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Santa Cruz Stigmata Review : Should You Buy?

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Technical Specifications

  • Frame : Carbon
  • Drivetrain : SRAM Force 1X eTap AXS
  • Gearing : 1×12 speed, 42T (front) 10-50T (rear)
  • Brakes : Hydraulic disc brakes, 160/160mm rotors
  • Tire Size : 700x40c
  • Weight : 8.76kg / 19.31lbs

The Santa Cruz Stigmata was originally introduced in 2007 as an aluminum cyclocross and evolved into a carbon bike in its second generation in 2011.

10 years on in 2017, Santa Cruz jumped onto the gravel bike bandwagon by reviving the Stigmata. Major improvements are made specifically aimed at gravel riding. The third generation Stigmata now sports a taller stack, shorter reach, longer wheelbase with enough clearance for wider tires.

Read More :

It’s available in 5 different builds, as below :

  • SRAM Rival, 700c wheels
  • Shimano GRX, 700c wheels
  • SRAM Force 1x, 650b wheels
  • SRAM Force 1x, 700c wheels
  • SRAM Force 2x, 700c wheels

For 2020/21 models, there are two colors to choose from :

  • Midnight green and black
  • Moonstone blue and ivory
In this review, we take a close look at the SRAM Force 1x model with 700c wheels that retails for $5,499.

Pros

  • Carbon frame is snappy and responsive under power, yet stable on the descends.
  • Plenty of clearance for tires up to 700 x 45mm or 650b x 2.1”.
  • Available in 650b wheelset version.
  • Comes with very low gearing (50T rear) for the steepest off-road climbs.

Cons

  • Not suited for smaller riders below 5’ 3” (160 cm).
  • Limited color choices with only two to choose from.
  • More expensive compared to a similarly specced gravel bike.

Frame Geometry and Design

Let’s take a closer look at the Santa Cruz’s frame.

  • Carbon fiber material provides plenty of stiffness, responsive handling, and lightweight.
  • Slightly longer wheelbase compared to CX bikes for more stable handling.
  • Uses 2 different fork rake measurements across the smaller and larger frame sizes to maintain consistent handling characteristics. The smaller frames (52, 54) have a 50mm fork offset vs 45mm for larger frames (56, 58, 60).
  • Cables and brake hoses are internally routed through the frame for a cleaner and modern look.
  • 68mm threaded BB is one of the most commonly used and less problematic BB standards out there.
  • Plenty of clearance for tires up to 700c x 45mm or 650b 2.1”.
  • Three bottle cage mounts; 2 inside the main triangle and 1 below the downtube.
  • Fender mounts on both front and rear. These are only for bike fenders and are not designed to carry bags or any load.
  • Front derailleur mount doesn’t work with SRAM mechanical FD’s as they don’t have the integrated housing stop for to route the cable.
  • Chainstay is protected with a larger-than-usual, molded rubber guard.

Groupset and Drivetrain

The entire groupset on the Santa Cruz Stigmata is specced with SRAM Force eTap AXS. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

  • Specced with SRAM’s second in line wireless electronic shifting groupset, the Force eTap AXS.
  • 1x front chainring with 42T is versatile enough on both flats and climbs. The spider will accept chainring up to 50T for a 2X configuration.
  • 10-50T, 12-speed SRAM XG1295 cassette covers a very wide gearing ratio, but the downside is a bigger jump between gears which might affect pedaling cadence.
  • Flat mount, hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm front and rear rotors provide plenty of stopping power on the steepest descents. 140mm rotors are also compatible, depending on the brake calipers’ orientation.

Components

The components are a mash-up between Easton and WTB.

  • Comes with a lesser-known WTB Silverado Team saddle, a narrow width (133mm wide) saddle with titanium rails with a claimed weight of 200g.
  • Seatpost is the Easton EC70, a zero offset, 27.2mm diameter carbon seatpost. Alternatively, an internally routed dropper seatpost can also be used.
  • Easton also supplies the cockpit with the Easton EA70 AX alloy drop handlebars and EA90 alloy stem. The handlebar and stem size will vary according to the bike frame size.
  • A Velo bar tape provides a nice and cushy finishing touch to the handlebars.
  • No pedals are included which is norm when purchasing bikes.

Tires and Wheels

With plenty of clearance, the Santa Cruz comes with a wide gravel tires to tackle the roughest gravel trails and singletracks.

  • Maxxis Ravager, 700x40c tubeless gravel tires weigh 485g a piece.
  • DT Swiss XR 361 rims with 28 Sapim Race spokes each, built onto the ever durable DT Swiss 350 hubs with the standard 12x100mm front axle and 142×100 rear axle.
  • Thru axles are supplied by Rockshox, the Maxle Ultimate with a handle for easy removal.
  • Front axle is 125mm long, 12mm in diameter with 12mm thread length and M12x1.50 thread.
  • Rear axle is 174mm long, 12mm in diameter with 20mm thread length and M12x1.75 thread.

Read More : 8 Best Gravel Bike Wheelsets

What Others are Saying?

The Santa Cruz Stigmata is a class act, with great handling, well though-out components and eye-catching looks. The WTB tyres give good grip and can be run at low pressure off road. The Stigmata is comfortable to carry over trickier terrain too.

Cycling Weekly

The Stigmata is a well-rounded high-performance gravel machine and the winner of our Editor’s Choice Award

Outdoor Gear Lab

The improvements in the Stigmata platform warrant an upgrade to your current Stiggy or if you’re looking for a carbon all-road bike, consider this an option.

Theradavist

How Much Does the Santa Cruz Stigmata Costs?

The table below shows the recommended retail pricing of the Santa Cruz Stigmata, depending on the build.

BuildUSDGBPAUD
SRAM Rival, 700c wheels$3,499£3,699$7,999
Shimano GRX, 700c wheels$4,199£4,499$9,149
SRAM Force eTap AXS 1x, 650b wheels$5,499£5,599$11,299
SRAM Force eTap AXS 1x, 700c wheels$5,499£5,599$11,299
SRAM Force eTap AXS 2x, 700c wheels$5,299£5,599$11,049