Bicycling (South Africa)



Santa Cruz’s Stigmata is its drop-barred gravel-muncher, but it’s not just a glorified road bike built for CX.

It’s far more versatile than that, as evidenced by former Gear Ed Oli Munnik, now marketing manager at Rush Sports, the local agency for Santa Cruz. He mixed it up with the elite bunch at the Cape Town Cycle Tour this year, on 1x11 gearing and 30c tyres.

You’ll often see social media posts featuring the Stigmata in the dirt, and even on some properly tech terrain – especially given the healthy 41mm tyre clearance. With well-proportion­ed geometry, it’s responsive enough without sacrificin­g stability on the front handling.

Colours are either a gloss sunset with teal graphics, or a more neutral pearlsheen white offset by copper graphics, which Santa Cruz call ‘gloss fog’. In either colourway the lines of the square-shaped tubing are clean and appealing, thanks to some smart internal cable routing – which includes the fork. This may cause some complicati­on with stripping the bike down for maintenanc­e, but that’s a small price to pay for good aesthetics.

There are three solid spec options: SRAM Rival, SRAM Force CX1, or you can top out with Shimano Ultegra (or even Di2). The stock wheelset is DT Swiss’s alloy 361 Asym, though a set of carbon hoops wouldn’t go amiss here as an upgrade.

SPEC HIGHLIGHTS: Thru-axle dropouts front and rear, PF30 bottom bracket, generous tyre clearance, Shimano Ultegra.

BOTTOM LINE: A versatile bike that will serve a variety of purposes: road warrior or commuter, with a focus on charging dirt and gravel roads while not shying away from rough technical terrain.

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