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Never forgets its roots.
Santa Cruz does things a bit differently than most cycling companies, especially when you consider the Northern California company spent the better part of the last decade refining their carbon fiber construction on mountain bikes before bringing this insanely stiff and durable material to the Stigmata Carbon CC Cyclocross Frameset. This means the Stigmata benefits immensely from all the research and design poured into Santa Cruz's mountain bikes, ranging from the earliest carbon Tallboy and Blur XC, all the way to their newest models, such as the iconic Hightower and 5010.
Translated to cyclocross racing and adventurous gravel grinds, you'll find the Stigmata Carbon CC is lightweight without sacrificing one ounce of strength or stiffness you've come to love from Santa Cruz mountain bikes. For 2018, the Stigmata is only available in Santa Cruz's highest level Carbon CC, which means it's extremely lightweight without forgoing the incredible power transfer of carbon fiber. Santa Cruz achieves a lower frame weight by utilizing a lighter, stronger, and more expensive carbon in key areas to reduce weight without sacrificing its structural integrity or stiffness. This high-end carbon construction extends to the Stigmata's fork, which maintains stiff tracking for a precise handling bike without a noodly front end when you're riding over bumpy gravel and rutted-out courses.
Modern geometry places the Stigmata Carbon CC in solid contention with the current crop of high-end 'cross bikes dominating the market. The 72-degree head tube angle, 73.5-degree seat tube angle (based on 56-centimeter frame), and 69-millimeter bottom bracket drop fall neatly between European 'cross high and road-racing low, making it a great contender for American-style cyclocross. And even with its racy geometry cues, the Stigmata's geometry broadens its versatility beyond the cyclocross race course. In fact, it's just as confident and composed grinding down gravel roads and exploring light-duty singletrack. We chalk this up to its ability to clear 41-millimeter tires, which increase its bump compliance and traction when you're cranking down bumpy back roads with a mixture of asphalt, gravel, and dirt.
Delving into the frame's particulars, you'll find it deviates from Santa Cruz mountain bikes with its PressFit 30 bottom bracket, which gives you the ability to run any road cranks for practicality. Full carbon dropouts and disc mounts shave weight even further, as well as accommodate post-mount disc brakes with 140 or 160-millimeter rotors for powerful stopping. Internal cable and hose routing reduce the hours spent setting up your bike in the garage, as well as protecting the cables from muck, dirt, and grime. Furthermore, the carbon fork has internal routing for the front brake, which provides a cleaner overall aesthetic. It's also compatible with electronic drivetrains, which make it all the more futureproof.
- Cyclocross race bike inspired by Santa Cruz's mountain bike legacy
- Carbon CC frame for go-fast efficiency and impressive power transfer
- Modern geometry sits between high Euro-style 'cross and low-slung road
- Stigmata CC Cyclocross fork retains stiffness for precise handling
- Front and rear thru-axles for stability and precise tracking
- Internal cable routing keeps cables free of grit and muck
- Accommodates tires up to 41-millimeters for bump compliance
- Electronic drivetrain compatibility makes it future-proof
- Item #SNZ00FN
- Q & A
Killer bike - really needs a refresh
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This could be one of the all-time greatest cross and gravel frames out there. The geometry is just a little steeper than most, which in my opinion are typically too slack and handle like touring bikes, bleh. To emphasize - the geometry is really, really dialed in. The weight is not quite as light as the best from Specialized or Scott, but almost so. But - what is up with the post-mount brakes and the 15mm thru-axle on the front? No bueno! C'mon Santa Cruz, you haven't done anything but play with the paint job on this bike for YEARS.
Changing it up
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Review written about 2017 version of the frame; the only difference between 2017 & 2018 is the paint.
I'm an old-school roadie. That means that I tend to favor lugged steel frames, Campagnolo components, and tubular wheels ... so it's going to take something special to get me to make a change.
The Stigmata is my first carbon bike, my first disc brake bike, my first tubeless wheels, and my first Shimano (I got mine built with an Ultegra 2x group) bike in over 20 years.
Initial impressions? Oh my freaking heck (that's a Utah-ism for those who don't know), this is going to be an amazing bike to ride ... on road, and especially on gravel once the snow melts. Gotta prep for the Crusher this July ... my hope is to finally finish as a rider, not as a writer.
So why only 4 stars you ask? Because I don't have enough experience on the bike to definitively give it 5 stars, but I'm pretty sure that once I've got some more miles on it, that rating will go up.
If you have any questions about this item or any other gravel/cyclocross bikes, please feel free to reach out to me directly at 801-736-6396 ext. 2422, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 4/15/17 - Five Stars
Yup ... this bike is a potential quiver killer for me. If I had to limit myself to just ONE bike, well ... umm ... the Campy-equipped Richard Sachs would win out (I am never getting rid of that bike); but if I got to keep TWO bikes, the Stigmata would definitely be the second one, full stop. Don't even need to think about that one.
I even like the Shimano Ultegra components, which is hard to admit as a Campy guy. Shifting is spot-on, and in many ways I'm a disc brake believer now. I was worried about the disc brakes being grabby compared to all my rim brakes, but so far, I feel like I still have good modulation when I'm just trying to control my speed going into a bend, but have all the stopping power I need when I need to grab the brakes.
I did get a second set of wheels to mount with road tires and a road cassette, so it's a lot easier when I want to switch it up from 40mm on gravel to 25mm on pavement; the bike does indeed perform just as well on pavement as any of my dedicated road bikes.
TL;DR -- New bike, new tech, love it.
The Stigmata in action
Stigmata ride with Steve Peat