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Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV Review (2024)

Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV

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Every so often a bike comes along and makes you stop and just think wow!


Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is one such bike.


It’s a downhill-focused, wild terrain-ready e-MTB, but it also promises to pack a punch in the electrics and offer you the ability to compete over long distances and uphill.


As a full package, that sounds pretty remarkable, but pulling it off is no easy task and it isn’t likely to be cheap either.


Do Santa Cruz manage to pull it off?


Let’s find out in our Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV review…

Our Verdict


The Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is a truly marvellous descender, with all the high-spec attributes you need to cope with war on the trails.


It comes with a plush suspension, excellent brakes, a top-spec SRAM drivetrain, and has immense playfulness.


It thrives on the descents, but you also get a decent range in the battery and a powerful motor, to help cope up the other side too.


Although powerful, the Shimano motor doesn’t have the most intelligent riding experience and the display is absolutely pants.


Nearly the full package, but a few issues need ironing out, however, it’s hard to beat on the descents and that’s why we included it in our list of the best electric mountain bikes of 2023.



Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV Review

Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV parts

Price: $10,499


Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is a carbon-framed, downhill-focused beast.


It has an ultra-aggressive geometry, which is made to take on the rough stuff and it lends itself to taking on heavy drops and technical lines, with the nose downhill.


The carbon frame is made of a robust compound, which soaks up impacts adeptly, but without adding a great deal of extra weight.


The bike comes in on the scales at 22.32kg, which allows the bike to remain playful on the trail, but without feeling too fragile.


It allows you to keep up pace and momentum on the descents, while also remaining spritely on the climbs.


It’s a damn fun bike to handle and comes in four frame sizes – medium, large, extra-large and double XL.


Due to there being no small frame size a smaller rider may find the frames a little awkward and it might not provide the best fit as a result.


For many though it will provide a decent fit and offer a serious fun riding experience.


Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV comes with a 630Wh battery, provided by Shimano, with their Steps 630 fitted as standard.


It doesn’t offer the longest range we’ve ever seen, but you can still get out somewhere between 80 and 100km depending on the terrain.


We found with more than 2,000m of climbing the range is closer to the 80km figure and you might be lucky to peak over 100km on a flatter route.


The bike is made for descending, so the top range figure isn’t the most important factor, and lots of downhill parks and ranges now have up-lift services.


However, even with that in mind, the Santa Cruz offers you a decent range to play with and it doesn’t put too much pressure on your overall weight figure.


It’s well-balanced and offers a perfect mix between range and weight, without affecting the bike’s playfulness.


It takes around 2 and a half hours to charge up to 50% and 6 hours up to 100% from empty.


The Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is paired with the Shimano Steps EP8 motor.

Shimano EP8 motor

It can kick out 85Nm of torque and, when combined with the modest overall weight figure for the bike, it helps propel you up a lot of tricky terrain.


The bike scampers up challenging ascents, although it can feel a bit unnatural at times in the power delivery.


It’s an issue we’ve highlighted in some of our other bike reviews and you certainly feel it on the Santa Cruz too.


It’s worth remembering with this e-MTB in particular because you’re likely to take the ride to some risky and technical terrain, due to its descending prowess.

ℹ️ The EP8 can feel a little jerky, which might cause you to overshoot a corner if you aren’t careful.

It comes with 3 modes of assist – Eco, Trail, and Boost – which offer you enough variety to cope with most terrain.


The power capabilities are great with this e-MTB, it is just a little unnatural at times.

Motor Display

Shimano EM800

The EP8 display, which is fitted on the Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is an issue for us.


It’s a gripe we have with all bikes fitted with the Shimano EP8 – you only get 5 lights displaying your battery health, rather than a percentage figure.


The lack of percentage figure means you have to guess where you’re up to in 20% increments, constantly unsure if you’ve got 18% or 2% left – that creates range anxiety.


If you aren’t careful, you can get caught out and left stuck in the wilderness without any charge.


It’s a simplistic display, which shows you the pace and kilometers covered, but really we were expecting to have some sort of percentage figure on all e-MTBs in this day and age.


RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil
RockShox Zeb Ultimate

The suspension on the Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is absolutely majestic.


You get a burly 170mm of travel in both the forks and the shocks, which prepares the bike for some of the rowdiest terrain out there.


It’s a monster on the descents, with the serious amount of travel helping to soak up the biggest hits without so much as a whimper.


It’s a set-up made for the gnarliest terrain you can throw at it – the FOX 38 Float Factory forks take all the pressure out of the rider’s body on the big drops and recoil at pace to reset so you are ready for the next challenge.


The RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Shocks perform just as well at the rear end.


Although the bike’s descending prowess can’t be faulted, the bike can feel a little spongey on the climbs and flats – it isn’t the most pedaling efficient in both settings, but then again, the bike is made for descent-orientated riding, so it’s less of an issue, but worth remembering if you plan a route with lots of climbing between the descents.


Maxxis tyres

The Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is fitted with a mullet-style wheel set-up, which means you get a 29-inch wheel at the front and a 27.5-inch at the rear.


The 29-inch front wheel helps provide a firm grounding on the trail and a solid base when you’re moving at pace downhill.


The chunky amount of traction provided by a 29er gives you an element of safety, meanwhile, the 27.5 inch at the rear retains that fun factor.


The smaller rear wheel allows you to throw the bike about and carve and weave through the trees.


The bike comes with Reserve 30 and 31 rims at the front and back respectively, and a Maxxis Assegai tire at the front and a Maxxis Minion DHR II at the rear.


A decent set-up, which provides a firm amount of grip on the trail – perfect for hard and fast descending.


