Stig not in the dumps: Riding the first new Santa Cruz Stigmata on UK soil

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  • Tested: Santa Cruz SRAM RED AXS (with Reserve carbon wheel upgrade)
  • From: Jungle Products
  • Duration: One ride!
  • Price: £8,999

Just a few days before the its launch date, the first few Santa Cruz Stigmata(s?) and Juliana Quincys landed at UK distributors, Jungle. The guys in the workshop were still putting the finishing touches to my test bike when I arrived on a filthy wet morning. It was the kind of day that despite the stunning looking new bikes waiting to be played on, we poured another coffee and delayed the inevitable.

review Santa Cruz Stigmata gritcx tom hill

(Before we go on, you might want to check out the full details on the Stigmata here, and Hannah’s first ride on the Juliana Quincy).

Delay tactics

I wasn’t just the first journalist to see a Stigmata on UK soil, I was one of the first in the UK warehouse. As I caught up with head honcho (and ride partner) Dickon, the rest of the team would stick their necks round the door for a quick shufty. Noises were made. All of them positive. In a warehouse that is jam-packed with some of the most desirable mountain bikes on the market, all eyes were on the simple lines of the Stig.

review Santa Cruz Stigmata gritcx tom hill
That’s raw carbon under the matt paint work.

Those simple lines don’t tell the whole truth. The Stigmata has had a ground up redesign. With it comes improved clearance, clever carbon lay-up and of course, the women’s model.

review Santa Cruz Stigmata gritcx tom hill

In at the deep end

If you are going to review a premium frame, you may as well hang the best kit off it right? Well, I’m inclined to agree while I’m not paying. The top-of-the-range SRAM RED AXS build, with Santa Cruz carbon Reserve 700c wheels was to be mine for the day.

review Santa Cruz Stigmata gritcx tom hill
My bike for the day had top end SRAM RED AXS fitted.

Dickon would be taking out the similarly drool-worthy SRAM Force AXS (as mentioned in our launch news story, this is actually a mash-up between Force and Eagle. The mech and cassette are taken from SRAM’s mountain bike groupset) build, again with Reserve wheels, this time in 650b and with chunky 2.1in tyres.

review Santa Cruz Stigmata gritcx tom hill
While Dickon had chunky 650b wheels and a Force/X01 AXS combo.

We had a bike in each colour – Dickon’s a matt green, with the “Santa Cruz” down tube logo actually being a mask, revealing raw carbon beneath. My bike was a shiny mustard – much nicer than it sounds. One of those colours that I’d almost certainly not pick from a catalogue, but loved in the flesh.

review Santa Cruz Stigmata gritcx tom hill
It looks a bit right, right?

Time to go

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Comments (2)

    Since you mentioned Kona Libre, what would be better Kona or Stigmata for longer rides on pavement (with 700c tires) and for graver, rougher terrain with 650b? Is any of these two more compliant, comfortable than the other? Thanks, David!

    Would you say these come up small or hug for the SC sizing?

    I know their MTBs are often said to come up small, and I’m aware this is a daft question

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