for marketing or hype, but SC's latest video for the Heckler makes me want one even more...
I have owned two Hecklers ('00, '04) and currently it's link-driven big brother the Butcher ('11). All of them have been terrific bikes. I finally took a spin on a competitors 27.5 bike at a local demo last Saturday. I was not crazy about the bike and it's DW-Link platform. Nonetheless, I really liked the way wheels handled rolling over chop like it was nothing and holding momentum better than the 26" wheels on my rig. I suppose my perfect bike would be a Butcher with the geometry built around 27.5 wheels (not a conversion) with a slight slacker front end (66.5-67 degrees) and a slightly steep seat angle (73-74 degrees). This does not exist, but the new Heckler is pretty much that without the APP link system. This is not really a big deal as I can bolt my DB Air on it and still get killer performance. I look forward to test riding one at an upcoming demo. Bravo, Santa Cruz!
No, I actually like the more simple design. I have owned VPP bikes and ridden pretty much every suspension design under the sun. I always come back to well executed single pivot bikes. My single pivot stable over the years has included 2 Hecklers, a Bullit and a Butcher as well as another rig by a more over-hyped brand. A single pivot with a great rear shock (Cane Creek DB Air or Coil) rides as good if not better than most multiple pivot designs with far less cost and maintenance. People love DW-link bikes, but riding one back to back against my Butcher on the exact same trail, jumps etc. the Butcher was much more stable and solid. BTW, it was an apples to apples comparison as the bikes were within a lb in weight and had only a 10mm difference in travel. Sure a Bronson would be swell, but I will stick with a simple machine.
I rode a Heckler for the last 5 years and recently sold it for a Bronson. While I don't regret my decision, I do miss the Heckler. It was such a great bike and I'm sure the new reincarnation is even better!