They say they were waiting for disc brakes to become more mainstream on road bikes. They also say they were waiting to perfect the art of carbon fiber. They also say, go out there and ride your damn bike. Well, they (Santa Cruz) have jumped into the burgeoning gravel/cross/all-road market with quite a splash with the re-introduction of the Stigmata — a gravel-friendly and cross-capable road bike.
After a seven year hiatus, the Stigmata has been resurrected from an aluminum-framed, rim-braked cross bike to a proper do-it-all bike. Yes, the gravel/cross market is getting crowded, but there’s plenty of room for all. I mean, even the most staunch MTB’ers will benefit from a little road or gavel time. And with the growing gravel racing scene, races like the Crusher in the Tushar and many gran fondo’s now including gravel sections, the Stigmata will find a home.
Highlighted by the ability to run 40mm rubber, this frame has gobs of clearance. And, it tips the scales at a respectable weight — all while being built around a race-worthy foundation. The geometry isn’t quite CX race weapon, but it’s no slouch either. The relatively short head tube still allows for an aggressive position (for those who can turn themselves into a pretzel) and the rest of the geometry (wheelbase, BB drop, angles) are close to being straight-up endurance road numbers.
Since Santa Cruz is coming from the mountain bike side, it’s not surprising to see thru-axles at both ends. They are not alone as seen with the Focus Mares CX and others that have gone completely thru-axle.
While Santa Cruz outfits their mountain bikes primarily in Shimano kits, it’s pretty interesting that the only three flavors are top-to-bottom SRAM: Rival 22 CX, Force CX1 and Red CX. I’m currently riding Force 22 HydroR disc brakes and it’s hard to imagine any better braking performance (and it appears that the folks at Santa Cruz agree).
Stigmata Launch Video:
- 15x100mm thru-axle fork
- Electronic shifting-compatible, should you go Shimano
- Integrated headset with tapered steerer
- Internal brake hose routing through fork leg
- Internal cable and hose routing in frame
- PressFit 30 bottom bracket (a SC first)
- Sizes 52, 54, 56, 58, 60
- Full carbon dropouts and disk mounts
- 142x12mm rear axle spacing
- Frame Weight: 1013g
- Frame Price: $2299
- Complete Prices: $3699 – $6599
The Bottom Line: Santa Cruz Stigmata
With a “ride anywhere” mentality, the all-new Stigmata will let MTB riders get a taste of skinnies while staunch road riders will appreciate the versatility and the ability to hit a few cross races. Regardless, consumers are winning with all the great all-road bikes now available on the market.