Wil Matthews

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is an American born manufacturer of mountain bikes, aiming to be at the forefront of downhill, cross country, gravel and electric mountain bikes.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz


Founded out of a small unit at 104 Bronson Street in Santa Cruz by two skateboarders, Rob Roskopp and Rich Novak. Soon after the company's inception the pair bought in Mike Marquez bringing with him experience of bike suspension design somewhat of a rarity at that time in mountain biking’s fledgling development.

One year after the company was founded the first bike was released, named the Tazmon it featured 80mm of rear wheel travel using a single pivot design. At its time of release the Tazmon really was ahead of the curve for full suspension mountain bike design. A further year on from the success of the Tazmon a slightly larger travel bike was released, named the Heckler. This upped the rear wheel travel from the 80 mm for the Tazmon up to 100mm making the Heckler a very capable bike for its time. The name remained through many iterations up until 2016 where the Heckler name was discontinued. In 2020 the Heckler name was revived as it became the namesake for Santa Cruz’s ebike.

One of the key technologies that is associated with the brand is the VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) rear suspension platform. This was a design principle that the brand acquired the patents for from Outland Bikes. This is where the pivot point that the rear axle actuates around is floating allowing for specific design characteristics to be built into a platform without the typical constraints of a fixed pivot point.

After two decades at the Bronson Street premises, Santa Cruz moved to a new facility 2841 Mission Street in 2013 to give them more space for their growing catalogue of models. In 2015 the company was sold to the large sporting conglomerate Pon Holdings who also own brands such as Cervelo, Schwinn and Focus.

Key Moments

1999 - Santa Cruz acquire the patents for a new suspension platform. The VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) allows far more freedom in the tuning of a bikes characteristics than a typical fixed pivot point. Using 2 counter rotating links each design can be tailored to its intended purpose including shock rates and kinematics. This platform still features on all Santa Cruz models except the Blurr to this day with Santa Cruz aiming on continuing the refinement of a platform they have used for 24 years.

2006 - Santa Cruz Syndicate race team is launched with Steve Peat joining the outfit. Aboard the V10 downhill bike Steve Peat took the teams first victory at Willengen, Germany cementing the arrival of the new team. 17 years later the team are still at the forefront of the downhill scene piloting the 7th generation V10 to victories under Greg Minnar, Jackson Goldstone, Nina Hoffman and Laurie Greenland.

2014 - A little known trials rider, Danny MacAskill joins the Santa Cruz team after using a Bronson trail bike for a video project titled ‘The Ridge’ this would symbolise the start of a partnership that has seen Danny help with the design and testing of numerous Santa Cruz products as well as the bespoke to him Santa Cruz trials bike.

Fun fact

The Santa Cruz V10 was the first full carbon fibre downhill bike to take a world championships downhill win with Steve Peat in 2009.

Pro cycling

Current teams:

Santa Cruz Syndicate

Santa Cruz - Rock Shox pro team

Notable ‘free agents’:

Danny MacAskill

Keegan Swenson

Veronique Sandler

Alexis Skarda

Elliot Jackson

Sven Martin

Top Santa Cruz Stories

Link to The race within a race: inside women’s professional gravel racing
Sofia Gomez Villafañe wins the women's race at BWR Arizona

The race within a race: inside women’s professional gravel racing

At the recent Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona we caught up with the women's podium to get their take on racing within the men's gravel peloton

Link to Taking an e-gravel bike on an epic desert adventure
YouTube video ZcHsQ2o1HKM

Taking an e-gravel bike on an epic desert adventure

With the help of Keegan Swenson and a Fazua-powered Santa Cruz Skitch, Hank takes on an epic gravel ride near Tucson, Arizona

Link to Top US gravel riders take on a 'Spirit Tour' in preparation for the 2024 season
While the numbers are down from six to four, the goals remain the same: friendship, fitness and adventure on the Spirit Tour

Top US gravel riders take on a 'Spirit Tour' in preparation for the 2024 season

Keegan Swenson, Russell Finsterwald, Kerry Werner and Cody Cupp embark on a five-day gravel adventure through southern Arizona, to train, and connect with the 'spirit of gravel'

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