Launched 10 years ago as a thoroughbred cyclocross racing machine, and discontinued in 2011, Santa Cruz’s Stigmata made a welcome return to the model line-up in 2015.
While the original Stigmata was alloy and intended strictly for the CX racer, the allnew Stigmata is a far more versatile package – best described as a road bike for mountain bikers! A full carbon frame and fork is coupled with all the must-haves that gravel riders are looking for these days: versatile geometry, thru-axles, internal cable routing, tyre clearance up to 41mm, and of course disc brakes.
On its release in 2015, this gear editor was so enthralled by the Stigmata that he went out and bought one! Countless hours spent pinning local trails and roads in and around Cape Town have shown that the Stigmata perfectly blends its racing roots with a new-found and effortless ability to tackle technical terrain like the singletracks found on the Constantia Greenbelt.
On a five- day ride from Knysna to Cape Town I also found that the Stigmata loves the open road, with geometry well suited to long days in the saddle. It’s fast and capable: ‘ versatility’ is the Stigmata’s middle name.