Santa Cruz Stigmata Returns!

by 4

Back in 2007, Santa Cruz Bicycles introduced the Stigmata cyclocross bike. It was a bold move for a mountain bike company – and for any bike company really, as the modern renaissance of cyclocross hadn’t really happened by then. However, Santa Cruz (the place) has had a long history of cyclocross racing and cyclocross racers. Many of the workers at Santa Cruz raced ‘cross and the Stigmata came from that enthusiasm. Although there were a couple of disc ‘cross bikes out at that time, the original Stigmata stuck to the traditional cantilever brakes.
Even though the bike has been out of production for many years, Santa Cruz has been fielding requests for them for years, and many of its staff and athletes (like Steve Peat) have held on to them for winter training. Not wanting to rush into things, especially given the rapid changing of standards for ‘cross bikes in the last few years, Santa Cruz took its time in launching the new version of the Stigmata, wanting it to be as up to date, and yet timeless as possible. (All of the great photos here are courtesy of Santa Cruz bikes and Sven Martin photography.)

SCB_NZ__55a6106
The Stigmata is dead! Long live the Stigmata!

 
SCB_NZ__55a6098
Comes in orange and black colours, all with top-end CC carbon.

 
The new Stigmata, launched this week, represents the state of the art in ‘cross bikes and it is hopefully as future-proof in terms of standards as it’s possible to predict at the moment. Starting at the head tube, the bike has a full carbon fork, with a tapered steerer. There is internal routing for the gear cables and brake hoses within the frame (and forks). This is no off the shelf model, and a great deal of work has gone into designing the cable routing. Santa Cruz found that nearly all internal routing frames have loose brake hoses mixing with gear cables within the downtube. This can lead to rattles at best – and gear cables fouling (or even sawing through) the brake hose at worst. To combat this, the designers created a completely separate brake hose channel on the inside of the down tube, keeping everything separate. There’s enough room for the modern-style hose connectors (as seen on the photo below). You will also see the modular port system that offers options for mechanical shift cables, Di2 wires or, in this case, nothing at all for those running CX1 (or another 1×10/11 system). Controversially (for Santa Cruz at least) it has opted to go with a press-fit bottom bracket – something that it has always avoided on its mountain bikes. However, for this once-only application, it has relented for several reasons: in order to fit modern 30mm crank axles and in order to get a huge downtube and BB cross section for stiffness. We didn’t get to play with the bikes long enough to see if the dreaded wet-weather-creak would be an issue.
SCB_NZ__55a6091
Neato cable routing for just about any combination.

 
SCB_NZ__55a6109
Brake hose runs under the BB (hidden under plate) to appear on the chainstay. Brakes from 140mm up.

 
SCB_NZ__55a6090
SCB_NZ__55a6089
 
Continuing our run back down the frame, the square profile top tube shows a slight slant, with still enough space for shouldering (frames start at 52cm and up). There are two sets of bottle bosses and the frame ships with a square front derailleur clamp as no other will fit the squared off tubes that the frame uses throughout.  A dropped seatstay junction reminds us of the Giant and BMC frames, but it’s a well established way of getting a compact, stiff rear triangle. Adding to this stiffness is a rear Maxle thru-axle, matching the front thru-axle. While this will slow wheel changes slightly, if you’re serious about your racing, you’ll have two identical bikes at races anyway, won’t you? Tyres fitted to our test bikes were 33mm Maxxis Mud Wranglers, but the designers reckon that a 40mm tyre will fit front and rear, opening up the slippery world of the gravel niche to this bike.
Is it a group of Stigmatas? Or Stigmata?

SCB_NZ__55a6993
Not just for the race track, the Stigmata will take 40mm tyres

At the (beginning and) end of the day, the Stigmata is designed as an out and out race machine. With a spicy 71.5° head angle on the 54cm, it’s designed for mixing it up, elbow to elbow into the first corner. However, that’s not to suggest that it can’t work in other places. On our test day, we got to ride it on some distinctly non-racecourse terrain, with loose gravel, railway sleepers and some mountain bike-worthy descents. The bike remained surefooted and confident on all surfaces. Despite the stout look of the frame – and especially the chunky dimensions of the forks – the Stigmata remained comfortable even over rocky terrain. The SRAM discs offer some very reliable feeling power, and racers will be able to get away with a 160/140mm rotor combo compared with the more trail-friendly 160/160s that we had.
Spec sheets
SCB_NZ__55a6593
Not a bad test track. West coast of New Zealand’s South Island

 
SCB_NZ__55a6569
Black or orange? Your choice

 
SCB_NZ__55a6464
All ready for Koksijde

 
SCB_NZ__55a6385
A bike for coming in hot to turns. Disc only

 
(Photos below taken by Chipps at the recent Santa Cruz Stigmata launch in New Zealand (of all places)).
Over the course of a 20 mile test ride, I found the bike to be very welcoming and easy to get on with. The bikes run pretty true to size, which meant that the 56cm I was riding was 2cm bigger than I’d normally ride, but a shorter stem and a tweak of the saddle rails and it worked well enough for assessing the rest of the ride. As you’d hope from the internal cable routing, the bike is swift and silent in use. We had bikes running both CX1 and SRAM Red 2×11. Interestingly, there is no Shimano option from the three models (CX1, Red and Rival), although frame-only kits are available.
Prices will range from £1999 for the frame and fork. The complete Rival bike will be £3299, CX1 is £3999 and the top end Red is £5499. An ENVE rims upgrade is £1700.
 
 
Tall and tapered headtube in keeping with the times

 
Santa Cruz has designed its own fork – with internal hose routing.

 
Our test ride started at the sea and finished in the mountains

 
Bold colours and flat slabby shape is very pleasing

 
There’s full internal cable and hose routing

 
Enve rims are a £1700/$2000 upgrade. Crazy saddle attitude – model’s own.

 
Designers reckon you can fit at least a 40mm tyre in there. This is a 33 Maxxis

 
Currently, there’s only a ‘CC’ top-end carbon model.

 
Putting the bikes through their paces

 
We might have ignored the ‘No cycling’ sign on this.

 
The bike is mega stable on descents

 
A press-fit BB for the first time for Santa Cruz Bikes. Let’s hope it’s watertight.

 
The less gaudy version in black and white.

 
The original Stigmata was alloy and canti-brake only

And finally, in contrast to the sunny, sunny photos above, here is the Stigmata launch video, shot (with Steve Peat and Greg Chapin) in a less than sunny (snowy actually) Haworth, Yorkshire.

Comments (4)

    A quid under two grand for a frame and forks seems quite steep

    A quid under two grand for a frame and forks seems quite steep

    Especially when you can have a Boone for £250 less – we’re all over the Lance thing now, right?

    Especially when you can have a Boone for £250 less – we’re all over the Lance thing now, right?

Leave a Reply