Ryan Leewrote a review of Santa Cruz Bicycles Stigmata Carbon CC Ultegra Cyclocross Bike - 2019 on October 8, 2019
Familiarity: I've used it several times
As a young child, I often found myself looking towards the stars in wonderment. The vast night sky held an eternal captivation; who knew what would lay beyond the gravitational bounds of our safe planet? What worlds lay in the final frontier that was space? I knew deep in my heart that there was no greater role for me to fill but to be a space cadet.
Around the same time in my youth, I also was given a bright red, thick winter coat. Although my mothers sole intention for this coat was merely to shield me from the cold Idaho winters, its utility went far beyond that. Many a time, I would don that jacket and a whole new world as a firefighter would materialize in my head.
As I grew older, I realized that I could not be both an astronaut and a fireman. My young mind wasn't capable of formulating a roll such as a space-faring fireman yet. Who was I to understand the need for someone to extinguish fire on various spacecraft, space-stations, and other space-structures. So there I was, a young lad caught in his first identity crisis.
Segway to the new trend of gravel bikes and I am caught once again in an identity crisis. Albeit, at a much older age. Is this bike a road bike? Is it a rigid mountain bike? Thankfully, my mature, developed brain is now capable of understanding that there can exist both. As "Only a Sith Deals in Absolutes" (Obi Wan Kenobi. Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) I am more than content understanding that this bike is more than comfortable on a variety of horizontal and diagonal surfaces including asphalt, gravel, and single track.
At my height of 5' 9", I sized out a 56cm frame and was on my way. Immediately, I was impressed with how I could not differentiate the feeling of this on the pavement compared to my race-bred road-specific bike. Then I hit my first gravel road and was amazed by how well the 700x40 tires ate up the gravel. On the 90% of the single-track this bike held its own well with my contemporary equipped with a XC full-suspension mountain bicycle. The only thing holding it back being my lack of experience riding tall, skinny bike on trail. This bike is truly a do-it-all rocket ship.
I still have a very short list of minor grievances. Perhaps the largest being the sub-compact 50/34 sub-compact crankset which left me walking up what was perhaps the steepest grade I have ever seen. Granted it was a mine access road built by and for Caterpillar D9T bulldozers. It is a great crankset for the road, but may be for the birds when it comes to adventure rides.
Secondly, although this felt great on 90% of the trails I rode, the other 10% did leave me desiring a 650b x 2.1 tire, if only to leave my rear-end and hands slightly more intact at the end of our adventure ride.
Lastly, the internal dropper-routing that is available on the newer models is a very much welcome addition.
Overall, I would say this bike is pretty swell.