In the mountain bike world, there are few brands that seem to attract the levels of desire that Santa Cruz does. It appears to have cleverly retained its “cool” status as its moved from small builder to mass manufacturer as it has grown.
Before we go on, we’d also like to point out that we have had exclusive “first in the UK” rides of both the Stigmata and the Quincy. If you’d like to find out what we thought, then clear here and here. First of all, here’s the lowdown on the changes…
There has been a ‘cross/gravel bike in Santa Cruz’s line up on and off over the years, with the most recent incarnation of the Stigmata being resurrected in 2015. At the time, it was probably a little ahead of the curve. The Californian company fused many of the mountain bike standards it was used to (like bolt-thru axles) with a modern take on a carbon ‘cross bike with one eye on racing and another on what we now seem to have settled on as “gravel”.
Nowadays, what was fresh and new has become the norm, and dare we say, the Stig was beginning to look a little long in the tooth. In general, tyres have got a little wider and the expectations of what a gravel bike should do has changed a little since 2015. We expect bikes to be a little more stable than even four years ago.
Not just new, but completely new
It was time for an update and Santa Cruz has delivered. The frame still bears some visual queues from the last iteration, but it is all new. The company has significantly revised the frame’s carbon layup, borrowing knowledge gained from not just the Highball, but also Danny MacAskill’s trials bike. Santa Cruz typically has two carbon lay up options for its bikes; C and CC. The Stig is only available in the premium CC build. This (and we quote, because there is no way in hell that we would have thought of it ourselves, or even quite understand what it means) “produces a ride so law-abiding you’d think HR had sent it on a compliance training course”. Cool, cool. We think those crazy Californians mean the frame is very comfortable and has good levels of vertical compliance.
As you’d expect, the frame now uses direct mount brakes. It also now features “fender” (mudguard) mounts and a third bottle cage mount. Tyre clearance has been massively improved. The old Stig struggled with anything over around 700c x 35mm. The new model will clear up to 700c x 45mm or a 650b x 2.1”.
The Stigmata can be run with a front mech or 1x, but there are some tyre clearance limitations, particularly when using a SRAM front mech. Also, we are beyond stoked to see Santa Cruz specifying a threaded bottom bracket!
Santa Cruz has tweaked the geometry a little too. First of all, the Stigmata definitely still has a racey edge to it. The angles encourage head down and pedal hard rather than sitting up and taking it all in. The head angle is a little more relaxed than the previous version though, and the top tube has been lengthened slightly. The chain stay has been dropped slightly, a la Open et al, although not quite as obviously. This keeps the rear stays fairly short, but gives clearance for that larger rubber.
A smaller frame is available and the geometry changes through the sizes. BB drop for example is lower on smaller bikes, taking into account shorter crank lengths. Standover has also been improved. Finally, different fork offsets are used on small frames – 50mm for the 52-54cm sizes, and 45mm for the 56-61cm sizes – helping ensure “your little piggies don’t go to market on the front wheel”. (Translation: minimising toe overlap).
When the last Stigmata was released, Santa Cruz chose not to release a women’s version through its sister brand Juliana. That was a bit of an oversight if you ask us, but we won’t hold it against them, as that’s now been corrected.
The Quincy frameset is identical to the Stigmata in all but colour, and that it is available in a 49mm size (and only up to a 54cm). It also includes the 50mm offset fork for better foot clearance. Build options are broadly the same, other than at contact points, where Juliana specs an Ergon SR10 women’s saddle and bar widths matched to frame size.
Oh, and the name? No, it’s not monikered after Michael Jackson’s producer, nor does it have anything to do with Quincy MD. Quincy, California is a small town at the heart of the gravel revolution and host of Grinduro.
- 700c x 45mm / 650b x 2.1″ tyre clearance
- 27.2 seat post with stealth routing
- 68mm threaded bottom bracket
- 12×100 front thru-axle; 142×12 rear thru-axle
- Three bottle cage mounts
- Fender mounts
- Clamp-on FD mount
- Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheel upgrade option
- Sizes: 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 (Stigmata) 49, 52, 54 (Quincy)
Build kits and pricing
Both the Stigmata and Quincy are available in stock builds. Off the shelf there are a few build options. First up there’s a straightforward (if not particularly cheap) SRAM Rival 1x build with 700c DT Swiss/WTB wheels; and the same but with Ultegra 2x.
We think the most interesting build option is the SRAM Force AXS 1x. Now, as we pointed out in our coverage of the AXS groupset, there isn’t a wide range cassette option of AXS. Santa Cruz has got around this hurdle by creating an X01 Eagle/Force AXS mash up for 1×12 wire-free electronic shifting. Not cheap, but very cool. This build is also available with the Santa Cruz’s carbon gravel Reserve wheels for a £1200 uplift.
Finally, there is a money no object SRAM RED AXS build, which features SRAM’s top-of-the-range double groupset with 2×12 wireless electronic shifting. This build comes with those carbon Reserve wheels as standard, but you’d hope so for an eye watering £8999.
All builds are available in olive green and mustard yellow on the Stigmata and an amazing sparkly midnight blue on the Quincy.
- Frameset – £2,199
- Rival – £3,599
- Ultegra – £4,599
- Force AXS – £5,599
- Force AXS Reserve – £6,799
- RED AXS Reserve – £8,999
The Stigmata and Quincy are available in the UK now from Jungle.