Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - Cyclocross Bike

We've got the Santa Cruz Stigmata cyclocross bike in for test. Here's a review of the bike's spec, before we head out into the mud

Santa Cruz is a brand with a huge reputation in mountain biking, with its machines ridden by multiple downhill world champion Steve Peat and by Danny Macaskill in his The Ridge video.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review

But hidden away amongst all those mountain bikes is its cyclocross offering: the Santa Cruz Stigmata. And it’s not a bike to be overlooked by cyclocross aficionados. Besides its bright orange paint job (there’s a black version too), the frame was used by Paul Oldham when he won the Three Peaks cyclocross race in 2015.

But first: its strange name. The stigmata were the wounds which Jesus received from being nailed to the cross, so we guess the bike’s name is a play on the “cross” bit. The carbon version is the second generation of the Stigmata, with Santa Cruz previously selling an aluminium bike with the same name.

The frame

Although it’s not the brand’s first carbon fibre bike – it makes a number of carbon mountain bikes – the Santa Cruz Stigmata is the first to use a press-fit bottom bracket shell. Santa Cruz says the BB30 shell allowed it to make the frame lighter than if it had used a threaded bottom bracket.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - Frame features internal cable routing throughout

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - Frame features internal cable routing throughout

The company also says that it used a slightly lower grade of carbon fibre in the Stigmata C to keep the frame’s cost down. There is a 280 gram weight penalty from the heavier build this required relative to the Stigmata CC which uses higher strength, more expensive carbon, but at 8.67g the Stigmata C we have in is still on the light side for a cyclocross bike with a double ring set-up and wired tyres. With the single ring Stigmata CC, a sub-8kg build should easily be possible.

The Santa Cruz Stigmata was one of the first cyclocross bikes to feature a lot of the new technologies which are now becoming commonplace on cyclocross, gravel and endurance bikes. So it’s disc braked only and comes with a full carbon fork with a 15mm thru-axle at the front and 12×142 thru-axle at the rear. It has full-carbon dropouts and integrated headset bearings. All cables and hoses are routed internally and the frame can be used with electronic shifting too.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - There's good clearance around the bridgeless seatstays

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - There's good clearance around the bridgeless seatstays

The frame geometry of the 54cm which we are testing includes a steepish seat tube at 74 degrees, a slacker head tube at 71.5 degrees for good tracking and a wheelbase of 101.9cm with chainstays 42.5cm long. This all points to a planted ride which should be welcome on a bike to be ridden off road.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review- Chainstays are pinched behind the bottom bracket to take wider tyres

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review- Chainstays are pinched behind the bottom bracket to take wider tyres

Mud clearance is also important in a cyclocross bike, and Santa Cruz states that the Stigmata can accept up to 41mm tyres, so there should be plenty of space on either side of skinnier cyclocross tyres and enough room to fit chunkier tyres if you plan to ride gravel roads. The frame has bridgeless seatstays which should help with rear end shock absorption. There are bottle bosses too, so it can be used for longer excursions as well as cyclocross races.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - Lots of clearance around the chunky fork crown

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - Lots of clearance around the chunky fork crown

The Stigmata’s forks have lots of clearance and a chunky look which suggests that they will be well able to handle braking forces and shocks from off-road riding. The thru-axle drop-outs in particular are substantial, so they should hold the wheel in place firmly.

Drivetrain

Our Santa Cruz Stigmata C comes with SRAM Rival 46/36 double ring shifting and Rival hydraulic braking, controlled by SRAM’s Double Tap shifters, with their high fronts housing the hydraulic reservoirs. The front mech is bolted on rather than braze-on and includes a SRAM chain catcher.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - SRAM Rival rear mech has longer cage to handle the 11-32 cassette

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - SRAM Rival rear mech has longer cage to handle the 11-32 cassette

At the back there’s a SRAM 11-32 cassette with a long cage Rival rear derailleur to handle the wide range. All the cables and hoses are routed internally, including through the left fork leg, which gives a clean look and helps prevent cable contamination from dirt and mud.

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - WTB supplies the rims and high volume 35mm tyres

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - WTB supplies the rims and high volume 35mm tyres

The wheelset is composed of DT Swiss 370 hubs laced with 28 DT Competition spokes two-crossed to WTB rims. The rims are asymmetric to help balance spoke tensions.

Tyres are WTB Cross Boss 35mm, which have quite high profile knobs which should help with grip in muddy conditions. They also look to have quite a high air volume and are tubeless-ready, with Santa Cruz supplying them with Stan’s sealant.

Components

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - Bars, stem and seatpost are from Zipp

Santa Cruz Stigmata Review - Bars, stem and seatpost are from Zipp

The Santa Cruz Stigmata comes kitted out with Zipp Service Course alloy bars and 12mm stem. There’s a Zipp Service Course 27.2mm alloy seatpost which has 20mm setback. On top is a WTB Silverado Pro saddle with chromoly rails. it’s quite narrow but has a fair amount of high density padding to add a bit of off-road comfort.

Prices

The Santa Cruz Stigmata C with SRAM Rival build which we have in comes in at £2999. The higher modulus Stigmata CC can be bought with a Force 1 groupset for £3999 or with SRAM Red 46/36 for £5499 There’s also a frame only option for the higher modulus Stigmata CC priced at £1999 and custom build options including Enve wheels.

Details

  • Size Tested:54cm
  • Weight (without pedals):8.67kg
  • Frame:Stigmata Carbon C
  • Fork:Stigmata CC
  • Shifters:SRAM Rival Hydro
  • Front Derailleur:SRAM Rival bolt on
  • Rear Derailleur:SRAM Rival WiFli
  • Chainset:SRAM Rival 46/36t PF30
  • Cassette:SRAM PC1130 11-32
  • Chain:SRAM PG1170
  • Brakes:SRAM Rival hydraulic, 160mm rotors
  • Wheelset:WTB Asym i19 rims, DT Swiss 370 hubs, 15mm thru-axle front, 12×142 rear
  • Tyres:WTB Cross Boss 35mm, tubeless-ready
  • Handlebar:Zipp Service Course alloy
  • Stem:Zipp Service Course alloy
  • Seatpost:Zipp Service Course alloy, 27.2mm
  • Saddle:WTB Silverado
  • Pro Sizes:52-60cm
  • Colour:Orange, black 
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