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Stigmata Carbon CC Ultegra Complete Cyclocross Bike
The Bay Area has always been a hotbed for cyclocross racing in the States. What began as a way for European road pros to stay fit in the winter was quickly adopted by the cyclists in the area and organized races quickly popped up with many of the top racers hailing from this region. This tradition continuing to this day and the racing in the area still enjoys popularity. More recently, riders have also been discovering the endless miles of logging roads that provide a vast network of gravel adventures allowing for some excellent drop bar riding while avoiding the crowded tarmac. Even the mountain bike fanatics at Santa Cruz weren't immune to the slightly narrower tires and curly bar fun and it added its own version of a cross bike over a decade ago that had a four year run with the v1 Stigmata, complete with an alloy tubeset and cantilever brakes. We were a bit miffed when it disappeared from its lineup but figured with many of its mountain bikes utilizing carbon construction and disc brakes gaining traction in CX circles, a new version was on the horizon. Four long years later we were treated to the v2 Stigmata and with its release we got just what we expected in a new 700c bike from Santa Cruz and with the Stigmata Carbon CC Ultegra Complete Cyclocross Bike we finally get carbon fiber construction, disc brakes, and geometry versatile enough to tackle roads, mud and sand, and any other mixed terrain surface we might come across making up some of our favorite type of riding.
We often think of the Stigmata as the mountain biker's road bike. It's plenty capable of hanging with the shaved leg set when pedaling perfect circles and racking up base miles, but if the idea of linking up endless forest service roads, or pinning a number to a skinsuit in the fall tickles your fancy, all you need is a simple tire swap and the Stigmata is happy to oblige. And even though most of the road bikes kicking around here in the office sport rim brakes, we certainly see the benefits of disc brakes on the road and we can't fathom riding 'cross or gravel without discs. The fork's 15mm thru-axle and 12 x 142mm rear dropouts keep the hubs' axles anchored in the dropouts whether we're blurry-eyed bouncing through the braking bumps or hoping to be the first person to turn one off the start line. The more miles you put on this rig, the more you'll recognize its versatility and realize that its right at home on hot, summer Tuesday group rides, riding from the house to singletrack trails, or hopping barriers under gray skies on an autumn day.Santa Cruz builds up this bike with a smattering of components that complement the Stigmata quite well. A full Shimano Ultegra drivetrain handles the shifting and braking duties and the way it balances shifting precision, powerful braking, and durability while building up such a lightweight bike continues to baffle us. The group is elegant and beautiful enough for road use but not afraid to kick up a little dust or get covered in mud. Internal routing, carbon dropouts and disc mounts, a tapered headtube, and electronic drivetrain compatibility help futureproof the frame while the frame's Carbon CC construction drop grams while boosting stiffness. One feature that's new on this Stigmata is its PressFit 30, a first for Santa Cruz, which usually doesn't hide its favoritism for threaded bottom bracket shells, however in an effort to get the frame to be compatible with road bike cranks and its ability to increase the diameter of the downtube and the real estate with the seattube and chainstays, thus a PressFit shell was chosen. The frame and fork have clearance for tires up to 41mm making the Stigmata perfect for racing and off-season riding.
- A bike that excels at road, gravel, CX, and trail riding
- Santa Cruz's CC construction offers a lightweight, stiff build
- Modern, versatile geometry in fast on the road and nimble for CX
- Internal cable routing prevent contamination and ensure clean lines
- Accommodates 41mm wide tires for cushioning on gravel adventures
- Shimano's Ultegra drivetrain and disc brakes are precise and durable
- Pressfit shell, thru-axles, and tapered headtube establish a responsive ride
- Item #SNZ00I0
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
As a young child, I often found myself looking towards the stars in wonderment. The vast night sky held an eternal captivation; who knew what would lay beyond the gravitational bounds of our safe planet? What worlds lay in the final frontier that was space? I knew deep in my heart that there was no greater role for me to fill but to be a space cadet.
Around the same time in my youth, I also was given a bright red, thick winter coat. Although my mothers sole intention for this coat was merely to shield me from the cold Idaho winters, its utility went far beyond that. Many a time, I would don that jacket and a whole new world as a firefighter would materialize in my head.
As I grew older, I realized that I could not be both an astronaut and a fireman. My young mind wasn't capable of formulating a roll such as a space-faring fireman yet. Who was I to understand the need for someone to extinguish fire on various spacecraft, space-stations, and other space-structures. So there I was, a young lad caught in his first identity crisis.
Segway to the new trend of gravel bikes and I am caught once again in an identity crisis. Albeit, at a much older age. Is this bike a road bike? Is it a rigid mountain bike? Thankfully, my mature, developed brain is now capable of understanding that there can exist both. As "Only a Sith Deals in Absolutes" (Obi Wan Kenobi. Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) I am more than content understanding that this bike is more than comfortable on a variety of horizontal and diagonal surfaces including asphalt, gravel, and single track.
At my height of 5' 9", I sized out a 56cm frame and was on my way. Immediately, I was impressed with how I could not differentiate the feeling of this on the pavement compared to my race-bred road-specific bike. Then I hit my first gravel road and was amazed by how well the 700x40 tires ate up the gravel. On the 90% of the single-track this bike held its own well with my contemporary equipped with a XC full-suspension mountain bicycle. The only thing holding it back being my lack of experience riding tall, skinny bike on trail. This bike is truly a do-it-all rocket ship.
I still have a very short list of minor grievances. Perhaps the largest being the sub-compact 50/34 sub-compact crankset which left me walking up what was perhaps the steepest grade I have ever seen. Granted it was a mine access road built by and for Caterpillar D9T bulldozers. It is a great crankset for the road, but may be for the birds when it comes to adventure rides.
Secondly, although this felt great on 90% of the trails I rode, the other 10% did leave me desiring a 650b x 2.1 tire, if only to leave my rear-end and hands slightly more intact at the end of our adventure ride.
Lastly, the internal dropper-routing that is available on the newer models is a very much welcome addition.
Overall, I would say this bike is pretty swell.