SRAM Code Silver Stealth

The Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is fitted with the excellent SRAM Code RSC brakes.


They’re among the best in the business and offer some of the most reliable performance levels out there.


Not only do they have immense stopping power and excellent heat dissipation, but they’re also durable and responsive.


A top-notch component for a heavy-duty downhill bike.


The 12-speed SRAM X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain is equally as impressive as the brakes.


It’s one of the most highly tuned drivetrains SRAM makes, offering lightning speed responsiveness and silky smooth shifting.


It’s a trustworthy partner to have when you’re moving at high speeds in the descents, with the need to flick up and down through the gears at pace.

Price - $10,499

We can’t deny it’s a lot of money, however, you’re getting some truly remarkable features in there.


It’s an excellent downhill bike, which is dripping in high-spec features from top to bottom.


It has a few issues and we aren’t the biggest fans of the motor pairing, but it’s still a high performer downhill and a joy to ride.


Top-end downhill bikes tend to cost a premium and this certainly isn’t the most expensive out there – we think it’s a fair price in today’s market.

Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV Facts & figures

Geometry configurations

HEAD TUBE ANGLE64°64°64°64°
SEAT TUBE LENGTH405430460500
FRONT CENTER789.4818.8847.5878.5
BB HEIGHT348348348348
BB DROP25.5/6.525.5/6.525.5/6.525.5/6.5
REAR CENTER449449449449
HEAD TUBE LENGTH100110130155
TOP TUBE LENGTH591.3619.2644.9672.1
SEAT TUBE ANGLE77.2°77.1°77°76.8°

* All units are in millimeters or degrees.

Full Specs

FrameRear ShockSuspension Fork
Carbon CC, 170mmRockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil, 230x62.5RockShox Zeb Ultimate, 170mm -or- Fox 38 Float Factory
Rear ShifterRear DerailleurCrankset
SRAM AXS Pod BridgeSRAM X0 Eagle AXS T-Type, 12spdShimano EM900 HollowTech Crank Arms 165mm
SRAM X0 Eagle T-Type, 10-52tSRAM X0 Eagle T-Type, Flattop, 12spdE13 E-Spec+ AL
Front BrakeFront Brake RotorRear Brake
SRAM Code Silver StealthSRAM HS2 220mmSRAM Code Silver Stealth
Rear Brake RotorBrake Levers
SRAM HS2 200mmShimano BR MT520
Santa Cruz e35 Carbon Bar, 800mmBurgtec Enduro MK3, 42mmSanta Cruz Bicycles House Grips
WTB Silverado Medium, Ti
Front HubRear HubFront Rim
DT Swiss 350, 15x110, Torque Cap, 6-Bolt, 28hDT Swiss 350, 12x148, XD, 6-Bolt, 24t, 32hReserve 30|HD 29"
Rear RimFront TireRear Tire
Reserve 31|DH 27.5"Maxxis Assegai 29"x2.5", 3C, MaxxGrip, Double DownMaxxis Minion DHR II 27.5"x2.4", 3C MaxxTerra, Double Down
MotorBatteryBattery Charger
Shimano Drive Unit DU-EP801Shimano 630Wh IntegratedShimano Battery Charger, Powerpack 1 Battery

How Does it Compare?

In this comparison, we’re going to put the Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV up against the S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL, which is also one of our 2023 favorites.


It’s another excellent downhill bike, but the SL stands for super light, so how does it compare to our heavier-weight Santa Cruz Bullit 2023?

The S-Works weighs in on the scales at 18.7kg, which is 3.62kg lighter than our Santa Cruz, which makes it even more playful on the trails and easier to manipulate on the descents.


The S-Works has the feel of a conventional MTB, rather than an electric-powered model, and that opens it up to some immensely playful riding.


However, it comes at a cost – you only get 320Wh in the battery, which gives you a low level of assist of around 50km, nearly half what our Santa Cruz Bullit 2023 can push out.


The motor is much less powerful on the S-Works too – with only 35Nm of torque at your disposal, much less than the 85Nm in our Shimano Steps EP8 motor – that makes it harder on the climbs and it means the bike is only really suited to a fitted rider, who needs less assistance.


You get 170mm of travel at either end of the suspension, just like on our Santa Cruz, with an excellent set-up provided by FOX – about on par with the set-up we have on the Santa Cruz.


You get exactly the same SRAM brakes, which excel on both bikes and the same excellent SRAM drivetrain pairing too.


However, you get a pair of 29-inch wheels at either end, rather than a mullet-style set-up on the S-Works.


On price – the S-Works costs $11,249 – $750 more than our Santa Cruz.


It really comes down to your requirements as a rider and your level of fitness – do you want a more natural feeling e-MTB, with less weight and assistance, or a heavier duty e-MTB, which has more range and power?


That will be the deciding factor in this comparison, but we’re leaving it as a draw – both are beautiful e-MTBs.

Final Thoughts

The Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV is a tremendous downhill-focused e-MTB, which is prepared for some of the heaviest duty descending you can throw at it.


The bike simply excels downhill – with a high-performing suspension, brakes set-up, drivetrain, and a playful geometry.


You also get a respectable amount of range and a lot of power in the motor, so the bike remains competitive on the climbs and the flats.


However, it isn’t without a few issues – the display is poor, the motor pairing isn’t the best out there and it costs a small fortune.


Hard to beat on the descents, but it isn’t the full polished package quite yet – worth remembering when you’re window shopping in this competitive area of the e-MTB market.


Now time for you to get a feel for it for yourselves – saddle up and get descending.

We included the Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV in our guide to the Best Electric Mountain Bikes of 2023.