Stigmata Carbon CC Force AXS Complete Bike
Back when Santa Cruz relaunched its carbon Stigmata in 2015, riders immediately recognized its amazing versatility across terrain ranging from chunky, rarely maintained gravel to glass smooth tarmac, light singletrack, and of course, the mud bog, sandpit, run up, barrier, repeat excursions of cyclocross. When launched, mountain bike standards ruled the roost as evidence of its front 15mm thru-axle and post-mount disc brakes. Since that time, disc brake road bikes have come into their own and gravel riding and racing has exploded creating a whole new discipline with its own components. The time has come for a reboot and the firm has added some important features and details to keep the Stiggy on top of the versatility game and it's no more evident than on the Stigmata Carbon CC Force AXS Complete Bike. Kitted out with SRAM's all-new electronic Force AXS 1 drivetrain and powerful hydraulic brakes, this Stigmata sacrifices the few extra gears of a double and ditches the front derailleur for single chainring simplicity and confident chain retention for rocking and rolling over washboard riddled gravel roads.
All of the new Stigmata frames sport Santa Cruz's top-shelf CC carbon lay-up, which delivers robust strength and stiffness alongside lightweight efficiency. The significantly revised carbon layup borrows knowledge gained from the mountain-going hardtail, the Highball, and knowledge gained when building Danny MacAskill’s trials bike, to produce a ride yielding more compliance helping to smooth out the ride. Up front, the new Stigmata CC Fork uses the same high-end carbon for uncompromising stiffness and strength when you need it most and substitutes the old 15mm thru-axle for a more road and gravel appropriate 12mm one which also helps improve the ride quality.
It receives some modern geometry tweaks that place it solidly in contention with the herd of high-end all-road and gravel bike options, with a 71.5-degree head angle, 74-degree seat angle (based on a 54cm model), and lower bottom bracket height that varies by frame size to account for the crank length spec. You'll also find improved fits for smaller riders with the introduction of a size 49cm, two fork offsets to improve trail geo numbers at the extreme ends of the size spectrums as well as less toe overlap, and improved standover of 10-30mm depending on tire choice. These changes improve confidence and composure while grinding over gravel back roads or exploring light-duty singletrack, yet doesn't detract from its versatility on the 'cross course.
Speaking of 'cross, UCI pro races place limitations on tire width with a maximum of 33mm, however, when venturing off the course, that's hardly our idea of plush. Santa Cruz designed the new Stigmata to accept tires up to 45mm wide in 700c and up to 2.1 inches in this 27.5in guise (yep, it now does 700c and 650b!), allowing you to drop the pressure of the tubeless tires for a more comfortable ride through rougher terrain. Conversely, you can toss on a set of skinny road tires to throw down on the local group ride or noodle through the city on a Sunday social.
Thru-axles at the front and rear add poise and confidence for better tracking across rutted-out straightaway and gravel-strewn corners. The new flat-mount brake standard accommodates 140 and 160mm rotors with bikes coming spec'd with 160mm to slow you down in a hurry when you need to, no matter how mucky or wet the conditions. Internal cable routing cleans things up by running the brake and shift housing through the frame and fork, providing a bit of added cable protection and improved aesthetics over frames with external routing. And for riders worried about future compatibility, the Stigmata's ability to run both mechanical and electronic drivetrains keeps it relevant in today's ever-shifting landscape of technology.
Final new frame details extend to three water bottle cage mounts for really getting out there and staying hydrated and stealth routing should you decide to run a dropper post. The frame and fork also get fender mounts so you and the bike stay cleaner and a move away from the PressFit30 bottom bracket to the easier to install and maintain and less likely to creak and pop 68mm English threaded shell.
- Santa Cruz's updated machine that defines versatility
- SRAM's 12-speed Force AXS digital shifting with a huge 10 - 50t range
- Geometry updates increase confidence and cater to small riders
- Three bottle mounts keep you hydrated on those longer rides
- Internal cable routing maintains clean lines
- New Carbon CC layup improves the compliance of the frame and fork
- Accommodates bigger tires up to 27.5 x 2.1in / 700c x 45mm
- New flat-mount brakes accept 140 or 160mm rotors